This past weekend, Rachel Notley, leader of the New Democratic Party, was sworn in as premier of Alberta.
Because the last few premiers have not been good, I had hoped that Jim Prentice would be our next elected premier, and that he would be able to make many improvements. Prior to the campaign, however, oil prices crashed and Albertans became grumpy, and, during the campaign, he made a few but critical political stumbles. That and because people were hungry for change, he was defeated.
So here we are with a left leaning leader. Now, many Albertans are overjoyed while many others are fearful. For those that are overjoyed that their left leaning voices will finally be heard and acted upon, you’re in for disappointment. While I expect your voices will be heard, the reality of low oil prices will not allow the NDP to enact many of its desired changes. And, for those that are fearful, relax. It won’t be as bad as you fear. The NDP will realize that many Albertans did not endorse their platform, but rather voted for change. So it will have to adapt to the needs and wants of Albertans while operating within Alberta’s political and economic constraints. That will not be easy.
Because of the economic realities, the next four years are likely to be challenging. It wouldn’t have mattered which party assumed power. Having a new party with a new leader isn’t such a bad idea, though. Notley can review prior government decisions and actions to make improvements where possible. That’s a good thing.
The Progressive Conservative Party can regroup and assess its errors. With this defeat, some of the arrogance and feelings of entitlement should be diminished. Moreover, it’s a good wake-up call to the corporate sector that not all Albertans share their viewpoints.
The next four years will prove interesting. I wish Premier Rachel Notley well as she launches into her new role. While her job won’t be easy, I am positive that it will be interesting.
For another viewpoint, Ian Austen of The New York Times wrote, “After a Political Reversal in Alberta, ‘Anything Seems Possible’.” Please note, a subscription to The New York Times might be required.