Rachel Notley says transition in Alberta is under way

NDP leader begins first formal steps to taking over reins of power in Alberta

Alberta premier-elect Rachel Notley waves as she speaks the media during a press conference in Edmonton on Wednesday, May 6, 2015. (Nathan Denette/CP)

Alberta premier-elect Rachel Notley waves as she speaks the media during a press conference in Edmonton on Wednesday, May 6, 2015. (Nathan Denette/CP)

EDMONTON — Incoming premier Rachel Notley has taken the first step toward taking over power in Alberta by formally meeting with the lieutenant-governor to seek approval to form government.

Notley said Thursday there’s no date yet for when she will be sworn in as the province’s 17th premier.

“Getting over the fact that people call me premier now is sort of fading,” she said outside Lt.-Gov. Donald Ethell’s office. “Now I’m starting to have some really amazing meetings about all the things that we have on our plate.”

She said she and her 52 caucus members are to meet Saturday and she admitted things are hectic in their current space.

“Four people on one desk fighting over the computer, trying to figure out where to plug in the phone. We’re at that sort of level right now.”

Notley said she’s had calls to provide advice from leaders across the country. She has also said she is reaching out energy industry brass to reassure them about NDP plans to raise corporate taxes and review royalty rates.

One of those energy leaders shared his concerns about those ideas Thursday.

“Clearly, this is not good for the industry,” said Steve Laut, president of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (TSX:CNQ). “That being said, we are heartened by her statement that they will be a good partner with the oil and gas industry.”

As it stands now, the fiscal terms in British Columbia and Saskatchewan are “about equivalent,” with Alberta perhaps a bit better in some regards, Laut told reporters.

The corporate tax rate is 11 per cent in B.C. and 12 per cent in Saskatchewan. Notley proposes taking Alberta’s to rate to 12 per cent from 10 per cent.

“Let’s get the facts and see what happens,” Laut said. “That’s how we run the company — we get all the facts and understand what they mean and make the decisions.”

The NDP dismantled the 44-year-old Progressive Conservative dynasty on Tuesday by winning a majority in the provincial election.

The Wildrose party captured 21 seats to retain its role as official Opposition, while the Tories under Jim Prentice plunged to 10 seats from 70. He announced that night that he was quitting politics. The Liberals kept one seat and the Alberta Party will send its first elected member to the legislature.

Elections Alberta is to release the official results on May 15, including the outcome of a tie vote in Calgary Glenmore. Progress Conservative incumbent Linda Johnson and NDP challenger Anam Kazim each had 7,015 votes in unofficial tabulations.

Two candidates in the southern Alberta constituency of Little Bow will also be watching the results of the official recount closely. Wildrose candidate Dave Schneider defeated incumbent Progressive Conservative Ian Donovan by just 12 votes.

Donovan was one of 11 former Wildrose members of the legislature, including party leader Danielle Smith, who crossed the floor to Prentice and the PCs late last year.

Smith, speaking on a radio talk show in Calgary on Thursday, said they crossed the floor because they thought Prentice was a kindred fiscal conservative, not the man who later tabled a budget increasing taxes while avoiding deep cuts to spending.

“(It was) very, very naive,” she told CHQR. “I get that now.”


Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.