The United Conservative Party (UCP) will be forming government in Alberta for the first time ever as record high turnout marks the end of a tumultuous election in the province.
The election on Tuesday saw the UCP, lead by Jason Kenney, comfortably overcome the ruling NDP lead by Premier Rachel Notley.
“We Albertans are proud Canadians, and tonight we have elected a government that will stand up and secure a fair deal for Alberta in this great country,” Premier-Elect Kenney said.
“There is a deep frustration in this province, a sense that we have contributed massively to the rest of Canada, but that everywhere we turn we are being blocked in and pinned down.”
The election saw the UCP claim over 55% of the popular vote, winning 63 of the 87 seats.
Unofficial turnout was 69.9%. This would represent the highest voter turnout in the province in over 40 years.
“It’s very, very high,” said chief electoral officer Drew Westwater.
“We haven’t seen numbers this high since the ’80s.”
The NDP, which won by the sizeable margin in 2015, was reduced to just 24 seats — making the NDP the only one-term government in Alberta’s history.
Over the past four years the economy of Alberta has slumped, driven mainly by a downturn in the oil and gas sector — economic concerns were a main issue of this election.
Kenney, a former Conservative cabinet minister, has promised to take a tough stance on the carbon tax and radical foreign environmental groups seeking to keep Canadian resources in the ground.
Notley, a long-time NDP MLA, supported a carbon tax and was perceived as too weak on the pipeline debate — factors that contributed to her defeat Tuesday.
The UCP was created in 2017 by a merger of two other Albertan parties, the Progressive Conservative Party and the Wildrose Party.
In the 2019 election the UCP received a higher vote share than its two predecessors did combined in 2015.
Rachel Notley, now leader of the opposition, has promised to stay on as leader of the NDP.