Alberta Premier Jim Prentice has called a provincial election for May 5.
The campaign will play out against the backdrop of an Alberta economy in flux.
The collapse in the price of oil, the province's main income source, is expected to cause a $5-billion deficit this year.
Prentice's Progressive Conservatives will be running on a budget that includes tax hikes and spending cuts to ride out the storm.
The other parties are expected to target the financial record of the PCs, which have held power since 1971.
At dissolution the PCs had 70 seats, the Wildrose and Liberals had five each, the NDP had four, there was one Independent and two seats were vacant.
Under Alberta election legislation, Prentice did not have to face voters until next spring.