Maclean’s Live: Watch with Wells as the results roll in

If Jim Prentice wins this evening, he’ll look like a genius. If not? History. The fun starts at 7pm MT/9pm ET


alberta carousel3

It’s Alberta after all: home to the most durable political dynasty in Canada. Jim Prentice, a figure of admiration and something close to longing in Conservative circles, left a lucrative job in banking to return to politics and extend the Alberta PC legacy.

And if he wins tonight, he’ll look like a genius in hindsight, and if not, we’ll make some history. So it’s a good night for a politics geek. We’ll be updating this account of … of … of whatever’s about to happen through the evening.

7:39 p.m. MT:

I guess I have one general point to make before the polls close and numbers start rolling in. We’ve all been fascinated by the polls and, to some extent, trading water-cooler gossip about the polls, but Jim Prentice was right about this much: there’s a big question being asked in this election. Albertans find themselves facing a forced choice they might have preferred to avoid.

For many years, Alberta has provided a relatively generous level of public services at a relatively low level of taxation. Stockwell Day used to say, when he was treasurer, that when groups called for more spending on health care or education in the province, that he wished they would simply say they wanted even more spending. It was a good line. There was truth to it.

Increasingly, the gap between big government and small taxes has been covered by resource revenues. The collapse of oil prices tore off that fig leaf, and now Albertans get to pick one. They can pay taxes commensurate with generous services; or they can cut the services. Those options are represented by, respectively, Rachel Notley’s NDP and Brian Jean’s Wildrose. Prentice defended an option close to halfway between them and sought to portray both as extremist. We’ll see how that worked for him.

Of course Albertans will be divided, and of course any answer today’s election provides will be provisional and muddy. But I like elections these days in general, because they’re often about real questions. This one sure is.

8:06 p.m. MT:

Polls closed! Nothing has happened yet.

8:27 p.m. MT:

Well, that didn’t last. I feel like I sat through Age of Ultron again during that last 20 minutes. Early lead for the PCs in several ridings; NDP a poor third in popular vote. That lasted 6 or 8 whole minutes. But now the NDP have pulled firmly into a lead in popular vote and seats. This is a historic breakthrough for the NDP in any event. We’ll see whether it holds.

It’s still early.

8:43 p.m. MT:

It’s not early any more.

Rachel Notley is the next premier of Alberta. The PCs have managed second place in popular vote, at this hour; this is unfortunate for the near-term future of Conservatism in Alberta, because the PCs will be tempted to continue to entertain the fantasy that they can continue as a separate party without merging (really, reconciling) with Wildrose.

Conservatives in Alberta now face the same question that faces divided opposition parties elsewhere: Do you enjoy having your own party? More than you would enjoy, say, power?

I’ve got some writing to do for the magazine. Good night, all.


Maclean’s Live: Watch with Wells as the results roll in

  1. Everybody seems hesitant tonight, so screw it. The split in the polls is looking very Chretien Liberals in Ontario-ish, and I’m calling 65+ seats for the NDP.

    • Oh it’ll probably be the same ole PCs again…..I believe Wells has a rule about it….but, I wish, I wish…..

      • You declare your hatred for our province as often as you can so why do you even care who wins. It is like an illness with you…an obsession of vitriol.

        • You’re holding Canada back….and need a kick in the political ass

          • Well it looks like its going NDP so we will see how that change will make any difference to Canada. I expect all positive comments from you with regard to Alberta from now on.

          • Only problem is we are now a have not province just like you in Ontario so no more equalization payments from us. I am so thrilled to be in a union right now because if we are going into deep debt, I know Ms. Notley will treat us real good.

        • Well I’m not NDP and don’t care who wins as long as you get out of that rut you’re in, and modernize.

  2. You hit the nail on the head with your comments about the fact that Albertans have had little to complain about. We can go on about the government crapping away the money but much was spent on services to accommodate a very fast growing population. We have always had fantastic roads and we are always building better road system in our cities to ease congestion. Every small town got a new hospital under Mr. Lougheed. We have an excellent school system that allows parents to take their school grants where ever they like…to a science school, a French school, an Arabic school, a Cantonese school or a home school. We have expanded our universities. For over 6 years Albertans paid no health premiums. They paid the lowest taxes and had almost no unemployment. Now they are mad. Not because we are in a bust. This is the 4th bust since I have reached adulthood. They are mad because Prentice was arrogant, tried to demolish his opposition by inviting them across the floor and then called an election a year earlier than he had to. Ralph Klein delivered much worse budgets. We survived them.

  3. The NDP is leading in 43, PCs in 19, WR in 13

  4. What if Danielle Smith has stayed put?
    Has there ever been a decision like it?

    • Well Albertans tossed 2 women….so now they’ve got the 3rd. LOL

      • Notley should appoint Smith to Alberta’s version of the senate in gratitude. Surely she could chair some board or commission or undertake a public inquiry.

Sign in to comment.