Alberta is to Canada as Texas is to the United States.
It is the heart of Canada’s oil industry and the site of the tar sands industry which hopes to pump corrosive bitumen through the Keystone XL pipeline. And it is the stronghold of the Conservative Party, Canada’s counterpart to Republicans here in the USA.
But yesterday Alberta’s voters gave a plurality of their votes and a majority in the provincial legislature to Canada’s leftist New Democratic Party. The results are roughly equivalent to Bernie Sanders being elected governor of Texas and the Tea Party being swept out of office.
Not that the New Democrats are going to shut down the tar sands industry or anything like that. Its platform is:
- an increase in the corporate tax rate from 10 percent to 12 percent
- a $15 an hour minimum wage;
- a review of the royalties that petro-carbon producers pay (which have plummeted in recent years);
- a ban on corporate donations for elections;
- a phase out of coal power
Canada’s politics are more changeable than U.S. politics, and Canadians have a wider choice of political parties, so it’s hard for me as an outsider to gauge the significance of this. That said, it seems to me that this could be the beginning of the end of Canada’s pendulum swing to the right.
I’d be particularly interested in comments from Canadians on this.
Alberta Elects the New Democratic Party (NDP) by Ian Welsh.
NDP wins stunning majority in Alberta election, Jim Prentice resigns by the Canadian Press service.
Alberta Loses Its Goddam Mind for the Fourth Time: a Guide for the Perplexed by Drew Brown for Vice News. [Added 5/7/2015]
What Alberta’s shocking election results could mean for the oil sands by Brad Plumer for Vox News. [Added 5/7/2015]