To give the organizers of this award, the Edmonton Public Library, their due, they realized that there was a problem and decided to fix it. Now the award is open to all Alberta writers who had a book published in one year, regardless of whether their publisher was Albertan or not. When the longlist (see below this paragraph) was announced two things happened: First, every single Alberta writer on the longlist, save for one (Brian Brennan's Leaving Dublin), was published outside the province. Alberta has some great publishers but unfortunately, they cannot publish only writers from Alberta. They, like Alberta writers, have to open to out-of-province opportunities.
The second thing that happened is that I and my book, Fall From Grace, was included on that longlist. It was nice to be included but it's still too early to celebrate. A longlist is just that, a longlist. To me, it's the shortlists that counts. I've got a bit of a problem with the frenzy over Canadian book awards, shortlists, longlists, etc. but I won't go into it. The article below explains it better.
But I do know that being on a longlist, especially for an award worth $10K, does help get books into stores, and then into the hands of readers, which is always a good thing.