Jump to content
The Official Site of the Vancouver Canucks
Canucks Community

Alberta Election: NDP Wins Majority to End PC Dynasty


Recommended Posts

from Canadian Press:

EDMONTON - Alberta voters deliver their verdict Tuesday in an election campaign born out of faith, now climaxing in fear.

It was supposed to be a 28-day victory lap for Premier Jim Prentice, who called the election a year earlier than mandated by law with 70 of the 87 legislature members in his Progressive Conservative tent.

But campaign polls have the Tories in a three-way dogfight, their four-decade dynasty threatened by the rival Wildrose on the right and the surging NDP to the left.

Political analysts say if Prentice wins majority government it will not be because of his campaign, but despite it.

"It really has become a campaign plagued by gaffes and process stories rather than vision and platform," says Bob Murray, vice president of research at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

Prentice called the election last month to gain a mandate on his proposed budget, which he called a paradigm-altering, 10-year blueprint to diversify revenue and lessen dependence on volatile oil royalties.

It hiked dozens of taxes and fees while freezing or cutting spending across government and running up a debt for infrastructure that will hit $30-billion by the end of the decade.

On campaign doorsteps the budget galvanized the Opposition Wildrose party and its new leader Brian Jean, who criticized Prentice for not cutting deep enough while hiking taxes.

And it galvanized the NDP party and Leader Rachel Notley, who criticized Prentice for cutting too deep while hiking taxes.

"It was a budget that had something for everybody to hate," says Lori Williams, a policy studies professor with Mount Royal University in Calgary.

"Even though it has some very good elements and was good for working families, I think the number of increases in fees and the cuts made it a pretty unpopular budget."

Prentice has also had to deal with scandals, setbacks and rollbacks.

He promised to stay the course on the budget only to announce two major changes to it on the campaign trail. He pledged deeper cuts to boards, agencies, and commissions while reversing a $90-million cut to charity tax credits.

He has also had to ask Justice Minister Jonathan Denis to resign from cabinet over a court action involving Denis's estranged wife and was forced to address leaked text messages suggesting his party forced out Calgary-area candidate Jamie Lall before the campaign began.

Political analysts say win or lose, Notley has been the story of the campaign.

The NDP won just four seats and 10 per cent of the popular vote in the last election. Under Notley, the polls suggest the New Democrats could dominate Edmonton this time around and a even make a breakthrough in the Tory fortress that is Calgary.

Notley, a lawyer and daughter of former provincial NDP leader Grant Notley, soared in popularity after the leaders debate.

Williams says Notley's success has been her ability to trade barbs while keeping her message upbeat and optimistic.

"People just like her. They're calling her Rachel," says Williams.

The NDP rise has led to the re-launch of the Progressive Conservative fear campaign.

Political scientist Duane Bratt noted in the 2012 election, the PCs wooed progressives back to the fold by warning of how a Wildrose government would be intolerant of minorities and indifferent to the environment.

This time, Bratt says, the Tories seek to woo fiscal conservatives back by suggesting that an NDP administration would mean an economic apocalypse for Alberta.

"The PCs' job is to keep putting doubts in the minds (of voters)," says Bratt, with Mount Royal University.

"It worked in 2012. It worked before."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hard to believe, but Alberta has never had a minority government in its 110 years as a province.

However, polls suggest that could change when Albertans elect a new government on Tuesday.

An exclusive poll for CBC by Return on Insight, released late last week, suggested the NDP is solidly in first place among decided voters in Alberta.

If voters elect a minority government, that would end the 44-year streak of Progressive Conservative majorities.

The Alberta legislature has 87 seats, meaning a party has to elect at least 44 MLAs to form a majority government.

Parties in a minority government either form a coalition or reach agreements with other parties on an issue by issue basis.

John Soroski, an assistant professor in political science at McEwan University, says Canadian parties usually opt for the latter.

"What we've generally seen in Canada is that the minority stands alone and has to informally reach out, seek out support as it goes along," he said.

Scenario #1: PC minority government

For a party that has won 12 consecutive majority governments since 1971, this outcome would be quite dramatic, Soroski said.

"To imagine this government not being in power with absolute control would really be quite difficult to get your head around."

Of the three parties most likely to win a minority, the PCs are in the middle of the political spectrum when compared to the NDP and Wildrose Party. Soroski suggests the PCs could have the easiest time reaching common ground on issues.

"The situation is complex, but less complicated if we have a Conservative minority government than if we have a minority government made up of a party on the right or the party somewhat on the left," he said.

Scenario #2 : NDP minority government

Alberta has never elected an NDP government in any form, so this would be brand new ground. Although Wildrose Leader Brian Jean has campaigned on a low tax platform, Soroski suggested the NDP could find support from Wildrose on issues of government accountability, and eliminating or reducing corporate donations.

Both parties benefit by pushing and keeping the PCs out of office, he said.

"I think that will really in a sense change the discourse and expectations of Albertans if the Conservatives actually are completely swept out," he said.

Scenario # 3: Wildrose minority government

Soroski said the Wildrose limited its options by not wanting to work with any party that raises taxes. The NDP has proposed a two-point jump in corporate taxes, from 10 per cent to 12 per cent, as well as an increase in personal income taxes paid by wealthier Albertans.

Scenario #4: NDP, Wildrose, PCs win about the same number of seats

The party that held power before the election gets first option at trying to form a government.

"If there is a roughly equal situation and it is unclear what party will be in power, the previously governing party gets the first opportunity to demonstrate its ability to attract the confidence of the house — if that party wants it," Soroski said.

If that party can't maintain the confidence of the house by failing to pass a budget, then the lieutenant-governor can turn to another party to form government.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

True, don't trust polls.

Remember the BC election last year? Everyone thought the NDP will win. Funny thing happened election night.

I don't think polls are accurate because some people lie when polled. Also, polls are often based on sample sizes that are too small.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to say, Rachel Notley is absolutely impressive on all counts. She is EXACTLY what Mulcair and the federal NDP need to emulate. Savvy individuals with an eye towards business but their hearts with the people.

I wish the NDP all the luck in the world but Alberta's MO has always been, if the right party doesn't work. Vote in a further right party.

The most likely scenario is a PC or Wildrose majority, barring that a Wildorse or PC minority.

IN the event the NDP actually DO win and it's a minority, what you can expect immediately is the crossing over the floor of the Wildrose to PC or PC to the Wildrose.

I sincerely wish Notley and the NDP the best because 44 years of PC rule over one of the most wealthy resource areas in the entire western hemisphere has lead to nothing but poverty when you consider how wealthy Alberta really is. a $17 billion heritage fund is an absolute joke especially as it has subsidized oil development in the past without repayment

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You have to live in Alberta for four decades to understand the amount of frustration one political party can generate in the electorate over that period of time. Tomorrow will see a fundamental shift in the status quo. The conservative dynasty passed away some time ago but nobody told them yet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, but that does cover a lot of people there.

Immigration has really picked up the pace in places like Calgary and Edmonton. People aren't stupid. People go there to work. And it's not just minorities. It's other white people that come from the rest of Canada too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my book if they don't understand that it is not worth any amount of money to live there you're not exactly smart.

Of course it depends what you left behind but I have no desire to live anywhere else....and I have done the Alberta thing, it's not that I haven't.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Theres a thing going on around here that NDP are going to ruin the oil industry here. I am not good with politics but that's not something id like. The patch is what I know and the patch is where id like to remain.

That myth is such garbage...it's the worst and most pathetic fear tactic the PCs and wildrose have.

Notley has no intentions of ruining anything...she's an Albertan born and bred.

By claiming that someone is going to take all your hard earned money away from you they create fear. I mean imagine going from a brilliant job with massive pay to retail...

By fostering fear they control the foolish

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As an Albertan I will be voting today and honestly all of the parties are flawed this time around. The PC's have destroyed their image through scandals and the resignation of our last Premier(Alison Redford). On top of that calling for an early election(costs big $$$s) right after coming up with a 10 year budget that would put Alberta in the red for the first time in a long time did not sit well with lots of Albertans. After that the Wildrose and NDP are at the extremes of both ends of the political spectrum and they both seem to have support. They're will be a big divide this election and honestly it'll force some changes. The sad thing is some of the smaller parties (Alberta Party/Green Party) have better platforms and ideas then the big 4(Liberals fall into that group but don't have any traction) but they don't have representatives in all the areas. Hopefully their will be a big enough shakeup to make some changes that will help but I'm not holding my breath.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...