Could Alberta be the bellwether for shifting politics in North America’s oil patch communities?
Alberta citizens vote in a provincial election today. Alberta — world famous as home of the oil sands — has been ruled by the Progressive Conservative party for more than four decades, and it is the base of Canada’s hard-right federal Conservative government. Now the socialist New Democratic Party, which received less than 10 per cent of the popular vote in 2012, is on a wave of massive popular support, and numerous opinion polls give it a shot at governing.
The election of a socialist government in right-wing Alberta would have been unthinkable until now — but amid social and political upheaval, global oil prices are volatile and plunging, and communities almost entirely reliant on oil and gas extraction are suffering.
Alberta-based journalists Penney Kome and Sean Holman consider aspects of the issues.
The election, writes Holman, is “a missed opportunity to change that indifference, raising awareness among Albertans about why their information rights are important and how those rights can prevent another 44 years of unaccountable governments in this province.”
“Alberta, the province that elected North America’s first Muslim mayor, is flirting with another surprise: a feminist New Democrat government — or at least Opposition,” writes Kome.