So… that happened. After all the millions of dollars, the constant bombardment of ads, the attacks, your aunt Susan’s passionate but strangely worded Facebook posts, and your drunk uncle’s thinly veiled racist rants, the election is over. Just like that. Well, only sort of. We still have a few races that are too close to call.
You’ve probably seen the headline stuff. Jason Kenney was named premier-designate (or is it premier-elect?) and his United Conservative Party took home a majority government last night. Rachel Notley and her New Democratic Party held on for a respectably sized opposition but were soundly voted out of office. The Alberta Party did well in the overall vote, but along with the Liberals and The Freedom Conservative Party, failed to win even a single seat. So, we have a two-party legislature, which is not totally unprecedented, but is a rarity in Alberta.
Most pundits agree that Kenney won this election by hammering home his message about the economy and tapping into anger toward Ottawa. Despite the many controversies that plagued his campaign, Kenney just kept repeating the line that he was the only person who could get Alberta’s economy going and that seemed to work. It seems that people who were on the fence largely held their noses and voted for the UCP believing that the economy trumped social issues.
In the coming days the story will shift to the premier-designate’s decisions about who to place in his cabinet and which of his many promises he will act upon first. When he will recall the legislature to start passing bills and how soon and how directly he picks of fight with Ottawa will both stories to keep an eye on.
We will also no doubt hear calls for some – if not all – of the defeated party’s leaders to step down and no doubt one or two will. Mr. Mandel, Mr. Khan, and Mrs. Notley will be facing pressure from within their own parties to clear the way for new leaders. Which of them will step aside and how will that affect politics in Alberta going forward?
We are clearly just getting started with this four-year story. I hope you’ll stick around as TTC tries to keep up with it – even if it’s only so you can learn about new Buzzfeed quizzes.