The new Alberta is taking shape.

In Ontario.

Premier Doug Ford’s early actions are a template for what United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney will do if he wins the Alberta election next year.

Ford axed Ontario’s cap-and-trade system for carbon pricing. He just cancelled the Liberal school curriculum that taught about same-sex marriage.

Kenney would likely do both with even more delight, and more support from his party base.

Ford grafted himself onto Ontario’s traditional Progressive Conservative Party. Kenney created his own party that tilts considerably further to the right.

His mandate just keeps getting stronger after successive leadership victories, his own win in Calgary-Lougheed and now two victories in summer byelections.

These were twin cakewalks in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake and Fort McMurray-Conklin, with massive UCP majorities.

Devin Dreeshen carried the Innisfail area despite a story in Vice about his past as a Trump campaigner, and his odd refusal to own up to it when he was pursued by a reporter.

Even his own party was a bit baffled. In UCP circles it’s no shame to say you favoured Trump in the 2016 U.S. election but now think he’s a jerk.

Thursday night, Dreeshen appeared to be headed for more than 80 per cent of the vote.

A touch of Trumpism sure didn’t hurt the UCP in this byelection.

Neither did the fact that the vote was forced by the resignation of UCP MLA Don MacIntyre, after he was charged with sexual assault and sexual interference of a girl under 16.

Laila Goodridge won for the UCP in Fort McMurray-Conklin, the seat vacated by Brian Jean after he lost the UCP leadership to Kenney.

The UCP considers Goodridge a prize candidate — a young woman with a strong record of volunteerism who worked with Jean on disaster relief after the 2016 wildfire.

She speaks French, too. Goodridge was trotted out with pride during the UCP founding convention in May.

UCP Leader Jason Kenney and Fort McMurray-Conklin candidate Laila Goodridge speak with a supporter while campaigning in the Grayling Terrace neighbourhood of Fort McMurray, Alta. on Saturday, June 16, 2018.

The New Democrats ran credible contenders in these campaigns. Their Fort McMurray hopeful was Jane Stroud, a three-term city councillor with deep connections in both the community and First Nations.

In the Innisfail-area fight, the NDP put up Nicole Mooney, an English teacher and activist in the Alberta Teachers’ Association.

The byelections suggest the NDP will go into the general election with stronger …read more



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Braid: UCP wins bring Kenney closer to government

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