Alberta Politics BC Politics

BC Election 2017: A Day of Reckoning for the Alberta NDP

BC Premier Christy Clark

May 9th is a day of reckoning for Alberta pipelines as we await the results of the BC election.  It’s been a difficult few months trying to balance between what may be best for the province (not Christy Clark) and what will be best for Alberta (Christy Clark).  Alberta desperately needs greater access to tidewater and Christy Clark has (after some extortion-like negotiations) agreed to an expansion of the Kinder Morgan line.  However, Clark may not be the premier after today.

John Horgan, leader of the BC NDP has officially opposed the expansion.  Rachel Notley met with Horgan back in December and he was not swayed by her argument.   In response, Notley banned elected officials and staff from the Alberta NDP caucus from assisting in the BC NDP campaign.  This is yet a further rift in a previously unshakable circle of support from the Alberta NDP since forming government.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley

During the federal convention back in 2015, Notley found herself on the defensive against the federal party when the Leap Manifesto document was introduced and won a vote to be discussed by the party over the following two years. Speaking of which, those two years must almost be up by now.  Who would have thought that an NDP win would cause so much tension for the NDP?  The NDP is renowned for their organization.  They support one another at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.  Supporters travel to different provinces to help the party campaign.  They were a very tight knit group; until the Alberta NDP formed government.

Now, the Alberta NDP are in the unlikely position of having to hope their friends, supporters and colleagues do not win.  Add to this the trumped up call by the Wildrose to fire an Oilsands Advisory Group member for endorsing the BC NDP, and they’ve had a pretty bad month.  But it could get worse.

John Horgan, BC NDP Leader

If Clark loses tonight, Horgan may make things difficult for Alberta.  Back in September of 2016, Horgan suggested he could be persuaded with regard to the pipeline.  In December he was not persuaded by Rachel Notley. In February of 2017, he said he doesn’t “think Kinder Morgan is in the best interest” of BC but also (the Liberals) want to put (him) in a box saying ‘no'” (to the pipeline).  Now there is always the possibility that Horgan will work with Notley if he becomes Premier but it is obvious there will be further tensions a party like the NDP may not be able to handle.

The changes that could come from the election of the BC NDP are not just related to economy and trade; these are very personal relationships.  Under normal circumstances, feuding Premiers normally don’t have that and it could make a sticky situation much worse if they do.  And what if the BC NDP lose?  I think it’s safe to say there’s no way the AB NDP are looking forward to the results.

Update:

Andrew Weaver,

BC Green Party Leader

It became apparent at around 12:30 am that the profile of the third party leader needed to be included. Andrew Weaver, Leader of the BC Green Party, retained his seat and also added two seats to the legislature.  Because of the current seat projection (which could change due to very close races and the counting of the absentee ballots as well as the advanced poll votes), Weaver and his caucus now hold the balance of power if the Liberals and NDP maintain an even split on government business.  With a seat projection of 42-42-3 for the Liberals, NDP and Greens respectively, Weaver’s views become very important.  As could be expected, he is not in favour of the Kinder Morgan expansion.  Does this mean Notley, Alberta and the pipeline will have more issues?

With the Greens elevated to a position of, let’s face it, power, they are also in a position to leverage their votes for things they want.  With any luck, this will also put them into a position of making certain concessions. On this, Alberta can only hope.

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