Right-wing populist United Conservatives win Alberta election as NDP vote plummets
20 April 2019
The right-wing populist United Conservative Party (UCP) led by former federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney swept to power in Tuesday’s provincial election in Alberta, securing 63 out of the legislature’s 87 seats.
This result was principally the outcome of popular opposition to the right-wing record of the province’s one-term New Democratic Party (NDP) government, and the recent, big business-promoted unification of Alberta’s right-wing parties, the Progressive Conservatives and Wildrose, under the UCP banner.
The coming to power of the UCP will be used to push not just Alberta, but Canadian establishment politics as a whole still further right. At the same time, the triumph of the “Albert First” UCP will intensify regional tensions within the Canadian ruling class and its federal state.
While posturing as a fighter for the little guy ravaged by the crisis wracking the province’s energy sector, Kenney pledged to slash taxes and regulations for big business and impose a four-year government spending freeze. Appeals to Alberta and western regionalism and to anti-Quebec chauvinism were also central to the UCP campaign.
The corporate media has been quick to claim that the UCP was swept to power by a groundswell of support for its reactionary agenda. This is a lie aimed at delegitimizing the resistance that will soon emerge within the working class to the government’s austerity measures.
Despite overwhelmingly favourable media coverage and the quasi-unanimous support of the province’s corporate elite, Kenney only won a modest gain in votes as compared with the combined total taken by the Progressive Conservatives and Wildrose parties in 2015. In…