POLITICS

Political Traction: Making sense of Alberta's election

05/01/2012 02:45 EDT | Updated 07/01/2012 05:12 EDT

Jaime Watt joins Power & Politics host Evan Solomon each week to look at how issues making waves in Ottawa resonate with Canadians.

Monitoring the House of Commons' question period, mainstream media and the conversation on social media, Watt and his team at Navigator Ltd. determine which issues gained the most attention in official Ottawa, and then measure how much traction those issues managed to find with Canadians outside the nation's capital.

The week of April 21-27 saw the return of the House after a two-week break – and the opposition had a ministerial spending scandal to sink its teeth into.

$16 orange juice

International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda was under fire for switching to a more expensive hotel and hiring a $1,000-a-day driver during a conference in London last summer. Last week, she repaid the difference in the cost of the hotels and apologized. A few days later, she repaid the cost of the driver as well.

The issue grabbed a significant share of the conversation in Ottawa thanks to question period — but outside the nation's capital it made barely a ripple, suggesting Canadians weren't as upset with the spending as the opposition expected.

Why not? Canadians seem to expect this kind of behaviour from politicians — they may not like it, but unless this kind of spending is really egregious, they don't get too upset.

The proposed purchase of F-35s was also on the radar in Ottawa, with the opposition continuing to batter the government over differing cost estimates.

Across the country, it grabbed a smaller – and shrinking – share of the conversation, but Canadians still are concerned about the cost of the program.

Wild outcome in Alberta

Here's a look at the numbers for the week of April 21-27:

Days after Alison Redford's Progressive Conservatives pulled out a majority win in Alberta's election, people were still talking about what it means. The election result was the dominant issue across the country.

Redford campaigned on a greater role for Alberta within Canada and now must deliver on that. The rival Wildrose Party made some serious gaffes in the last week of the campaign that cost it support, but there is an opportunity for leader Danielle Smith to follow in Stephen Harper's footsteps following his 2004 defeat to Paul Martin, and prove to Alberta voters that her party can be trusted.