The United Conservative Party (UCP) is projected to be victorious in their campaign and has won the provincial election, forming a majority government. Danielle Smith was able to hang on as Alberta’s premier, but with a reduced majority for her government, holding 49 out of 87 seats whereas the NDP has been declared the winner in 38 ridings. In Smith’s victory speech, she acknowledged the campaign was challenging and supported by a well-funded and coordinated NDP, and promised to serve all Albertans, despite how they voted. Danielle Smith now has four years to continue what she started and make good on the promises she made.
Rural Alberta’s ridings remained solidly blue today, but the NDP made gains in urban areas and unseated several of Danielle Smith’s cabinet ministers, including former health minister Jason Copping (Calgary-Varsity), former mental health and addiction minister Nicholas Milliken (Calgary-Currie) and deputy premier Kaycee Madu (Edmonton South West). The UCP cabinet ministers who retained their seats include Adriana Lagrange (education), Rebecca Schulz (municipal affairs), Nate Horner (agriculture), Rick Wilson (Indigenous relations) and Nathan Neudorf (infrastructure). The NDP dominated in Edmonton as three Calgary NDP incumbents – Kathleen Ganley, Irfan Sabir and Joe Ceci – were each re-elected. The NDP displayed a great performance during the election, allocating total votes and placing second-best for seats won. Rachel Notley will continue as leader of the New Democrats despite turnout as she attempted to win over conservative voters by minimizing her carbon-pricing policies and underscoring healthcare reforms and costs-of-living relief.
Alberta has a long-standing capricious relationship with the federal government as it defends the profitable energy industry and other areas of concentration. Smith’s government previously passed the controversial Alberta sovereignty act and deliberated opting out of the Canada Pension Plan to implement a provincial version. These proposals were not part of the UCP platform during the campaign, and the repercussions remain to be seen, when or if Smith’s government invokes the sovereignty act – a move that would likely initiate court challenges while damaging efforts between Ottawa and the provinces to work together on solving national issues, such as healthcare funding.
The UCP set out clear promises during their campaign, and many that Albertans will hold the government accountable for. The UCP’s pledges include creating a new tax bracket that will deliver an additional $760 for individuals earning more than $60,000 a year, extending the halt on the provincial fuel tax, following a public healthcare assurance, introducing a 25 percent discount for seniors on personal registry services, camping fees and medical driving exams, as well as allocate the proposed compassionate intervention act, and finally, dedicate $80 million over four years to acquire recreation facilities.