This article originally appeared in the Financial Post. Below is an excerpt from the article.
By Jack Mintz, June 2, 2023
With the United Conservative Party majority win in the Alberta election, the natural question is “what’s next?” The election could have been dramatically different with a swing of less than one thousand votes reversing the results in 13 constituencies. Instead of winning just 49 of 87 seats (37 outside of Calgary and Edmonton), the UCP could have had a strong majority of 56 seats. Or the NDP could have regained power with 44 seats. Premier Danielle Smith has work to do in both Edmonton and Calgary while the NDP needs to do much better outside the cities.
Many pundits point to deepening polarization between urban and rural Albertans. It doesn’t have to be this way. Federal elections show much greater unity among Alberta voters. They strongly embrace entrepreneurism and community-building, welcome migration from other provinces and from abroad and pride themselves in their high-quality health care, education and other public services. And they support their natural resource industry and are willing to share its wealth through fair taxes and transfers to the rest of Canadians — so long as the federal government shows at least a smidgeon of appreciation.
Judging by her election night speech, Premier Smith clearly understands she needs to overcome polarization. That means getting a majority of Albertans on board with her policies, rather than rocking the boat in a divisive way. Alberta also wants the federal government to be a cooperative partner. At the moment, as the premier made clear, the relationship between the two governments is frayed.