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Good morning! It’s James Keller here in Calgary.

The next time you hear from me, we’ll (hopefully) know who the next premier of Alberta will be. The election is now just three days away, ending a four-week campaign that was among the most nastiest and polarizing we’ve seen in this province. The leaders of the New Democrats and UCP are spending the final weekend in areas they have identified as battlegrounds to shore up last-minute support.

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of this election, both for the province and the country. For Albertans, the NDP and UCP have put forward significantly different visions of the province and the government’s role in it. NDP Leader Rachel Notley would continue her government’s intervention in the oil industry through subsidies and loans, while banking that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is pretty much a done deal. She would also prioritize spending on social programs such as health care and child care over rushing to balance the budget. The UCP’s Jason Kenney would adopt a fighting posture toward the federal government and other perceived enemies while rolling back climate policies, cutting corporate taxes and freezing spending.

For the rest of the country, the result will set the tone for Alberta’s relationship with Ottawa and other provinces, and could decide the fate of the national climate-change framework, which is already in serious trouble.

As you prepare to vote, or even if you’re just waiting to find out who won, we’ve got a few things you should read first.

Justin Giovannetti breaks down the platforms of the incumbent NDP and opposition UCP through the lens of seven issues that have shaped the campaign. From pipelines and the economy to health care and democratic reform, we lay out their promises and mix in a dose of reality.

Matt Lundy took a dive through the data to create a picture of what Alberta’s economic recovery – slow and stalled for some, non-existent for others – has looked like.

We’ve been updating our election explainer throughout the campaign.

And I took a look at the corporate and union money that continues to flow into provincial politics despite legislation aimed at rooting out big money. Some of those large donations have simply shifted to third-party advertisers.

We’ll have a great team in place on Tuesday and will be updating our coverage with developments throughout the day.

There is, however, one potential hiccup. We’ve already heard that advance voting has set a record – by a large margin – in part because of new rules that allow people to cast advance ballots at any polling station. It’s made it a lot easier to vote, but it will also mean that a significant number of votes (already more than 120,000 and counting) won’t be counted until the end of the week. In most ridings it won’t matter, but in significantly close races, that could leave the results too close to call on election night.

Open this photo in gallery:

Chart: Advance voting in AlbertaThe Globe and Mail

And if the standings in the legislature are narrow, that could leave the ultimate winner up in the air. That happened in British Columbia, which also lets people vote anywhere in the province. In 2017, BC Liberals ended election night one seat shy of a majority, but the party held out hope that a riding on Vancouver Island, where the NDP was nine votes ahead, could flip when absentee ballots were added. Then-premier Christy Clark waited for days to acknowledge her BC Liberals had been reduced to a fragile minority.

The extra ballots ended up increasing the NDP’s lead and the party went on to form a minority government.

This is the weekly Western Canada newsletter written by B.C. Editor Wendy Cox and Alberta Bureau Chief James Keller. If you’re reading this on the web, or it was forwarded to you from someone else, you can sign up for it and all Globe newsletters here. This is a new project and we’ll be experimenting as we go, so let us know what you think.

Around the West:

SQUAMISH DEVELOPMENT: The Squamish First Nation plans to build a massive development, consisting of up to 3,000 apartments, on a piece of waterfront land just across the Burrard Street Bridge from the city’s downtown. It’s prime real estate, sitting next to the park that holds the city’s yearly Bard on the Beach Shakespeare festival. Most city residents probably weren’t aware the land was part of the Squamish Nation’s reserve – most members of the nation were squeezed onto the portion of their territory that lies on the North Shore. But developing the land will bring much-needed revenue to the nation’s 4,000 members.

Tentative plans to keep the development as rentals will be a boon to the city: 3,000 units are about what the city has convinced private developers to build over the past five years. And the Squamish will not have to face some of the challenges other developers must contend with when contemplating such density. City zoning doesn’t apply. The local residents’ association has been muted in its response to the proposal because details of what the development will entail are not yet to be had. But the Squamish have chosen well-known local developer Ian Gillespie of Westbank Developments to build the project and Mr. Gillespie is no stranger to controversial developments.

SCHOOL SHOOTING: Saskatchewan’s highest court has reserved its decision on whether a young man who shot and killed four people and injured seven others in the La Loche school shooting in January, 2016, should be sentenced as a youth or an adult. Lawyer Aaron Fox appeared before the Court of Appeal on Thursday to argue that the shooter, now 21, faced cognitive and mental issues that affected his maturity and level of blame. The shooter was weeks shy of turning 18 when he killed two brothers at their home and then a teacher and a teacher’s aide at the La Loche high school in 2016.

OPIOIDS: Vancouver’s overdose crisis seems to show no signs of getting better. But occasionally, it gets different. Andrea Woo reported this week that front-line workers have been confounded by overdose victims who do not respond as they should to naloxone, the life-saving drug that reverses the effects of opioid overdoses. The reason, health workers have determined, is because the already deadly fentanyl supply is now being cut with etizolam, a benzodiazepine analog that is regulated by Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act because of its potential for abuse. (Benzodiazepines are a class of drug typically used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders.) Victims remain unconscious for hours at a time, leaving health-care workers confused about whether the overdose has been counteracted.


Gary Mason on the problem no one is talking about in this Alberta election: “While postsecondary education is not an issue that will get the blood of Albertans boiling the way Quebec and equalization do, it’s arguably far more important to the province’s future. In fact, there is an incipient crisis in this area that so far has been largely ignored by Alberta’s political masters.”

Martha Hall Findlay on Bill C-48′s tanker ban: “Bill C-48, the proposed Oil Tanker Moratorium Act now in the hands of the Senate Transport Committee, favours one region – the northwestern B.C. coast – over all the rest of Canada’s extensive coastlines. How un-Canadian.”

Roy MacGregor on the ardour of Winnipeg Jets fans: “Why, they are asked, are Winnipeg fans so fanatical compared to hockey fans in the rest of the country? They are like Latvian hockey fans at the Olympics and world championships: dressed for the occasion, wound up and very, very, loud.”

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