UCP forms government, Smith takes pot shots at Trudeau over net-zero targets

The UCP earned 49 of 87 seats despite suffering considerable losses in Calgary.

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Premier Danielle Smith and the UCP have achieved another 'miracle on the prairies' with their slim majority victory Monday night.

"Many folks wrote us off," said Smith. "Despite it all, Albertans chose to move our province forward by re-electing a strong, stable, United Conservative majority government."

The UCP earned 49 of 87 seats despite suffering considerable losses in Calgary.

Conservative incumbents Tyler Shandro and Whitney Issik lost by 7 and 30 votes, respectively, with many thousands of votes cast.

However, former Cabinet Ministers Demetrios Nicolaides and Rajan Sawhney squeaked out respective victories of 385 and 149 votes in contested West Calgary ridings.

After dropping the writ in early May, Smith parked the contentious ideas surrounding sovereignty, including a possible provincial police force and pension plan. Instead, she campaigned on a message of safer streets and putting more money in the pockets of Albertans.

As premier, her first order of business next session will be to legislate the Taxpayer Protection Amendment Act, introducing referendums on business and income tax hikes. It will also create a new tax bracket of 8% for all income under $60,000 while extending the fuel tax suspension through the remainder of 2023.

Smith also used her victory speech in Calgary to aim at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"My fellow Albertans, we need to come together no matter how we have voted to stand shoulder to shoulder against soon-to-be-announced Ottawa policies that would significantly harm our provincial economy," she said.

"We have been made aware that in the coming weeks, Justin Trudeau is planning on bringing forward new restrictions on electricity generation from natural gas," said Smith. 

Ottawa aims to cut carbon emissions by 40% to 45% of 2005 levels by 2030, likely resulting in significant reductions from staple Alberta industries. Smith rejects production caps to curb oil and gas emissions, arguing it will reduce production without achieving a net-zero electricity grid by 2035.

She called on Trudeau to halt those climate policies, warning he would "strain the patience and goodwill of Canadians in an unprecedented fashion" while increasing power bills and endangering the power grid's reliability. 

In Edmonton, Official Opposition leader Rachel Notley engaged an energized supporter base, claiming responsibility for the electoral defeat. 

"On one hand, I feel tremendous gratitude and pride in the people of Alberta and those who stood up and supported building a better future," she said. "Where we fell short, the responsibility rests entirely with me."

"As a leader… it's part of responsibility and accountability."

However, not all was doom and gloom for the Alberta NDP. She welcomed 14 new members to the caucus and praised her party for forming the most considerable Official Opposition in the party's history. They also garnered the largest proportion of the popular vote in its history.

Notley also announced her intent to remain party leader for the next term - a decision met with a triumphant roar from the crowd at the NDP election HQ. "It is my honour to serve as your leader, and it is my privilege to continue to serve as leader of the Official Opposition," she said.

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  • By Ezra Levant

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