30, 2012 - No. 61
• Where Is
Headed? - Pauline Easton
of Urban and Rural Albertans - Peggy Morton
Polling in the
Alberta Election - Dougal MacDonald
For Your Information
28th Alberta Legislature
Alberta Election 2012
The Significance of the Alberta Election Results
On April 23 the Progressive Conservative Party (PC) of
Alberta led by Alison Redford won the 28th Alberta General election
with 61 of 87 seats to form a majority government. This is eight less
than they won in the last election when the legislature had 83 seats.
(Four new seats were added to the legislature for the 2012 elections,
increasing the number of seats from 83 to 87.) The Wildrose Party with
17 seats, up from its previous four, will now form the Official
Opposition. The Liberal Party won five seats, down from the nine it won
it the 2008 election and the Alberta New Democrats won four seats, up
from the two they won in 2008.
The winner of the Alberta Election, Alison Redford,
summed up the significance of the election results as follows:
"Everyone got engaged in the future of this province again... Every
Albertan knew that this election was about choice, a choice to put up
walls or build bridges... Tonight Albertans chose to build bridges...
Today, Alberta, you spoke. You spoke loudly. And I want you to know, I
heard you." Later, she stated: "The PC party has a proud history of
being progressive -- and conservative... We will honour both of those
traditions. We are champions of Alberta. We are champions of Canada."
This really does not tell us very much about what her
government intends to do.
The defeated leader of Wildrose Danielle Smith, who the
polls predicted would either form a majority or was running neck and
neck with Redford in the horse race called an election, spoke as if she
still believes one wins silver, when one loses gold. "I stand at the
helm of the official opposition!" she declared.
Smith blamed her loss on unidentified gaffes saying: "We
took some hits in the last week of the campaign that caused people to
question whether or not we were ready to form a government... They
decided we weren't." She then intoned the mantra also taken up by the Calgary Herald
according to which Albertans "decided that we needed a
little bit more time."
The Calgary Herald
picked up the same mantra scripted
about the significance of the Wildrose defeat. It's April 24
editorial's headline read "The end of empire postponed -- Wildrose was
too much too fast to accept." The editorial began by quoting from the
writing of Tom Flanagan, the former Harper strategist who ran the
campaign of the Wildrose Party and its leader. With regards to the
Harper strategy, Flanagan had written that "Politics is a game that
goes on forever... you don't have to win everything at once. The most
important thing is to start to win even small victories, to lay the
basis for bigger victories yet to come."
According to this script,
originally written for Prime
Minister Harper, Smith and her MPs just have to be circumspect and bide
their time until they too get a majority. Once they get a majority
their pandora's box of anti-social atrocities can be let out. In this
election Wildrose promoted "conscience rights," "$300 Dani Dollars per
Albertan," opting out of the Canada Pension Plan, dumping the RCMP,
shutting down the Human Rights Commission and setting up "firewalls"
around Alberta, besides other things.
The problem with this stand is that, once again, we are
no wiser about the direction in which the new government intends to
Raj Sherman, leader of the Alberta Liberal Party, said:
"This gives us four years to rebuild." Speaking about issues the
Liberals would take up, he said, "health care is still in crisis. We
will challenge the government on dealing with seniors, home care, the
emergency crisis and the delays in surgery."
Brian Mason, leader of the
New Democrats, said
"there will be a renewed NDP opposition in the Alberta legislature,
fighting for fairly priced electricity, enhanced public healthcare,
more jobs and a cleaner environment."
For his part, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
made a reluctant statement which clarified nothing. "I look forward to
continue working with Premier Redford on issues that matter to
Albertans and all Canadians, including promoting jobs, growth and
long-term prosperity in a time of global economic uncertainty," Harper
said. Harper has been forced to abandon his prior stand to "build
firewalls around Alberta," by the biggest monopoly interests in
Canada represented by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. He now
sights set on getting a controlling federal interest over Alberta's oil.
Business As Usual
After all is said and done, it is all
business as usual in Alberta as if an election and the direction
Alberta is to take is nobody's concern. But today nothing is business
as usual because there is nothing usual about what business is up to.
Even business doesn't know where it is headed and the only sure thing
is that every monopoly interest is scrambling for whatever advantage it
can extract from the Harper government, the Redford government, the
Obama administration and any other government they can subordinate to
their interests. This has unleashed a state of anarchy as each monopoly
interest seeks to make a big score wherever it can. Not only are
monopolies and cartels of monopolies vying with one another to be top
dog but different levels of government are also clashing with one
another as each strives to dominate the others for control over the
decision-making power. It is a destructive agenda the working people of
Alberta must ward off.
The only other certain
thing is that it is all done at
the expense of the land, labour and resources of Alberta. It is done by
sacrificing the hereditary rights of the First Nations, the individual
rights of expropriated property owners, the health and safety of
workers, the standard of living of all, their security in old age,
their health care, their welfare, public education, the well
being of the younger generation and the remuneration working Albertans
receive. Destructive activity and their justification are common place,
like the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, the Christian Labour
Association of Canada (CLAC), the shipment of raw bitumen, increased
pollution, privatization of health care, seniors' care and education,
and fraudulent elections such as the one which just took place in which
the pollsters get to set the agenda of "issues" and "trends" and the
electors are silenced.
Within this situation,
labour cannot afford to reduce
itself to the status of an extraparliamentary lobby. First of all,
labour does not have a party in the legislature with a significant
enough showing to become its extraparliamentary wing. It should
organize itself politically and stop thinking it can act as if these
are the old days when labuor was given the role of delivering the
provincial vote where possible to the NDP and the federal vote to the
Liberals which claimed to represent the interests of all Canadians.
This was not the case then and it is certainly not the case now.
There is no way that a
legislature in which the party in
power and the party in opposition represent competing interests within
the oil cartels will take the interests of the people into account. The
aim of politics which serve the working people cannot be to act as an
extra-parliamentary opposition while the parliamentary opposition works
against them from inside. A modern social force like the working class
and people of Alberta is very capable of representing itself
Alison Redford arrogantly
declares that she is the
people's choice even though her government was elected by only 26 per
cent of the people. But the issue goes much deeper. How can an election
be called democratic in which private monopoly interests can hijack the
whole process? What is democratic about a situation in which pollsters
get to declare who is winning and then that it is normal for them to
miss so badly? They still made some people feel compelled to vote Tory
to stop Wildrose instead of defending their own interests. It is very
positive that so many workers, professionals and others did not get
railroaded but resolved to stand their ground and vote for a party of
Redford has indicated that
she will begin her "review"
of all programs and departments -- a review she promised would look at
what social programs and services can be privatized. The construction
companies and others want new labour laws to further attack the rights
of workers to determine what wages and working conditions they find
acceptable. The Harper government has already announced that it is
lowering the wages of foreign workers by 15 per cent of the average
wage and then it is tying EI to the Foreign Workers' Program -- in
words, those on EI must agree to take up available jobs at 15 per cent
below the average wage before they receive EI.
Public health care is also on the block, despite all the
denials of Redford's own words which she made during the election.
Keeping all this in mind, it would seem that the
significance of the election results is that the workers and their
allies must take their rightful place at the centre of the political,
economic, cultural and social affairs of the province.
Let's discuss the significance of the election results
to understand how the agenda of the working class poses itself today.
Discussing the election results and the direction in which Alison
Redford will try to take Alberta is to provide ourselves with a guide
to action to hold the government to account and break through the block
imposed by ruling elites and their monopoly media on the thinking,
organization and voice of the working class. Workers can and must take
the lead in providing the alternative, human-centred social
consciousness and politics. It can be done! It must be done!
Close to 1,000 members of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees
(AUPE) rallied outside the Alberta Legislature on October 15 , 2011 to
say No! to the Alberta government's plans to hand public services and
assets over to private corporations.
1. A January 27, 2001 letter
signed by future Prime
Minister Stephen Harper, WildRose campaign manager Tom Flanagan,
Alberta PC candidate Ted Morton, and three others urged then Alberta
Premier Ralph Klein to "fully exercise Alberta's constitutional
powers". The letter, published by the National
Post, used the phrase
"build firewalls around Alberta." Its main recommendations were a
provincial police force to replace the RCMP, a separate Alberta Pension
Plan, and provincial collection of the province's income tax.
Where Is Alberta Headed?
This is a topic all working people need to discuss so as
to prepare for what lies ahead. It is known that a very complex
contradictory situation exists for the oil monopolies and the
Alberta-based monopoly interests. What they are preparing is not
discussed with the people. For their part, governments are engaging in
secret-deal making with the private monopoly interests. They are
dispossessing Albertans of what belongs to them by right. The people
are defending their rights and need to know what lies ahead.
Since 1947 when oil was discovered at Leduc, the
Alberta-based oil and gas monopolies have served the U.S. market.
Massive expansion of the oilsands to serve the U.S. Empire has taken
place, with plans for doubling and tripling current production.
However, reports now suggest that the U.S. will soon be self-sufficient
in oil or even a net exporter. People ask whether that is partially
behind Obama's reluctance to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Not only
has the Keystone XL been delayed, but the alarm has been raised that
the U.S. may also be interfering with the approval of the Northern
Gateway pipeline through which oil is to be exported to Asia. There is
that Alberta oil will be shut in.
In these circumstances Harper has been forced by the
pressure exerted by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and by big
oil to accept trade with Asia as an option, especially China, and to
push the Northern
Gateway pipeline for this purpose. Even though Alberta could send raw
east and south or even through the U.S. to the west coast, which would
be expensive and add a great distance to tanker traffic to Asia, the
Northern Gateway pipeline to Kitimat is the cheapest route by far. But
this is facing fierce opposition as well. The U.S. is not only keen to
keep Iranian and Iraqi oil from reaching Asian markets but Canadian oil
as well. Even Stephen Harper complained about U.S. extremists wanting
to sabotage the Northern Gateway pipeline to keep Canadian crude away
from Asia, especially China. Is U.S. interference also behind the
hysteria Green Party leader Elizabeth May is trying to raise about the
alleged danger of China's takeover of Canada? She never breathes a word
about the danger posed because of U.S. domination of Canada but is very
concerned about China.
Whatever monopoly interests are behind
opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline, the people are also very
opposed. Now the Harper government is removing all impediment to make
sure the line will go through no matter what opposition may develop.
This includes a natural gas line and building a gas liquefier in
Kitimat to send liquefied natural gas on tankers to Asia. (Japan has
big expertise on this front as it has been importing LNG from Indonesia
and Australia for years.)
No pipelines mean a huge crisis for Alberta within the
context of the present direction of the economy. Harper will most
likely declare the pipeline construction a national security issue and
make mass arrests and use extreme violence against anyone who opposes
him. Everything indicates that Redford will cooperate with this but
when anarchy reigns, anything is possible. The line to Vancouver will
not happen unless extensive expensive enticements are given to Lower
Mainland ruling oligarchs and the people are very opposed to this as
tanker a day in Burrard Inlet is also not the image the real estate
developers want. Already the opposition to the lower Mainland Gateway
-- port, rail and truck traffic -- is well established and has links in
the ruling oligarchy. Taking land out of the agricultural protected
area to enlarge Tsawwassen freighter and rail capacity is part of the
problems the BC Liberals have already created for themselves.
As we see from the debate in the federal parliament,
there is also a proposal to take Alberta oil east. On April 25, two
days after the Alberta election, Patricia Davidson, the Conservative MP
for the Ontario riding of Sarnia-Lambton, spoke in the federal
parliament as follows: "Mr. Speaker, there is currently a proposal to
restore a flow of oil to its original direction from west to east, from
Alberta to Ontario. This is a routine proceeding requiring little
change. This proposal would reduce our dependence on foreign oil,
create jobs and help consumers. This is a win-win for everyone across
the country and could create much-needed economic opportunities in my
riding of Sarnia-Lambton. However, there are those who seek to delay
this process. Could the Minister of Natural Resources update the House?"
The Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver then
responds: "Mr. Speaker, yet again groups opposed to resource
development are seeking to delay a simple process by flooding our
independent regulator with over 40,000 form letters. Yet again, we need
to make changes. We need to show that we need to make changes to ensure
our system works efficiently while hearing from Canadians who have a
direct interest. The question is this: will the leader of the
opposition, who argued for eastern oil access, side with Canadian jobs
or with groups doing everything to block job-creating projects?"
Who is sending 40,000 form letters he does not say but
the issue is whether this tells us something about the position of the
federal government vis a vis
the direction in which the new Alberta
government should take Alberta?
Meanwhile, natural gas prices are at an all-time low
(below $2 for mmbtu) and the growth of shale gas extraction means there
is no relief for the monopolies on the horizon.
Beyond the environmental concerns, reports suggest that
natural gas fracking is similar to a Ponzi scheme where every existing
site must have a new one to pay for the development of the old one as
their annual depletion rate is very high. (With fracking the pressure
is released violently and starts dropping immediately at annual rates
as high as 100 per cent.) This frenzy is heading for collapse as more
and more of the new wells will not find many buyers for the gas, thus
drying up the income stream causing bankruptcy. With the high price of
Brent oil (not Canadian) and the new fracking method for oil (as well
as gas), more gas is being captured from "lighter" oil wells in the
U.S. adding to the glut. Because the price of natural gas has dropped
to record lows, a possibility has emerged that after the summer season
of gas accumulation, no bids for gas may be forthcoming at any price as
the glut is overwhelming. Before natural gas found much use, it used to
be burned off at the oil wells.
Alberta could upgrade bitumen to synthetic oil, refine
oil and develop a petrochemical industry but many existing refineries
in the Gulf, Oklahoma and elsewhere sit idle, especially those in the
Gulf that are designed for similar heavy oil from Venezuela. The U.S.
monopolies will not permit new building of competing refineries.
These contradictions may also explain why the old
warhorse of the Conservative Party Peter Lougheed felt compelled to
speak publicly in support of Redford in the last days of the election.
In the last days of the campaign the PC also brought out
a new slogan -- "It's Not your Father's PC Party." This was directed
against Lougheed but the Klein years. In fact the change Redford speaks
of has many parallels with the Lougheed era. That was also a time of
uncertainty for big oil, threatened by the discovery of big oilfields
in Alaska. Lougheed was brought in as a sophisticated salesman for the
oil and gas monopolies, including going head-to-head with the federal
How is it that with all this going on, Albertans
experienced a 28-day election in which not a word was spoken about
these matters by the two parties declared the likely candidates to form
the next government? How can an election be based on platforms which
represent secret deals between a party which calls itself political,
i.e. created for purposes of playing a role in the body politic, and
private interests? Who will defend the public interest and public right?
Albertans said they want the bitumen processed in
Alberta. Why should it matter that there is over capacity in the
refining facilities in the Gulf? Alberta could supply the Canadian
market at sensible prices and engage in trade for mutual benefit but
none of these matters are discussed. Information is not provided about
the different options and Albertans are not permitted to take part in
the decision-making. Even their very well founded concerns about the
Northern Gateway pipeline are rejected out of hand, not even
It is important to discuss concretely what situation the
working people face within the here and the now. The workers must
provide a new direction for the economy and society and make sure that
Alberta does indeed go forward, not backward.
Disinformation About the Concerns of
During the election a favourite refrain of the
national media was the idea of an urban/rural "split in values."
Premier Alison Redford painted herself as the representative of the
forward-looking, urbane, "new" Alberta who is going to put the image of
"redneck" Alberta to rest. In this way, both the concerns of
city dwellers and workers and rural dwellers, farmers and their
communities were completely removed from the equation.
Can we learn anything about their concerns by
looking at the election results? Where did the Wildrose candidates do
especially well, and where did they not?
Edmonton Southwest Alan Hunsperger was not
elected. He is a leader of the private school movement and attacked the
Edmonton Public School Board for its policy intended to make schools
safe for all members of the school community, including gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgendered students and staff. He
received 17 per cent of the popular vote in his riding. Also not
elected was the Calgary candidate who stated that he had an advantage
as a "Caucasian" - and expressed the conviction that only a white
person could represent the whole community.
Of the four Wildrose candidates who had been
sitting members of the legislature, three lost their seats. They
included former leader Paul Hinman who won his seat in a by-election,
and two candidates who had been elected as Tories and later crossed the
floor. Only one sitting Wildrose candidate was re-elected,
Rob Anderson in Airdrie.
There were 10 ridings where the Wildrose beat the
PCs by more than 1000 votes. The three ridings where the Wildrose was
the most successful relative to the PCs were Airdrie, Chestermere-Rocky
View, and Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills. The PCs lost to the Wildrose by
more than 4,000 votes in the first two, and
over 3,500 in the third. Airdrie is where the Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson
was re-elected, and is considered the backbone of Wildrose. People
across Canada may be familiar with Airdrie as it was the riding which
received the most coverage from the national media which tended to
feature it as "a typical Alberta
This is not, in fact, a "typical Alberta riding."
The city of Airdrie, is a bedroom community of Calgary as well as an
area where farming and ranching take place. It has a population of
43,155 people and an average household income of $83,271 a year. This
is $9,448 higher than the Alberta average which is said
to be $73,823. It is also $4,187 higher than the Calgary average said
to be $79,084. Out of a total of 13,375 households in Airdrie, 3,642
households, that is, 27.23 per cent, make over 100,000 a year.
In Chestermere-Rocky View, the Wildrose candidate
defeated former Energy Minister Ted Morton. Morton was the cabinet
minister most associated with the four bills concerning land use and
replacing all public regulatory approval with cabinet executive
prerogative for "critical transmission infrastructure."
Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills also saw strong
opposition to the legislation which entrenches monopoly right over the
individual rights of farmers and rural landowners whose lands were
slated for expropriation. The local newspaper reports that in a forum
with Danielle Smith and the local candidate, people raised
the following concerns: land use legislation which allows the
monopolies to run roughshod over their farms and land without even a
public hearing or assessment by a regulatory authority; the decision by
Greyhound to end local bus service to their community; the need for
upgrading oil in Alberta to keep jobs in
the community; the need for more long term care beds. In other words,
people wanted a government which would defend the public good, not
impose monopoly right. The belief is fostered that Wildrose, which
claims to oppose political opportunism, is an alternative to what the
PCs have been doing by destroying
individual property rights in favour of monopoly right. But it was
precisely the concerns of the people which were eliminated from the
election and, instead, the attempt is made to line them up according to
some irrational idea of values. None of the political parties ask them
about this matter, even though they all
claim to represent them.
Another successful Wildrose candidate, Joe Anglin,
first came to public attention when he exposed the Energy and Utilities
Board for spying on people opposed to the building of electrical
transmission lines through their land which are widely considered to be
an "overbuild" designed to export cheap electricity
to the United States. Anglin won the riding of Rimbey-Rocky Mountain
The only riding in northern Alberta to elect a
Wildrose candidate, Lac La Biche-St. Paul,Two Hills also saw a strong
campaign on landowners' individual rights. Alison Redford had brought
in new legislation (Bill 6) which was supposed to amend previous
legislation to address these concerns. But opponents
of the bill stated that under the new legislation, the executive
authority could rescind a water license, dairy barn approval, grazing
lease, fertilizer plant approval, gravel permit or any other form of
statutory consent needed to run a farm or business. The decision cannot
be challenged in court and no compensation
One of the defining features of the crisis of what
is called the democratic institutions is the repeated use of the
prerogative powers of the first Minister and other members of Cabinet.
Use of discretionary power is no longer restrained by a publicly
determined mandate to serve the private interests of the monopolies.
It is totally at odds with how people think democracy should function
and they are right because in no way is it an expression of rule by the
Wildrose attempts to manipulate these concerns for
ends completely at odds with the demands of farmers and the people of
rural Alberta for a say and against the use of arbitrary powers. It is
cynical to see an organization like Wildrose which is a virulent
opponent of rights of any kind promoted as the defender
of rights. It underlines the challenge facing the workers, together
with the youth, the farmers, First Nations and Métis and all
of society to fight directly in the political arena to represent their
Income - Range
City of Airdrie Civic Census 2008
The Role of Polling in the Alberta Election
Following Alberta's April 23 election, much is
being made of the wild inaccuracy of the pre-election polls, and
rightly so. By March 20 these polls purported to show that the election
was a "neck and neck" race between the ruling Progressive Conservatives
(PCs) and the Wildrose Party. Included
in the metaphor of a "two horse race" was the implication that
candidates of the other parties were not worthy of serious
consideration. With a month to go, the polls then began to suggest that
Wildrose would win and even take majority power. In the end, the PCs
won 61 seats and the Wildrose won
a mere 17.
How are these poll results explained? The gaping
difference between the polls and the
actual results has many people asking, "How could the polls be so
wrong?" Some try to explain the discrepancy as due to a last minute
surge that brought many undecided voters out to vote for the PCs to
ensure that Wildrose would not win. Some
of these PC voters, it is suggested, were persuaded to switch their
vote from their chosen party to the PCs, while others were "new" voters
who did not vote in 2008. Others suggest that the polls were
deliberately manipulated by Alberta's powerful to spread fear of
Wildrose through the media and
other channels so that many "undecided", "strategic", and "new" voters
would vote for the PCs and re-elect them. This would ensure that a
government that the oil and gas monopolies were already used to doing
business with would remain in power. The fact of the matter is that
both the PCs and
the Wildrose Party were vying to be the champion of the oil and gas
monopolies but polling is not about discussing any issues - just
confusing electors about what the issues are, to say nothing about the
commentator Eric Grenier of ThreeHundredEight.com said: "Wildrose's
support simply cratered, and to an extent that no model or method could
David Climehaga's Alberta
Diary says "it's
poppycock to suggest these shifts couldn't have been predicted if
pollsters had been paying attention."
Representatives of major polling companies were
quoted as saying they were mortified to have been so wrong. But, after
all is said and done, they declared that it is possible to fail and
this is one of those times. We'll do better next time. We'll carry on
polling until the minute the election is held,
instead of stopping it a day or so before election day as the electoral
After all that, what is interesting is that none
of it questions polling itself. All of it presents polling as some sort
of a necessary exercise - to whom and why is certainly not clear to
most people. If not necessary, it is presented as a matter of freedom
of expression or freedom to spend one's money
any way one wants or freedom of some sort.
Why the polling companies should be permitted to
play such a dominant role, if not the dominant role, in an election is
another matter which is not given due attention. These polls frame the
choices, lobby for whatever hidden interests they represent and are
entirely unscientific. Imagine a poll
conducted via robocalls which do not even penetrate those households
which have exempted themselves from receiving telemarketing calls! Then
think about the skewed questions which are asked to those who do agree
to answer. Those questions are many times objectionable, often because
doesn't accommodate a response you might choose to give, as in do you
prefer a) or b)? Then there are requests to order your priorities and a
list is provided. Once you put this list in some sort of order, the
first choice of the greatest number of those who answer is said to be
the number one election
issue. Despite the fact that Albertans play no role in setting the
questions asked and issues chosen, and that the "random sampling"is not
representative, nonetheless, these polls create cliff hangers this way
and that way, all to make sure the electors make a choice deemed
suitable to those who call
One thing that is clear is that the polling
process is known to be unscientific as concerns providing any accurate
predictions, yet the predictions were repeatedly published as if they
were accurate. If the polling was worth anything at all, how could it
be so totally wrong? Who paid for the polls?
Corporations? The media? Political parties? Someone else? How were the
polls conducted, i.e., through robo-calls, which many people ignore?
Who chose and released the poll results and for what purposes?
Clearly, certain polls were emphasized, while
others were ignored, e.g., internal party polls. The monopoly media in
Alberta both commissioned polls, e.g., the Leger poll in the final week
of the election, and continually highlighted polls that raised an alarm
about a Wildrose win and the need
to "stop Wildrose".
Did this affect the fact that the PCs won another
big majority? How do the legislature, the media and Elections Alberta
decide that reporting polling results during an election is legitimate
"information" which contributes to shaping the popular will which is
then, through the election, converted
into a government which represents this popular will in the form of the
A wide-ranging and thorough inquiry should be
immediately launched into why polling results should be permitted to
play any role whatsoever during an election campaign. What role they do
play and how this influences the election outcome would be worth the
effort to find out.
For Your Information
During the 100 days from January 13 to April 22,
nine polling companies conducted 32 polls. Twenty-seven polls were
conducted by just five firms: Forum Research (8 polls), Abacus Data (5
polls), Leger Marketing (5 polls), Think HQ Public Affairs (5 polls),
and Campaign Research (4 polls).
Poll results were reported as an estimated percentage of the popular
vote that each of the six parties fielding candidates would capture,
which was translated into an approximate number of projected seats.
Such translation is of course a precarious business, as can be seen by
the fact that the PC's
won 61 seats with 43.9 per cent of the vote cast while Wildrose won
only 17 seats with 34.3 per cent of the vote cast.
The first seven 2012 polls, taken during the 67
days from January 13 to March 20, "picked" the PCs to win. At the same
time, the polls' projected vote percentage for the PCs slowly declined
from a high of 53 per cent to a low of 34 per cent on March 7.
Wildrose, in contrast, was first portrayed
as in second place, with their percentage varying from a low of 16 per
cent on January 13 to a high of 38 per cent on March 20, when the polls
suggested for the first time that Wildrose and the PCs were tied.
From March 22 to April 22, twenty-four additional
polls were taken in rapid succession. The public was literally
bombarded with polls. All suggested that Wildrose was leading, with a
percentage of the popular vote varying from about 40 to 46 per cent. In
contrast, the projected PC share of the
vote varied from a high of 36 per cent to a low of 28 per cent. The
second and third last polls on April 21, one by Forum Research and the
other by Angus Reid, put Wildrose at 41 per cent and the PCs at 32 per
cent, approximately what had been reported since the beginning of
April. The very
last poll on April 22, also by Forum Research, put the PCs at 36 per
cent and Wildrose at 38 per cent, still suggesting that Wildrose would
win more seats.
For Your Information
Results of the 2012 Election to the
28th Alberta Legislature
Alberta showing the outcome of each riding and the share of the vcte
going to the elected candidate.
Click to enlarge.
On April 23, 2012 the Progressive Conservative
Party (PC) of Alberta led by Alison Redford won the 28th Alberta
General election with 61 of 87 seats to form a majority government.
This is eight less than they won in the last election when the
legislature had 83 sets. [Four new seats were added to the legislature
for the 2012 elections, increasing the number of seats from 83 to 87.]
The Wildrose Party with 17 seats, up from its previous four, will now
form the Official Opposition. The Liberal Party won five seats, down
from the nine it won in the 2008 election and the Alberta New Democrats
won four seats, up from the
two they won in 2008.
Candidates were also fielded by the Alberta Party,
the Alberta Social Credit Party, the Communist Party-Alberta, the
Evergreen Party of Alberta and the Separation Party of Alberta. Twelve
candidates ran as independents. None of these parties, nor any of the
independent candidates, won a seat.
When the election was called the PCs had 68 seats,
the Liberals had 8, the Wildrose 4, the NDP had 2 and the Alberta Party
one. This is because despite the results of the 2008 election, during
the 27th legislature, three MLAs elected as PCs crossed the floor to
sit as members of the Wildrose Party. Another PC
resigned and the Wildrose won the seat in a by-election. One PC joined
the Liberals, one Liberal joined the PCs, and another Liberal joined
the Alberta Party.
Of 2.2 million eligible voters, 1,290,151 people
went to the polls for a participation rate of 59 per cent, from the
all-time low achieved in 2008 when only 41 per cent of registered
voters cast a ballot.
In total, 366,677 more people voted than in the
2008 election. The Wildrose gained 378,024 votes, the PCs gained 65,991
votes, the NDP vote increased by 46,178 and the Liberal vote decreased
by 123,516. Expressed as a percentage increase or decrease in the vote
cast, the PC vote decreased by 8.7 per cent,
the Wildrose vote increased by 27.5 per cent, the Liberal vote
decreased by 16.5 per cent and the NDP vote increased by 1.5 per cent.
If the eligible vote is not taken into account,
not just the vote cast, the PCs got elected by 26 per cent of the
electorate, not the 44 per cent as presently claimed.
Ratio of Votes Per Party
Of the 1,290,151 votes cast, the PCs received 44
per cent (567,054), the Wildrose 34 per cent, (442,431), the NDP 10 per
cent (126,756), and the Liberals 10 per cent (127,662). The small
parties and independents received 2 per cent of the votes, with half of
this total cast for the Alberta Party.
Distribution of Seats
Of the 87 seats in Alberta, 25 are in Calgary and
20 in Edmonton, with another 6 seats in suburban communities around
Edmonton. The PCs won 20 of the 25 Calgary seats, the Liberals three
and Wildrose narrowly took two. The PCs won 20 of Metropolitan
Edmonton's 26 seats, the NDP won four,
and the Liberals two. All the ridings north of Edmonton returned PC
candidates, while southern Alberta and much of central Alberta returned
The NDP increased its votes in absolute numbers in
66 ridings including in almost every riding in Calgary and Edmonton.
The vote decreased in 12 ridings and the remaining 9 are new ridings
which cannot be compared. Some boundary changes also took place which
make comparisons inexact.
Liberal voters seem to have shifted to the NDP in
several ridings, especially in two where the Liberal incumbent did not
run for re-election. The majority of the votes which the Liberals lost
likely shifted to the PCs.
1. Despite the increased
turnout, there is an
important question about whether the eligible voters identified by
Elections Alberta reflect the population legally eligible to vote.
According to Elections Alberta there are 2.2 million eligible voters in
Alberta. However, the 2011 federal election list of electors
includes 2.5 million Albertans, and the population of Alberta has
increased by 2 per cent in the past year. This means that as many as
300,000 people or even more may be missing from the list of eligible
voters. People who were not on the list could still vote, but are not
counted when voter participation rates are
calculated. In the 2008 election, TML concluded
that based on federal electoral lists and census data, the real
participation rate was 34 per cent, not 41 per cent as officially
announced. If participation rates are calculated taking these missing
electors into account, then the actual participation rate in 2012
would be no more than 52 per cent, not 59 per cent.
May Day 2012
Picket, Rally, and
Tuesday, May 1
Picket and Rally -- 5:00pm
Gather at 10 Street and Memorial Drive NW - (North
Potluck and Get Together will follow the Picket
Calgary Outdoor Council (CAOC) - 1111 Memorial
May Day is just a week after the Alberta election.
The PCs have won a majority. Workers and their allies will be
discussing the significance of the election result and putting on the
agenda to hold governments to account.
Governments are duty-bound to put the interests of
the public in first place, not those of the oil monopolies. Together we
can make headway.
workers stand with Postal Workers in condemning
Harper Government's Back to Work Legislation,
at Stephen Harper's Constituency Office, Calgary, June 2011.
This year we stood with postal workers, Air Canada
workers, the carpenters at Peri-Form, Sobeys workers, health care
workers, hospital workers, as well as City workers and their campaign
to Keep Calgary Parks Public, among others. We joined forces with all
those saying No Means No to private, for-profit
health care and senior care. We have also fought as one with the
pipeline and construction workers taking a stand against unsafe
conditions, and the energy workers opposing nation wrecking and job
loss created by shipping our raw resources offshore without refining
We have continued to support steel workers in
Ontario, forestry workers across the country and now the Rio Tinto
workers in Alma, Quebec. The Rio Tinto workers in Kitimat, B.C. foresee
a fight in the near future.
We also continue to seek justice for First
Nations, including the families of the missing women, and our youth and
seniors, as well as peoples everywhere suffering war and occupation.
We invite workers who have been fighting in the
past year or foresee fights in the coming year to join us at the pot
luck dinner to update us on what is going on. We will celebrate our
struggles and set our course for the coming year.
Organized by a Calgary May Day Committee formed
for this purpose.
For further information call Peggy Askin at
403-283-7054, or email email@example.com
(No charge for parking at the Calgary Area Outdoor
Council. Because of the construction, approach from the west on
Memorial drive. Parking also available at various lots within a block
On Tuesday May 1st, Edmontonians will gather at
112th Street and 82nd Avenue, joining millions demonstrating
internationally in defence of the rights of workers and the rights of
all. Marchers will gather at 5:30 pm for a rally and will march at 6:00
pm to demonstrate their opposition to recent attacks on workers'
rights and cuts to social programs.
The May Day 2012
March Committee, a group formed to organize this event,
is calling on everyone to come out on May Day to stand as one with
workers across Canada and in all countries who are fighting to defend
their rights in their workplaces and in their communities. Unions and
other community organizations are encouraged to attend
and bring their flags or organizational banners.
The theme of this year's march is "Defend the
Rights of Workers! Defend the Rights of All!" The march and speakers at
the rally will highlight recent resistance to attacks on the rights of
workers to organize and strike in defence of their wages and working
conditions. It will also demand an end to attacks on
the rights of all in the form of privatization and deep cuts to public
services and layoffs of thousands of public sector workers, and call
for pensions, expanded public health care and education for all.
For more information and updates, see Facebook or
phone Merryn Edwards at 780-910-1951.
(Click to enlarge)