Even with surging Wildrose party polls in the weeks prior to the provincial election this week, Alberta voters opted to keep the Tories in power – albeit to a lesser degree.
The Progressive Conservatives landed a majority government, with the Wildrose now the official opposition.
The unofficial tally in terms of seats in Monday’s election was Progressive Conservative holding 62 seats, the Wildrose holding 17 seats followed by the NDP and the Liberal both holding four seats.
Before the election was called, the Wildrose Party had four MLAs. The Tories had 66 seats, the Liberals had eight, the NDP held two and the Alberta Party had one.
Premier Alison Redford said it marked an exciting time for members of the Progressive Conservative party and Albertans at large.
“Every Albertan knew that this election was about choice. A choice to put up walls or to build bridges. A choice about Alberta’s future. Tonight, Alberta chose to build bridges.”
Danielle Smith, leader of the Wildrose party, said she didn’t blame recent controversial comments of some of her candidates for impacting the final vote.
“I spent the last three years talking about the importance of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of conscience. I still believe you have to allow people to be able to exercise their faith in their own way,” she told reporters after the results were announced.
“I’m not the kind of leader who is going to throw my people under the bus at the first sign of trouble. I think there were a lot of factors in this campaign about why Albertans weren’t ready to make a sweeping change, but they gave us a pretty strong mandate.
“That’s going to be a very strong voice in the legislature to hold the government to account.”
Alberta Liberal Leader Raj Sherman, who narrowly held onto his seat, told supporters to remember a great maxim of democracy – the people are wise.
He said it is out of deference and respect for that wisdom that he congratulated Redford and the Progressive Conservative party.
Meanwhile, the NDP doubled their seats in the legislature, and the party’s leader Brian Mason said the results ensures his party will have more resources as a caucus.
“We’ll be more effective as a caucus because of the increased number and the resources that come with that.”
Final election numbers remained unofficial at press time.