Notley Joins Exclusive Club By Jamie Barrie I t was on April 16th that Alberta followed the path of Nova Scotia in 2013, and Ontario in 1995. That was the day the province saw its first experiment with an NDP government end abruptly at the polls. On that day the Alberta NDP lost more than half their seats and ended up second in what most labelled a two-party contest. Just like Bob Rae and Darrell Dexter, Rachel Notley will forever be known as a one term NDP Premier who squandered a large majority in a single mandate. She joins the other two leaders as modern era icons of democratic failure that wiped their party off the political map in less than fours years. My question to a long-time blue-collar worker from Lower Great Slave Lake was “will this fix Alberta?” Surprisingly his answer was “I hope so.” His social media filled with anti-Notley NDP posts and pro-Jason Kenney Unified Conservatives messages is now quiet. A sign, that like many, he believes his job is done and new Premier, Jason Kenney must deliver on promises to reverse the damage four years of NDP policy has generated.

popular move in a province where farmers often use an unskilled casual labor force made up of teenage workers. Notley also implemented a carbon tax. Her best play would have been to use the “don’t shoot the messenger” stance. Albertans dislike carbon taxes probably about as much as they loathe a Liberal Prime Minister with the last name Trudeau. Like his father before him, Justin Trudeau is politically toxic in Alberta. Primarily because he is blamed for failed pipeline deals and favoring Quebec’s inter- ests over that of the west. The minute Notley signed a carbon tax deal and stood beside Trudeau, her reputation in Alberta was seriously tarnished. Jason Kenney came out swinging in hopes people would realize he means business. First elected as a Reform MP in 1997, Kenny was re-elected as a Canadian Alliance MP in 2000. He was subse- quently elected 4 times as an MP of the Federal

For Notley, the defeat was bound to hold a personal and significant sense of disappointment. Since 1971, the NDP struggled to gain relevance and Alberta had one face. It was Grant Notley. He served as a MLA for eleven years, the sole NDP in the provincial legislature. A second NDP MLA was elected in 1982 and that hoisted the party into the role of the official opposition. The Liberal Party has been an irrelevant force in Alberta for decades. Notley spent his political energy attempting to advance his socialist democratic policies. His goals were to change the conversation in political circles to include NDP ideas throughout Alberta. Many considered him irrelevant. Mainly because his party held so little ground, but also because his ideas were not popular in arguably the heart- land of conservative thought in Canada. Sadly, Grant Notley died in a plane crash on a snowy and cold hillside near Slave Lake in October of 1984. The dream appeared to be over for the NDP in Alberta. Their champion was gone and most figured the socialist left-wing ideology he promoted would disappear from the provincial narrative. Initially, it appeared his critics that had labeled him inconsequential and ineffective, were right.

Notley never saw his struggle that way. He was planting seeds meant to flourish in later years. His efforts paid off. It happened a year after his death in the 1986 election when his party broke

through. They went from two to sixteen seats and captured 29 percent of the vote. Alberta now had to recognize the NDP. While the seeds he planted within the ranks of his party were significant, the most important teach- ings happened at home. The lessons he taught to his children would prove his most significant. Grant Notley’s daughter, Rachel caught the politi-

cal bug and was elected as an NDP MLA for the provincial riding of Edmonton Strathcona in the 2008 provincial election. Notley was elected NDP leader on October 18, 2014, just as her father had back in 1968. She became premier of Alberta in 2015 with a majority government. The NDP added 50 seats to the 4 they already had which gave them a majority by 10 seats. The party picked up forty percent of the popular vote. So, what happened? NDP policy gets most of the blame. The NDP raised the provincial minimum wage to 15 dollars per hour at a time when the Alberta economy was on a fast, downward trajec- tory. Since his election, Kenney has made adjust- ments that anyone 17 or under are not covered by the minimum wage law of $15 per hour. This is a





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