Well wasn't that quite the election? When things change here, they have a history of changing in a big way and last night was no exception. No doubt a few long-time PC'ers feel like they've woken up in Vegas with a hangover next to a crack whore. And while I expected the government to take a hit, I certainly wasn't expecting an implosion. In many ways, we have wiped the slate here and are starting fresh as the majority of cabinet ministers lost their seats. Mandel, Dirks, Johnson, Campbell, Scott, Lukaszuk and others.....all gone. Change is a good thing.
I'm not sure that this is so much a case of Albertans flirting with socialism as it was an expression of anger at the long-governing PC's. Clearly the NDP benefited from that anger. Only time will speak to their long-term growth. Things will now be different for sure but the sky won't fall. The ramparts will hold. I know I have no intentions of moving to Saskatchewan. It is a lot to take in though but I did want to put down my thoughts on a few things so I do apologize if this post seems a bit more disjointed than usual.
First things first, our local ridings here. I was pleased to see Brian Jean and Tany Yao do well of course. We've gone Wildrose before so voters taking out their frustration on the government by electing 2 Wildrose candidates rather than going with the NDP doesn't come as a surprise. I was a bit surprised to see the PC's here finish 3rd well behind the NDP hopefuls though. Partisanship aside, Mancini and Drover did better than probably most people expected. I did appreciate Drover campaigning by waking up early and going to chat with site workers as they waited for their early bus rides to work. These are local people who work long days and whose labour is the backbone of our region but often feel forgotten by the powers that be in Edmonton. It's a sentiment I share myself. I've already said my piece on our two former PC MLA's in previous posts so I won't flog a dead horse here.
Like many I was disappointed by Prentice's rash decision to essentially give his version of the "Salmon Arm Salute" to his supporters. I figured his leadership would be called into question following anything less than another majority but to quit before all the votes were even counted really strikes me as juvenile. The road ahead for the PC's just got a little bit longer for them. Speaking of party leaders, it was nice to see Greg Clark win his seat. I thought he spoke well following his election victory and feel that for those on the political left who want an alternative other than the NDP that the Alberta Party is a better option than the slowly dying Liberals.
If there was one good thing about the PC's cronyism and corruption it was that it spurred a lot more Albertans to vote this time around. While a turn out of about 58% isn't exactly amazing its a big improvement over the rather pathetic 40% we saw in 2008. Votes can and do matter.
I do wish our new Premier luck. Taking over the reigns after 43 years of PC rule will have its challenges. I wish Brian Jean good luck as both my MLA and the new Leader of the Opposition as well. We have what we feel is a strong voice for our region in Edmonton. We will be watching.