The drama on election night always reaches its height with a forward-looking and optimistic speech from the victor, and a sombre concession from the loser who tries to put the best face on their loss. Last week’s election night in Alberta was no exception.
To no one’s great surprise, Rachel Notley, who led that province’s first ever NDP government to a resounding defeat, tried to highlight a few of her accomplishments. But there was no overlooking the fact that Notley’s failure to deliver on the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline was a decisive factor that ended the Alberta NDP’s reign after just one term.
Winning an overwhelming majority, Jason Kenney’s victory speech was much more different than one might expect. He certainly used the opportunity to address the domestic audience of Alberta voters, but Kenney went much further by directly aiming his comments at no less than five of his fellow premiers and one territorial leader to boot.
The one name left conspicuously off the list — by design of course — was John Horgan, leader of the last remaining NDP government in the country.
Everyone expects Kenney to fulfill his promise to proclaim into force Alberta’s ‘turn off the taps’ legislation, giving the province authority to restrict fuel supplies to B.C. This will immediately place relations between the two premiers on a confrontational footing. Horgan already comes to the fight with a first-round loss. Last February a judge struck down a court bid to declare Alberta’s law unconstitutional, calling it premature.
At the same time however, Horgan and the NDP are “using every tool in the toolbox” to halt the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline in court. Never before have we seen a province launch two separate and more highly conflicting court actions. One seeks to keep oil and gas flowing to B.C., while the other wants to stem Alberta’s ability to reach new markets. Odd to say the least!
With retail gas prices already rising to record levels at the pump, John Horgan and the NDP have a stark choice to make. Either do what’s right for B.C. and Canada or face voters at the next election the same way Rachel Notley did.