The topic of property rights has been a major campaign issue for Alberta's Wildrose Party, and now it seems to be the focal point in a dispute between a Progressive Conservative candidate and an Edmonton-Castle Downs constituent.
Political observers are saying that Alberta’s provincial election is one of the nastiest, meanest and controversial battles in recent memory. With two weeks until voters head to the polls, what else can possibly happen? It seems fights between candidates and constituents can break out as well.
Thomas Lukaszuk, Alberta’s Education Minister and Progressive Conservative Member of the Legislative Assembly for Edmonton-Castle Downs, claims that a constituent of his assaulted him while he was campaigning at the man’s front door, who was displaying supportive signs of the Wildrose Party.
Lukaszuk alleges that the homeowner pushed him and then hit him without warning, but Al Michalchuk told CTV News that he pushed the PC candidate after ordering him off of his property. He also cited suffering from asthma and that he couldn’t punch his “way out of a paper bag.”
“I grabbed him by the sweater and turned him around and started pushing him off my property,” said Michalchuk. “And he still, he would turn around and he wouldn’t leave.” He added that Lukaszuk just stood there and asked him, “Why don’t you like me?” and “What have I ever done to you?”
The three-term MLA claims a different story, though, which has been corroborated by his campaign volunteer. Lukaszuk accuses Michalchuk of shoving him, hitting him with an open hand and striking his shoulder and chest after opening the door.
“So I walk off. And I’m walking off and sort of backing up and asking ‘what's wrong with you?’ He keeps saying, ‘this is my property, get off my property, I can use any force I need to get you off my property.’ He kept talking about his property,” said Lukaszuk, reports the Globe and Mail.
A security video has been provided to CTV by Michalchuk, but all it shows is the back of the homeowner speaking to Lukaszuk and then a shot of the driveway where Lukaszuk and his volunteer walking away.
As Digital Journal reported in its profile of Danielle Smith, the Wildrose Party leader, property rights is the top priority for the right-wing party. “One of the most fundamental roles of government is the protection and preservation of property rights. Without such protection, our entire economy would cease to function,” stated Smith on her campaign website.
The latest Leger Marketing poll suggests that the Wildrose is soaring past Premier Alison Redford and the PCs. Smith’s Wildrose has 41 percent support, the PCs maintain 34 percent, the NDP is garnering 12 percent support, the Liberals have 10 percent and the Alberta Party sits in last with only two percent.