Alberta Premier Rachel Notley in a Postmedia file photo.
JASON FRANSON / THE CANADIAN PRESS
The United Conservative Party is criticizing the Alberta NDP for hiding its party name in branding, but highlighting the leadership of Premier Rachel Notley is a smart move, says a political scientist.“We’re proudly running a strong, experienced United Conservative team that’s ready to govern. In contrast, the Notley NDP is now trying to erase all mentions of ‘NDP’ in their public products,” the UCP said on social media on Tuesday.As the Alberta NDP unveils its candidates online, branding appears to favour Notley’s name. The posts on Twitter also include the slogan “fighting for you.”“It makes perfect sense and it’s something parties have done before,” said Duane Bratt, a political scientist at Mount Royal University. “She’s the most popular asset that the party has.”‘Ralph’s Team’Focusing on a party leader’s name isn’t a new strategy, Bratt said.“The PCs in 1993, at the end of the Getty years, were not very popular,” he said. “They were in a tough election, so they went from being the Progressive Conservatives to Ralph’s Team.“Some parties do it the other way around where they emphasize the party and de-emphasize the leader.”He said the Alberta NDP may also be distancing themselves from the federal and B.C. NDP parties.“People don’t realize who the NDP is,” he added. “There were candidates in the last election who didn’t even have their own signs, they just had Rachel Notley signs.”Alberta NDP provincial secretary Roari Richardson also noted that it’s not new branding.“We’ve used the Rachel Notley logo for a number of years,” he said in a statement Wednesday. “Every election campaign is different but it will always reflect who we are and what our party stands for.”UCP communications director Matt Solberg said candidates are “proudly running as United Conservatives.“We’re building a strong, experienced team that’s ready to govern on Day 1,” he said in a statement.We’re proudly running a strong, experienced United Conservative team that’s ready to govern. In contrast, the Notley NDP is now trying to erase all mentions of ‘NDP’ in their public products. #ableg #abpoli #UCP pic.twitter.com/3OpKPUbs7K— United Conservative Party (@Alberta_UCP) January 29, firstname.lastname@example.org/clareclancyListen to our Alberta politics podcast