Alberta opted to extend the Progressive Conservatives’ 41-year run by another four years instead of giving the up-and-coming Wildrose Party a chance at governing the province as was predicted in pre-election polls.
Wildrose leader Danielle Smith took to the stage before 10 p.m. Monday night to accept her new role as leader of the opposition. Her party was leading the polls going into the election, but Smith’s call for change failed to resonate with voters as much as she had hoped for.
Only 46 per cent of voters turned out for the election. Both conservative leaders won their respective ridings. The Wildrose banner made inroads in northern Alberta in Dunvegan-Central Peace-Notley, Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills and Bonnyville-Cold Lake.
MLA Guy Boutilier, who joined Wildrose after he was removed from the PC caucus in 2009 for his public criticisms of the party, lost his riding to PC challenger Mike Allen.
Critics said Wildrose managed a well-run campaign with numerous well-staged moments compared to the rough points that highlighted the PC campaign. Emotion and anger were often centre-stage instead of campaign promises and platforms, but despite all the finger-pointing toward Alison Redford, the PCs claimed a majority government – though not without losses. The 72-seat party record of 2008 was diminished, and its main competitor gained significantly.