03/22/2016 00:00 EDT | Updated 03/22/2017 01:12 EDT

Calgary byelection may be barometer of Alberta Progressive Conservatives

CALGARY — Political observers say today's byelection in Calgary is important for Alberta's Progressive Conservatives.

Calgary political scientists Duane Bratt and Melanee Thomas say the PCs need to win Calgary Greenway as they face pressure from some sectors to merge with the Wildrose party.

Calgary had been the bedrock of Tory support, but that collapsed when the NDP won a majority in the election last May.

Then, in September, the Wildrose party beat the PCs in a byelection made necessary when Jim Prentice quit as leader on election night.

Calgary Greenway became vacant last November when PC legislature member Manmeet Bhullar was killed in a highway crash after he stopped to help a stranded motorist.

Tuesday's result won't change the balance of power in the legislature.