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Rachel Notley at an Alberta NDP rally, Edmonton, Canada, June 16, 2014 (photo by Flickr user daveberta licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license).

Left-Wing Victory in Canada’s Alberta Carries National Implications

Friday, May 8, 2015

Canadian politics rarely draws international interest, unless a certain colorful former Toronto mayor is involved. But a snap election in the energy-rich province of Alberta this week shocked Canada and made headlines around the world. The Progressive Conservative (PC) party, which has held continuous control of the province since 1971, lost in a stunning upset to the left-of-center Alberta New Democratic Party (NDP). NDP leader Rachel Notley is set to be the premier—the equivalent of governor—of the heartland of Canadian conservatism and the home province of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose ruling Conservative Party faces tough federal elections this fall.

“I don’t know if anyone outside of Canada can appreciate how shocking an NDP victory in Alberta would be,” Jeet Heer, a Canadian journalist, wrote on Twitter the evening of the vote, adding that it would be as if liberal MSNBC host Chris Hayes, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders and Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren took power in conservative Texas and Mississippi. ...

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