UPDATE: Albertans have put faith in Jason Kenney as their economic saviour, putting his United Conservative Party on course for a majority government and ending the oil-producing province’s brief flirtation with NDP government.
The UCP was leading in 61 of the province’s 87 ridings with more than 200,000 of the votes counted, leading prognosticators to declare a sweeping victory for the two-year old party. The NDP was leading in 26.
Heading into the vote, Rachel Notley’s NDP holds the majority with 52 seats in the legislature. Kenney’s United Conservative Party has 25 seats. The Alberta Party, led by Stephen Mandel, holds three seats. The Alberta Liberals and Freedom Conservatives both hold one seat.
Live commentary on #abvote
It has been, many Albertans agree, the most rancorous campaign in living memory, as the NDP focused on allegations surrounding Kenney’s UCP leadership run, including voter-fraud accusations and the revelation that his team assisted a false-flag candidate. The UCP’s opponents also made much of past remarks from the party’s candidates that raised concerns of bigotry and intolerance within its ranks.
The UCP, in turn, depicted Notley as a friend and political ally of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whom the party has vilified as hostile to the province’s lifeblood oil and gas industry.
On the scene to provide much-needed context were Maclean’s Alberta correspondent Jason Markusoff and contributing editor Jen Gerson. For background reading, here’s a sampling of their work:
• Rachel Notley fought like hell for Alberta, but the province isn’t about to thank her (Markusoff)
• Rachel Notley on why the NDP deserves a second chance (Gerson)
• Jason Kenney’s us-versus-them plan for Alberta (Markusoff)
• What Alberta voters should know about Jason Kenney and the UCP (Gerson)
Throughout the campaign, opinion polls have put the UCP in the lead, though it seemed to narrow as election day neared. A Pollara-Maclean’s survey released April 15 put the UCP at 45%, the NDP at 39% and the Alberta Party at 8%.
Meanwhile, a 338Canada.com vote projection released to Maclean’s Monday showed the UPC on track to win 58 seats and the NDP 28.