Prentice Said to Call Alberta Election Tomorrow in Edmonton

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Alberta Premier Jim Prentice is summoning candidates to an “important announcement” on Tuesday, when he is expected to announce an early election.

Prentice is expected to call the vote at the event, two people familiar with plans said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the plans aren’t public. Candidates in Edmonton, the capital city of Canada’s foremost oil producing province, were encouraged to attend the “exciting event,” according to a copy of the invitation obtained by Bloomberg.

The premier has spurred speculation of an early election by saying falling crude prices and an austerity budget unveiled last month will require a new mandate from voters. His Progressive Conservative party has pressed in recent weeks to finalize candidate nominations.

Prentice’s party added lawmakers from its closest rival, the Wildrose Party, in a December floor-crossing, a surprise move that left Wildrose without a leader and Prentice with an overwhelming majority in Alberta’s legislature and a lead in the polls. That lead has evaporated. A poll last week showed Prentice’s Progressive Conservatives, who have governed in Alberta since 1971, and Wildrose, which has since elected a new leader, tied.

Prentice’s office announced Monday his cabinet will meet at 9 a.m. on Tuesday in the provincial legislature in Edmonton, with no scheduled cabinet events for the rest of the week.

Under a law introduced by a previous premier, Alberta’s next election was due in 2016. The same Alberta law prescribes a four-week campaign period.

Prentice became premier last fall. Emily Woods, a spokeswoman for the premier, declined to comment Monday when asked about the event. Messages left with Bryce Forbes, a spokesman for Prentice’s party, weren’t immediately returned Monday.

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