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Leona Aglukkaq

BLAIR GABLE

One week in, we've already started to see developments in our predictions for the Big 50.

These are 50 battleground ridings that could determine the outcome of the May 2 election. They were selected by Globe reporters in Ottawa and in bureaus across the country. We've received plenty of e-mail from readers and other reports, and we're prepared to change one prediction already.

Nunavut Conservative MP Leona Aglukkaq won Nunavut in 2008 in a tight, three-way race that could easily have seen the Liberals or NDP prevail. But her years in the Harper cabinet as Health Minister appear to given Ms. Aglukkaq a major advantage. Neither the Liberals nor the NDP have nominated a candidate to run in the vast Arctic riding, and neither is expected to until next week, which puts them at a huge disadvantage. If the other parties are having that much trouble getting started, it can only be because potential candidates don't like their odds. We are switching our call on Nunavut from "too close to call" to "leaning Conservative."

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Egmont We have received many e-mails and other messages about our choice of Egmont as a key battleground riding in Prince Edward Island. Although Conservative MP Gail Shea squeaked through by only 55 votes in 2008, her solid performance as Fisheries Minister has impressed Islanders, we're told. Others have suggested we should be looking at Charlottetown, which is open after popular Liberal MP Shawn Murphy decided not to run again, or Malpeque, where former Liberal cabinet minister Wayne Easter has seen his plurality diminish in each of the past two elections. We're keeping an eye on both of them, while continuing to call Egmont a "leaning Conservative" riding.

Saanich-Gulf Islands While we continue to believe that Conservative MP Gary Lunn is favoured to win this Vancouver Island riding, we thought the Liberals, not Green Leader Elizabeth May, would be the real threat, based on their strong showing in 2008. But with Ms. May now determined to campaign almost exclusively in her riding rather than mounting a national campaign, it has become clear this is now a Conservative-Green fight.

We welcome intelligence from anyone who has a handle on what's going on in one of the Big 50. If you have something that you think could influence the outcome of one of these key local fights, e-mail jibbitson@globeandmail.com.

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