Surprising election result in Alberta

The New Democratic Party has surprised everyone by winning the Alberta province elections in Canada, ending 44 years of conservative dominance by the Progressive Conservative party and elevating Rachel Notley to be the head of the provincial government. (Thanks to reader left0ver1under for alerting me to the Alberta result.)

You can see the staggering sweep of the results in this single graphic.


Why is this significant? Because the NDP’s policies are decidedly left wing and yet they won in a provincial that has the reputation of being conservative.

But these labels are often misleading. Even in the US, polls show that the public supports policies that are decidedly socialist in practice while calling themselves conservative. Given the right conditions, the scales can fall from their eyes, enabling them to see that the politicians who share the same label as they do may not share the same interests.

This is what I hope will happen in the US too. Today, Peter Beinart explains why it would be dangerous to underestimate Bernie Sanders because he is in the best position to authentically exploit the anger at the looting of the country by a small elite and the widespread resentment against the one-percenters because it fits in with what he has been standing for all his life.

(You can go to Sander’s’ website to join the campaign and contribute and here to see where he stands on the issues.)


  1. scottbelyea says

    “…National Democratic Party …”

    New Democratic Party, almost always referred to just as the NDP.

  2. chigau (違う) says

    In Edmonton, Alberta, a hotbed of NDPness, it has been snowing since last night.
    15-20 cm at least.
    meh, don’t care

  3. Anthony K says

    maddog1129, other than an oxymoron, it’s the result of the federal Conservative Party agreeing to add ‘Progressive’ to their name in order to attract the then-Premier of Manitoba, who’d led that province’s Progressive Party, to their leadership in 1946. The Alberta Conservatives adopted the name in 1959 as the provincial and federal parties were politically aligned.

    So, games with words, as political parties tend to play.

  4. Rob Grigjanis says

    maddog1129, there have actually been Conservatives who merit the ‘progressive’ in some areas, anyway. They’re a dying breed called Red Tories. Canadian Conservative senator Hugh Segal is one of the most passionate proponents of a Guaranteed Annual Income, and fighting poverty in ways that don’t demean the poor. There was a great speech he gave on youtube, but it’s gone away. Plenty of other stuff, if you’re interested.

  5. says

    chigau (違う) says

    In Edmonton, Alberta, a hotbed of NDPness, it has been snowing since last night.
    15-20 cm at least. Coincidence?

    Nah. Snow in May isn’t uncommon that far north. I speak from experience. In northern parts of BC (50°N or more) the only month that I never saw snow was July.

    Q: Why do Canadians play hockey eleven months of the year?
    A: It’s too cold in January.

    maddog1129 says

    what in the world is a “progressive conservative”?

    Progressive when they are the opposition, conservative in government…you know, sorta like the republicans used to be in the US, talking about ideas and policies that will get themselves elected, then getting tightfisted and breaking promises after the election.

    Alberta conservative politics were always much closer to the US right wing, but nationally (before Brian Mulroney destroyed the party) the Progressive Conservative were actually reasonable. They were fiscally and socially conservative, but you could hold rational conversations with them, and work with them whether as government or opposition. They were willing to cooperate when policies were reasonable and in the best interests of all (e.g. national health care). They weren’t knee-jerk reactionaries.

    For those who don’t know, Mulroney killed the party with his corruption turning a 200 seat majority (out of 307 seats) into defeat where only two survived in the next election. It let to the rise of the far right Reform Party (one which had white supremacists openly participating and links to neo-Nazis), later called the Canadian Alliance (dalliance with fascism is more like it). Traditional and reasonable conservatives ended up with no other right wing party to join. They swallowed their decency and joined the current federal Conservative party, following imbeciles like Stephen Harper. As I saw someone post yesterday, Harper needs to scarper.

    As an aside, I looked for the Canadian Alliance logo to link to. While it’s “godwin” to refer to anyone as a Nazi, another image of the CA logo popped up, something I had never noticed before.

  6. Rob Grigjanis says

    left0ver1under, I was in Alberta for Lougheed’s last few years. I’d call him a Red Tory, even though a lot of his constituency was much further to the right.

    Also during those years -- I remember one day in early June which was -20C in the morning, and +20C in the afternoon. I don’t think that’s a false memory.

    Ah, memories. I also remember the bumper stickers which said “Let the Eastern bastards freeze in the dark” during the squabbles with the Feds about oil. Despite being an Eastern bastard, I didn’t take it personally.

  7. chigau (違う) says

    That CRAP acronym never happened.
    The Media™ made it up as a joke.

  8. says

    The “CCRAP” acronym isn’t the only ridiculous name if you leave out “party”. “CCRA” was the former name of the Canada Customs Revenue Agency, now simply the CRA.

    For Americans, the CCRA/CRA is the equivalent of the IRS. Imagine the republicans ending up with “IRS” as their acronym….

  9. Chiroptera says

    Continuing the discussion of funny political acronyms, I’m surprised no one has yet brought up Nixon’s Committee to Re-elect the President. Its acronym was supposed to by CRP, but for obvious reasons people decided to run with CREEP.

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