Alberta voters went to the polls yesterday with one goal in mind – change. Voters wanted a plan to restore jobs, move Alberta oil to new markets and a leader who will stand up to the Trudeau government on issues like Bill C-69 and equalization. Albertans had a choice between two very different leaders and visions.
The Alberta campaign has been billed as one of the nastiest in campaign history. The campaign focused less on substance and more on mudslinging in the form of negative ads and very personal attacks.
Rachel Notley delivered a very aggressive and negative campaign compared to 2015. Notley could have run a campaign where she defended her government’s record and set out her plan. Instead, voters saw anger, attacks and aggression. The NDP was squarely focused on target supporters rather than the general electorate.
Jason Kenney is a formidable campaigner and his persistence and hard work have earned him a majority government. With yesterday’s resounding voter support, Kenney now has the mandate to execute his plan on pipelines, attracting investment to Alberta and getting control of government spending. In the short term, Kenney will move quickly to appoint his cabinet, restructure the executive council office, assess and craft an economic and financial update for the province. While these will all be significant, there is a broader agenda at play. Challenging and defeating Justin Trudeau in the fall election.
There are three transformative changes that are forecast to be presented by a Kenney government.
- Energy will trump environment;
- Provincial resource development will trump federal regulatory policy; and
- Control over resources will trump inter-provincial relations, specifically but not exclusively with British Columbia.
Each one of these approaches will be complex and challenge existing legal frameworks. Based on Kenney’s experience and determination, he will make progress on each one of these changes which will impact the federal agenda, starting first with Canada’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions. Even though the federal election has not officially started, Jason Kenney stands to be the real changemaker in the upcoming federal campaign.