03/21/2014 10:00 EDT | Updated 05/21/2014 05:59 EDT

Danielle Smith, Wildrose Leader, Peers Into Election Crystal Ball


CALGARY - The leader of Alberta's Opposition Wildrose party says the election timetable for the governing Progressive Conservatives has gone out the window with the resignation of Alison Redford as premier.

Danielle Smith told about 1,000 people at a fundraising dinner in Calgary Thursday night that Albertans could be going to the polls well ahead of the May 2016 deadline.

Smith says that election call could come as early as next year.

The Wildrose leader also says it's never too soon to start looking for campaign volunteers.

Her speech came a little over 24 hours after Redford's announcement that she will be stepping down Sunday evening.

Five-term MLA Dave Hancock was chosen earlier Thursday as the interim premier in advance of a leadership campaign to elect a new party leader and premier.

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