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Rachel Notley says no decision made on political future after Alberta election loss

Click to play video: 'Rachel Notley says no decision made on political future after Alberta election loss'
Rachel Notley says no decision made on political future after Alberta election loss
Alberta Opposition Leader Rachel Notley said she has not made a decision on her political future following a second consecutive election loss by her New Democrats. As Sarah Reid reports, the NDP leader said while the result was disappointing, her party made tremendous strides – Jun 13, 2023

Alberta Opposition Leader Rachel Notley said she has not made a decision on her political future following a second consecutive election loss by her New Democrats.

Notley said she will think about her role as the party analyzes what went right and wrong in the campaign, and added there is no timeline for a decision.

“When I’ve made a decision, when I’ve reached a conclusion, I will be sure to let Albertans know,” Notley told reporters outside the legislature Tuesday.

“As of now, my No. 1 priority is to do the work Albertans have asked of us and nothing less. That is our intention as a caucus, and that is what my plan is as leader.”

It was the first time Notley spoke with reporters since the May 29 election.

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Notley’s NDP won 38 seats in the 87-seat legislature, becoming the largest official Opposition in Alberta history, but failed to win back government from Premier Danielle Smith’s United Conservative Party.

Click to play video: 'Alberta election: NDP Leader Rachel Notley asks Danielle Smith to respect ‘all Albertans’'
Alberta election: NDP Leader Rachel Notley asks Danielle Smith to respect ‘all Albertans’

Notley said while the result was disappointing, her party made tremendous strides.

“More than 740,000 Albertans gave us their vote,” said Notley.

“Of 1.7 million votes, about 2,600 actually decided this election. It was that close.”

The 2,600 votes refer to close losses in key ridings that could have put the NDP over the top.

“I’ve been leader in this party when it had four seats, when it had 54 seats, 24, and now 38,” Notley said.

“In every single election, our vote has gone up. It went up in nearly every rural riding, whereas UCP (vote) did not.”

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The NDP swept the UCP in the 20 seats in Edmonton, won 14 of the 26 seats in Calgary, but were dominated outside the major centres by the UCP, which won 49 seats to form government.

“We captured ridings we’ve never held before. We defeated several high-profile UCP (cabinet) ministers and, frankly, we very nearly overturned the government,” Notley said.

Click to play video: 'Alberta election: A look back at Danielle Smith and Rachel Notley’s political history'
Alberta election: A look back at Danielle Smith and Rachel Notley’s political history

She said her caucus is to meet in the coming days to hash out critic roles and responsibilities.

The policy goals, Notley said, will be to push Smith’s government to reduce long waits for health care and lab testing, for smaller class sizes in schools and to address the shortage in affordable housing.

She said they will also continue to oppose the government’s promise to explore abandoning the Canada Pension Plan in favour of an Alberta model and its pursuit of a provincial police force to replace the RCMP.

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She said they will also be watching new Health Minister Adriana LaGrange does not impose restrictions on existing access to abortions, given LaGrange’s anti-abortion beliefs.

Smith has already promised there will be no changes to a woman’s right to choose.

Click to play video: 'Danielle Smith says Alberta will continue to support a woman’s right to choose abortion'
Danielle Smith says Alberta will continue to support a woman’s right to choose abortion

Notley declined to discuss the election campaign in detail or explore what led to the NDP loss.

She wouldn’t respond to a suggestion that a promised corporate tax hike, seized on as a wedge issue by the UCP, was a factor.

She defended attacking Smith’s recent record on the campaign trail, particularly Smith’s recent comments urging more direct pay in health care and Smith being found to have broken ethics laws by trying to get a COVID-19 protester’s criminal court case tossed out.

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“We had a premier who was found to have broken the law in the course of interfering with the administration of justice,” said Notley.

“We had a premier who had advocated repeatedly in multiple forums for the privatization of our much-cherished public health care.

Click to play video: 'Will she stay or will she go? What lays in store for NDP leader Rachel Notley following 2023 Alberta election'
Will she stay or will she go? What lays in store for NDP leader Rachel Notley following 2023 Alberta election

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