There's a bit of a guessing game going on right now, even a few friendly side bets, as to exactly when the provincial election will be called.

While it must be held by or before May 31, some are speculating it will come on the heel of today's Throne Speech, making election day Apr. 15. Others believe Albertans may be going to the polls after Easter.

One thing is for certain, parties are in full election mode right now and the two leading parties, the ruling NDP and Official Opposition UCP, have been planting seeds in advance of laying out their full election platforms.

Peter Guthrie. Airdrie-Cochrane UCP candidate and his team timed a breakfast rally just two days prior to today's Legislature opening and he's ready for the writ to be dropped. 

"Please call the election on Monday," he told the packed Legion Hall.

In 1 1/2 years, Guthrie says he has visited hundreds of businesses and knocked on thousands of door and says what he discovered was a common root concern of uncertainty fuelled by red tape, reduced corporate investment, rising costs of doing business in Alberta, rollbacks in wages, high unemployment and a bloated bureaucracy.

"Our goal as a government needs to be reducing uncertainty and creating a positive environment where people want to invest and live. Albertans are screaming right now, they want to be heard, and we have a government that's not doing that," said Guthrie.

"This is just the beginning of a platform with the intention of creating an environment that's going to reduce that uncertainty, bring investment back to the province and put people back to work. Ignore all the rhetoric, this election is about the reigniting the economy and getting Albertans back into well-paying jobs."

The UCP's Nathan Cooper spoke at the breakfast rally.Nathan Cooper, UCP MLA for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills, who believes Albertans will be going to the polls on Apr. 23, said the UCP stands on the edge of defining what it is to be a conservative.

"It's not just about winning the next election, but about winning the next generation for the future of our province," said Cooper.

"Right now we have a government that believes that they know more than the people of Alberta. That they're better than the people of Alberta. That they know how to spend your money better than you do. That they know how to educate your children better than you do. That they know how to run your business better than you do. So we need a government and politicians who recognize that it's not actually the government that makes Alberta a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family but it's the people of Alberta that do that."

Meanwhile, NDP candidate Steve Durrell and his team have been campaigning extensively across the riding in preparation for the election. They were doorknocking in Cochrane over the weekend.

"I'm running in this election because I believe in working for the people of this province. I believe in building schools and hospitals, in a living wage for all, and affordable childcare," he states.

The only other declared candidate is Matthew Morrisey, of Airdrie, who is running for the new Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta (FCP) which was created by Strathmore-Brooks MLA Derek Fildebrandt.

Lieutenant Governor Lois E. Mitchell will deliver the Throne Speech to open the Fifth Session of the 29th Legislature at 3 p.m. today. After that, no matter which date is picked, it's game on.

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