Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday April 17, 2019
What Jason Kenney’s UCP victory in Alberta could mean for the rest of Canada
After a bitter four-week campaign fraught with controversies and personal attacks, Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party has unseated Rachel Notley and the NDP in Alberta’s provincial election.
The UCP win marks a return to centre-right politics for Alberta after Notley disrupted 44 years of Progressive Conservative rule with her win in 2015. It also marks the first time a government has failed to win a renewed mandate in the province on its first try.
Holding on to 24 seats, Alberta’s NDP have been relegated to opposition status while the UCP will enjoy a majority rule after winning 63 seats on Tuesday night.
Much of the campaign focused on Alberta’s struggling economy, employment, and building pipelines after global oil prices crashed in 2015 and thrust the province into a recession.
Standing before cheering supporters after his victory on Tuesday night, Kenney announced the province was now “open for business” and vowed to stand up for Albertans.
As the premier-designate prepares to “fight back” against the federal government, here’s what the election results could mean for the rest of the country.
Kenney’s win in Alberta is expected to be a major headache for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after the former federal cabinet member repeatedly vowed during the campaign to challenge the federal Liberals on everything from the provincial carbon tax to how Ottawa distributes funds to the provinces for government services.
David Stewart, a political sciences professor at the University of Calgary, said Kenney has made it clear that he plans to have a confrontational relationship with the federal government.
“I think they [Trudeau government] should be prepared for the end of the carbon tax, the end of any kind of cooperation on climate change with the province of Alberta, and from having any kind of ally in this part of the country,” Stewart told CTV News Channel after the election results came in.
Kenney has already promised to push for a cut in federal income taxes on Albertans as well as changes to Employment Insurance to better assist those who lost their jobs during the energy recession.
The former federal cabinet minister under Prime Minister Stephen Harper has also taken aim at how federal money is redistributed to provinces. He has also threatened to hold a referendum in 2021 to remove equalization, a program that forces “have” provinces to give money to Ottawa to distribute to “have not” provinces.
Even Notley’s working relationship with Trudeau came under fire during the lead-up to the election, with Kenney accusing them of a “Trudeau-Notley alliance” that put Ottawa’s interests ahead of the province. (Source: CTV News)
Jason Kenney Before he became premier gallery