Canada's Alberta takes turn to left, Conservative premier resigns

Wed May 6, 2015 1:58am EDT
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By Scott Haggett and Nia Williams

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Canada's left-leaning New Democrats ended a 44-year run in office by the Conservatives in the province of Alberta on Tuesday, sweeping to victory on a promise to review oversight of the oil and gas sector in the country's energy heartland.

The election was a seismic political shift in the province and sparked the immediate resignation of Progressive Conservative Premier Jim Prentice as party leader. He also quit his legislative seat.

"We made a little bit of history tonight," New Democrat Premier-elect Rachel Notley told jubilant supporters.

Following a month-long campaign, the New Democratic Party (NDP), which has never held more than 16 seats in the 87-seat provincial legislature, will lead a majority government.

Official results showed the NDP appeared set to win 54 seats while the Progressive Conservatives were likely to take just 10, behind the even more staunchly conservative Wildrose Party, which was on course for 21.

The NDP is expected to be far less accommodative to the Western Canadian province's powerful energy industry, and investors in energy shares on Canadian stock markets were expected to react negatively on Wednesday.

Notley has proposed a review of oil and gas royalties in the resource-rich province and reduced support for some pipeline projects, such as TransCanada Corp.'s controversial Keystone XL project. The NDP had also promised to hike corporate tax rates by 2 percentage points to 12 percent.

Alberta's oil sands are the largest source of U.S. oil imports.   Continued...

NDP supporters cheer as election results come in during festivities at the election headquarters in Edmonton May 5, 2015.   REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber