EDMONTON – Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party (PCU) will form a majority government in Alberta.
The PCU forged ahead early on Tuesday night in preliminary results for the Alberta elections, while Rachel Notley’s New Democratic Party (NDP) maintained its gains in Edmonton.
ECP was conducted in rural ridings throughout the province and in some ridings in Calgary.
Mr. Kenney retains his seat in Calgary-Lougheed. It was the first general provincial election for Kenney, a former federal minister in Stephen Harper’s government.
In his victory speech, Kenney said the province was “open for business”.
He said his government will have the lowest taxes in Canada and cut red tape.
Mr. Kenney said his government would stand up for Alberta. He argued that the province has been the target of foreign-funded interests that want to obstruct the Alberta oil industry.
While some media anticipated the victory of the PCU, federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer congratulated “his friend” Mr. Kenney on Twitter. “I look forward to working with Premier Kenney and the new government to help Albertans get back to work!” He wrote.
Mr. Scheer campaigned with Mr. Kenney against what they called the “Trudeau-Notley alliance,” arguing that the NDP leader and the federal Liberal prime minister were allies against the smooth running of the oil industry .
In 2015, the NDP of Rachel Notley caused a surprise by ending the Progressive Conservatives’ 44 years of rule.
This time, the Progressive Conservatives no longer exist.
The PC merged with another center-right party, Wildrose, to form the United Conservative Party.
Notley becomes the first provincial chief not to get a second term on her first attempt. It has retained its seat in the riding of Edmonton-Strathcona.
In her late-night speech, Notley promised to continue fighting for the Progressive Way in Alberta as Leader of the Opposition.
The four-week campaign focused on personal attacks and the fragile economy of Alberta, which has suffered for several years from low oil prices and an unemployment rate of over 7 percent in Calgary and Edmonton.
Mr. Kenney argued that the Notley government had exacerbated the situation by raising taxes, increasing regulation and raising the minimum wage.
Notley, meanwhile, said Kenney’s plan to freeze spending and seek more private care options in the health sector would have a profound impact on students and patients waiting to care.
The Alberta Party and the Liberal Party of Alberta, each of which elected a candidate for the legislature in 2015, did not appear to be in the legislature.
The Alberta Party, led by former Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel, ran candidates in all ridings. He promised to be a centrist middle ground by combining the economic conservatism of the United Conservative Party with the social progressivism of the NDP.
Jason Kenney called on Quebec to help his province “develop its natural resources and its economy.”
Alternating between English and French for a small part of his victory speech, the leader of the United Conservative Party said he had “tremendous respect for (Prime Minister) François Legault”.
“I admire that his government has decided to focus on economic growth and is committed to eliminating Quebec’s dependence on Equalization,” he said in French.
He argued that Quebec and Alberta, “natural allies”, should be partners.
“The question is simple: do Quebeckers want ethical oil, or that of the United States and foreign dictatorships? Ask the question is to answer it. So I would like to say this to all Quebeckers and to Premier Legault: when Alberta is injured, we have to work together, “said the former Liberal minister.
“If Quebec and the other provinces want to accept massive tax transfers from Alberta, then please help us develop our natural resources and our economy,” he said in French.