Oil Industry Relieved After Major Conservative Win In Alberta

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Premier-designate Jason Kenney spoke to a packed crowd of UCP supporters in Calgary after his party swept the NDP towards a majority government in the Alberta legislature.

Notley's government introduced a carbon tax to help cut emissions of greenhouse gases in 2015, when Trudeau took power, a measure Kenney has promised to scrap.

However, he acknowledged in a statement that the United Conservative Party faces a "formidable task" to create the conditions that will allow the oil and gas sector in Western Canada to thrive again after years of hard times.

Striking a populist tone, he suggested, without evidence, that environmental groups who have opposed building pipelines to transport oil were backed by "foreign-funded special interests".

He says that will change.

With advance voting three times higher than in the previous election (thanks to a new vote anywhere policy the province put in place), many Albertans have already locked in their choice for who they want to see be premier.

"He's going to face some of the same challenges that (Alberta NDP premier) Rachel Notley had".

Kenney's quest for Alberta's top elected office began in July 2016, when, after 19 years in Ottawa and managing several high-level portfolios in Stephen Harper's Conservative government, he defied expectations he would run for leadership of the federal Conservatives and instead, returned to his home province to unite the right.

The United Farmers of Alberta, which governed the province from 1921-35, got out of politics altogether after being defeated by the Alberta Social Credit Party, which in turn was ousted in the 1971 election and saw its support collapse in the 1975 vote.

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"Having the owner of the resources - the people of Alberta, through their government - defending their resources will be very helpful", said Tim McMillan, president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, speaking on the sidelines of an investor conference his group organized in Toronto on Wednesday.

In his victory speech on Tuesday night, Jason Kenney repeated his promise that he will fight back against USA -funded groups that he accuses of economic sabotage by preventing Alberta from exporting oil in any direction but south.

The UCP won Alberta by channeling anger over economic woes, blaming Trudeau and the Liberal Party for the slumping oil sector, channeling anger over canceled or delayed pipelines, and casting his government as an out-of-touch, out-to-get-Alberta, economic villain.

On the margins of the campaign were the centrist Alberta and Liberal parties.

At the time, just four members of its caucus had previously served as Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). The Progressive Conservatives ruled for more than four decades but merged with the Wildrose Party to form the UCP after losing heavily in 2015.

After stubbornly low commodity prices since late 2014, the value of Alberta oil has stabilized recently.

Kenney has called the attacks a "fear-and-smear" red herring to distract from the NDP's economic track record of multibillion-dollar budget deficits and soaring debt.

In a statement, Trudeau congratulated Kenney and said he will work with the new government to create jobs, build infrastructure, and grow business and industry.

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