LETHBRIDGE: A local political scienctist says Tuesday's events in the provincial arena are a signal of Alberta's shifting political landscape.
Peter McCormick chairs the Political Science faculty at the University of Lethbridge.
Political science chair Peter McCormick says Liberal Leader David Swann's resignation is most likely the result of frustration from not being able to do what he set out to.
"With all due respect to David Swann he has not worked particularly well as Liberal leader," says McCormick. "The party's not very united, health care is a major issue and that's supposed to be his great strength, yet he's not been able to capitalize on it."
McCormick says these shortcomings had party members complaining and calling for a fresh voice to lead. He says the Liberals' chance to re-invent the party, coupled with the Conservatives' many missteps over the last two years and the Wildrose Alliance making wide gains in opinion polls, means voters are more open than ever to change.
He adds if the Conservatives bungle the leadership race and fail to find a strong replacement leader to take the reins from Ed Stelmach, they may alienate enough voters to push themselves further down the political ladder.
"The question is how divisive will it be and how many Conservatives are so mad they may go somewhere else and can the Liberals position themselves as an attractive place for angry Conservatives to park who may not like the Wildrose Alliance, cause there are lots of those."
McCormick predicts the Liberals will now be shopping for a younger leader who can match - or even outrun - Smith as a member of the next generation.