Alberta Politics
NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley addressing her party’s convention Sunday afternoon (Photo: Screenshot of NDP Facebook Live video).

Buoyed by overwhelming leadership approval vote, Rachel Notley sketches outline of Alberta NDP’s 2023 campaign

Posted on June 07, 2021, 2:31 am
8 mins

Acting like someone with a serious chance of returning to the Premier’s Office in 2023, Alberta New Democratic Party Leader Rachel Notley received a 98.2-per-cent approval vote in the Opposition party’s leadership review Sunday.

The former Alberta premier set out a hopeful vision of how her next government would “transform Alberta into the greatest powerhouse of renewable energy in North America by moving our electricity grid to net zero by 2035.”

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s controversial, rule-breaking Sky Palace patio party last Tuesday (Photo: Facebook/Angela Pitt).

“The world is changing but we must change with it,” Ms. Notley told party members in a convention speech streamed on Facebook Live.

While Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party “sticks their heads in the sand, the biggest players in our oil sector including Suncor, Shell, Enbridge, Cenovus, CNRL and more are all moving ahead with the same big goal: net zero emissions,” she stated.

“So this is coming, and it presents Alberta with a choice. Do we go down clinging to the energy industry of the past, watching Jason Kenney’s plan fail again? Or do we plan for the energy industry of the future?”

“Today, I commit to you, we will not look backwards. We will lead.”

That vision also includes child care, said Ms. Notley, who surprised many by sticking around after her party’s election loss in 2019 to continue the fight for her vision of Alberta. “We’ll have truly affordable, universal child care. Because we will not keep on pretending that taking on a second or a third job to pay for child care is just the cost of having a family. 

“Economists, the heads of banks, business leaders, they all agree that child care is an economic win, one that carries with it real social benefits,” she said. “Our child care program would not only put 40,000 people back to work, most of them women, it would provide the kind of high-quality, early learning opportunities that make the fundamental difference in the lives of all children.”

It will cement in those children a love of learning, she went on with a twinkle in her eye, “that they will carry with them right into grade school – where we will then make sure they have a kindergarten-to-Grade-6 curriculum that actually prepares them for the future.” (This is a reference, for those of you reading this outside Alberta, to the extremely controversial curriculum emphasizing many of Mr. Kenney’s hobbyhorses that was introduced by Education Minister Adriana LaGrange in March.)

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

Ms. Notley also promised to get on with critical projects like the Green Line rapid transit project in Calgary, currently stymied by UCP opposition.

The former premier had harsh words for Mr. Kenney’s leadership qualities, and the disunited state in which his misnamed party has found itself as a result. “The UCP can’t govern themselves, let alone govern the province,” she stated. 

Turning to the scandal that erupted after a mystery photographer snapped photos of the premier and three of his senior ministers breaking COVID-19 restrictions at a rooftop patio party in the government office building penthouse mockingly known as the Sky Palace, Ms. Notley observed that “COVID showed us who Albertans are, and who Jason Kenney is not.

“He’s no leader. He can’t be trusted to do the right thing.

“If we needed any more evidence, it arrived just last week. Those photos showing the premier and his most senior leaders huddled around a table on top of his private Sky Palace patio? Not a care in the world! No masks! No distancing! No rules! Just whisky, waiters, and a white linen tablecloth. 

“They revealed the real Jason Kenney, a man who refuses to let his own rules prevent him from living his best life. The life that you and I can’t have yet.”

“The sun setting, the wine flowing, and the smell of booze hangin’ in the air. It’s the Old Boys’ Club, flying high above us all. Arrogant. Entitled. And, let’s be honest, a little drunk on power. 

Calgary-Fish Creek MLA Richard Gotfried, the latest UCP MLA to criticize Premier Kenney (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

“Because that’s what all of this is about for them. Jason Kenney isn’t here for people. He’s here for power. Which means, he’s not here for you.” 

As for Ms. Notley’s overwhelming support from convention delegates, this is quite different from the reality now facing Mr. Kenney, who is taking shots daily from restive UCP members at odds with how the party has handled the COVID-19 pandemic and his government’s recent tumble in the polls. 

The premier’s most vocal UCP critics, influenced by the party’s anti-vaccination and anti-mask base, tend to be former Wildrose Party members who attack him for having any COVID restrictions at all. 

But yesterday another UCP MLA criticized the premier from the other side of the issue.

In an obvious reference to the premier and his three amigos atop the Sky Palace last Tuesday, Calgary-Fish Creek MLA Richard Gotfried called upon “ALL elected representatives, from all levels of government across our province to show leadership, to act responsibly and to avoid the hypocrisy that makes a mockery of the tough decisions we have to make and the sacrifices/responsible behaviour we have been asking of each and every Albertan for the past 15 months.”

An unconfirmed report last night indicated Mr. Gotfried had resigned his position as UCP Calgary Caucus chair so that he could speak without reservations. 

This is something new. An MLA from the Progressive Conservative side of the UCP coalition joining the internal critics of the premier’s policies and actions.

So there you have it: Ms. Notley’s NDP may not be new as its name suggests, it was founded in 1961 after all, but it is united. Mr. Kenney’s party is no longer united, as its name would have us believe, but it is new, founded in 2017.

24 Comments to: Buoyed by overwhelming leadership approval vote, Rachel Notley sketches outline of Alberta NDP’s 2023 campaign

  1. Abs

    June 7th, 2021

    Maybe this whole thing will reveal itself to be a dream sequence, like on TV. Jason Kenney fell asleep at the wheel, pining for the days when he could boondock the RV in the Banff Springs Hotel parking lot and enjoy exclusive pleine-air dining with white table cloths and hotel slippers, while wearing shorts, a T-shirt and a folksy backward baseball cap.

    When he awoke, it was a nightmare without the white slippers. The bottles were empty, and he was atop the people’s palace. Where was his beautiful RV? Who was that non-sanctioned photographer? The nightmare won’t end, and he keeps reliving it like in Groundhog Day. Might’ve been the whiskey. Look at the mess he’s in. Wasn’t that a party?

  2. Anonymous

    June 7th, 2021

    The UCP are becoming more and more corrupt, more and more divided, and more and more unpalatable to Albertans. Albertans didn’t listen to people who warned them that the UCP weren’t good. It hearkens back to the dark and dismal days of Ralph Klein. There were people who were given warnings that Ralph Klein wasn’t going to be good for Alberta, and they didn’t listen, and there was a big mess. People have been saying that Rachel Notley’s Net Zero plan for electricity generation would make power prices in Alberta skyrocket. That’s a load of bunk, because thanks to the aforementioned Ralph Klein and his electricity deregulation experiment, that Albertans had no say in, it has cost Albertans $40 billion or more. Ralph Klein thought that deregulation utilities would make prices come down. That never, ever happened, and Ralph Klein even admitted that the prices for power would never go down. Affordable, universal daycare was even thought up by a previous Liberal government in Ottawa. The provincial government in Alberta, during that time, loathed the idea, because they thought private for profit daycare was the way to go. In Alberta, anything that was privatized, turned out to be a costly problem ridden mess, including with private for profit daycares. Private for profit daycares don’t have proper regulations and controls in place, and their bottom line is profit. There have been private for profit daycares in Alberta who have made the news, because children in their care were put at risk. Richard Gotfried is the latest UCP MLA to criticize what happened on the Sky Palace. If more UCP MLAs criticize the UCP, the UCP will basically implode.

    • Alan K. Spiller

      June 9th, 2021

      Anonymous I keep hearing the true conservatives , in my world, saying this fool is even worse than that clown Klein, and I certainly agree. There is nothing conservative about any of them and they proved it by trying to follow in Klein’s footsteps in continuing to try to destroy everything Lougheed created for us.

  3. Just Me

    June 7th, 2021

    This something you never see in Alberta, a former premier who not only is still a party leader, but still commands enormous approval from the rank and file.

    What does all this mean?

    Maybe rational and thoughtful governance wins over bluster, pandering to fringe elements, and gaslighting everything?

    Hell, nah!

    This is Alberta. All Kenney has to do is paint himself blue, yell “pro-life”, and all will be forgiven.

    Albertans remain the stupidest people alive.

    • Athabascan

      June 7th, 2021

      Hey Just Me,

      You forgot to add, that all he also bashes GSA’s in high schools even though he himself is a “bachelor”.

      The hypocrisy and cruelty of Kenney is bitterly palpable.

    • CovKid

      June 8th, 2021

      Unfortunately, you’re absolutely correct.

      Get hold of the June 2021 Alberta Views magazine to read how the rural populace view centre-left politicians and anyone attempting to alter the status quo.

  4. Northern Loon

    June 7th, 2021

    Now, can you imagine what is happening when the UCP ‘leadership’ is not being caught on camera? And how often they are having similar meetings with ‘budget’ 40 oz bottles of Jamison’s and several bottles of wine washed down by not so budget bottled water and two serving staff for a 1/2 dozen chosen few.

    This is the tip of a political iceberg that demonstrates that the UCP are just a reincarnation of the entitled PC’s of yore with a soupcon of Wildrose thrown in for spice.

  5. Keith McClary

    June 7th, 2021

    I heard yesterday the claim that it was not catered. If true, who were the “waiters”. Are we supposed to believe that the Kenney gang brought the linen tablecloth and stemware from home, and then cleaned up after themselves? It doesn’t look like they chipped in for delivery or take-out on the spur of the moment.

    Jen Brown(?) on CBC radio described Kenney’s “cancel culture” rant as “full high school debating squad mode”.

  6. Geoffrey Pounder

    June 7th, 2021

    Notley: “the biggest players in our oil sector including Suncor, Shell, Enbridge, Cenovus, CNRL and more are all moving ahead with the same big goal: net zero emissions.”

    I hate to rain on the parade, but…
    Albertans should beware. Net-zero promises by fossil fuel industry for decades hence without any plan or specifics ring hollow:

    “Unfortunately, in practice [net-zero via carbon dioxide removal] helps perpetuate a belief in technological salvation and diminishes the sense of urgency surrounding the need to curb emissions now.
    “We have arrived at the painful realisation that the idea of net zero has licensed a recklessly cavalier ‘burn now, pay later’ approach which has seen carbon emissions continue to soar.
    “…In the end, the mere prospect of carbon capture and storage gave policy makers a way out of making the much needed cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.
    “…As the mirage of each magical technical solution disappears, another equally unworkable alternative pops up to take its place.
    “…However, policymakers and businesses appear to be entirely serious about deploying highly speculative technologies as a way to land our civilisation at a sustainable destination. In fact, these are no more than fairy tales.
    “…The only way to keep humanity safe is the immediate and sustained radical cuts to greenhouse gas emissions in a socially just way.
    “…Current net zero policies will not keep warming to within 1.5°C because they were never intended to. They were and still are driven by a need to protect business as usual, not the climate. … The time for wishful thinking is over.”
    “Climate scientists: concept of net zero is a dangerous trap”

    Net-zero upstream emissions targets set by oil companies are greenwashing. Even if upstream emissions (from extraction activities) are reduced to zero, this does nothing to offset or reduce the 80+% of emissions downstream at the consumer end. Most of the emissions from a barrel of oil occur when the fuel is burned.
    Govt and industry are happy to set distant targets decades down the road, without accountability mechanisms. Of course, they have no intention of meeting these targets. Across Canada, govts at all levels set climate targets that they have no hope of meeting.

    Albertans should beware. This is the same politician who preached salvation by pipelines. Notley threw billions of dollars in subsidies at the fossil fuel industry. Notley’s climate “leadership” last time included a plan that would allow oilsands emissions to dramatically increase. AB’s emissions would likely rise, not fall.
    The NDP’s fraudulent oilsands 100+ Mt emissions cap allowed for emissions 43% higher than 2015’s under-reported levels. The cap represented more than two thirds of Canada’s 2050 target (150 Mt). (Now advertised as net-zero.) Plenty of exemptions boosted the nominal cap. Total oilsands emissions including projects that are under construction, have received approval, or are seeking approval “blow well past” AB’s cap. (Pembina Institute)
    Many of the largest players in the oilsands have no plans to switch to renewables. An energy transition is the last thing they want to see.
    What is Notley’s plan to address oilsands emissions? Canada’s fastest growing source of emissions threatens to derail all climate plans. Is Notley ignoring the elephant in the room — or feeding it?
    Notley is still feeding us the oil industry’s line on climate. The oil industry’s ambitions for expansion have not changed. Notley, Trudeau, Horgan et al. are still planning to take us over the climate cliff. Their plan is to fail.

    Notley: “transform Alberta into the greatest powerhouse of renewable energy in North America”
    What does that even mean?
    The great virtue of renewables is that they generate energy locally. Distributed power. Even on your rooftop. Every jurisdiction on the continent will increasingly rely on local power (including “green” hydrogen powered by renewables) with grid interties for stability. Alberta will not be exporting vast volumes of electricity or hydrogen anywhere.

    • ayeamaye

      June 8th, 2021

      It is an interesting time we are in… damned if we do damned if we don’t. Let’s assume for the sake of argument you live in Alberta, what would YOU have us do?

      • Geoffrey Pounder

        June 8th, 2021

        Base climate/energy policy on the best available science.
        Begin a managed decline of our fossil fuel industry. A rapid shift to renewables. Invest in sustainable infrastructure (e.g., public transit). Create policy that enables smart urban design and discourages sprawl. A just transition for fossil fuel industry workers.
        Cut our fossil fuel emissions, end fossil fuel subsidies, reduce our dependence on the oil industry, get off the oilsands rollercoaster, end the devastation in the oilsands ecological sacrifice zone, and meet our climate targets. The only sensible path forward.
        Stop banking on failure. The oil industry and the Big Banks are betting that the world will fail to take real action on climate change. The only scenario in which oilsands expansion makes sense.
        Acknowledge reality:
        1) The IPCC advises that the world must nearly halve GHG emissions by 2030 and eliminate them by 2050 to keep warming below the danger limit of 1.5 C.
        2) The IEA’s “Net Zero by 2050” report nixes new fossil fuel projects: “Spending on new oil and gas projects needs to end immediately to avert climate crisis, IEA warns” (Bloomberg)
        Unless the NDP addresses rising fossil fuel emissions in the oilsands — and acknowledges the reality that fossil fuel combustion must end ASAP — its climate plan remains unworkable.
        Notley’s previous policies excluded the only sane responses to our global emergency — reduce emissions and stop expanding fossil fuel infrastructure. Premier Notley added fuel to the fire in her first term, pushing new export pipelines that enable oilsands expansion and throwing billions of dollars in subsidies at the fossil fuel industry. When Notley renounces those policies, I will be happy to vote for her. Until then, I will assume the NDP’s policy is the same smoke and mirrors as before.
        Some praise Notley’s “pragmatism”. Our house is on fire. “Pragmatic” is putting the fire out. Oilsands expansion and new pipelines are not “pragmatic” politics — just plain lunacy. Doesn’t matter what your policies are on farm labor, GSAs, childcare, etc. If you’re not progressive on climate, you’re not progressive.
        Scientific reality is non-negotiable. Either you accept the science and respond accordingly, or you don’t. Political parties who ignore scientific reality do not deserve the votes of responsible citizens. Rapid man-made global warming is a disaster. So are govts that fail to address it.

      • Kang

        June 8th, 2021

        Ayeamaye: Mr. Pounder is absolutely correct. We have to stop burning things to make useful mechanical energy. This will be the real test of Notley’s leadership skills.

        The idea Alberta will continue being an energy super-power, whatever the source, is just hubris which contradicts the basic physics of renewable energy production as does the idiot idea of carbon capture and storage.

      • jerrymacgp

        June 12th, 2021

        Mr Pounder is well known in this space for advocating that perfection be the enemy of good. We had four years of pretty good, albeit imperfect, government under the Notley NDP. But he would have voters be asked to search for some politician or party which is unadulteratedly pure on the fossil fuel, environment & climate change file. There is no such animal in Alberta: his Alberta’s official provincial animal would be the unicorn.

        We need everyone who isn’t a true-believer UCP supporter to back Rachel & the NDP in order to unseat Jason Kenney et al. He & his band of doctrinaire ultra-right nutbars must not be given four more years of steering Alberta into the ditches. I’m sure Rachel & the NDP will take a different tack on renewable energy & the fossil fuel industry with a second mandate than they did with their first, although I sincerely doubt anyone in Planet Earth can meet Mr Pounder’s exacting, unforgiving, unrealistic & unachievable standards.

  7. A little bird

    June 7th, 2021

    They’re already doing it. The UCP plan is to throw the rural wing and Kenney under the bus and spend like drunken sailors hoping we all forget about it. It’s already happening.

  8. brett

    June 7th, 2021

    I believe this comes down to a simple question of trust.

    It is clear that only the most ardent Conservative members trust their leader, Premier Kenney. Even that may be somewhat questionable because trust only goes as far as electability with this crowd.

    It is also clear from the polls that the vast majority of Alberta voters have lost respect for and trust in Jason Kenney, AND the UCP Party.

    Trust is earned and once lost is hard to regain. Kenney’s challenge is that he never did anything really to earn the the trust of Albertan voters. Hence it was easy for him to loose it. And even more so base on his bone headed and disastrous leadership of the UCP Party and of ALberta.

    One may not agree with Notley’s politics but she has most definitely earned the trust and respect of Albertans over the years. She had depth. This contrasts to Kenney who was an outsider and will probably always be based upon his apparent dismal understanding of Alberta, Albertans, and his own Party.

    Kenney will not go on his own. He was no where to go. He is a professional politician who has never really held a job in a commercial business, met a payroll, or risked his equity holdings on a business. My guess is that IF he goes it will be after some supporter or large corporation is persuaded to give him a job just to clear the for the UCP Party to move forward. Better do it soon before the Party splits in two AGAIN!

    • ayeamaye

      June 8th, 2021

      Jason Kenney is due a $10,000.00 a month pension for life when he is 55 years old. That is the same pension the Reformers promised not to take. Add that to what he will get from the province. He will do ” OK”. He can even stretch his finances out by moving back in his Mom’s basement. Crooked Politicians always land on their feet.

  9. Jack Grant

    June 7th, 2021

    So will the provincial NDP follow the lead of the federal NDP and their new star candidate Avi Lewis in pursuing the Leap Manifesto?. How will we pay for sky high electricity rates? great article this weekend about the solar power industry in the states and how badly it failed, after the US version of Notley (Obama) had promised 5 million jobs and invested billions in the industry. Four things you should not believe in Santa, tooth fairy, Maple leafs and a NDP economic plan.

    • Anonymous

      June 8th, 2021

      JACK GRANT: The question still remains today. It’s not how will we pay for sky high electricity rates, but how are Albertans paying for sky high electricity rates? In case you didn’t know, Alberta has sky high electricity rates for one reason only. Ralph Klein’s deregulation gimmick. Ralph Klein made the bogus, and unsubstantiated claim that electricity deregulation would make electricity prices in Alberta go down. That certainly never transpired. That very pricey fiasco is $40 billion, or more, by this juncture. If electricity deregulation wasn’t a failure, Ralph Klein wouldn’t have had to raid provincial government coffers, for rebates, to give to Alberta electricity consumers, to cushion the impact of the rapidly rising costs of electricity. Electricity deregulation has been an abject failure, no matter where it has been placed, and that includes America. There was a very bad saga involving Enron, and those involved with that scheme were either sent to the slammer, or they offed themselves. The provincial NDP had no ties to the Leap Manifesto. For economic plans faltering and failing, look no further than the conservatives. How did the loss of $575 billion help Alberta, when the Alberta PCs ceased collecting the oil royalty rates Peter Lougheed was getting for Alberta? How do Albertans cope with having to ante up $260 billion, or more, for rectifying the damages done by the oil companies in Alberta? How can Alberta manage with $150 billion, or more, in lost revenue, due to the abysmal corporate tax cuts of the Alberta PCs, and their flat tax disaster? There were also so many other pricey shenanigans the Alberta PCs did, over an extended period of time, losing billions in the process. The UCP’s economic plan was such a mess. $10 billion gone from corporate tax cuts, that accomplished nothing. Corporations didn’t go on a hiring spree, and corporations didn’t even keep themselves in the province. $7.5 billion was thrown out on a pipeline that was blocked. The UCP forgot that assuming is wrong, and were thinking the Donald would hang onto his role as President. The UCP have also done other epic follies, that are costing Albertans very much. So, the UCP’s economic recovery plan sure can’t be believed. The premier of Alberta, (that title is still in question) had a silly idea that higher oil prices would make a comeback. He was like most of the Alberta PC premiers were. Hope for oil booms to return, to fix the problems caused by the large waste that was going on.

      • Alan K. Spiller

        June 9th, 2021

        Anonymous Maybe Geoffrey Pounder and Jack Grant should get their heads out of their ass and look at the facts. Attacking the NDP while they support these phoney conservatives , Reformers, doesn’t make them look very smart.

        They obviously haven’t been talking to the lawyers, accountants, oilmen, bankers, or former MLAs from the Lougheed era that many of us have been talking to over the years.

        Lougheed’s energy minister Bill Dickie was a brother in law of one my uncles and I got to know several of them and they knew what Notley was trying to accomplish by increasing corporate taxes and royalties was the right way to get us out of this financial mess.

        The internet is full of articles about how our oil executives fully support the Carbon tax . They know it will help them try to sell their product and get the celebrities off their backs.

        My late father was a power plant engineer and he was furious with Klein when he began talking about deregulation , he knew It wouldn’t work and everything he said would happen has happened , costing Albertans billions of dollars .A friend lost his 75 year old family business when his annual power bills increased by $82,000.

        Maybe these boys should keep their sarcastic comments to themselves or find someone to talk to who is smart enough to know what these reformers have done to us. They have obviously ignored the Orphan Wells mess that I was involved with prior to Klein changing the regulations to benefit his rich friends and the fact that Klein’s father Phil and daughter Angie both tried to help us vote Ralph out. I had known the family since the early 1960s and knew what a jerk Ralph was. They have also ignored the economist Trevor Tombe’s article about Albertans losing $575 billion in oil royalties. Oilmen tell me it’s a lot higher than that because it doesn’t include Natural Gas royalties they gave away also.

  10. Just Me

    June 7th, 2021

    Okay. So Premier Crying & Screaming Midget has decided to descend from his Xanadu on the mountain top, wax eloquent about his failure to be responsible, and offering an apology for his transgressions.

    Wow. The gaslighting is strong in Kenney.

    He has been lying, distracting, mean tweeting, and screaming nonsense for so long, will anyone in their right mind really take this apology at its face value, as being sincere?

    Hell, nah!

    • Abs

      June 8th, 2021

      Judging by the public dissection of “facts” following his statement, I’d say no. Did you know that Jameson changed its bottle in 2019, to one that looks exactly like the one in the infamous Sky Palace images?

      Sometimes it’s easier to tell the truth than to construct an elaborate lie which is sure to fall apart, but much like gambling away billions of dollars of someone else’s money, lying is a compulsion.

      • David Climenhaga

        June 8th, 2021

        I do think in this case Mr. Kenney meant his birthday on May 30th. I have had slips of the tongue like this myself, of which I was completely unaware until it was too late to correct. This is not to say Mr Kenney is not economical with the truth, only that I don’t believe he’d try to make us think he was only 30, or that he’d brought a bottle to show his pals he’d been hanging onto unopened for more than a decade. DJC

  11. jerrymacgp

    June 8th, 2021

    As the Disunited Conservative Party goes through this discord, it’s important to remember that the old Wildrose Party did not split from the Progressive Conservative party for no reason. It was a rejection of the traditional “big tent” brokerage party that has long been the norm in Canadian politics at both provincial & federal levels for most of our history. They wanted instead a hard-right ideological party with strains of both libertarianism & social conservatism — seemingly contradictory, these strains coexist by calling for libertarianism for businesses and social conservatism for people and families: small-government deregulation for business and industry, especially oil and gas, but anti-diversity in areas of family structure and open hostility to SOGI* equity. Threads of xenophobia and “tough on crime” harshness are also key components of the Wildrose philosophy.

    Jason Kennedy’s shotgun wedding of these two streams of conservatism, the brokerage PCs and the doctrinaire Wildrose, appears to be breaking down. Perhaps this was inevitable: the ‘Rosers — whose notions of husband as head of household are straight out of the 19th century — appear to be the husband in that shotgun wedding, but the PC wife is thinking of bailing on the marriage. (Maybe the Alberta Party is her shelter? Sorry if I’m overstretched this analogy lol).

    The same tension is playing out at the federal level, between pragmatic former PC types and more ideological Reform conservatives.

    *Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity.

  12. June 12th, 2021

    If Rachel Notley and the Alberta NDP win the next provincial election, it will again be another historic election, arguably the fourth in a row of major import.

    While the return to the premiership of a leader who has spent a term sitting on the opposition has never happened in Alberta, its not entirely unheard of in other parliamentary democracies, or elsewhere in Canada. That would be a major win for Notley, possibly the first return of a former first minister since Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s defeat of Joe Clark’s minority government.

    It would be an even bigger win though because it would be the first time a defeated governing party returned to power in Alberta. This has quite literally never happened in Alberta’s history and it is a major reason why our politics has been shaped by long lived dynasties. Every previously defeated governing party has either collapsed following its loss, or in the unusual case of the Progressive Conservatives, merged into another political party. A case could be made that the PCs are actually undergoing an unusual, slow motion collapse. Time will tell.

    The ongoing stability of the Alberta NDP, is an important sign however, that Alberta’s politics may have entered a new non-dynastic phase, one in which competitive elections will be the norm instead of a once-every-two-decades type of event. We will be a normal democracy, for the first time in our history.

    This will be true, even if the NDP loses the next election, as the habit of sticking together and effectively challenging the Government of the day will be engrained. MLAs with experience on both sides of the Legislature will form a strong foundation to ensure the 2027 election is just as competitive.

    A more interesting question is what will become of the United Conservative Party in the event of a loss in 2023? While the Wildrose infrastructure of the UCP would augur for the party’s survival, it seems that the UCP has adopted many of the worst habits of the PCs, including the infighting, arrogance and incompetence. If Jason Kenney is deposed as Premier, they will have also returned to the constant regicide that was very common during the later years of the PC dynasty.

    Should the UCP be re-elected that will also be a remarkable and historic outcome, given the party’s current state. I personally am greatly relieved that the NDP, two years into this term is united, well organized and preparing to give the UCP a hell of a fight in 2023.

    Fascinating times in Alberta politics.


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