- Jason Kenney’s United Conservatives have turned years of economic pain in Alberta and deep frustration with Ottawa into an election victory, returning the province to its conservative roots and setting it on a collision course with the Trudeau government.
- Mr. Kenney, who was a prominent member of prime minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet, led the United Conservative Party to victory in Tuesday’s provincial election nearly two years after a merger of Alberta’s political right put him on what seemed to be an inevitable path to power.
- Rachel Notley’s New Democrats will return to Opposition, ending a historic first term in office and making the NDP the province’s only one-term government.
- In the end, a battered economy trumped everything to propel Mr. Kenney to victory, Gary Mason writes.
- Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel failed to win a seat in the riding of Edmonton-McClung.
- In B.C., where residents are bracing for higher gas prices following the UCP win, the BC Liberal opposition promptly issued a fundraising appeal, blaming B.C. Premier John Horgan’s NDP government for creating tensions with Alberta. “Stop blocking pipelines. Stop turning our neighbours into enemies,” the party mailout said.
- Campbell Clark writes that the election of Mr. Kenney brings a second scoop, on top of Ontario Premier Doug Ford, of open warfare between provincial capitals and Ottawa.
Go here for a detailed live map of the results
The view from UCP headquarters
Mr. Kenney arrived at the UCP election night event on the Calgary Stampede grounds in his blue pickup truck, which he drove onto the stage. He said the UCP’s victory was a message to Albertans who have struggled in the province’s ailing economy and he promised to fight for Alberta’s interests.
“We Albertans are proud Canadians, and tonight we have elected a government that will stand up and secure a fair deal for Alberta in this great country,” Mr. Kenney said.
“There is a deep frustration in this province, a sense that we have contributed massively to the rest of Canada, but that everywhere we turn we are being blocked in and pinned down.”
The crowd at Mr. Kenney’s headquarters cheered when one of the television stations called the election for the UCP. Supporters high-fived, clapped, and chanted “UCP! UCP!”
Michelle Cochrane was among the supporters at Mr. Kenney’s victory party. It was her first time at an election party. She is a regional sales manager in Alberta, selling high-end beauty products. Her success, she said, is tied to the economy. “Cleary a change is required,” the 35-year-old said.
“I don’t believe in second chances when the potential risk is not worth the [potential negative] outcome.”
Shannon Warren owns Matrix Labour Leasing Ltd., a staffing firm in Calgary. He was drinking a rum and coke out of plastic glass at Mr. Kenney’s headquarters. “I’m ecstatic,” he said. His business, he said, was on the verge of bankruptcy and he believes Mr. Kenney’s leadership will translate into “reinvestment back into Alberta.”
“I want to see the economy thrive and us thrive, rather than survive,” Mr. Warren, who is 45, said. “I felt compelled to be here. I felt anxious all day.”
The view from NDP headquarters
In her upbeat concession speech, Notley acknowledged her party’s difficult circumstances, but stressed no regrets.
“My friends, four years ago Albertans hired us to do a very big job, at a very difficult time," she said. "We did that job with purpose. And we did it with integrity.”
A small but sullen crowd of New Democrats greeted the news minutes after polls closed that multiple television networks were calling the election for the UCP. Many NDP supporters said they were prepared for losing government but the defeat still stung.
“I’m anxious, 100 per cent anxious,” Debbie Harksen said about her province's future as she watched the results roll in. There were cheers in the crowd as high-profile New Democrats, many of them in the Edmonton area, were declared re-elected.
“Prior to 2015 we only had a few seats, so this is an improvement. But I’m disappointed it looks like the province is moving backwards,” she added.
With reports from Carrie Tait, Justin Giovannetti and James Keller