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Will federal leaders’ neglect of the Prairies hurt their election chances?

Last Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:23 am MDT

EDMONTON (CityNews) ─ Federal party leaders have been crisscrossing Canada looking to get votes, but they have been missing in action in Western Canada.

Will the lack of facetime with the leaders have any impact at the ballot box? One political scientist says leaders are being very strategic with how they are campaigning.

“Given the momentum of (Erin) O’Toole, the Conservatives look to maintain their hold in the western provinces in this election,” said Chaldeans Mensah of MacEwan University. “Mr. (Justin) Trudeau, he doesn’t need to come back to Edmonton, he needs to maintain his contest in Ontario and maintain those seats.”

Trudeau, Jagmeet Singh and O’Toole each paid a brief visit to the western provinces before spending the majority of their campaign in Eastern Canada.

Mensah says the reason for that is very simple.

“Ontario has 131 seats, Quebec has 78 seats, and if you compare that to B.C., 42, Alberta, 34, the politicians are more focused on where there are more seats,” he said.

READ: Leaders argue over how to pay for promises as voters head to advance polls

In 2019, Trudeau didn’t visit Alberta until the last weekend before Election Day, and didn’t win a single seat in the province. This year, he stopped in Calgary five days into the campaign.

Data from 338 Canada suggests the Liberals could now gain three seats in Alberta − in Edmonton-Millwoods, Edmonton-Centre and Calgary-Skyview.

Mensah says Trudeau is better off playing defence in the east while O’Toole battles it out for those swing seats in Ontario and Quebec.

Mensah believes Singh could make great strides gaining swing seats in the prairie provinces by paying another visit.

“Mr. Singh has performed very well in the debates and needs to show that momentum in Edmonton and carry a bit of that into the campaign.”