Despite the Alberta NDP’s victory on Tuesday night there is still hope for conservatism in the Wildrose province.
That hope comes in the form of Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean who became the Leader of the Official Opposition by capturing 21 seats.
The feat is remarkable when you consider that it was only five months ago that former Wildrose leader Danielle Smith and most of her caucus jumped ship to the Tories leaving Wildrose with only five members. Jean took over the party in late March only days after the death of his son and days before the beginning of the election campaign.
The 2015 Alberta election will forever be compared to the 1990 Ontario election in that the NDP came out of nowhere to win both elections. But the two elections can also be compared with regard to respectable showing conservatives made in both elections. In 1990, the Tories were wildly unpopular because of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney mostly for the GST (Good & Services Tax). So Ontarians took out their anger on the provincial Liberal government by voting NDP. Despite the unpopularity of the federal Tories, Mike Harris guided the Tories to 20 seats in that election. That showing was the first step towards winning a majority government five years later. Although much of it owed to the Ontario NDP’s incompetence, Harris’ Tories supplanted the Liberals as the alternative to the NDP.
As for Alberta, it seems to me that the Progressive Conservative Association will go the way of the Social Credit Party and that the conservative vote will coalesce around Wildrose. If Notley’s NDP Crue prove not to be up to the task and if Jean can keep Wildrose MLAs and prospective candidates from condemning people to an eternity in the lake of fire and other forms of eternal damnation then I think Tuesday night’s results have begun the groundwork for a Wildrose government in Alberta in 2019. In which case, there is still hope for conservatism in Alberta.