United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney delivered a historic defeat to the province’s first NDP government and his UCP will form a majority government replacing Rachel Notley’s team, in near complete reversal of electoral fortunes.
Notley’s loss marks the first time an incumbent majority government in Alberta was tossed by voters after just one term.
The final results
The UCP secured its victory by sweeping most of rural Alberta as well as huge chunks of Calgary. Reported results show United Conservatives won 63 seats, while the NDP held just 24.
Jason Kenney easily won his Calgary-Lougheed seat with approximately 66% of the vote, while Rachel Motley did likewise in Edmonton-Strathcona garnering around 70% of the vote.
Outside of Alberta’s capital and NDP stronghold where all seats went orange except one, Edmonton proved an orange dot on a provincial map, painted blue with ridings swept by the UCP.
Despite wins in the previous 2015 election that saw New Democrats vaulted to power their first time in the traditionally conservative province, fringe parties that also came in on the wave of voter discontent, including the Alberta Party, FCP and the Liberal Party of Alberta, were swept from the Alberta Legislature.
The big combatant picture witnessed the NDP dropping 28 seats, compared to UCP gains of 38 – a marked shift in Albertan-voter preference since their last trip to the polls.
Kenney’s victory speech
In Calgary Tuesday night, Kenney spoke to a packed crowd in the United Conservative Party headquarters, delivering a speech focused predominately on a revitalized economy and his commitment to thwart “special interest groups” meddling in provincial affairs.
“Today, we Albertans begin to fight back,” said Kenney to a crowd cheering “build those pipelines”.
“We have been targeted by a foreign funded campaign of special interests seeking to land lock Canadian energy,” said Kenney. “As a result we have been selling our country’s greatest asset at fire sale prices.”
Kenney pointed to several groups including the Tide Foundation, LeadNow and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund as foreign interlopers in Alberta’s energy sector.
“We’ve had enough of your campaign of defamation and double standards,” said Kenney. “Tonight the silent majority has spoken, not the loud and angry voices on social media.”
His targets also included the federal government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Notley’s perceived alliance the Liberal government in Ottawa, which he blamed for abandoned and moribund development in Alberta’s energy infrastructure.
“We Canadians have been had and in Ottawa we have a federal government that has made this bad situation much worse by killing two major pipelines including Energy East,” said Kenney. “That same federal government is imposing new laws that will make it impossible to get pipelines approved in the future.”
Shortly after establishment media outlets declared the UCP winners, Kenney received congratulations from several provincial and federal leaders including Ontario premier Doug Ford and federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer.
Notley’s reacts in concession:
“Tonight’s result is not the one we hoped for or worked so hard for,” said Notley during her statement to her supporters.
Despite losing her reelection bid Notley said she will remain at the Alberta NDP’s helm and keep the new provincial government accountable in a role that is familiar to her: leader of the opposition.
“In Alberta there is no place for racism, there never will be, and we will never shy away from calling it out,” said Notley, on a topic her and the NDP became more obsessed with as the campaign wore on, instead of thousands of unemployed Albertans her opponent promised to help.
Throughout the campaign, accusing their opponents of racism and xenophobia became Alberta NDP’s primary tactic with often ridiculous results as the smears turned egg on New Democrats’ faces than any points on their social justice scoreboards.
But in the end, Notley tipped her hat to the province she loves and the voters who saw through her cheap smear tactics.
“The people of Alberta have spoken… and I accept their decision. I have just spoken to premier elect and I have offered him my sincere congrats,” said Notley. “I wish him and his government well, we all do, we must because we all love Alberta.”