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Alberta voters re-elected a United Conservative Party (UCP) majority government this week. Comparing Alberta politics to Saskatchewan politics is common because our neighbour to the west shares many of the same issues that drive voter intention.
Like Alberta, Saskatchewan has two main parties with a collection of fringe ones falling to the right and to the left of the political spectrum.
The UCP, similar to the governing Saskatchewan Party, has a strong rural base with an independent streak that sees less government as the best option for the future of the province. The NDP in both provinces is urban-based parties focusing on government solutions to most problems.
Like all campaigns, a variety of issues were debated in the lead up to the Alberta election. The economy, healthcare, education and taxes were common themes addressed by each party.
However, there was one issue always lingering in the background that hung around the neck of the NDP like an anchor. It was the relationship with the federal Liberal government, more specifically the Prime Minister.
Both Alberta and Saskatchewan have pursued provincial-first policies to combat what they see as federal overreach, especially in the resource sector.
When Rachel Notley was the NDP premier of Alberta her relationship and actions, in concert with Justin Trudeau, began the attack on the oil, gas and agriculture industries. Many Albertans saw a premier who put Ottawa’s interests ahead of Alberta’s.
Notley lost the election this week for a number of reasons, however, the ties with Trudeau could never be forgotten nor forgiven.
When our province heads into its election next year you can bet that every time the Saskatchewan Party attacks the NDP the name Trudeau will not be far behind.