Alberta’s next premier will either be current Premier Rachel Notley or United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney. (Black Press Media files)

ELECTION DAY: Polls now closed in Alberta

Polls were open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. MT

Polls have closed in the Alberta election and Rachel Notley’s governing New Democrats are hoping for second term over a United Conservative Opposition intent on seizing power.

The 28-day campaign expected to define or, in the case of UCP Leader Jason Kenney, redefine Alberta’s relationship with the federal government and specifically Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Check your local Black Press Media community news website for full election coverage, starting at 8 p.m. MT.

Kenney, a former Conservative cabinet minister under Stephen Harper, campaigned on what he derisively called “the Trudeau-Notley alliance.”

It’s a partnership he said has turned Alberta into a doormat for Trudeau and other oil industry foes in return for no more than a faint and as yet unrealized promise of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to the west coast.

Kenney promised to kill Alberta’s homegrown carbon tax, fight the federal carbon tax in court, and do what he can to help the federal Conservatives defeat Trudeau in the federal October vote.

Notley fought back over the campaign. She said her success working with Trudeau – or picking fights with him as necessary – is what led to progress on Trans Mountain, and she expected construction to begin this year.

She said Kenney’s promise to challenge Trudeau in court on everything from the carbon tax to proposed energy industry rule changes was cynical, self-defeating shadow-boxing given the collaborative realities of political decision-making.

Trudeau was asked in Kitchener, Ont., earlier Tuesday whether he was concerned about his climate plan should Kenney win.

“We have chosen to put a price on pollution right across the country and there are conservative politicians who are using taxpayer money to fight a price on pollution in court,” he responded.

“They are using your dollars to try to make pollution free again, which makes no sense.”

Trudeau said the federal government would continue to work on growing the economy while tackling climate change in a smart way.

READ MORE: Ten constituencies to watch in the provincial election

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, whose province is one of three challenging the federal carbon tax, said he hoped Kenney wins the election.

“Hopefully today we’ll have another partner with my good friend Jason Kenney,” said Ford.

Notley’s NDP was trying to win a second mandate after toppling the 44-year Progressive Conservative dynasty in 2015.

This election, the Progressive Conservatives were no more. The PCs merged with another right-of-centre party, the Wildrose, to create the new United Conservatives under Kenney in 2017.

Interest in the election was high as leaders launched personal attacks while promoting their platforms as the best blueprint for Alberta’s fragile economy.

READ MORE: Alberta leaders renew attacks on final full day of election campaign

Almost 700,000 people voted in advance polls, well above the record 235,000 who did in 2015.

The province, once a money-making dynamo thanks to sky-high oil prices, has been struggling for years with sluggish returns on royalties, reduced drilling activity and unemployment levels stubbornly above seven per cent in Calgary and Edmonton.

Kenney argued that Notley’s government made a bad situation worse with higher taxes, more regulations and increases in minimum wage.

READ MORE: Will gaffes on social issues affect Alberta election results?

Notley, in turn, said Kenney’s plan to freeze spending and pursue more private-care options in health care would have a profound impact on students and patients.

Notley also tried to make Kenney’s character an issue. A number of his candidates either quit or apologized for past comments that were anti-LGBTQ, anti-Islamic or sympathetic to white nationalism.

On the margins of the campaign were the centrist Alberta and Liberal parties. Both elected single members to the 87-seat legislature last time around and were hoping to come up the middle.

Each pitched its own political Hail Mary to grab the spotlight. The Liberals pledged a provincial sales tax and the Alberta Party promised to withhold provincial income taxes.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

CENTRAL ALBERTA PROV ELECTION
Infogram

Just Posted

Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce hosts 38th annual Spring Trade Show

Show runs April 26th, 27th at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex

Lacombe Grade 6 students become Mayor for a Day at City Hall

Students took part in a mock City council meeting

Town of Blackfalds holds Multi-Plex Open House

Designs for dual-arena, expanded library shown at public consultation

Lacombe’s Galactic Wranglers Robotics Club earns way to World Championships

Community donates over $18,000 for Houston trip in five days

Lacombe Rams Rugby off to promising start in 2019

Coach looking for right mix of veterans and new players

‘Open for business:’ Jason Kenney’s UCP wins majority in Alberta election

The UCP was leading or elected in 63 of 87 seats Tuesday night

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

The fire burned through the lattice of oak beams supporting the monument’s vaulted stone ceiling

Undercover cops don’t need warrant to email, text suspected child lurers: court

High court decision came Thursday in the case of Sean Patrick Mills of Newfoundland

VIDEO: Trump tried to seize control of Mueller probe, report says

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report revealed to a waiting nation Thursday

Most Read