News, Politics

Big Political Shift In Alberta: NDP Majority

Recently, Albertans held a political election. Its outcome was a big surprise to many people, including the people who forecast (predict who will win) elections. For the past 44 years, Alberta has been ruled by

Image: Nat
Image: Nat

the Progressive Conservative (PC) political party. Last week, the people in Alberta elected the New Democratic Party (NDP). It is the first time the NDP party will run the province, and it is a big change.

That’s because those two political parties—two of Canada’s biggest ones—are quite different in the way they govern. Historically, the NDP has been a “party of the people,” while the PCs have been big supporters of business. (This is a very simplified definition; it doesn’t mean that either party is more “right” or more “wrong” than the other.) The Liberals tend to be more in the middle, between the two, in terms of the way it governs.

Not only did the NDP win in Alberta, but they took more “seats” in the legislature than the other parties combined. That means they have a “majority.” That’s important, because having a majority makes law-making easier, since your laws can’t usually be out-voted.

The PC party came third in the election, after the Wild Rose party (which will form the “official opposition” in the province).

For years, Alberta has been a very rich province, able to sell its vast natural resources—especially oil—for a lot of money. Recently, however, the province hasn’t been doing as well financially.

That is one reason Albertans wanted a change of government. Another reason many Albertans voted for the NDP instead of the PCs has to do with the personalities of the leaders of the parties.

NDP leader Rachel Notley ran an excellent campaign; she was likeable and talked to voters about things they wanted to hear. On the other hand, many people say that the leader of the PCs, Jim Prentice, didn’t perform very well during the run-up to the election. He made some blunders and may have offended some people with the way that he spoke—for instance, using sarcasm when speaking to his opponents. Prentice has resigned as leader of the Alberta PC party.

Rachel Notley is now the “premier-designate” and she will become the official premier when she is “sworn in” at a future date to be announced.

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Change can be very challenging, but many people still believe that change is good. Do you think change is a good thing? Or is change for the sake of shaking things up is a bad idea? Use examples to support your opinions.

Reading Prompt: Reading Unfamiliar Words
This article contains many words and phrases that may have one meaning when used in normal English, and a different one when used to describe politics.

What do you think the following political terms may mean: parties, premier, sworn, opposition, seats, run.

Junior & Intermediate
3.2 predict the meaning of and rapidly solve unfamiliar words using different types of cues, including: semantic (meaning) cues (OME, Reading: 3.2).

Language Feature: Acronyms
The two political parties featured in today’s article are often referred to by their first initials. When the first initials are used in this way, they are being used as “acronyms.”

Why do you think people create and use acronyms? Consider three different possibilities. Compare your ideas with a partner.