Amanda Coletta, CTVNews.ca
Posted Tuesday, April 16, 2019 4:43 AM EDT
Last updated on Tuesday, 16 April 2019 22:24 EDT
Polls began to close in Alberta, bringing to an end the often heated 28-day election campaign to determine whether the NDP Premier Rachel Notley will maintain her grip on power or be uneated by the new United Conservative Party led by former federal government minister Jason Kenney.
The political slugfest was predominantly dominated by questions of economic malaise that plagued Alberta since the fall of global oil prices in 2014, leading to a sharp rise in oil-rich unemployment and falling into a recession from which recovery was slow.
Kenney and Notley, whose unlikely victory in 2015 ended in the province of 44 years of conservative governance, also clashed with halted gas pipeline projects, including the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline to ship the ship to British Columbia where it would then be pulverized. more lucrative markets abroad.
Nearly 700,000 people cast early voting, setting a new record, and stable lineups were seen at polling stations across the province.
The election result may be historic. If Notley wins, Albert NDP will be the first prime minister in the re-election and second prime minister in Canada after B.C. Christy Clark wins second term. If he loses, he will be Alberta's first premiere, which fails to win the re-election on the first attempt.
Her way to victory is uncertain.
"Rachel Notley has done an amazing job in this campaign in what could be described as difficult political circumstances, but nothing is wrong with the fact that Jason Kenney is an experienced political professional," said Charles Bird, a liberal commentator. .
After their overwhelming loss in 2015, Kenney merged the Progressive Conservative Party with the center-right Wildrose Party to form UCP.
In the course of the campaign, he used the widespread sense of indignation and alienation that flourished among the Albertians, who believe that the federal government and the rest of the country disagree with their difficulty.
This year's Environics Institute survey found that 71% of the Albertians didn't feel that the province had the respect it should. Less than 20% think Alberta will get a fair share of federal spending and 56% agree that "Western Canada will get so few benefits that it can go on its own."
"We are in a highly polarized environment, no matter who wins," said Jared Wesley, Professor of Political Science at the University of Alberta.
According to Kenney's first order, abolishing the carbon tax and suing the government over her climate change plan would open the point of conflict with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
He also promised to hold a referendum on the elimination of balancing in 2021 – a federal government program in which provinces "have" give Ottawa money to "divide" it into provinces – from the Constitution if progress has not yet been made on the territory. Trans Mountain gas pipeline.
She believes Notley would be blamed for the project and taunted her for the "alliance" with Trudeau. The federal government bought a $ 4.5 billion gas pipeline in 2018 and hopes it will continue to build once it meets the requirements of a federal court judge last year who found that he had not adequately consulted the indigenous people.
Kenney pledged to return many of Notley's environmental measures and threatened to handle oil and gas transportation to B.C.
"He ran a very hard but effective campaign," Bird said.
But for Kenney, who had to reckon with his 22-year record in Canadian politics, which included opposition to abortion and same-sex marriages, it was not entirely smooth sailing.
Protests set off in the big cities of Albertan over his promise to allow teachers to inform parents if their child is a member of a gay-level alliance club.
During a performance on the Charles Adler radio show at night, Kenney tried to answer questions about his record and came under fire for the fact that Mark Smith, a UCP candidate who condemned homosexuality, did not fall out and seemed to compare it with pedophilia from the party.
Many UCP candidates have resigned or were forced to apologize for promoting bigotian, white nationalist, or homophobic views. Just last week, the Royal Canadian Police Police conducted a UCP dealer's search card, although it was unclear what this search was doing.
Notley's platform includes increased funding for teachers and building or repairing schools, as well as measures to add more long-term beds for the elderly and reduce waiting time for the operation.
She said her party did everything she could to build the pipeline. During her term of office, she announced restrictions on production for Albertan raw and signed a delivery contract of $ 3.7 billion to supply oil by rail to help deal with oil surplus and market the product.
She attacked Kenney and his party because of his social conservatism and more extreme views, which prompted her to accuse her of debating a "incitement" campaign to divert voters from realizing that she was "unable to defend her failed economic record." "
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