NDP Edmonton City Center MLA David Shepard and Alberta NDP president Peggy Wright stand on stage as they prepare for MC Alberta NDP is an election night at the Edmonton Convention Center on April 16, 2019.
Remember orange crush? Edmonton is still what might pop, now taken from the blue flood and sent out by centrifugation alone along the northern Saskatchewan.
That's what the new electoral map looks like. Edmonton is a NDP orange orange in the sea of UCP blue. Take the magnifying glass to see the few Calgary NDP seats and one at Lethbridge. That's what the polls predicted and it happened.
In Edmonton, UCP led only to the deep southwest, where lawyer Kaycee Madu was ahead with 47 of the 64 reporting polls. In the region around Edmonton, UCP ran to eight of nine places by the end of the night. The new MPPs include Spruge Grove counselor Searle Terton, former police officer Brad Rutherford in Leduc-Beaumont and others.
That sounds terribly similar to the early days of Ralph Klein's government, after progressive conservatives won a landslide victory in 1993 without the MLA from Edmonton. This meant that the city had no voices on the table as huge cuts occurred; even then Mayor Jan Reimer took to the streets, joining 25,000 other people to protest when Klein turned Mill Hill Woods Hospital "Gray White Hospitals" for some time into a small health center.
Edmonton was literally shouting from outside.
Today's mayor claims that Edmonton is now a different city, a larger economic center in the province. "Messing with Edmonton is interfering with Alberta's economy," Mayor Don Iveson said on Monday, ahead of the vote.
While it is true that Edmonton's economy has seen tremendous growth in the past 20 years, as well as Calgary and other urban centers. This means that in terms of the rest of the province, its economic impact is similar. The Edmonton region accounted for 25 percent of the province's GDP in the early 1990s; now stands at 28 percent, according to figures from the Canada Conference Board.
The difference is that the city has become more secure. In the nineties, the headquarters escaped from the city of Calgary and BC; Edmonton in the city center was a dive. Today, there is a much greater sense of optimism.
It also has a stronger partnership with the region. It was a key focus for Yvonne. If Edmonton can build a coalition of votes, with key business and educational leaders at the table presenting the facts, and not ideology, the city can still be heard.
It was supposed to be a difficult year for Edmonton, no matter who was elected. The economist from the city of Edmonton, John Rose, finalizes the spring forecast. He does not predict a recession, but close, he said when I reach him.
In the construction industry, the upgrade of $ 8 billion has just ended, projects in the city center are close to completion, and weakening in the housing sector will mean less work there. These are good, well paid jobs that feed the larger economy.
Rose sees no construction to rise until 2020, when two smaller petrochemical projects north of the city are expected to break, and the residential sector can be strengthened. But, he says, "we will not go back to any conditions of a boom."
That leaves Edmonton highly sensitive to cuts in post-secondary education, healthcare and education, which employ 27 percent of Edmonton residents. "We are vulnerable there. People have reason to be worried," says Rose.
UCP says they do not plan big cuts, but also NDP and UCP platforms planned to balance the budget after returning oil revenues. It is unlikely, especially in the long run, even with the pipeline. As Rose said, "they dream at Technicolor."
The UCP is likely to get away with the deficit this year and the next, but if it continues in 2021 without a firm plan, the debt is likely to affect the provincial interest rates, he said. To avoid this, the UCP will either have to cut its large bills (health and education) far deeper than promised, or they should seek tax increases, such as sales tax.
I warned you that his looks are bleak.
Apart from apparently – money for transit, affordable housing, strong universities – Edmonton really needs a government that will cease to pretend. The city needs a government that will be honest and honest with the citizens about the challenges that this province faces. We need a government that can learn to be a great tent and non-ideological.
I hope this mixture of just selected MLA can do it. I hope they can build bridges and hold tough conversations, not only in the cabinet, but also in the open with every Albertan.
If not, I suppose Alberta will vote again in four years.