EDMONTON–The man known as Steady Ed led the Progressive Conservatives to one of their biggest majorities since the 1970s with a landslide victory in Alberta last night.
It was a resounding win for Premier Ed Stelmach, who had been dogged by criticisms from both the energy sector and environmentalists. He effectively crushed his opponents, who had been campaigning for change, trying to convince voters that 37 years of Progressive Conservative rule was long enough.
The voters disagreed and the Tories got a larger-than-expected popular vote of about 53 per cent. "We laid out a very positive vision for securing our future and protecting our future," said Stelmach in his victory speech. "We've shown once again that we're in tune with Albertans' values and we're in tune with Albertans' priorities."
Stelmach, a former cabinet minister who became premier in December 2006 after taking over the party reins from Ralph Klein, needed to win 42 of the 83 seats in the Alberta legislature. He walked into the campaign, which began Feb. 4, with history already on his side. The Tories had 60 seats going into the election. Late last night, they were leading or elected in 70 seats, compared with 10 seats for the Liberals and two for the NDP. The Alberta PCs got their 11th straight majority, an unprecedented political dynasty in the Canadian electoral system.
I know this isn’t very generous of me, but is there anything lamer than using “progressive” as an adjective to describe a conservative? Have we not moved beyond 70’s style monikers or is it a case that Albertan conservatives are still old school style pc?