On Saturday, Alberta's Opposition leader admitted she mused about stepping aside after losing to the United Conservative Party of Alberta in 2019.
NDP leader Rachel Notley's lame-duck government ended after the UCP earned 63 seats to secure a majority government. At the time, she considered if the party would benefit from injecting new blood into its ranks.
However, she said those deliberations changed after her conservative opponents introduced and passed legislation in 2019 that removed measures brought in by the NDP to strengthen protections for gay-straight alliances (GSAs) in schools.
While the bill included provisions for the alliances, Notley said it diluted the rules permitting schools to delay setting up GSAs and inform parents if their children join one.
Though the UCP said it did not support automatic parental notification, they claimed the NDP's legislation was "too blunt an instrument" but cautioned school staff should use their judgment in some instances on informing parents.
Notley told a crowd of over 100 supporters during Saturday's nomination meeting that mere minutes after the UCP passed Bill 8, which she called "Bill Hate," its members posed for photos to mark the end of the session by splashing in the reflecting pool on the legislature grounds.
"This is how your UCP government celebrated the decision to end protections against bullying for children who just needed to feel safe," said Notley. She compared the photo of the UCP members to the opening credits of the TV show "Friends."
Notley added that GSAs foster acceptance of LGBTQ kids in schools and prevent bullying on sexual orientation.
She claimed the UCP "dragged Alberta backwards" by "refusing climate action" and funding "useless war rooms" in a jab of its energy agency to counter environmental groups.
Despite the tough election loss in 2019, she admitted the party "had some work to do."
Notley served as Alberta's premier from 2015 to 2019 to disrupt a Progressive Conservative dynasty that spanned over four decades in the province.
Notley has represented Edmonton-Strathcona in the legislature since 2008. She hopes to remain on after the upcoming provincial election scheduled for May 29.
A recent poll from Abacus Data suggests the UCP is gaining steam as election season ramps up and has a lead over the Alberta NDP.
The poll suggests this will again be a two-horse race, with the Alberta Party sitting a distant third, having received a minuscule 5% support from eligible voters.
The survey also found that Calgary will be a crucial battleground for political hopefuls. The NDP currently holds a slight edge over the UCP at 39% to 37% support.
Voters in Edmonton seem more willing to vote NDP, while outside Alberta's two major cities, the UCP leads the way.