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NDP Dumped, Kenney Count Down Begins

Edmonton (ATB): According to a sizeable majority of voters, the NDP and Rachel Notley didn’t get the job done of reviving the economy and getting pipelines built. Such is the harsh price of failure.
Albertans outside of Edmonton decided that a more aggressive plan under Jason Kenney and his rookie United Conservative Party will be more effective. The premier-designate did not back away from that promise in his half-hour acceptance speech.
“Today our great province has sent a message to Canada and the world that Alberta is open for business,” he said.
For a fiery Kenney, the fight for pipelines will be ramped up, putting opponents on notice that Alberta’s patience has run out.
“There is a deep frustration in this province, a sense that we have contributed massively to the rest of Canada, but that everywhere we turn we are being blocked in and pinned down,” he said.
Voters in Calgary and rural ridings have high expectations the rhetoric will translate into action, finally. It’s a tall order, with the price of oil lingering around $60 a barrel, natural gas prices in the dumps and another Trans Mountain pipeline decision. All of these issues, including the oft-delayed Keystone XL and Line 3 pipelines, are largely out of Alberta’s hands and pipeline opponents, here and internationally, have not suddenly evaporated. Unabashed, Kenney vowed to battle those enemies head-on.
The UCP also ran on a pledge to bring runaway government spending under control. Albertans are justifiably frightened as provincial debt heads to $100 billion. Again, that’s another formidable challenge as tough choices will have to be made while cutting corporate tax revenue.
Another voter carrot was the promise to end the despised carbon tax, which Kenney has said will be one of the first tasks of his new government. But without a provincial carbon tax, the federal government will impose its own on Albertans. Kenney will likely join the other conservative premiers in a legal challenge of federal jurisdiction.
Despite authorizing a constant barrage of ugly attacks on the UCP during the campaign, Notley was gracious in defeat.
“It has been an honour to serve as your premier and it will be an honour to serve as the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition,” she told supporters.
We salute all the MLAs who served this province for the past four years. Public service is an honour, privilege and a huge commitment. We wish the best of luck to the new crop.
For all the nastiness of the campaign, both sides, however, will have to put down their social media arms and work for the good of all Albertans, which is not to say the government should escape scrutiny by a vigorous opposition.
For Kenney, its mission accomplished for one of the most remarkable political odysseys in Canadian history. After years in Ottawa in the Harper cabinet, he returned to Alberta with one goal in mind: restore conservative rule.
To do that, he had to win the leadership of the Progressive Conservative party. Check. Then he had to unite the fractious Wildrose and PC parties into the UCP. Check. Next, he had to become the leader of the new party. Check. Finally, he had to win over Alberta. Check.
For all that, his toughest task has just begun.

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