NDP leader Rachel Notley speaks to a crowd of more than 2,000 Albertans at a May 4 election rally in Edmonton.

The election rally that convinced me Notley’s momentum was real

I think the PC Party needs a break from government and Albertans need a break from the PC Party,New Democratic Party leader Rachel Notley told a massive crowd of more than 2,000 supporters at a May 3, 2015 rally at the Ramada Hotel on Kingsway Avenue in Edmonton.

You don’t have to repeat history on Tuesday, you can make history,” she said.

Alberta NDP RallyAn NDP rally the previous day in Calgary attracted hundreds of supporters, an occurrence that would have been unimaginable in previous elections.

In my years writing about Alberta politics, I have witnessed many large rallies outside the Legislature. Most were gatherings focused on specific issues but I had never been to a rally this large in support of an opposition party. In fact, I had never seen so many people at an election rally in Alberta, ever.

From the moment Ms. Notley entered the room and made her way through the cheering crowd was on their feet and eager to shake her hand or snap a selfie. The crowd erupted in cheers again when she took to the stage and spoke the words “my name is Rachel Notley and I am running to be Premier of Alberta.” It was something that no NDP leader had ever said convincingly but with Ms. Notley it was different. It felt like it could happen.

Standing in the crowd at the NDP rally, I spoke with two senior citizens who were very excited to experience their first political rally. It is also the first election they will vote NDP. They voted for the PCs in the last election and in many elections before that, they told me.

In the crowd, I also spotted long-time New Democrats, seniors, students, parents and children, union activists, academics and ordinary working Albertans. I also noticed a handful of former Liberal and Progressive Conservative activists who were excited about Ms. Notley’s leadership and the opportunity for a change in government.

It was a huge contrast to the Progressive Conservative rally I wrote about yesterday. Change was in the air for the first time in 44 years and it was exciting.

Although I was still reluctant to believe the NDP would actually form government, it was impossible to deny that the momentum behind Rachel Notley’s NDP was real.


This post is the second in a series remembering some key moments from Alberta’s historic 2015 election. May 5, 2016 marks one year since that election. The first post was published yesterday.

5 thoughts on “The election rally that convinced me Notley’s momentum was real

  1. Ron Waller

    Notley is the universe’s way of punishing Alberta for inflicting Harper on the Rest of Canada. Both being politicians who came to power despite voters being vehemently opposed to them getting power.

    “Historical election” means nothing in Canada considering the country is not a democracy. Sure there are the rare occasional flukes when the NDP wins a fake majority. But normally, the 40% minority party that wins absolute corrupt power is an establishment controlled party. Which is why the establishment is fiercely opposed to Canada adopting any kind of electoral reform and becoming a democracy.

    If Notley had any brains she would implement electoral reform for the sake of Albertans to make it easier to dislodge PC dynasties in the future. Despite her delusional partisan ambitions, it will be a very long time before the NDP wins again in the province, if Bob Rae is any indication of what happens after a protest election.

    Reply
    1. Ugly Dog

      If Canada is not a democracy, please tell me what is. Alberta saw a 44 year old juggernaut kicked out of office last year without a violent revolution. I would say that is a pretty perfect example of democracy at work. Majority rule does not equal democracy nor does the other way around.

      Reply
  2. Alvin Finkel

    The anti-NDP crowd like to point to the one-term Ontario NDP government as proof that when the NDP is elected on a protest vote, it doesn’t last more than one term. But what about the election of the NDP in Manitoba in 1969 under Ed Schreyer? That was certainly a protest vote. But people liked what they saw over the next four years and re-elected the NDP. And though they put the Tories back in for one term in 1977, that province has mostly elected NDP governments ever since, though they did vote out the NDP after 17 years recently. The election of the BC NDP in 1991 was also a protest vote but the party was re-elected in 1996 despite a scandal of sorts that forced the resignation of Premier Mike Harcourt.

    Reply

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