Big election win for Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party, CBC projects

by - 9 min read

Big election win for Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party, CBC projects

by - 9 min read


Jason Kenney has capped his three-year goal of uniting Alberta’s political right, leading his United Conservative Party to a majority win over the province’s first-ever NDP government.

Created in 2017 through a merger of the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties, early results project the UCP to win a majority of seats in Tuesday’s provincial election.

Rachel Notley’s NDP will become Alberta’s Official Opposition. The party dropped from 52 seats, with the majority of support concentrated in Notley’s home base of Edmonton.

Kenney, a former cabinet minister in Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, won the leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservative party in 2016 before leading the PCs into a successful 2017 merger with the Wildrose Party. That same year, he won the UCP leadership handily in a contest later marred by controversy.

10 p.m MT

The NDP’s Debbie Jabbour loses her seat in Peace River to Dan Williams of the UCP. UCP candidate Nate Glubish wins in Strathcona-Sherwood Park, a seat that had been held by the NDP. UCP candidate Martin Long wins West Yellowhead, a seat also held by the NDP.

Maria Fitzpatrick of the NDP loses Lethbridge-East to Nathan Neudorf of the UCP.

Dale Nally of the UCP wins in Morinville-St. Albert.

9:56 p.m. MT

NDP Leader Rachel Notley opens her concession speech with a joke to cut the tension: “I am very glad that we expanded Alberta’s craft beer industry.”

The loss to the UCP “isn’t the result we hoped for,” Notley tells a raucous crowd in Edmonton.

“As I look out at all of you, I am filled with an enormous sense of gratitude and pride. I have gratitude for my team, a more dedicated group of public service, you will never find. To all of them — particularly those of them not returning to the legislature — you have my eternal thanks.”

9:52 p.m. MT

The UCP wins both Airdrie ridings: Angela Pitt in Airdrie-East and Peter Guthrie in Airdrie-Cochrane.

9:47 p.m. MT

The NDP’s Jessica Littlewood loses her seat in Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville to the UCP’s Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk.

9:45 p.m. MT

UCP candidate Leela Aheer is projected to win Chestermere-Strathmore, defeating Freedom Conservative Party Leader Derek Fildebrandt.

9:42 p.m. MT

“Tonight Albertans made their voice clear, they voted for change,” former Alberta Party leader Greg Clark says in Calgary.

“I want to say a very special thank you to Rachel Notley. She governed Alberta with honour.”

9:42 p.m MT

NDP cabinet minister Danielle Larivee loses Lesser Slave Lake to Pat Rehn of the UCP.

9:41 p.m. MT

“We have to be very proud,” Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel tells supporters after it becomes clear he won’t win in Edmonton-McClung.

“We went from just over two per cent to over 10 per cent in the polls and it is still climbing. It was a very polarized situation … and it made it difficult for us. We have the most amazing candidates. They were an incredible group of people that I was proud to work with.”

9:40 p.m. MT

So far, the seat breakdown has the UCP winning or leading in 62 seats, the NDP in 25. There are no Alberta Party or Liberal candidates on the board.

9:33 p.m. MT

Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel will not win a seat in his riding of Edmonton-McClung.

9:27 p.m. MT

More UCP wins outside of the major centres: Nathan Cooper in Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills, Jackie Lovely in Camrose, Joseph Schow in Cardston-Siksika, Devin Dreeshen in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, R.J. Sigurdson in Highwood, Tracy Allard in Grande Prairie, Richard Wilson in Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin, and Roger Reid in Livingtone-McLeod.

The NDP has won Edmonton-Rutherford. Candidate Richard Feehan was an NDP caucus chair and has taught social work at the University of Calgary. He beat out UCP candidate Hannah Presakarchuk, a registered nurse.

9:28 p.m. MT

Another NDP cabinet minister is defeated: Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd loses in Central Peace-Notley to the UCP’s Todd Loewen.

9:23 p.m. MT

UCP candidate Prasad Panda, who served as the party’s energy critic, has won a seat in Calgary-Edgemont. The UCP’s Rebecca Schulz has unseated former NDP MLA Graham Sucha in Calgary-Shaw.

9:22 p.m. MT

The NDP is projected to win in Edmonton-Meadows, with candidate Jasvir Deol beating UCP candidate Len Rhodes.

9:13 p.m. MT

NDP incumbent Lori Sigurdson has won her seat in Edmonton-Riverview. Sigurdson served as minister of advanced education, as well as labour, and seniors and housing.

9:11 p.m MT

NDP Leader Rachel Notley is re-elected in Edmonton-Strathcona.

9:10 p.m. MT

In Edmonton-Glenora, former NDP health minister Sarah Hoffman has been re-elected. The NDP has also held on to Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview, where Deron Bilous was re-elected. 

9:08 p.m. MT

UCP’s Jason Nixon is re-elected in Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre.

9:06 p.m. MT

The NDP loses its two seats in Red Deer to the UCP. Adriana LaGrange is projected to win in Red Deer-North, Jason Stephan in Red Deer-South.

In Edmonton-Gold Bar, voters have elected NDP candidate Marlin Schmidt. Schmidt was minister of advanced education under Rachel Notley.

9:05 p.m. MT

UCP incumbent Ric McIver has won his riding in Calgary-Hays. The party has also won the ridings of Calgary-Fish Creek, Calgary-Lougheed, Calgary-North West, Calgary-Shaw, Calgary-South East and Calgary-West.

United Conservative Party supporters celebrate in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Party Leader Jason Kenney has retained his seat of Calgary-Lougheed in the Alberta election. ( Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

9:03 p.m. MT

NDP cabinet minister Oneil Carlier loses his seat in Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland to Shane Getson of the UCP.

9:02 p.m. MT

In the ridings surrounding Edmonton, the UCP has won Spruce Grove-Stony Plain, where Searle Turton had a substantial lead over NDP incumbent Erin Babcock. The UCP is also ahead in Strathcona-Sherwood Park, with Nate Glubish ahead of NDP candidate Moira Váne. The UCP is also ahead in Morinville-St. Albert.

9 p.m. MT

NDP candidates elected in Edmonton: David Shepherd is projected to win in Edmonton-City Centre. Janis Irwin is expected to win in Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood.

8:58 p.m. MT

The UCP has kept its two seats in Fort McMurray: Laila Goodridge is re-elected in Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche and Tany Yao is re-elected in Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo.

8:55 p.m. MT

UCP leader Jason Kenney wins seat in Calgary-Lougheed, CBC projects.

8:51 p.m. MT

More UCP candidates elected: Garth Roswell in Vermilion-Lloydminister-Wainwright, Nathan Horner in Drumheller-Stettler, Mark Smith in Drayton Valley-Devon, Grant Hunter in Taber-Warner, Travis Toews in Grande Prairie-Wapiti, Ron Orr in Lacombe-Ponoka, Glenn van Dijken in Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock, and Drew Barnes in Cypress-Medicine Hat.

8:45 p.m. MT

More Edmonton results coming in: In Edmonton Castle-Downs, NDP candidate Nicole Goehring is ahead of UCP candidate Ed Ammar. In Edmonton South-West, a new riding created in this election, UCP candidate Kaycee Madu is leading over NDP candidate John Archer.

It appears to be a close race in Edmonton-Meadows, with NDP candidate Jasvir Deol leading UCP candidate Len Rhodes. Rhodes, the former president and CEO of the Edmonton Eskimos, was hand-picked by Kenney.

An NDP supporter in Edmonton watches as the polling numbers begin to roll in on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Kenney’s United Conservatives have jumped out front in early returns in Alberta’s election, winning many rural seats. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

8:36 p.m. MT

Former Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark, who is running in Calgary-Elbow, said he thinks the party will surprise people with how many votes it brings in.

“I don’t think the divisiveness we saw in this campaign was good for Alberta, I do think it brought people to our party,”  he said.

8:36 p.m. MT

The UCP’s Michaela Glasgo is projected to win in Brooks-Medicine Hat.

8:33 p.m. MT

The UCP is leading in 35 of 48 ridings reporting so far, and cheers fill UCP headquarters in Calgary as the results begin to roll in.

8:31 p.m. MT

Voting has been extended in Central Peace-Notley until 9:10 p.m. because two polling stations were late opening Tuesday morning.

8:28 p.m. MT

Close race in Edmonton-McClung: NDP incumbent Lorne Dach has 36 votes, the UCP’s Laurie Mozeson has 27 and Alberta Party leader has 23 votes. Only one of 81 polls reporting.

8:22 p.m. MT

The UCP is currently ahead in conservative strongholds Drumheller-Stettler, Brooks-Medicine Hat, Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, and Highwood. The party is also ahead in Lesser Slave Lake, a riding currently held by the NDP.

8:15 p.m. MT

First polls to report: Mark Smith, the UCP’s embattled candidate in Drayton Valley-Devon, is ahead with 178 votes, to 35 for the NDP’s Kieran Quirke.

One riding that has yet to close is Calgary-Acadia. The poll opened 33 minutes late due to a lockdown at the school, so that station will remain open until 8:33 p.m.

8 p.m. MT

The polls have now closed and the votes are being counted in the 2019 Alberta election. You can follow our live coverage here from our team of CBC reporters as the results begin to stream in.

This story will be updated throughout the night …

Below is our election coverage from earlier today:

Albertans are going to the polls today to decide whether to give Rachel Notley and the NDP government a second mandate, or choose Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party to lead the province for the next four years.

Notley cast her vote Tuesday morning at the Old Timers Cabin in Edmonton, alongside children Ethan and Sophie Arab who are voting for the first time in a provincial election.

“It’s going; it’s going; it’s gone. Can’t change my mind now,” Notley said, sliding her ballot into the box. 

Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel and his wife Lynn Mandel cast their ballot at Centennial School in Edmonton, the school his children attended.

“It’s kind of gone all the way around the circle,” he said. 

Kenney and Liberal Party Leader David Khan voted last week in Calgary at advance polls. 

UCP and NDP vie for majority 

If the UCP wins a majority today, it shows Albertans have decided to embrace the party’s economic message and ignore allegations of fraud surrounding Kenney’s successful 2017 leadership bid, and the racist and homophobic views espoused by some current and former candidates.

A UCP victory would also put an end to Alberta’s first NDP government, which in 2015 broke the Progressive Conservatives’ 44-year grip on power, and bring Kenney’s three-year push to unite Alberta conservatives under a single party to a successful conclusion.

  • Get the latest news, photos and video from CBC staff in our live blog as Alberta elects a new government:

If Notley is able to hold on to power, it will show her campaign, with its focus on Kenney’s social conservative views and investigations into the 2017 UCP leadership race, created enough doubt in voters’ minds about his suitability to govern.

The Alberta Party is looking to get leader Stephen Mandel elected to the legislature and to increase the three seats it held in the last legislature.

The UCP has consistently led the NDP in the polls throughout the campaign.

Turnout in last week’s advance polls set new records, with 696,000 votes cast over five days, three times the amount cast in advance during the last election.

However, 223,000 of those ballots were cast by people voting outside of their electoral divisions, which means they won’t be counted until Wednesday. Some of the closer races may not be decided Tuesday.

Polls close at 8 p.m. MT on Tuesday. 

A divisive, toxic campaign 

The campaign has been bitter and divisive since it officially started on March 19.

NDP signs have been destroyed and stolen; a Red Deer resident had an anti-NDP message scratched into the side of their SUV; and angry rhetoric has filled social media feeds. 

Notley is facing an uphill battle to keep her 52 seats, particularly outside her home base of Edmonton. She spent most of her campaign in Calgary, where her party won 15 of 25 seats in 2015, mostly due to split of votes between the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties.

Notley came to office not long after oil prices began their steep drop in 2014. The resulting recession led to large job losses, particularly in Calgary. While the economy has improved, the jobs have not come back, a point Kenney kept hammering home during the campaign.

  • VOTE COMPASS | Find out how your views on campaign issues line up with the platforms of Alberta’s major parties

Notley has framed the question for voters as asking who they trust to be premier — her or Kenney. 

The NDP initially made Kenney‘s past activism against abortion rights and LGBTQ issues a focus of its campaign, in an effort to portray him as out of step with mainstream Alberta.

Notley shifted her campaign during the last two weeks to focus on what her party would do for Calgary. She has argued Kenney’s plan to end her oil-by-rail deal would damage the city’s economic prospects, and that his promise to cut corporate taxes would not create jobs.

She claimed Kenney’s vow to “get tough with Ottawa” is nothing more than political theatre and won’t get shovels in the ground for the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion. She claims that Kenney’s vow to hold the line on spending amounts to a cutback for a growing province. 

Kenney’s campaign has focused on jobs, the economy and pipelines. He repeatedly brings up what he calls Notley’s “failed alliance” with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that hasn’t brought Alberta any closer to a coastal pipeline. Kenney is vowing to end the province’s carbon tax, and fight the federal plan that will be imposed in its absence in court.

The NDP decided to build infrastructure and maintain government services during the economic downturn. Kenney has made this decision, which has landed Alberta billions in debt, into a campaign issue. 

Mark Smith, other controversies

Over the past 28 days, Kenney has faced a steady stream of allegations about the UCP leadership campaign in 2017.

More damaging allegations emerged last week suggesting fraudulent emails were used to cast ballots for Kenney. The matter has come to the attention of the RCMP who have interviewed at least one person whose name was attached to a fake email address. Kenney has defended the voting process used during the campaign.

United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney, seen here in St. Albert on Monday, appears headed to a majority government. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

At the midpoint of the campaign, a six-year-old sermon from UCP Drayton Valley-Devon candidate Mark Smith became a huge issue for Kenney.

Smith claimed same-sex unions aren’t real love and that women who have abortions are murdering their babies.

  • Listen to The Ledge podcast, as CBC’s legislative reporters bring you expert analysis and insiders’ insight

On April 3, Kenney was called to task in a combative interview with national conservative radio host Charles Adler, particularly for his choice to let Smith stay as the candidate in the reliably conservative riding.

On Monday, Kenney claimed he did not know why a business belonging to Peter Singh, the UCP candidate in Calgary-East, was searched by RCMP on Thursday night.

During the campaign, Notley has faced questions about her decision to withhold the names of the two NDP MLAs who were investigated for sexual misconduct since 2015. Notley claims releasing their names would identify the complainants. It is not known if the two caucus members in question are running in this election.

You can find full coverage on the CBC Calgary and CBC Edmonton websites and tune in to our election broadcast starting at 7:30 p.m. MT on:

Or, listen to the radio special starting at 8 p.m. MT on CBC Radio One.

This story originally appeared on CBC