The final results of Alberta’s provincial election are in: the Progressive Conservatives of Premier Alison Redford have maintained their decades-long grip on power by winning a strong majority (61 seats out of 87) in the Alberta legislature. The Wildrose Party, pegged by poll after poll as the likely election victor, captured just 17. The Liberals, led by Raj Sherman, came up with five seats, while the NDP took four.
“Every Albertan knew that this election was about choice,” Redford told cheering supporters in her downtown Calgary victory speech, quoted by the CBC. “A choice to put up walls or to build bridges. A choice about Alberta’s future. Tonight, Alberta chose to build bridges.”
Pollster Bruce Cameron told the CBC that the Alberta Tories somewhat unexpected win may be linked to strategic voting in an effort to stave off a right-wing Wildrose government. “The social and moral and ethical issues that the Wildrose raised in the last week really brought some of those Liberal and ND voters over, and that’s what really contributed to the massive win,” Cameron told the CBC, referring to controversial homophobic and racial comments from Wildrose candidates during the campaign.
“Well, folks, tonight we found out that change might take a little longer than we wanted,” Wildrose leader Danielle Smith said during her concession speech, quoted by the National Post. “I acknowledge that we wanted to do better and we expected to do better. Am I surprised? Yeah. Am I disappointed? Yeah. Am I discouraged? Not a chance.”
Rod Love attributed to win to the enduring strength of what he called “the PC brand” when speaking with the National Post. “It shows once again that the Progressive Conservative of Alberta brand is the strongest brand in Canadian history. It can earn all kinds of hits and set backs and still earn the loyalty of Albertans,” he told the newspaper. ““The undecided voters broke toward the PC brand they knew as opposed to the Wildrose brand that they didn’t know, that they didn’t have that visceral connection to.”