NDP maintains Edmonton stronghold, while Mandel defeated in hometown – CBC.ca

NDP maintains Edmonton stronghold, while Mandel defeated in hometown - CBC.ca
Jason Kenneys United Conservative Party wins majority government
Edmonton bucked the province's tilt to the right in Tuesday night's election and remains an NDP stronghold, although two races in the southern corners of the city remain too close to call. 

High-profile candidates such as Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel and UCP star candidate Len Rhodes were both en route to decisive defeats at the hands of their NDP opponents.

Oil executives see Kenney as industry champion, but key issues divide sector at home

The loss for Mandel, the city's former mayor and one of the Alberta Party's most well-known faces, puts his future with the party in question. He had only been at the helm of the upstart party since February 2018.

In December, Ms. Notley imposed an across-the-board production cut on oil companies in order to reduce the glut of inventories that built up in Alberta due to growing production, insufficient pipeline and rail capacity and a temporary shutdown of some key refineries in the U.S. Midwest. The growing inventories meant Alberta crude sold at a discount, with a widening differential between Western Canadian heavy oil and the benchmark West Texas Intermediate.

"We're optimistic about the future of the party … we will continue to work hard," Mandel said in his concession speech in Edmonton.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) is hopeful the new government will make good on its campaign pledge to pursue less regulation and lower taxes to spur growth. CAPP president Tim McMillan said both the United Conservative Party and the NDP based their campaigns on the need to ensure the oil industry has sufficient access to markets and a competitive regulatory environment.

"I look forward to seeing the next steps, what's going to happen to the party. I really believe this is the party of the future," Mandel said, adding that he believes the Alberta Party is an option for people who want to step away from deep political polarization in Alberta.

Companies like Suncor Energy Inc., Imperial Oil Ltd. and Husky Energy Inc. oppose the curtailment – which started at 325,000 barrels per day in January and will be eased to 175,000 barrels per day in June. We believe a free market should be free, Suncors chief financial officer Alister Cowan told the Bank of Nova Scotia investors conference.

NDP incumbent Lorne Dach appeared set to win the Edmonton-McClung riding, with approximately 44 per cent of the vote, to the UCP Laurie Mozeson's 34 per cent, and Mandel's 21 per cent. 

Still, companies need to realize that they will face growing pressure to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from international investors who are committed to reducing the risk climate change poses to their portfolios, Jackie Forrest, a Calgary-based analyst at Arc Energy Research Institute, told the Scotiabank conference.

The riding, however, had a large number of advance ballots that were cast outside the riding. Those ballots — more than 4,200 — will be counted Wednesday.

Major oil-sands companies, including Suncor and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., supported Ms. Notleys carbon tax and the cap on oil-sands emissions, and argue they have succeeded in reducing emissions dramatically at new projects. However, there is widespread opposition to the levy in the industry more broadly.

Meanwhile, other notable NDP candidates cruised to easy victories throughout the city, including former NDP deputy premier Sarah Hoffman, who is on track to retain her seat in Edmonton-Glenora, with a solid lead over the UCP candidate, Marjorie Newman.

David Eggen, who headed the education file for the past four years, swept past his closest competitor in the riding of Edmonton-North West.

Mr. Kenney won a resounding victory in Tuesdays election on a platform of unwavering support for the provinces leading industry, which has been hammered by depressed natural-gas prices, volatile crude prices and a lack of sufficient pipeline capacity to reach export markets.

In perhaps the least surprising Edmonton result, NDP leader Rachel Notley is expected to win with 70 per cent of the vote.

We hope that over a sensible time period, we pull out of curtailment, but we would hope its not quick or shock action, said Tristan Goodman, president of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada, which represents smaller companies.

In Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood, former teacher Janis Irwin trounced the UCP candidate, capturing more than 60 per cent of the vote with the majority of polls reporting.

Oil-industry executives are counting on Jason Kenney to be their champion in taking on the federal government and the industrys critics, but the Alberta premier-elect faces a divided industry on some key issues in his home province.

In Edmonton-Whitemud, rookie NDP candidate Rakhi Pancholi is expected to win over UCP candidate Elisabeth Hughes.

Political newcomer Jasvir Deol — who only won the NDP nomination contest in February — is on track to beat star UCP candidate Len Rhodes in Edmonton-Meadows by at least 1,500 votes.

We want to see a government in place thats pro our industry and currently that is not the case, Myles Bosman, chief operating officer at Birchcliff Energy Ltd., said in an interview Tuesday, prior to the closing of polls.

Rhodes was hand-picked to run in the new riding of Edmonton-Meadows by Kenney, who used his leadership powers to appoint Rhodes over three others who had spent months vying for UCP the nomination. The appointment caused waves within the riding's UCP base, with 14 members of the constituency association complaining about the appointment.

The United Conservative Party Leader plans to scrap the carbon tax adopted by the New Democratic Party government, slash corporate tax rates and cut other regulations that industry complains are impeding investment and growth.

"People gave their decision for Rachel Notley and the NDP — and that's what we were hearing (on the doorsteps)," Deol said after he was projected to win the riding on Tuesday.

He has also vowed to go to war with the federal Liberal government over its climate-change policies and with environmental critics who are seen by industry supporters as unfairly targeting Alberta as a climate villain.

"People clearly rejected Jason Kenney's decision to parachute a candidate into my riding."

Mr. Cowan said the companies had already begun responding to the glut by cutting production last fall when Ms. Notley ordered the across-the-board curtailment, which hit low-cost producers along with everyone else.

In Edmonton-West Henday, only 113 votes separated NDP incumbent Jon Carson from UCP candidate Nicole Williams, with all but two polls reporting.

Companies are also split on the NDPs plan to purchase rail cars to provide additional export capacity while three planned pipeline projects – which are delayed or on hold altogether – can be completed.

In Edmonton-South West, fewer than 800 votes separated UCP candidate Kaycee Madu from the NDP's John Archer, with approximately 97 per cent of polls reporting.

With hundreds of thousands of Albertans who participated in advance polling this year, Elections Alberta won't even start counting some of those votes until Wednesday afternoon — both of these tight races have a large number of outstanding ballots still to be counted.

Former municipal affairs minister Shaye Anderson is projected to lose his seat in Leduc-Beaumont to UCP candidate Brad Rutherford by more than 3,500 votes.

They said you need to change your governments as a signal to us to re-engage and invest in Canada, Mr. Bosman said on the sidelines of an investor conference in Toronto.

And the party appeared unable to maintain its grip on Red Deer, with incumbents in the city's two ridings expected to cede their seats to UCP candidates.

However, many oil-company officials are urging Mr. Kenney to keep the curtailment policy in place, at least until more rail capacity can be brought online.

In Red Deer North, UCP candidate Adriana LaGrange, a school trustee, is projected to win with more than double the votes of NDP incumbent Kim Schreiner.

Alberta premier-elect Jason Kenney greets supporters at his provincial election-night headquarters in Calgary on April 16, 2019.

Similarly, in Red Deer South, lawyer and chartered accountant Jason Stephan had more than 4,000 votes over NDP incumbent Barb Miller, with more than two-thirds of polls reporting.

As a result, Mr. Kenneys incoming government will have to show the world it has a serious plan to tackle climate change.

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I dont think this is a trend that is going to go away; its going to get bigger and bigger, Ms. Forrest said.

Alberta voters handed Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party a majority government in Tuesday’s election, along with a strong mandate to scrap the carbon tax and usher in a new era of fiscal conservatism.

The UCP victory is impressive given the party is not even two years old and led by a politician who has years of experience governing in Ottawa with the federal Tories, but was only elected as an MLA in Alberta four months ago.

This was the first election in which the party ran a full slate of candidates, campaigning as an alternative option to the left- and right-wing NDP and UCP frontrunners. It held 10 per cent of the total vote as of 11 p.m. Tuesday, a major increase from 2.29 per cent in 2015.

Kenney, 50, was first elected to the Alberta legislature when he won a byelection in Calgary-Lougheed in December. He retained his seat on Tuesday night.

It was a silent scene at the party’s Edmonton headquarters as results started to pour in. Mandel arrived at the Creative Hive, 16745 111 Ave., location shortly after 9:30 p.m. to raucous cheers from supporters and candidates in attendance.

Kenney arrived at UCP election headquarters in Calgary to give his victory speech in the same blue pickup truck he has been campaigning in for months.

“I think that it’s not unreasonable at some point in time for the board to make a decision to say bring on somebody younger … who can take the party through the next four years into the election,” he said.

“Today, our great province has sent a message to Canada and the world: Alberta is open for business.”

Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel could not save the party as it lost all three ridings it held when the writ dropped and he was a distant third in Edmonton-McClung, beaten by NDP incumbent Lorne Dach.

Watch below: Alberta Premier-designate Jason Kenney rode into UCP party headquarters in a blue truck to deliver his victory speech after his party won a majority government during the 2019 provincial election.

“I think the worst thing is Albertans are now not going to have the privilege of having some of you in the legislature because all of you are so incredibly bright,” Mandel said.

Kenney said his party’s victory is a message from struggling and unemployed Albertans and small business owners facing financial difficulties.

He said the UCP will take Alberta from “being the slowest-moving and most overregulated economy in Canada, to being one of the freest and fastest-moving economies in the world.”

“If you want to benefit from what will be the lowest taxes in Canada, if you want to benefit from a government that will cut its red-tape burden by one-third, if you want to benefit from Canada’s most educated population and a deep culture of enterprise and innovation, help us, come here, invest here, create jobs here, renew the Alberta advantage here.”

Mandel was running in third place with just less than 21 per cent of the vote, as UCP candidate Laurie Mozeson held second with 35 per cent.

Watch below: Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party has won a majority government in Alberta. Here is a look back on election night, in under two minutes.

Clark is the only candidate to be elected with the Alberta Party in 2015 and the party has never secured a seat in Edmonton.

Kenney went on to deliver a scathing message to the environmental groups and others he says are impeding Alberta’s oil industry.

As for if the longtime politician wants to stay on as leader, he said it’s not something he is thinking about.

“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.”

In concession, Mandel said his future with the party is up in the air and he is open to a review of leadership.

“We have been targeted by a foreign-funded campaign of special interests, seeking to landlock Canadian energy,” he said to a chorus of boos.

Kenney criticized environmental groups such as the David Suzuki Foundation for helping limit potential customers for Alberta oil and gas.

“We’ve been selling our country’s greatest asset at firesale prices, losing billions of dollars of value that belongs to us.”

Watch below: Alberta Premier-designate Jason Kenney related a story during his victory speech of meeting a young supporter three years ago and wanting to keep a promise to bring change to the province.

“In Ottawa, we have a federal government that has made this bad situation… much worse, killing two pipelines, including Energy East.”

At that point, Kenney was interrupted with thunderous chants of, “Build that pipe! Build that pipe!”

Trudeau, meanwhile, tweeted his congratulations to Kenney and said he looks forward to working with him to create jobs in Alberta. He also thanked Notley for her service as premier.

“I look forward to working with her on an orderly transition. And let me thank our premier for her tremendous public service.”

He said their disagreements should never “diminish our respect for one another as Albertans who are devoted to making life better for our fellow citizens.”

“The path for power was through rural Alberta,” said Duane Bratt, a political scientist at Mount Royal University.

“This will be the most significant political opposition we’ve ever seen [in Alberta],” Bratt said. “[It’s] a big victory for the UCP but they’re going to be up against an NDP that’s going to be consolidated regionally with government experience.”

Hal Danchilla is a longtime conservative political advisor who says he is a friend of Kenney’s.

“He has an awful lot of qualities that are the same as (former Progressive Conservative premier) Ralph Klein,” he said. “He says what he’s going to do, and then he finds a way of doing it.

The UCP formed in 2017 after the conservative Wildrose Party merged with the Kenney-led Progressive Conservative Party in a push to “unite the right” to defeat the NDP, who surprised many when they stormed to power in 2015, ending 44 years of Progressive Conservative rule in Alberta.

The UCP ran a campaign focused on building pipelines and reviving the Alberta economy, which has struggled since the price of oil collapsed just before the NDP was elected and Notley became premier in 2015.

The UCP’s election victory ends a four-week campaign that’s been described by many political commentators as one of the province’s most divisive in recent memory. The UCP consistently came under attack by the NDP, labour groups, and advocates for sexual and visible minorities for various policy positions and for homophobic, white nationalist, and misogynistic remarks and social media posts by several of its candidates that came to light during the campaign.

Voter engagement was high in the 2019 election, as evidenced by nearly 700,000 voters setting a new record for ballots cast at advance polls.

As of 9:30 p.m., only the UCP and NDP were on track to win any seats in the legislature. Rachel Notley retained her seat in Edmonton-Strathcona.

Notley smiled widely as she delivered a concession speech to her cheering supporters shortly before 10 p.m.

“It is on nights like tonight that I am very glad that we expanded Alberta’s craft beer industry,” she joked, prompting laughter from the crowd.

“Tonight’s result is not the one we hoped for or worked so hard for,” she said before expressing gratitude to her supporters, as they chanted, “Rachel! Rachel!”

“My friends, four years ago, Albertans hired us to do a very big job at a very difficult time, and we did that job with purpose and we did it with integrity,” she said. “Today, Alberta is a better place because of it.”

Notley said Alberta is closer than ever to getting a pipeline that will bring the province’s oil to tidewater.

Watch below: Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley speaks to her supporters Tuesday — moments after learning that political rival Jason Kenney’s UCP was projected to take a majority government.

“For those of us who are working for a more progressive Alberta, this may feel like a step back, but remember, we have made tremendous, tremendous progress.”

Watch below: Sally Houser, Rachel Notley’s senior advisor, speaks with Global News after learning of a projected UCP majority while Notley maintained her local seat.

Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel was defeated by NDP candidate Lorne Dach in the riding of Edmonton-McClung. The 73-year-old former Alberta health minister and Edmonton mayor said he was still happy with how his party did.

“Our party, I think we have to be very proud,” he said in a speech to supporters shortly before 10 p.m. “We went from two per cent to over ten per cent in the polls and still climbing.”

Watch below: Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel congratulated premier-elect Jason Kenney on his election victory. He also said everyone in the Alberta Party should be very proud of their efforts. Mandel did not win his seat in Edmonton-McClung.

Alberta Liberal Party Leader David Khan failed to win a seat in Calgary Mountain-View, the riding he was running in. It had been the party’s only seat in the legislature when it was dissolved.

“This was not our election but this is not the end of the Alberta Liberal Party,” he said. “We will regroup, reload and carry on.”

Watch below: Alberta Liberal Party Leader David Khan congratulates the United Conservative Party on their election win.

Notley will stay on to represent Edmonton-Strathcona, lead Official Opposition: Alberta election 2019