UCP's blue wave surges through Calgary

Jason Kenney and the UCP all but erased the gains made by the NDP in 2015, with all but three of Calgary's 26 ridings either projected for, or leaning toward, the conservative party.

The province's biggest city all but kicked the NDP from its borders on Tuesday

Calgary and area turned United Conservative Party blue Tuesday night. Light blue shows ridings leaning to the UCP as of Wednesday morning, while dark blue is where the party is the projected winner. (CBC)

A blue wave surged over Calgary on Tuesday as voters in Alberta's largest city all but kicked the NDP from its borders.

Calgary was seen as a key battleground in this election and the NDP desperately needed to retain seats here in order to form another government.

The majority of the city's 26 ridings are projected for the UCP, with another handful leaning that way.

The NDP took just three Calgary ridings: Calgary-McCall, Calgary-Mountain View, and Calgary-Buffalo.

Three more Calgary races remain too close to call, but lean towards the UCP candidates. In Calgary-Currie, the UCP's Nicholas Milliken leads NDP incumbent Brian Malkinson by 392 votes.

In Calgary-Falconridge, the UCP's Devinder Toor has a narrow 163-vote edge over the NDP's Parmeet Singh Boparai. And in Calgary-Varsity, Jason Copping of the UCP leads the NDP's Anne McGrath by 790 votes.

In 2015, 14 of Calgary's 25 ridings went to the NDP. With redistribution since that election, the city now has 26 seats.

"This is a great mandate," said Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who said he's looking forward to sitting down with the premier-designate. 

"We really have to talk about the short-term plans for Calgary. Getting the pipeline built and all that stuff is terrific, but we've got businesses in Calgary hurting right now, we've got citizens hurting right now, and that's really the first thing we've got to talk about."

Return to conservative roots

It's a crushing defeat for the NDP and a crushing victory for the UCP in Calgary and the surrounding areas.

The UCP victory represents a return to Calgary's conservative roots, in a city that has consistently leaned to the right.

It also re-establishes a tale of two cities in the province, with Edmonton staying NDP orange on Tuesday.

Other notable races in Calgary include Jason Kenney winning his seat in Calgary-Lougheed and likely cabinet minister Ric McIver holding on to Calgary-Hays. 

Premier-designate Jason Kenney addresses the party faithful to celebrate what looks like a big win for the UCP. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Former NDP cabinet minister Ricardo Miranda lost his seat in Calgary-Cross. 

In Calgary-Elbow, the only Alberta Party MLA, Greg Clark, has conceded defeat to the UCP.

The Alberta Liberals were wiped out, with leader David Khan showing up in fourth place in Calgary-Mountain View. 

In fact, the legislature will have only two parties facing off when the new government is sworn in. 

During Khan's concession speech, he urged premier-designate Kenney to remove UCP candidates who have expressed intolerance.

"With your victory comes great responsibility. You will be the premier for all Albertans. This includes the vulnerable, those with special needs and the LGBTQ2S+ community. Do not abuse your authority. Be fair and inclusive in your decisions," he said. 

"The political pendulum has swung away from moderate, progressive politics toward a more conservative position. That is the will of the people."

Part of majority UCP win

The blue wave in Calgary is part of what has been projected to be a UCP majority led by Jason Kenney. 

The areas around Calgary have all been projected as UCP wins, except for Banff-Kananaskis, which has bobbed between the NDP and the UCP all night. The UCP candidate had a 672-vote lead as of Wednesday morning. 

"Today, Albertans have chosen hope over fear, and unity over division," said Kenney in his victory speech to a Calgary crowd. 

"They have chosen free enterprise dominance over the politics of resentment. They have rejected the politics of personal destruction and endorsed the most detailed plan ever offered to Alberta voters."

'Your days of pushing around Albertans with impunity just ended.'

3 years ago
Duration 0:59
'Your days of pushing around Albertans with impunity just ended.'

In her address to a cheering crowd, Rachel Notley vowed to be a strong opposition in the legislature. She said it wasn't the result the party hoped for, but that the NDP had made "tremendous progress" while in power. 

She also said she had spoken with Kenney.

"I wish him and his government well. We all do, and we must because we all love Alberta," she said. 

Elections Alberta has said there will be no final results on election night. That delay is due to about 223,000 people who took advantage of a new advance voting option to vote outside of their riding. 

Those votes won't be counted until Wednesday, and the process could stretch into Saturday. 

In ridings that are close, CBC News won't be able to project a winner. 

The breakdown

The projected winners in the Calgary ridings, so far:

  • Calgary-Acadia: Tyler Shandro (UCP).
  • Calgary-Beddington: Josephine Pon (UCP).
  • Calgary-Bow: Demetrios Nicolaides (UCP).
  • Calgary-Buffalo: Joe Ceci (NDP).
  • Calgary-Cross: Mickey Amery (UCP).
  • Calgary-East: Peter Singh (UCP).
  • Calgary-Edgemont: Prasad Panda (UCP).
  • Calgary-Elbow: Doug Schweitzer (UCP).
  • Calgary-Fish Creek: Richard Gotfried (UCP).
  • Calgary-Foothills: Jason Luan (UCP).
  • Calgary-Glenmore: Whitney Issik (UCP).
  • Calgary-Hays: Ric McIver (UCP).
  • Calgary-Klein: Jeremy Nixon (UCP).
  • Calgary-Lougheed: Jason Kenney (UCP).
  • Calgary-McCall: Irfan Sabir (NDP).
  • Calgary-Mountain View: Kathleen Ganley (NDP).
  • Calgary-North: Muhammad Yaseen (UCP).
  • Calgary-North West: Sonya Savage (UCP).
  • Calgary-North East: Rajan Sawhney (UCP).
  • Calgary-Peigan: Tanya Fir (UCP).
  • Calgary-Shaw: Rececca Schulz (UCP).
  • Calgary-South East: Matt Jones (UCP).
  • Calgary-West: Mike Ellis (UCP).


Drew Anderson

Former CBC digital journalist

Drew Anderson was a digital journalist with CBC Calgary from 2015 to 2021 and is a third-generation Calgarian.

With files from Sarah Rieger


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