After losing Alberta’s premiership Tuesday night, NDP Leader Rachel Notley announced she will stay on to represent her riding, Edmonton-Strathcona, and lead the Official Opposition in the legislature.
Notley said it was an honour to serve as premier and will be an honour to be the Opposition, professing her gratitude as the crowd chanted, “Rachel! Rachel!”
She said the province is a better place because of her government’s work, mentioning achievements such as lower child poverty rates, action on climate change, a higher minimum wage and advocacy for pipelines.
“Four years ago, Albertans hired us to do a very big job at a very difficult time,” she said, citing the collapse of oil prices. “We did that job with purpose and we did it with integrity.
“To every girl and every young woman watching tonight, I believe in you and never stop believing in yourself. I hope that we have shown you that in your life anything is possible.”
Notley said voters hoping for a “more progressive” government might feel dejected but she offered a reminder of the “tremendous” progress the province has made.
“Sometimes it can feel like you take two steps forward and then one step back, but may you never, ever stop taking those steps forward,” she said.
Notley stressed that intolerance doesn’t belong in Alberta and people shouldn’t be afraid to call it out.
“To every Albertan out there who identifies as LGBTQ2SA+, know you will always have a champion in me and in the Alberta NDP and in the Alberta NDP Opposition,” she said.
Notley noted she was seven when her dad, former Alberta NDP leader Grant Notley, was elected to the legislature in 1971, the year the Conservatives first took power. She was 51 when her party ended the Conservatives’ 44-year reign.
“Governing in Alberta should never again be a divine right,” she said, “but always, always an earned privilege.
“As leader of the Opposition, I will do the job to the best of my ability and with the utmost integrity.”
Notley said she is grateful for the renewed vote of confidence from electors in her riding. She thanked her husband Lou Arab, daughter Sophie Arab and son Ethan Notley, calling them the “love of her life.”
Notley commended her party’s path for reflecting the “young, incredibly diverse, outward-looking, confident” province.
“I believe we have set a much higher standard for ethics and honesty in government,” she said.
“I will make sure that our vision of Alberta endures through a rigorous and robust Opposition, holding government to account and making sure that voices of Albertans are heard in their legislature.”