The stakes are high for Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach as he heads into a normally quiet fall sitting of the legislature.

Recent polls suggest his popularity has tanked, and some disgruntled Progressive Conservatives are joining an upstart right-wing party, the Wildrose Alliance. On top of that, Stelmach will have to face Tory delegates on Nov. 7 for a mandatory leadership review vote.

He has been sharpening his political message in recent weeks, with photo opportunities and a 20-minute provincewide address broadcast earlier this month.

“This isn’t about questioning the leadership of me personally or if it’s the right or wrong direction,” Stelmach says. “It won’t be any different from any other session.”

The Tories hold 70 of Alberta’s 83 seats, the Liberals nine and the NDP two. There is one Independent.