Now that we have the numbers, which are still unofficial but slightly more official than we could get before Saturday, we saw something very interesting in 2019.
First up: SEVENTY PERCENT turnout! Way to go Alberta!
While I had my own hopes for the results, I am more than willing to partake in the next four years because voter turnout rose over 12% from 2015. We asked people to turn up and people showed up to have their say. Fantastic!
Second: Accusations of vote splitting.
I completely understand why people get upset with a perceived split that causes their candidate to lose. That’s precisely why the UCP took away the two most popular conservative choices: so people could no longer choose between them.
And sure the merger spawned two offshoots, the Alberta Advantage Party and the Freedom Conservative Party, who each garnered 0.3% and 0.5% respectively, but the hastily sutured party won this year and that’s all that mattered on April 16, 2019. However, some people still think there’s such thing as a “vote split”.
When it looked like Shannon Philips, former Environment Minister and MLA for Lethbridge West, was going to win in her riding, the Alberta Party candidate, Zac Rhodenizer, received a message accusing his candidacy of splitting the vote. His response was much more diplomatic than mine would have been. Speaking of vote-spliting, the votes between the NDP and UCP candidate was so close, 225 votes, that the Alberta Independence Party (332) and the Alberta Liberal Party (460) could also be accused of splitting the vote; not that anyone would.
The Alberta Party played “upset” in exactly 14 ridings and fully half of those went to the UCP while the other half went to the NDP.
I think that tells you that the Alberta Party isn’t splitting votes but they did seduce voters; from the left and from the right – equally.
The NDP lost, fair and square. I want the wit, the fun and the optimism back on social media. As people keep saying, this could be THE strongest opposition Alberta has ever had. I hope they act like they are a government in waiting. I hope the UCP listens to them because they have a lot of support in this province. I hope for the best for Alberta.
I am willing to give this UCP government a chance. Every NDP supporter wishes more people would have been willing to support their government through an absolutely hellish economic downturn but that didn’t happen.
I think we owe it to ourselves, our neighbours, and our province, to give the UCP a chance to do what they were elected to do. Not what the special interest groups want but that which at least three quarters of a million Albertans voted for: to bring the economy back.
It’s a short leash (I’m not a saint) but it’s something. We are all rooting for the same thing here; success for our province and its people. We can all hold the government to account – and we all should.
This post is an opinion.
Twitter: @Mitchell_AB for full commentary, @thisweekinAB for posts