Reflecting on the Election

Now that the election is over and the dust is settling, Ms Soapbox has been reflecting on the results.

What do we make of this?   

The thrust of Mr Kenney’s victory speech was that Albertans value the economy and jobs above all else.   (Whether this is a conservative ideal remains to be seen, Mr Kenney mentioned the word “conservative” twice, only because it happens to be in his party’s name, the United Conservative Party).

Is he right? Do Albertans value the economy and jobs above everything else?

Let’s look at the election results:  a record 71% of eligible voters went to the polls. 54.8% voted UCP, 32.7% voted NDP, 9.1% voted Alberta Party and 1% voted Liberal.  Out of a total of 87 seats, the UCP took 63 and the NDP took 24.  The Alberta Party and the Liberals were shut out.

Bottom line:  45.2% of Albertans supported someone other than Mr Kenney’s UCP.  Not exactly an overwhelming endorsement of the free enterprise party.

Let’s dig a little further.

Ever since Jason Kenney arrived on the scene, he’s preached the same line:  the NDP’s win in 2015 was a fluke and the only way to defeat the “accidental government” was to unite the Wildrose and the Progressive Conservatives under the one leader who would oust the NDP.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Mr Kenney is right and the 2015 election was an aberration.  If so, we can toss the 2015 election results on the slag heap and turn to the 2012 election for a more accurate representation of NDP versus conservative support.  The combined WR and PC votes will serve as a proxy for UCP support.

In 2012 the NDP won 4 seats with 9.8% of the popular vote.  The WR/PC won 78 seats with 78.3% popular vote.

Seven years later Mr Kenney’s UCP dropped from 78 seats to 63 seats; popular support for the UCP dropped from 78.3% to 54.8%.  The NDP under Rachel Notley increased its seat count from 4 to 24 (that’s a 6 fold increase) and popular support climbed from 9.8% to 32.7% (that’s a 3 fold increase).


Rachel Notley

This dramatic shift in support—down in the UCP’s case and up in the NDP’s case—took place in the sturm und drang of a knock down drag out campaign that resulted in the highest voter turnout since 1935.

Mr Kenney can’t have it both ways.  If the 2015 election was a fluke that only he could rectify by uniting the two conservative parties, then he owns the 2019 results; a decrease in conservative party seat count and popular support.

Maybe Alberta is not the conservative/free enterprise bastion he’d have us believe.

What’s your price?

Which leads me to the issue that troubled me the most.

We know why racists, homophobes, Islamophobes and misogynists (Charles Adler’s “knuckle draggers”) voted for the UCP, they picked up the dog whistles and jumped on board, what we can’t understand is why our family and friends voted for a party that espoused policies which made the knuckle draggers feel at home.

The answer lies in Winston Churchill’s pithy exchange with Lady Astor:

”Would you sleep with me for a million pounds?” Churchill asks.
“A million pounds?” says Lady Astor. “I’d have to think about it first but, in all likelihood, yes.”
“How about for a six-pence?”
“Why I never!” Lady Astor huffs. “What do you take me for?”
“That, my dear,” says Churchill, “has been established. We are just negotiating price.”

The UCP bought our friends and families’ votes for a price.

In some cases the price was high enough to get them to compromise a core principle, such as protecting the LBGTQ community or a woman’s right to choose.

The greedy ones voted for Mr Kenney because they believe he’ll lower taxes and fatten their bank accounts (even though Mr Kenney’s tax promise so far relates only to reducing corporate taxes, not personal income taxes).  As for the impact of the UCP’s cuts on public services, well, they agree with Mr Kenney belief that in order to be a compassionate society, we must be prosperous first and are willing to take their chances.

The bullies voted for Mr Kenney because they think Ms Notley was too soft—when a woman negotiates she’s a push over,  but when a man negotiates he’s diplomatic.  They want a bellicose premier who’ll take the fight to Ottawa, and BC, and Quebec, and the environmentalists, and the Rockefellers, and their co-conspirators, and anyone else who’s made them feel like victims.  The cost of their votes was the UCP’s promise to help them forget they’re living in the age known as the “twilight of the white male dinosaur.”*

Where to next??

So, what do we do as we grind through the next four years?

First, we will adopt Rachel Notley’s rallying cry: don’t look away, ever!  We will not look away when the knuckle draggers go after the LBGTQ community, women, children and minorities.  We will call them out wherever and whenever we find them.

Second, we will amplify the three fold increase in NDP support from 2012 to 2019.  An increase of this magnitude shows NDP votes are “sticky” votes and NDP supporters don’t fade away after an election.  They will get even “stickier” when the damage from Mr Kenney’s free enterprise strategy ripples through our public services and cripples our relationship with the rest of Canada.

If there’s a lesson to be learned from this election, it’s that it’s made us even stronger.

*“Cause of Death: Fox News” Poem by Tony Hoagland

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45 Responses to Reflecting on the Election

  1. nurishah1 says:

    “Negotiating the price “ indeed! Great summary Susan

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Thanks Nurishah1. One can always count on Winston Churchill for a pithy quote that gets to the heart of the issue. In this case a lot of Albertans sold out the rest of us, for what….?

      • Jerrymacgp says:

        I must say, the joke is one I first heard a long time ago, but I didn’t know until now it came from Sir Winston … makes it even more clever. Thanks 🙂

  2. “Leadership is not about the next election, it’s about the next generation.” – Simon Sinek | Interesting amiga; it would appear that it all it boils down, according to your analysis, to numbers. I posit though that fellow progressives, broadly & widely speaking, need to look themselves in the mirror, have serious conversations about what sort of society do we really wish to become, and walk the talk. This exercise should be done with some regularity, not just around electoral cycles (…). I also think that we need to start actually supporting a range of community economic initiatives (cooperatives, social enterprises, workers cooperatives) – that if successful may become inspirational models for other fellow citizens fearfully stuck in one particular conventional paradigm; oil & pipelines; pipelines & oil. – LCA

    • Marilyn Johnman says:

      Agree – didn’t Jim Prentice suggest Albertans “look in the mirror?” He was dead right!

      • Indeed; gracias. We have been around various electoral cycles – so, this particular result is not a surprise, but a disappointing set-back. The pendulum will swing back, it always does. What I think progressives must do is sooner rather than later start talking|listening to each other and over a period of time, come to some essential understandings and prepare for 2023. The role of civil society cannot be underestimated again – remember, parties also loose elections when they become too rigid, aloof and distanced from the commons – that needs to change. Two of my favourite educators|social thinkers Paolo Freire & Ivan Illich once said: “Leadership does not depend on being right and leaders who do not act dialogically, but insist on imposing their decisions, do not organize the people, they manipulate them. They do not liberate, nor are they liberated: they oppress.” | LCA

      • Leo, I like your suggestion that progressives need to start talking/listening to each other. I am aware of at least two groups of progressives that have formed in the wake of this election. Time will tell whether this will come to anything, especially given our tendency to over analyze the issues and then draw hard lines between this group of progressives and that group of progressives. I would hope we can take the advice of former Governor General of Canada, David Johnston. He said minds, like parachutes, work best when open.

    • Leo, you nailed it. We absolutely need to have a serious conversation about what sort of society we wish to become. When I reviewed Kenney’s victory speech it became clear why he started to call the UCP the “free enterprise unity party”. He isn’t interested in the Peter Lougheed traditional conservative ideology, he just wants to make it easier for those with money to make more money. “Cutting red tape” and being “open for business” is code for Alberta is for sale to the highest bidder. That plus the knuckle draggers element is deadly. We need to address this now, and your community economic initiative model may be just the way to do it.

      • Gracias amiga; you and I have been around various cycles – so, this particular result is not a surprise, but a disappointing set-back. The pendulum will swing back, it always does. What I think progressives must do is sooner rather than later start talking|listening to each other and over a period of time, come to some essential understandings and prepare for 2023. The role of civil society cannot be underestimated again – remember, parties also loose elections when they become too rigid, aloof and distanced from the commons – that needs to change. Two of my favourite educators|social thinkers Paolo Freire & Ivan Illich once said: “Leadership does not depend on being right and leaders who do not act dialogically, but insist on imposing their decisions, do not organize the people, they manipulate them. They do not liberate, nor are they liberated: they oppress.” | LCA

    • Michelle Graff says:

      I’m trying to get this kind of movement going. Face-to-face group conversations focussed on issues like, global-warming, racism of all stripes, rising extremism and violence, misinformation versus reality, the role social media plays in election results and democracy, how automation and A.I. will affect jobs, support for public instiutions, ihealthcare, educuation for all…” I could go on. I just want to be proactive and get information and ideas out there, but social media and the majority of the press in Canada are not onside. Any tips as to how to move forward are welcome.

      • Michelle, this is a very good idea. Based on my limited experience I’d suggest you invite a bunch of like minded people to meet you for coffee at an out of the way coffee shop and ask them to bring a friend. Tell them what you’d like to talk about and see who shows up. The reason I suggest an out of the way coffee shop is you’ll have a quiet corner where you can talk freely and they’ll welcome the extra business. Once you get the founding group on board you can open up a Facebook group and keep in touch that way. I don’t know it it will work but it’s worth a try.

  3. Neil Kirkwood says:

    Just checked results on Elections Alberta site. In 2015, 604,518 votes were cast for the New Democrats. In this year’s election, with a higher voter turn-out overall, 615,428 Albertans cast ballots in favour of a New Democratic candidate. At this point, after actively campaigning for my New Democratic MLA for the past 4 years, only to see her defeated last Tuesday, I’ll take my moral victories where I can.

    Thanks for the consolation, Susan.

    • Thanks Neil. I saw an interesting tweet after the election. It said, “a 2019 supporter is a 2023 lawn sign. A 2019 lawn sign is a 2023 volunteer or donor. A 2019 disappointment is a 2023 victory… Don’t mourn, organize!” This illustrates what I meant when I said NDP votes are “sticky” votes. Once NDP supporters have made the decision to vote NDP they stick with the party (assuming it continues to attract leaders like Notley and Shannon Phillips).

  4. alisacaswell says:

    Great post. I feel a little less like a lone liberal in Alberta when I read your blog. Fyi: even in Fort Mc, the percent of votes to NDP candidates was groundbreaking.

  5. ed henderson says:

    Quote..””Bottom line: 45.2% of Albertans supported someone other than Mr Kenney’s UCP. Not exactly an overwhelming endorsement of the free enterprise party.””
    My humble opinion is that in 2015 the NDP win was such a surprise to the NDP that they never recovered. I really believe that had the NDP really got it’s act together and run Alberta like it was more important than their little 2 bit political party they would have been re-elected. I was hoping someone would join the NDP and run who had an education that would enable them to run Alberta’s finances better. The NDP had too many elected members who were picked just so that the party could claim it ran a full slate. Hopefully they can spend the next four years attracting some competent people not “just fill this slot” types.
    It’s too bad that Grant Notley wasn’t available.
    I also suspect that Albertan’s are now quite a bit more aware that Alberta needs more than just a friggin know it all so it wouldn’t surprise me to see Kenney given the kick four years from now.

    • Ed, I think Notley recognized she needed more bench strength when she won in 2015. That’s why she brought in experts like David Dodge, former head of the Bank of Canada, to advise on infrastructure spending, and Peter Tertzakian and Andrew Leach, top notch economists to advise on modernizing the royalty structure and the climate leadership plan. She did this throughout her term.
      However Kenney convinced conservative voters she wasn’t tough enough and he’d fix everything by yelling louder, which is ridiculous.
      I agree with your last sentence. I don’t know if Kenney really believes that yelling at the other side will get him what he wants or whether he just said that to manipulate the voters, in either case it’s pathetic.

  6. Sean says:

    The turnout was so high, of course, because the right was very mad at the NDP and the left was very scared of the UCP. Predicting elections 4 years out is a fool’s game, but I think one of those groups will be less motivated next time while the other will be more motivated than ever.

    • Well put Sean. I was on a political panel on CBC Radio One on election night. My fellow panelists included a staunch UCP supporter and a journalist who is more centre/centre-right. I was there representing all the progressive parties. Both the UCP supporter and the journalist said Kenney made some very BIG promises and his supporters won’t be very patient if the jobs, jobs, jobs don’t start rolling in within a year. I’d add to that the impact of reduced wages when banked overtime rolls back to straight time, the ratcheting down of pay to track the reduced minimum wage for young people and those in liquor service, and paying extra for services that are now public but will soon be privatized, etc.

  7. I am heart sick that Kenny is now the premier of the province. And I am praying that the next four years fly by quickly. I still believe Rachel Notley was and is the best choice,

  8. Bob Raynard says:

    One of the unintended, but positive, consequences of the NDP’s win in 2015 is that it consolidated the progressive vote. For years my progressive vote bounced back and forth between NDP and Liberal, wishing one of them would beat the PC, in my riding at least. I really hated the fact that the two parties were not willing to look for some way to cooperate, preferring instead to focus on their differences. While their lips described the differences, my ears heard “We really want the PCs to win.” Sure enough, in 2012 the combined NDP/Liberal vote in my riding was more than the PC who won the election.

    I would argue that the NDP’s success in 2015 was a major contributor to the Liberal’s dismal showing; progressive voters knew where their vote could have the most impact.

    • Bob, this is a conversation I often have with my Liberal friends. I’m not sure why they see the provincial NDP as being so very different from the provincial liberals. David Khan (and Stephen Mandel) tried to paint Notley as the far left and Kenney as the far right, but they only got it half right. Notley has moved so close to the centre that it’s hard, at times, to distinguish her policies from those of the Lougheed progressive conservatives. I understand the concern about devolving to a two party system here in Alberta, but having one massive conservative/free enterprise party and a bunch of tiny progressive parties surely isn’t the answer.

  9. Bill Malcolm says:

    Not even here do I read a single word about the environment. Unbelievable. That’s the number one thing that should be on people’s minds and shipping more synthetic oil to burn is hardly going to help things globally.

    I live on the east coast and have relatives in Calgary. If there’s one thing that stands out about my visits there for over 45 years, it’s the provincialism of the place. It’s a navel-gazing spot interested only in itself and nowhere else, very inward looking.

    Notley was supposed to be an NDP premier, a social democrat, but externally all we ever heard from her was the usual Alberta whining, complaining and caterwauling about oil/dilbit/pipelines. She was vindictive and spiteful towards BC, and for almost a year the rest of us got lying TV ads beamed our way about pipelines making new schools and happy shiny Canadians. Because the NDP makes no distinction between provincial and federal membership, she screwed up the entire NDP federally, especially the environmental file, stamping her feet in Blairite neoliberal petrostatish fashion. She even made not particularly nice comments about Davis Suzuki and his honorary degree from U of A Edmonton.

    So I’m not sad to see her go. Yet I’m not happy that Big Baby Blue got hisself elected either – far from it. But Kenney is not two-faced, he’s unabashedly and idiotically an oil-pumping twit and social regressive, easy to target. Notley? I always hoped she’d do better on the oil business but nothing ever happened; she retreated into the Albertan habit of blaming everyone else for the oil price and the shipping ever more “problem”.

    As the smoke drifts in from BC wildfires this summer and ruins outdoor barbecues in Alberta, producing megatons of extra CO2 no government counts towards their “share” of their emissions quotas and providing numerous other poisons and particulates for free, sea levels rise, the Arctic ice disappears and Alberta gives not one sh!t as far as I can see. Yet our world is close to collapse. I live in a wooded area, and the only birds are now crows, June bugs haven’t been heard rattling off windows for three years now, and the whole place is starting to run down, the Atlantic advancing against our shores. Yet all Alberta wants to do is ship more poison. I’m paying through my taxes for a run-down pipeline and promises to build another that Canada bought Albertans when Notley stamped her feet. Alton Gas is washing out a salt dome here in NS to store methane and dumping the brine in a freshwater salmon river here, while First Nations people are arrested for demonstrating against this first class idiocy. I don’t thank Alberta for its intrusions here and head-in-the-sand policies and the crowing over not paying a provincial sales tax at other Canadians’ expense. Not one bit.

    Alberta is the very definition of cognitive dissonance. And apparently incapable of seeing beyond its collective nose. As I said, a provincial place which somehow thinks it should be lauded and listened to.

    • Bill, thanks for bringing us back to reality. I support Notley because she actually had a plan for transitioning our economy away from fossil fuels to renewables–Alberta’s energy would have been 30% renewables by 2030. She put a cap on oilsands emissions, she imposed limits on methane emissions, she implemented a carbon tax and passed legislation to close coal fired electricity plants by 2030. Under Kenney all that is toast.
      I also agree that we need to get off fossil fuels for the good of the planet (40% of Canada’s GHG come from Alberta). The problem we have here is 20% of our GDP comes from mining, quarrying, oil and gas extraction, the next highest sector is real estate and leasing at 11% GDP, from there it dwindles down into the single digits, for example agriculture & forestry sits at 1.5% GDP. Albertans are used to easy money and go bananas at the suggestion we need to swing our economy off fossil fuels and implement a provincial sales tax to provide a sustainable predictable source of income like the rest of Canada .
      I also agree with your comment that Albertans are parochial. The fact we sit here with the highest median after tax income ($95,500), the lowest debt to GDP ratio, and the lowest taxes, and people still think we’re being victimized by the rest of Canada boggles the mind.
      Notley is our best hope to pull our heads out of the sand. The trick is convincing the Kenney me-first supporters that this is what’s required if we hope to leave anything for future generations. Like I said in the post, we’re witnessing the twilight of the white male dinosaur and they’re not going to go quietly.

  10. aratureis says:

    Thanks. Great column.

    Yvonne Spies

    On Sun, Apr 21, 2019, 6:24 PM Susan on the Soapbox, wrote:

    > susanonthesoapbox posted: “Now that the election is over and the dust is > settling, Ms Soapbox has been reflecting on the results. What do we make of > this? The thrust of Mr Kenney’s victory speech was that Albertans value > the economy and jobs above all else. (Whether this is ” >

  11. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. It sure is mind boggling as to how people can go back to a style and type of government that had to be defeated in 2015. The NDP win in 2015 was not an accidental government. The Alberta PCs had been really fiscally reckless, negligent with our infrastructure maintenance, our resources, like our oil, and plagued with unethical conduct, since Peter Lougheed was not the premier. It was about time that they were shown the door. The Wildrose were not a practical alternative to the Alberta PCs. They were pretty much the same thing, but with a different name, and had candidates that were less than desierable, based on things they said and did. The UCP is a party that was formed out of desperation. Jason Kenney entered into Alberta politics out of desperation. He could not make it in Ottawa, so he thought he could go to Alberta. During the provincial election debate, Jason Kenney was telling so many lies. He was even using his deceased father as a cheap political pawn to frame Rachel Notley for Alberta’s health care woes. There were people who obviously bought into that. Rather sad and pathetic, because Jason Kenney’s father did not pass away when Rachel Notley was in power, but when the Alberta PCs were in power. His father passed away from an illness that ended his life abruptly, not from health care related issues. Jason Kenney is continuing to contradict himself. He claims to be a staunch defender of Alberta’s oil and gas industry, and wants to support jobs in that field, yet wants to shut off the taps to B.C. Also, Jason Kenney blames Rachel Notley for not dealing with the pipeline issue properly, yet what did he do about it, when he was in Stephen Harper’s CPC cabinet, basking in a huge majority government, and had oil prices that were soaring to record heights? Absolutely nothing. Furthermore, Jason Kenney wanted to fight Ottawa, over the Trans Mountain pipeline issues, but now agrees with Ottawa over the delay with it. Jason Kenney also wants to spend $30 million trying to defend Alberta’s oil industry, from anti-oil activists. Does that mean he can fight Saudi Arabia for permeating the market with oil that is impossible for Alberta to compete with, or force America to cease its shale oil productions? I can’t see that happening. Recently, on YouTube, there was an advert from some organization that said that there is a big mess to clean up from Alberta’s oil industry. I think it was referring to different aspects of thie industry, like tailings ponds and oil wells that were left sitting there, which the mess from them was not cleaned. The video mentioned a cost of around $260 billion to remedy this. That is a staggering amount of money, and this stemmed from the Alberta PC days. I remember Peter Lougheed calling Ft. McMurray a mess, when he was no longer the premier of Alberta. Is that bill for the cleanup of the mess from the oil industry the reflection of what he said? Also, Jason Kenney is parroting Rachel Notley’s ideas and giving himself credit for them. Then, we see Jason Kenney’s corporate tax cut scheme. Jason Kenney thinks this will be an effective means to create jobs. I only see it as a way for corporations to line their pockets. Since oil booms have gone the way of the dial telephone, and it is doubtful they will return, this is going to leave a big gap in Alberta’s revenue streams. The inevitable result is austerity.
    How did it the austerity from Ralph Klein work out for Alberta? It still has lasting, adverse consequences. Also, there are questions regarding Jason Kenney becoming leader of the UCP. It was done by suspect means. I wonder what will happen when the R.C.M.P investigation has been completed? I heard there are 3 R.C.M.P investigations involving the UCP. I have a feeling the provincial election was manipulated and tampered with, giving the results we saw. Certain media outlets had a hand in it, and I’m pretty certain off that too. If Jason Kenney gets criminally prosecuted, (which I heard is likely), will the UCP collapse? What will the defenders of the UCP say about that? The NDP were pretty much scandal free, but the UCP were the opposite. Even before the UCP got into power, plenty of mistakes were popping up. I have heard UCP supporters stating they regretted voting for the UCP. It will be an interesting 4 years. We better fasten our seatbelts. It will be a very bumpy ride. Hope you and your family have a Happy Easter.

    • John B. says:

      “Absolutely nothing.”
      Hardly and so unfair.
      We were saving it for future application and it’s still there to apply again. You don’t waste an issue like that one when you’ve already got the job. Everybody knows that.
      Now back to absolutely nothing. That one is and will be Trudeau’s fault. It’s what we do best because it’s the only thing we know.

    • Dwayne, what worries me the most about Kenney’s win is he calls himself a conservative but he’s really not a conservative at all. In an interview with the Globe and Mail he said he was the leader of the “free enterprise” unity party. Free enterprise is not a political ideology, it’s an economic model. It has no core values other than to allow private businesses to operate with minimal government oversight. There’s a reason why occupational health, safety and environment laws came into being. Workers could not count on the benevolence of businesses to look out for their interests and had to unionize and elect pro-worker political parties to protect them. I’m already hearing stories about people who are paid at or slightly above the minimum wage being told by their bosses they’re getting a pay cut. Ironically one of these people is someone who voted for the UCP believing that Kenney wouldn’t hurt him because he voted for the UCP. When Kenney said Alberta is “open for business”, he meant Alberta will be kind to companies, not their employees. But these people who still think trickle down economics works fell for it hook, line and sinker.

  12. Jerrymacgp says:

    A few comments:
    – my take on the election was that it was about anger, perhaps even rage: an inchoate, diffuse, undirected anger at a perception that the economy is in the toilet and the NDP—not global economic forces—is to blame. As evidence for this position, let me first cite the voter turnout, which set a record for Alberta elections in living memory—the previous high was 66% in 1982, and the record was 81.8% way back in 1935. Province-wide this time, over 71% of Alberta voters cast a ballot, far higher than we are used to out here, and more in line with what we see in high turnout jurisdictions like PEI.
    – In my own part of the province, the Peace Country, turnout ranged from 66.1% in the sprawling northern rural riding of Peace River, to 81% in the mixed urban-rural Grande Prairie-Wapiti (the doughnut around the Grande Prairie urban riding, where turnout was 68.9%). Comparing turnout to past elections is a bit labour-intensive and challenging due to the boundary redraw, but for the six ridings that encompass the Peace Country*, recent turnouts averaged 31.9% in 2008, 45% in 2012, and 48.9% in 2015. This time, it was 72.8%. (Satisfied voters don’t bother to vote).
    – Then take a look at the popular vote breakdown. While I haven’t done this analysis for all 87 ridings, in the Peace Country, the UCP got 68.7% of the votes cast; this is more than a two-thirds majority. Their highest vote total was in Central Peace-Notley, at 75.3%; their lowest was 56.8% in Lesser Slave Lake
    – The economy of the Peace region is based on mixed resource extraction: agriculture—from beef to grain farming to canola to apiculture—forestry, and oil & gas—but conventional oil, not oilsands.
    – Grande Prairie is a major service centre for the Montney gas formation which extends under northeastern BC, and is also a major retail hub for northwestern Alberta and northeastern BC, including the last Canadian Costco on the route to Alaska.
    – Because of the structure of the oil & gas industry here, which revolves around a vast assemblage of small to medium-sized contractors and subcontractors and self-employed tradespersons, a lot of the people who are out of work are ineligible for many public supports like EI. Area residents are worried they’ll lose their homes, or lose the value in their homes due to a lethargic real estate market, and they voted accordingly. Readers of this blog, and other progressive blogs, know that these concerns are not under the provincial government’s control, but most voters didn’t believe that and blamed the government of the day.
    – Peace Country voters also displayed that uncanny tendency, common all across Canada, to vote against their own best interests: this is one of the demographically youngest regions in the entire country, and yet they voted out a government that refused to choke off funding for schools and worked to make child care less expensive. Maybe when their kids have to sit on each other’s laps in overcrowded kindergarten & elementary school classrooms, they’ll reconsider their politics.

    Democratic elections don’t always make logical sense. Voters often act irrationally, and this election is a clear example of that. They went to the ballot boxes to vent their spleens, not to choose a government, and they saw in Jason Kenney and the UCP an avenue to do that.

    *Central Peace-Notley, Grande Prairie, Grande Prairie-Wapiti, Lesser Slave Lake, Peace River, & West Yellowhead

    • Jerrymacgp, I think you summarized it very well with the statement “They went to the ballot boxes to vent their spleens, not to choose a government, and they saw in Jason Kenney and the UCP an avenue to do that.” Given the big promises Kenney made and his inability to deliver on most of them (yes he can call a referendum on equalization, no it won’t do any good, yes he can call a public inquiry into foreign funded environmentalists, no it won’t change anything), one wonders how these vented voters will react when the jobs, jobs, jobs fail to materialize. I hope they won’t turn on the women, minorities and gay people in their communities in classic “bad day at the office, kick the dog” fashion, but if they do, we’ll be ready for them.

  13. Tamara Lee says:

    Nailed it, Susan. We volunteered for the sign crew for our NDP candidate (who won her seat)–wherever we went, we saw orange signs everywhere and recognized that this was an historic shift back to centre-centre left. Nice to see the data supporting this, although of course we’re disappointed (but unsurprised) by the results.

    • Tamara Lee, I must admit at first I thought we might be able to squeak into a minority government position (not that that would have been much fun), then I ran into the Greedy Man while door knocking. The Greedy Man wasn’t angry at Notley. He thought she was a good leader. He just refused to vote NDP because Notley raised his taxes and that’s criminal (in his opinion). He doesn’t care if reducing taxes means inferior public healthcare and public education because he can afford private healthcare and private education. It was all about him and his pocket book. He was a very shallow man. I wonder if he’s going to remember our conversation when he’s lying on a stretcher in ER waiting for a doctor to tell him whether he’s just had a heart attack. It’s not as if he can whip down to the Cleveland Clinic at 2 a.m. to check it out.

  14. GoinFawr says:

    “Cutting off your nose to spite your face.”
    Judging from the current ‘conservative’ schadenfreude, every time they look in the mirror over the next four years Albertans will be ‘reflecting’ on that one.

    • GoinFawr. Either that or they’ll make up another fairy tale to explain why the nirvana Kenney promised failed to appear.

      • GoinFawr says:

        … if a single section of pipe goes in the ground anywhere, or the global price of oil skyrockets, be absolutely certain that that job killing Temporary Foreign Workers’ Fairy Godfather Kenney and his Used Car Party will be right there to grab their wholly unearned credit for it
        HOCUS POCUS!

  15. Cole Pederson says:

    I love your analysis of the results, and I agree with your recommended actions. I think I’ll print this off for easy reference in the coming four years.

    • Thanks Cole. Sometimes digging a little deeper helps us understand what’s really going on. (I’ll admit it’s getting harder and harder to do that in a world where we can’t even agree on the facts, let alone the truth!).

  16. Pingback: Pundits want you to believe negative campaigning hurt the NDP – it likely saved their bacon! - Alberta Politics

  17. David says:

    I don’t think Kenney would go for the analysis here. In my observation this is far too complex and he really prefers things that are simple but not accurate. It also seems like he is fairly good at getting some of the mainstream media to regurgitate most of what he says almost verbatim. Of course the UCP narrative will be that they won a landslide victory everywhere except for Edmonton so further resistance is futile. Perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad thing if the UCP come to believe their own spin. Governments that become arrogant or over confident usually defeat themselves. However, I am hopeful that less partisan Albertans will not believe that spin.

    My sense was that there was a level of economic desperation, much of it carefully manufactured by the UCP and its media friends over the last year, that led a number of Albertans to sort of hold their nose and vote for the UCP despite various odious social positions and all those questionable, possibly illegal things, around their leadership race. Mr. Kenney painted a picture of an economic crisis and then offered himself as the one savior who would perform an economic miracle. By objective standards (say in comparison to other provinces) Alberta’s economy is actually doing ok, but compared to the boom time from 2010 to 2014, perhaps not as well. However, I think it will be easier to paint a picture of economic crisis than to fix what ails Alberta and return us to those petro happy days.

    My sense is the support for Kenney is conditional and if he fails to significantly improve the economy, it could quickly evaporate. There is a saying about support being a mile wide, but an inch deep. Those Albertans who are uneasy about the UCP, but who voted for him because he promised an economic miracle, may easily abandon him if he does not deliver. Fortunately, we have a capable, competent and large opposition that can take his place.

    • I agree David, I’m sure Kenney’s view is he led the Alberta conservatives out of the wilderness, next stop Ottawa; but even his die-hard supporters recognize he has a huge challenge ahead of him if he’s going to delver on his promises. I suspect the era of governments being entrenched for decades is over. The world is changing very fast, the threats we face from climate change for example are becoming real for the ordinary man in the street. Those who can’t keep up will gravitate to parties like the UCP, the rest of us will be looking for a government with a vision for the future who is prepared to act on it.
      I suspect the narrative for the next Alberta election will have to be more clear on the choices we have to make–maybe something like climate first, period.
      It will be interesting to see how the federal Liberals frame their campaign given the results here in Alberta and PEI.

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