A win in the most Conservative Canadian province will inspire hope everywhere
For the first time in history Canadians have elected a New Democratic Party government in Alberta (sometimes called the Texas of Canada).
On Tuesday, May 5, 2015, NDP Leader Rachel Notley and her social democrats won 53 of the 87 seats in the provincial legislature and held 41 per cent of the popular vote. They ran far ahead of the other parties in pre-election polling.
The landslide sweep means that Notley will get the opportunity to “help people, make lives better, move on the environment and make things better for kids,” as she has said. To help her do it, in her victory speech she estimated that “we have elected the most women in any government in Canadian history…so that’s kind of cool.”
Trade unions traditionally support the NDP, so this is a historic victory for them as well. Many unions helped found the third party in 1961 and were affiliated to its predecessor the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) founded in the 1930s.
The NDP victory in the oil-rich province brings to an end 44 years of Conservative rule. (Canadian Conservatives are sometimes compared to Republicans). While the NDP has held power in other provinces, notably Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and British Columbia, defeating the Conservatives (aka Tories) makes this victory all the sweeter. Tory leader David Prentice immediately resigned.
Many NDPers from neighboring B.C. no doubt will be spurred by the win to fight harder to oust the ruling Liberals (a mix of right-wing Democrats and slightly more centrist Republicans) when they go to the polls in May 2017.
“This victory shows what’s possible when folks like you stand together and demand more than the status quo,” Matt Hannah of the B.C NDP told party supporters. “I’m more fired up than ever to see the same kind of progress here.”
They made history in Alberta this week and their strong progressive win in the most conservative province in Canada should serve as an inspiration for all trade unionists: we can create a progressive political culture and we can bring about the progressive social change that many North Americans are demanding.
See network news coverage of election results: http://www.cbc.ca/news/elections/alberta-votes/alberta-election-2015-results-ndp-wave-sweeps-across-province-in-historic-win-1.3062605