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Conservatives win in a two-party parliament in Alberta, Canada

Sunday, April 21, 2019

On April 16, 2019, the United Conservative Party won 63 seats out of 87 in a provincial election of Alberta, Canada. The party lead by Jason Kenney ended the New Democratic Party's single term in office, which saw Rachel Notley as premier. Incidentally, this was the first time there had been a two-party government in the province since 1979, with the Alberta Party and the Liberal Party having lost all their seats, as well as Freedom Conservative Party, Alberta Independence Party, Green and Independents.

Jason Kenney, the newly elected Premier of Alberta (United Conservative Party).
Image: Andrew Scheer.
Rachel Notley, the previous Premier of Alberta (New Democratic Party).
Image: Dave Cournoyer.

The election centred around the issue of the Trans-Mountain Pipeline, which the federal government tried to prevent the building of on the basis of environmental issues. This project would involve restimulating the oil sands regions by building a pipeline into the neighbouring province of British Columbia, and would create more jobs. This has resulted in more voters preferring to vote for the more conservative United Conservative Party, as its leader Jason Kenney said they would pressure the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to approve this project. An alternative of transporting oil by rail was available, according to the New Democratic Party.

In his pre-election campaign, Jason Kenney also said he would repeal the carbon tax in the province. He said that it was introduced in exchange for approval of the Trans-Mountain Pipeline, but as the approval was unavailable, they would repeal the carbon tax. Jason Kenney said, "We didn't see one single environmental group, provincial, municipal, government, First Nation, anybody move from ‘no’ to ’yes’ on pipelines as a result… all we got was stronger opposition to resource development and pipelines."

Justin Trudeau, the current Prime Minister (Liberal).
Image: Presidencia de la República Mexicana.
Andrew Scheer, the federal opposition leader (Conservative).
Image: Andrew Scheer.

There were other issues raised in the pre-election campaign. For instance, the New Democratic Party on several occasions referenced Jason Kenney's voting record on LGBTQ issues, which he claimed did not accurately represent his current stance on the matter. They also claimed that Jason Kenney would cut funding for education.

The election of a conservative government in this province may allegedly influence the federal elections in October. Many provinces which had liberal governments in 2015 have now elected a conservative one, including the large capital province of Ontario. Every new conservative government being elected in a province could reportedly increase chances of the federal opposition leader Andrew Scheer being elected Prime Minister later this year.