2008 Alberta General Election

Feature by Jay Makarenko || Feb 5, 2008

On March 3, 2008, Alberta voters returned the Progressive Conservative Party to power for the eleventh consecutive time. The election was a landslide win for the PC Party, whom improved both their seat total in the legislature and their share of the popular vote from the 2004 general election. The victory was viewed as a strong endorsement for Premier Ed Stelmach, whom had replaced former party leader and Premier Ralph Klein in 2007. The election was also a major disappointment for the other major political parties, whom saw substantial losses in their seat totals and electoral support. This article provides background information on the 2008 Alberta general election, including the previous general election, party standings prior to dissolution of the legislature, pre-election polls, leader biographies and platforms of the major political parties in the election, and a summary of the election results.

Alberta Election Backgrounder

Previous elections, party standings, pre-election polls

Alberta PC Party: 2008 Election Overview

Leader bio and election platform for the PC Party

Alberta Liberal Party: 2008 Election Overview

Leader bio and election platform for the Liberals

Alberta New Democrats: 2008 Election Overview

Leader bio and election platform for the NDP

Wildrose Alliance Party: 2008 Election Overview

Leader bio and election platform for the Alberta Alliance

Minor Parties in the 2008 Alberta Election

List and links to minor political parties in the election

Results of the 2008 Alberta General Election

Progressive Conservatives win a majority government

Sources and Links to More Information

List of article sources and links to more on this topic


Alberta Election Backgrounder

Previous elections, party standings, pre-election polls

2004 General Election Results

The last general election was held in 2004, with then-Premier Ralph Klein and the Progressive Conservative Party winning a massive majority government. The Liberal Party came in second, forming the Official Opposition in the Alberta legislature.

Below are each party’s total seat counts and popular vote tallies for the 2004 Alberta general election.

Results of 2004 Alberta General Election

Political Party

% Vote

 Seats

 Status

PC Party

 47

 62

 Government

Liberal Party

 29

 16

 Opposition

NDP Party

 9.8

 04

 -

Alberta Alliance

 9

 01

 -

For more information on the 2004 Alberta general election:

Party Standings Prior to the 2008 General Election

Prior to the calling of the 2008 general election, the party standings in the provincial legislature were as follows:

Results of 2004 Alberta General Election

Political Party

 Seats

 Status

PC Party

 60

 Government

Liberal Party

 16

 Opposition

NDP Party

 04

 -

Wildrose Alliance*

 01

 -

 Independent

 01

 -

 Vacant

 01

 -

*New party resulting from a merger of the Alberta Alliance Party and the Wildrose Party.

The changes to party standings since the 2004 general election were the result of several factors. In 2006, MLA Dan Backs was asked to leave the Liberal Party caucus, and subsequently sat as an independent in the legislature. In 2007, two PC MLAs resigned their seats; former Premier and party leader Ralph Klein and MLA Shirley McClellan. By-elections were held in the same year, with Liberal Craig Cheffins winning Klein’s former seat and PC Jack Hayden winning McClellan’s. Finally, in 2007 PC MLA Gary Mar resigned his seat to become the Alberta Envoy to Washington, DC. His seat was left vacant.

Pre-Election Public Opinion Polls

Public opinion polls conducted early in 2008 have shown a strong lead for the incumbent Progressive Conservative Party. A Strategic Counsel poll, released on January 17, placed the PC Party at 58 percent support, the Liberals at 19 percent, the NDP at 9 percent and the Alberta Alliance at 5 percent. A Leger Marketing poll, released on January 24, also showed a strong, albeit smaller, lead for the Progressive Conservatives. That poll placed the PC Party at 32 percent support, the Liberals at 18 percent, the NDP at 7 percent, and the Alberta Alliance at 6 percent.

For more information the results of these public opinion polls:


Alberta PC Party: 2008 Election Overview

Leader bio and election platform for the PC Party

Ed Stelmach: Alberta Progressive Conservative Leader

The Honourable Ed Stelmach is Alberta’s 13th Premier. He was elected leader of the Progressive Conservative Party on December 2, 2006 and sworn in as Premier on December 14, 2006. He has been a Member of the Alberta Legislative Assembly since 1993.

Stelmach’s leadership win came as a surprise considering his campaign for the PC leadership was less prominent than that of party insider Jim Dinning and the socially conservative Ted Morton. He placed third in the first round of voting in November 2006. A week later he emerged as leader after the second round of voting, thanks to the endorsements of three candidates dropped after the first round. Stelmach replaced outgoing party leader and Premier Ralph Klein.

Following his election as party leader, Stelmach announced a new cabinet that included all of the leadership contenders who had supported him in the second round of voting. The new cabinet was criticized for being dominated by white males and for not containing enough MLAs from Calgary.

Stelmach’s initiation into politics began with his election to the Lamont County Council. The following year he became Reeve, a position he held for five years. During that time, he served as the Lamont Council’s representative on the local school board and on the Health Unit Association of Alberta. He ventured into political politics in 1993, winning the Alberta PC nomination in the riding of Vegreville-Viking. He was subsequently re-elected in Vegreville-Viking and later in the new riding of Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville in the 1997, 2001, and 2004 provincial elections.

He held four cabinet posts under Premier Klein’s government: in 1997 Stelmach became Minister of Agriculture, Food and Development; in May 1999, he was shuffled to the Infrastructure Ministry and later became Minister of Transport; and in 2004, he became the Alberta Intergovernmental Affairs Minister, a position he held until he resigned in June 2006 to become a party leadership candidate. Stelmach has also served on several provincial committees as Caucus Whip and Deputy Caucus Whip.

Born on May 11, 1951, Stelmach was raised in Lamont County in Northern Alberta on the homestead his Ukrainian grandparents established in 1898. He enrolled in a pre-law program at the University of Alberta, but returned home to assume responsibility for the family farm following a tragedy. Since returning home in 1973, he has developed the family farm business. Stelmach still lives there with his wife Marie. They have four grown children and one grandchild. He is the first Alberta premier of Ukrainian descent.

Stelmach is an active community member. He has served on the board of the Archer Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home and as a director for the Andrew Co-Op Association, the Lamont District 4-H Council and the Andrew 4-H Beef Club.

Progressive Conservative 2008 Election Platform

The Alberta Progressive Conservative website provides the Party’s statement of principles. Highlights of the statement include:

  • Role of the individual: The Party respects the rights of the individual, but is mindful of the responsibilities that come accompany those rights. By accepting responsibility and acting on their own initiative, individuals will achieve their full potential as contributors to prosperous communities.
  • Importance of the family: The Party recognizes the family, as defined by its individual members, as being paramount to the development of social responsibility and a sense of self-worth.
  • Free enterprise economy: The Party believes that the creation of wealth and jobs can best be achieved by a free enterprise economy. The Party is committed to fostering policies that encourage and respect entrepreneurship and innovation.
  • Fiscal and economic responsibility: The Party is committed to promoting a diversified economy that will provide for maximum employment, as well as fiscal planning that will protect priority programs while minimizing taxation.
  • Alberta as a healthy society: The Party believes that Albertans should have access to affordable and sustainable health care when they are ill or infirm. The Party also believes in the value of individual responsibility for personal wellness.
  • Stewardship of the environment: The Party is committed to sustaining the quality of the province’s air, water, soil, wildlife and natural environment. This includes ensuring that growth and development takes place in an environmentally sensitive manner for current and future generations.
  • Alberta as equal partners in Confederation: The Party is committed to maintaining sovereignty over provincial matters, believing that a strong and vibrant Alberta is a cornerstone of a strong and united Canada.

For more information on the Party’s statement of principles:

Also on their website, the PC Party provides a policy statement for the 2008 election.

For the full text of the PC Party platform:

In that statement, the Party identifies three key priorities:

  • Building Albertans’ quality of life
  • Creating and protecting Albertans’ opportunities
  • Greening Alberta’s growth

In the context of these three key priorities, the Party goes on to highlight several changes it has already made as government.

In the areas of families and health, the Party notes that it has increased childcare subsidies; funded the creation of additional childcare spaces; approved funding for new hospitals in Sherwood Park and Grande Prairie, the Edmonton clinic, and the South Calgary Health Campus; and approved $280 million for 832 continuing care beds to meet the needs of an aging population.

In education, the Party highlights that it has undertaken the largest schools project in Canada, which will construct over 22,000 new K-12 student spaces in the next two years. The Party has also provided block funding to address the backlog of needed renovations to older schools. Other education related initiatives include resolving the issue of the Alberta teachers’ pension plan shortfall and preventing a teachers’ strike for five years; creating 1000 new spaces for post-secondary education students in energy, the environment, and economic studies; and creating 6000 new apprenticeship seats.

In regard to social policy, the Party has introduced an aggressive plan to reduce crime and to make communities safer, including hiring more police and prosecutors; increasing treatment beds for alcoholism, drug addiction, and mental illness; and supporting victims of crime and abuse. The Party has also developed a plan to end homelessness in Alberta within ten years, and has created a $285 million fund to invest in municipal housing projects, help tenants facing unaffordable rents, and support the homelessness. The Party has also increased funding to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres, and increased monthly payments to disabled persons under the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program.

In environmental policy, the Party has introduced Alberta’s New Climate Change Pan, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 200 megatons by 2050. The Party has also removed the cap on wind power to encourage the development of more non-renewable wind energy; initiated studies on the feasibility of carbon capture and storage as a means of disposing carbon dioxide emissions; and provided grants to promote the bio-energy industry.

In regard to infrastructure, the Party has provided $11.3 billion over ten years to municipalities so they can plan in advance to manage growth; delivered a twenty-year strategic plan to catch up on high priority infrastructure projects; and committed an average of $6 billion annually to build, maintain, and repair schools, hospitals, highways, urban transit, universities, colleges, parks, and senior care facilities.

In economic and energy policy, the Party has initiated a $100 million plan to encourage rural development. The Party has also adjusted the amount of royalties the oil and gas sector will pay Albertan, ensuring that the province receives proper compensation as owners of the resources. The Party has also implemented the Ethane Extraction Policy to ensure that more natural gas is processed into petrochemicals in Alberta.


Alberta Liberal Party: 2008 Election Overview

Leader bio and election platform for the Liberals

Kevin Taft: Alberta Liberal Leader

Kevin Taft entered provincial politics in March 2001 when he was elected as MLA for the riding of Edmonton-Riverview. He became party leader in March 2004 following the resignation of then-leader Ken Nicol. Under his leadership, the Alberta Liberal Party’s organization and finances have improved. To date, Taft has served on several legislative committees, including the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. During his time as an MLA he has held various critic portfolios, including Finance, Health & Wellness, Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development, and Municipal Affairs and Restructuring and Government Efficiency.

Before entering politics, he worked as a researcher and consultant for the Government of Alberta through his company, Taft Research and Communications. He has authored three bestselling books. Published in 2007, Democracy Derailed is about the state of affairs of government in the province of Alberta. In 2000, Taft and Calgary journalist Gillian Steward co-authored Clear Answers: The Economics and Politics of For-Profit Medicine. In 1997, Taft published Shredding the Public Interest, which accuses the Progressive Conservative government of unnecessarily cutting funding for public services. It spent 12 weeks on The Financial Post’s bestseller list and was subsequently chosen as"Alberta Trade Title of the Year" by the Book Publisher’s Association of Alberta.

Taft is a committed Westerner. He was born on September 9, 1955 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, but grew up in Edmonton, Alberta. He attended Strathcona Composite High School, and then earned a Bachelor of Arts of in Political Science and Master’s degree in Community Development from the University of Alberta. He graduated with a Ph.D. in Business from the University of Warwick in England. Taft lives with his wife Jeanette Boman, whom he married in 1982, and their two sons. They reside in the same neighbourhood where Taft was raised.

He is a former soccer coach and dedicated hockey fan. Taft plays Oldtimers’ games and frequents the local outdoor rink where he previously served as Manager of Rink Maintenance.

Liberal Party 2008 Election Platform

The Liberal platform is outlined in a party document titled It’s Time. A Real Action Plan for Alberta. Central to this policy statement are five key commitments:

  • Eliminate health care premiums immediately
  • Re-regulate the electricity industry to lower power bills for Albertans
  • Invest 30 percent of annual energy royalties (as opposed to spending the funds)
  • Cap greenhouse gases in five years, through an active partnership with the energy industry
  • Ensure that Albertans have the hospitals and training for health care professions they need.

In addition to these five commitments, It’s Time provides a broad set of promises across a wide range of issues. Highlights of these promises are as follows:

In the area of health care, the Party promises to focus on addressing health workforce shortages in the province and to reduce waiting times by constructing more hospitals, creating specialized surgical centres within the public system, and ensuring more efficient use of health care professionals. The Party is also committed to establishing predictable funding levels for health care, which will be annually adjusted to reflect population growth, inflation and aging, as well as implementing a public pharmacare program to reduce the cost of prescription drugs.

For more on the Party’s health care policies:

In the area of government finances, the Party is committed to maintaining permanently low levels of taxation by building the Alberta Heritage Savings and Trust Fund into a massive, long-term income fund for Alberta. The Part also pledges to eliminate the province’s infrastructure debt by 2014.

For more on the Party’s policies on government finances:

In regard to economic policy, the Party promises to create a low cost environment for business by permanently keeping levels of taxation low, enacting a Red Tape Review (similar to the one in British Columbia) to aid small business, and eliminating health care premiums. The Party also promises to strengthen the Alberta economy by encouraging the building of bitumen upgraders in Alberta, to keep the economic benefits of the energy industry within the province. The Party also promises to help the forestry industry by examining a tax credit for the purchasing of machinery for efficiency and environmental performance, streamlining forestry regulations and supporting the development of biomass products that use wood fibre.

For more on the Party’s economic policies:

In social policy, the Party is committed to breaking the cycle of poverty by developing a ‘living wage’ policy that is sufficient to allow workers to support their families; make changes to the welfare system to encourage people on social assistance to move beyond poverty, such as allowing some benefits to remain until they are firmly established in the workplace; and reviewing the housing component of Alberta Works social assistance to bring it in line with the current reality of the Alberta housing market. In the context of Aboriginals, the Party advocates quick, fair, and effective resolution of land claims; increased funding for Aboriginal Friendship Centres; improvement of Aborignal health care and education; and the establishment of urban-Aboriginal health centres. In regard to seniors, the Party is committed to making the Alberta Seniors Benefit inflation-proof by tying it to the Alberta Consumer Index, increasing the number of dental procedures covered under the Dental Assistance for Seniors Program, and improving the province’s system of senior centres.

For more information on the Party’s social policies:

In the area of environmental policy, the Party is promises to address climate change by establishing an absolute cap on greenhouse gas emissions; providing incentives to develop carbon capture and storage technology; promote cleaner renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind and geothermal power; redirect the Natural Gas Rebate Program towards energy efficiency and conservation programs; and establishing a Premier’s Strategic Council on Climate Change to create and implement a comprehensive climate change policy for the province. Other environmental initiatives include greater protection of the province’s water and watershed; greater regulation of coalbed methane development; and implementation of a province-wide waste management strategy.

For more information on the Party’s environmental policies:

The Party is also promising substantial democratic reform. Some specific initiatives include the institution of fixed election dates; creation of a Citizen’s Assembly on Electoral Reform to study other ways of electing Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs); enacting whistleblower legislation; and improving review of government finances by strengthening the role of the Auditor General of Alberta and the legislature’s Public Accounts Committee.

For more on the Party’s commitments for democratic reform:


Alberta New Democrats: 2008 Election Overview

Leader bio and election platform for the NDP

Brian Mason: Alberta New Democratic Leader

Brian Mason was first elected as an MLA for Edmonton Highlands (now Edmonton Highlands-Norwood) in a 2000 by-election; on March 12, 2001 he was re-elected in the provincial general election. Mason was subsequently appointed House Leader of the New Democrat Caucus and Critic responsible for Human Resources, Finance, and Agriculture. On July 13, 2004 Mason replaced Raj Pannu as the Interim Leader of the Alberta New Democratic Party. On September 18, 2004 he was selected as the new leader of the New Democratic Party at a leadership convention in Edmonton.

A particularly active MLA, Mason has served as a member of the Standing Committees on Law and Regulations, and Public Accounts, as well as the Special Standing Committee on Members’ Services.

Before being elected to the Alberta Legislature, Mason served as the City of Edmonton’s Councillor for Ward 3. He was first elected in October 1989, and during his 11 years on City Council Mason earned a reputation as a strong and effective representative for his constituents. He remained in municipal politics until Alberta NDP leader Pam Barrett resigned in 2000.

Mason was born on October 12, 1953 in Edmonton, Alberta. He completed post-secondary studies at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. From 1977-79, he served as Executive Director of the Federation of Alberta Students (FAS). Afterwards, Mason worked as a bus driver for Edmonton Transit Services. He has lived in Edmonton Highlands-Norwood for 20 years with his wife Karin and their two sons. Mason is focused on issues such as affordable housing, fair royalties for Albertans, energy deregulation, high automobile insurance rates, education funding, and treatment of senior citizens.

New Democratic Party 2008 Election Platform

The Alberta New Democrats website states the Party’s four key priorities, which are meant to “put the needs of regular Albertans first, with real solutions to make life more affordable for everyday people” (Alberta New Democratic Party, Out 4 Priorities).

The first of these priorities centres on reducing the cost of living for Albertans. Specific policies include eliminating health care premiums; reasonable tuition for students; safe, affordable care for seniors; and affordable housing by instituting rent controls and limiting the conversion of rental properties into condos.

The second priority is to ensure that Albertans receive full value royalties in the energy industry. The Party promises to follow the example set by Alaska and replace Alberta’s bargain basement royalty system with a plan that benefits regular people and delivers a full share for the resources they own.

The Party is also committed to implementing a green energy plan for the province. This involves making Alberta a leader in green energy by using royalty revenue to develop solar, wind, and geothermal alternatives in Alberta and to invest in green energy research and economic development for the future.

The Party’s fourth priority is to eliminate the influence of money from the province’s democratic system. In this context, the Party would introduce legislation to out an end to political donations to political parties from unions and corporations.

The Party’s website has also released a more detailed 2008 election policy statement across a wide range of issues. Highlights of the policy statement are as follows.

For a full statement of the NDP’s 2008 election platform:

In health care, the Party has promised to fight against the introduction of for-profit health care in Alberta. Additionally, the Party has promised to deal with rising health care costs and shortages of services by focusing on innovation and efficiency within the public system. This includes establishing the Alberta Pharmaceutical Savings Agency, which would control drug costs by buying bulk and by relying more heavily on generic drugs where possible; shortening wait times by setting targets for health regions and by increasing funding for long-term care, which will allow for the transfer of seniors from hospitals to appropriate long-term care settings; and creating community-based primary care clinics to divert patients out of the emergency room.

In economic policy, the Party has promised to better manage the province’s growth by developing a labour retention strategy so that businesses can run at full capacity; better controlling the pace of development in the oil-patch; supporting increased oil royalties, using some of the funds to promote a green energy industry; and building and maintaining critical infrastructure necessary for the province’s economic growth and social services.

In social policy, the Party is committed to fighting poverty by gradually raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour, and indexing it to the cost of living thereafter; implementing rent guidelines and close loopholes around condo conversions to protect rental tenants; ensuring that provincial contracts and grants enable organizations to provide a living wage to employees. The Party is also promising to reduce childcare fees and increase the number of affordable spaces available; establishing an integrated childcare plan; increasing funding for women’s shelters; and eliminating wage discrimination in the public sector. The Party is also committed to fighting crime by implementing community policing; increasing the number of police officers; and effectively addressing the roots of crime through measures to reduce poverty, affordable housing, and recreation opportunities for kids at risk.

In environmental policy, the Party promises stronger greenhouse gas emission regulations and enforcement in the oil-patch; a water management plan to ensure that current and future needs are balanced; a moratorium on additional resource development on lakeshores and lake beds; a Green Energy Plan to support green energy projects and move the province away from coalpower; and a land-use framework that curbs urban sprawl and safeguards farmland and habitats in the vicinity of cities.

In education, the Party is committed to improving the quality of the province’s primary, secondary, and post-secondary systems. In regard to primary and secondary education, initiatives include imposing caps on class sizes; ensuring schools have the necessary support staff; funding full-day kindergarten and half-day junior kindergarten for vulnerable children; eliminating fees and fundraising for learning essentials, such as computers; phasing out private schools and bringing charter schools under the jurisdiction of school boards; and providing breakfast and lunch programs. In the context of post-secondary education, the Party promises to reduce tuition fees to 1999-2000 levels and fully fund a tuition freeze thereafter; reduce student loan interest rates; increase the availability of post-secondary and trade spaces in the province; and support initiatives to build additional student housing.


Wildrose Alliance Party: 2008 Election Overview

Leader bio and election platform for the Alberta Alliance

Paul Hinman: Wildrose Alliance Party Leader

Paul Hinman is the leader of the Wildrose Alliance Party, and the only member of the party to be elected to the Alberta legislature. Hinman was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1959 and is the grandson of E.W. Hinman, who served as a Cabinet minister in the provincial government of Earnest Manning during the 1950s. Prior to entering politics, Hinman worked in the agricultural industry as a farmer, cattle breeder, and feedlot operator.

Hinman was associated with the Alberta Alliance Party since its founding in 2002, as vice president of policy, deputy leader, and then leader. He was first elected to the Alberta legislature in 2004 for the riding of Cardston-Taber-Warner. In 2008, the Alberta Alliance Party merged with the Wildrose Party, forming the Wildrose Alliance Party. Hinman was selected as its first leader. Hinman has also participated in federal politics, serving as a board member for the Conservative Party of Canada for the electoral district of Lethbridge. He was also an active member of the former Reform Party of Canada.

Wildrose Alliance 2008 Election Platform

The Wildrose Alliance website provides a general statement of the Party’s political stance, which is as follows:

“The Wildrose Alliance believes that this province’s prosperity was built on the innovation and effort of individual Albertans and not by government. For this reason, the Wildrose Alliance will fight for less tax, a smaller, more responsive government, principled values and the freedom to develop Alberta as economic leader.”(Wildrose Alliance, The Wildrose Alliance Policies)

In addition to this general statement, the Party also provides a detailed summary of its policies in key areas, including health care, the economy, democratic reform, education, the environment, and social justice and issues. The following highlights some of the Party’s key policies in these areas.

For more on the Wildrose Alliances’s policies:

In the area of health care, the Party commits to fully endorsing the five principles of the Canada Health Act, which are: Public Administration, Comprehensiveness, Universality, Portability, and Accessibility. In the context of public health care funding, the Party promises to eliminate health care premiums and ambulance charges; increase funding for home care and other out-of-hospital care services; restore funding for chiropractic and physiotherapy services; fully fund and implement a mental health strategy; and to hold a referendum to prioritize health care spending. In regard to health care delivery, the Party promises to develop and implement a decentralized model for health care services, which encourages local accountability and community participation. This includes abolishing the current system of government-appointed regional health boards, and replacing them with democratically elected local hospital boards. In addition, the Party will allow all hospitals and other health care facilities to compete with one another, in order to promote efficiency and choice in health care delivery.

For more on the Party’s health care policies:

In the area of the economy, the Party will recognize agriculture as one of Alberta’s most important industries and will work to strengthen the industry. Within the context, the Party promises to support the family farm; work towards a freer market system of agriculture; develop an effective and financially viable long-term agricultural safety-net program; allow farmers to sell grain independently of the Canadian Wheat Board; and will eliminate all indirect taxes and tariffs on farm inputs, as well as reducing provincially controlled input costs for farmers. The Party will also support free and profit-orientated enterprise and a limited role for government in the economy. As such, the Party will institute privatization of Crown corporations and phase out all government subsidies to businesses and industries. The Party will also support continuing the free market approach to energy production and will strive to reduce the industry’s cost of doing business in Alberta.

For more on the Party’s economic policies:

In the area of government finances, the Party promises to institute a mandatory yearly balanced budget provision for the Province, and will use surplus funds to pay debts owed by the Government of Alberta. The Party also promises to limit growth in government spending to the rates of inflation and population growth; to make major capital spending and land-use decisions openly in the Legislature (as opposed to behind closed doors); and will institute complete financial disclosure of all provincial finances. In regard to taxation, the Party is committed to instituting a flat tax for personal income tax; requiring approval provincial and municipal tax increases through a binding referendum; phasing out taxes on investment and productivity to stimulate economic growth; and eliminating many nuisance taxes and user-fees. Other key promises include reforming the Alberta Heritage Savings and Trust Fund after the Alaska Permanent Fund, and working with the federal government to gain a more equitable distribution of federal transfer payments.

For more on the Party’s policies on government finance:

In the area of federalism, the Party is committed to gaining greater autonomy for Alberta within Canada. Specific policies include opting out of the Canada Employment Insurance Program and replacing it with an Alberta Employment Insurance Program; withdrawing from the Canada Pension Plan and creating an Alberta Pension Plan; assuming provincial control over national parks in Alberta; and asserting provincial (as opposed to federal) control over immigration. Other policies related to federalism include working to remove inter-provincial trade barriers, establishing an Alberta police force to end provincial reliance on the federal Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP); reforming the Canadian Senate after the Triple-E model; and recognizing that all Canadians have equal status under the Canadian Constitution. The latter position means opposing any Constitution amendment which grants special privileges or status to one group in Canada (such as recognition of Quebec as a distinct society).

For more on the Party’s policies on federalism:

In regard to social issues, the Party is committed to supporting the family as the cornerstone of society and to protect and enhance the family institution. The Party will recognize and protect parental authority and responsibility. Moreover, the Party promises to address key issues within the family, such as family violence and abuse, through increased funding and training for social agencies and workers.

The Party is also committed to the recognition that Alberta is a diverse ethnic society with a uniquely distinct Albertan culture, and that responsibility for individual ethnic group maintenance rests solely with those who wish to support their heritage (and not the government). The Party also promises to negotiate with First Nations whom wish to institute municipal-style of self-government. Other key social policies include the elimination of homelessness within the Party’s first term; reform of the welfare system to assist individuals to realize their full potential and re-establish self-esteem; support the right to own, enjoy, and use firearms in a responsible manner; ensure sufficient funding for municipal policing to allow for effective policing and protection in the province; and introduce initiatives for young offenders grounded on the notion that juveniles must take responsibility for their actions and understand the impacts of their crimes on victims.

For more on the Party’s social policies:

In regard to democratic reform, the Party promises a wide range of policies aimed at improving accountability, transparency, and citizen participation. These include holding open Cabinet meetings at least once a month, which will be broadcasted on the Internet; giving Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) a greater role by reforming the Legislative committee system and allowing government MLAs to vote freely (as opposed to voting according to the Party’s preferences); restricting the tenure of a premier to two (four-year) terms; holding a Citizen’s Assembly on electoral reform to examine alternative models for electing MLAs; instituting a system by which citizens can recall elected officials; and instituting elections for all government boards and commissions.

For more on the Party’s democratic reform policies:

In the area of the environment, the Party is committed to improving air quality, ensuring clean drinking water, and greater conservation of sensitive ecological areas. Specific policies include researching methods to improve indoor air quality; instituting a Clean Water Act to ensure Albertans have safe drinking water; protecting provincial parks and ecological reserves; requiring government to meet high environmental standards in their operations; requiring Ecological Assessments for all large projects in the province; and establishing an Alberta environmental ombudsman and elected Ecological Impact Assessment Review Panels to monitor environmental impacts and halt projects. The Party also promises to oppose any implementation of the international Kyoto Accord, and to ensure that ensure that environmental laws and regulations are reasonable, sensible, and have a relationship to reality and common sense.

For more information on the Party’s environmental policies:


Minor Parties in the 2008 Alberta Election

List and links to minor political parties in the election

In addition to the four major parties (the PC Party, the Liberals, the NDP, and the Wildrose Alliance), there are several minor parties participating in the election. These include:

  • Alberta Greens: The Alberta Green Party is an environmentally-based political party which is “fiscally responsible, socially progressive, and committed to sustainability.”
  • Alberta Party: The central policies of the Alberta Party are to protect the province from negative federal policies and promote better democracy at both the provincial and federal levels.
  • Alberta Social Credit Party: The Alberta Social Credit Party views the individual as “the most important factor in organized society, and as a divinely created being, with both spiritual and physical potentials and needs, has certain inalienable rights which must be respected and preserved."
  • Communist Party of Alberta: The Communist Party of Alberta is the provincial wing of the federal Communist Party of Canada, and is grounded on the principles of socialism.
  • Separation Party of Alberta: The key policy of the Separation Party is to promote the formal separation of Alberta from the rest of Canada. The Party also supports democratic reform and small government.

Results of the 2008 Alberta General Election

Progressive Conservatives win a majority government

The 2008 election was a landslide win for the Premier Ed Stelmach and the Progressive Conservative Party. The Party took 72 of 84 seats in the provincial legislature, and 53 percent of the popular vote. This represented a significant improvement from the last election in 2004, where the Party (led at the time by Premier Ralph Klein) won 62 seats and 47 percent of the vote.

The Liberal Party had hoped to make significant gains in this election, but won only 9 seats and 26 percent of the vote. This was in contrast to 16 seats and 29 percent of the vote in the 2004 general election. Of particular concern was the Party’s showing in Edmonton, where it was reduced from 11 seats to only 3.

The New Democratic Party had also hoped to strengthen its position in Edmonton, but was instead swept aside by Conservative gains. The Party lost two of its seats to the PC Party, reducing its total in the legislature from 4 to 2.

The final major party was the Wildrose Alliance, which held one seat in southern Alberta prior to the 2008 election. The Wildrose Alliance had hoped to sway right-wing voters from the Progressive Conservative Party, especially in rural ridings. In the 2008 election, however, the Party had lost its only seat, and saw its share of the popular vote fall from 9 percent in 2004 to 7 (in the 2004 election, the Party ran as the Alberta Alliance Party).

The 2008 election saw the lowest voter turnout in Alberta’s history, with only 41 percent of eligible voters casting a ballot (CBC.ca, 2008).

Results of 2008 Alberta General Election

Political Party

% Vote

 Seats

 Status

PC Party

 53

 72

 Government

Liberal Party

 26

 09

 Opposition

NDP Party

 09

 02

 -

Wildrose Alliance

 07

 00

 -

Other

 05

 00

-


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