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Commentary: New year will be political battlefield

Political battles in Alberta promise to be equally as intense as those at the federal level

With the disastrous 2020 now in the rearview mirror, the new year is underway with the promise of the COVID-19 pandemic perhaps being brought under control with general population vaccinations.

Whether medical science will be able to put an end to the COVID tragedy this year remains to be seen, although everyone is certainly hopeful it will do just that.

And while health-care issues and concerns will likely continue to be hot topics in Alberta and Canada in 2021, the new year also promises to be a big year in politics at the federal, provincial and local levels.

Although not being on the same life-and-death level as the pandemic, the outcome of the political battles in 2021 will certainly have lasting impacts on residents and communities across this region.

At the federal level, the minority Liberal government may very well find itself forced into a general election sometime this year. Key issues in that campaign could include taxes, energy and the environment. 

While the Jason Kenney UCP government doesn’t have to go to the polls in 2021, the political battles in Alberta promise to be equally as intense as those at the federal level.

For its part, the UCP will need to find ways to address the massive impact the pandemic has had on Alberta’s finances. Whether that way forward will include job and social program cuts remains to be seen.

The opposition parties and other stakeholders will no doubt be hammering away at government MLAs on the finance issue at every opportunity.

At the local level, towns, villages and counties across Alberta will be holding elections in October 2021. Keys issues in the municipal campaigns will likely also include finances, with the prospective candidates needing to address the crushing impact COVID has had on local businesses.

While 2021 will hopefully be a great deal better than 2020, the new year promises to have lots of its own excitement, including on the political front.

Dan Singleton is an editor with The Albertan.