We can hardly believe it. After 44 years of a Progressive Conservative government in power, Albertans were clearly fed up and voted for change on a sweeping level.
Jim Prentice said early in the campaign that Alberta is not an NDP province, but he was clearly in the wrong. The public support for the Tories showed a downward spiral as the weeks passed over the last month. And it is clear, Albertans wanted change and change we got with an NDP majority that was evident soon after the results started rolling in.
Premier-elect Rachel Notley got off to a strong start right out of the gate, but the pinnacle turning point for the NDP Party was the live leader’s debate a couple weeks ago.
Notley was outstanding and on point. She made a name for herself during that two-hour showdown with Prentice focusing almost solely on her to the exclusion of Liberal Leader David Swann and Wildrose Leader Brian Jean. Prentice knew Notley was his biggest threat, but we are sure he didn’t know how big of a threat she was as the campaign continued to unfold.
As for the Wildrose, Jean, the newly-minted leader of the Opposition, was elected merely days before the writ was dropped, so in all fairness he did quite well considering the condition the party was in that he inherited.
During the leader’s debate Jean lost some steam and dropped the ball with his robotic performance and one-track mantra of, “We won’t raise your taxes,” while avoiding Prentice’s direct question on how the Wildrose would make up that shortfall. And it was the same response he continued to give right up until the campaign’s end – which was unfortunate because it left electors wanting more answers.
In Red Deer, voters also chose to support both NDP candidates as well. The populace clearly felt that they didn’t just want to support Notley, but were willing to give these women an opportunity as well. Barb Miller was elected in Red Deer South and Kim Schreiner was elected for Red Deer North.
It’s always good when campaigns come to an end. Weeks of uncertainty, fluctuating polls and sometimes the whirlwind of activity surrounding the election wraps up – decisions are made and it’s now time to move forward. We can only hope that voters made the best choice for our province. There are concerns with some people that the NDP may bring our province further into economic woe, but at this point, it’s also important to stay optimistic. As Jean said, he will work to keep the governing party in check. It’s about cooperation, he said. Let’s hope he’s right.