In the last days of the Alberta election campaign Premier Jim Prentice urged voters to reject the NDP party. Instead Alberta voters rejected Jim Prentice.
Although he won his own riding, Prentice immediately resigned as MLA and Party Leader, saying he is withdrawing from public life to spend more time with his family, including his grandchildren. 4RG regrets that Alberta will be losing a capable leader, but agrees that spending time with grandchildren is also important.
The immediate question is: How will the change to an NDP Government impact Alberta’s climate change policy? Rachel Notley, the leader of the NDP, will undoubtedly be more sympathetic to restrictions on GHG emissions. Still her party’s policy speaks in generalities, referring to “leadership on the issue of climate change” and making “sure Alberta is part of crafting solutions with stakeholders, other provinces and the federal government.”
In the campaign the NDP leader confirmed that her government would phase out the generation of electricity from coal-fired plants. Without more details it is impossible to say whether this policy adds anything to the effects of existing Federal Regulations on the same subject. If it does add anything, there could be a conflict, resulting in constitutional litigation. If so the Federal Regulations would ultimately prevail.
Pipelines: no real policy statements. The NDP Government will concentrate its resources on whichever pipeline that has the best chance of approval and construction. Apparently that excludes the Northern Gateway Pipeline.
Carbon Capture and Storage: funds for this emission-reducing technique will be re-allocated to other public infrastructure areas.
Our conclusion: a political dynasty has changed, the Canadian political scene will be different, but there is little prospect that in the next four years Alberta will be a leader in climate change policy. But it will cooperate with other Provinces and won’t be an obstacle to the development of policy at the Provincial Level.