Edmonton

Official results show turnout for April 16 election was 64 per cent

Official results released Friday show voter turnout in the April 16 Alberta election was 64 per cent, lower than estimates made the day after the polls closed.

As final results come out Friday, Jason Kenney and Rachel Notley met with caucuses

Premier-designate Jason Kenney addresses the United Conservative caucus Friday in Edmonton. (Rod Maldaner/CBC)

Official results released Friday show voter turnout in the April 16 Alberta election was 64 per cent, lower than estimates made the day after the polls closed.

Unofficial numbers released by Elections Alberta on April 17 suggested about 70 per cent of Albertans had voted. But that estimated percentage was based on a calculation that used a pre-election list of 2,615,000 registered voters.

The official results, Elections Alberta said, show that 1,905,520 ballots were cast from a list of more than 2.9 million eligible voters.

That means turnout was the highest seen since 1982, when 66 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots.

The UCP won 54.9 per cent of the total votes cast, while the NDP won 32.7 per cent.

On Friday Alberta's premier-designate congratulated his party in his first official address to caucus since winning the election.

Decisive win

United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney took a moment to gloat during the morning address at the Edmonton Federal Building.

He credited a united right for his party's decisive win. 

"We proved the skeptics and the cynics wrong. I think maybe we should dredge up some of the columns, some of the expert opinions that said unity would never work," Kenney said, alluding to the 2017 merger of the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties, which led to the party's creation.

Campaigning on pipelines, the economy and a promise to kill the carbon tax, Kenney led the UCP to a majority over the province's first NDP government on April 16, winning 63 seats in the election. The NDP, led by Rachel Notley, will serve as Alberta's Official Opposition after securing 24 seats. 

The Alberta Party and the Alberta Liberals were both shut out.

The UCP took more votes than any party in the province's history, Kenney said. 

"I'm so excited to be with you as we begin the important work that has been entrusted to us in Alberta," Kenney said. "We made history together."

Kenney acknowledged the lack of UCP representation in Edmonton and urged his caucus to make inroads.

NDP stronghold

Edmonton bucked the province's tilt to the right on election night, remaining an NDP stronghold with only one UCP MLA elected in the city.

"While we received a mandate from 55 per cent of the electorate and we must deliver on that mandate, we must be a government for all Albertans," Kenney said. 

"We must be seen to act in good faith and with integrity. We must be willing to listen to the voices of others. And we must be willing — when we make mistakes in the future — to acknowledge [them] and correct course."

Kenney and his cabinet will be sworn in on April 30.

During his address Friday, Kenney again vowed to get a "fair deal" with Ottawa on equalization payments and to combat "foreign-funded special interests." 

He also reiterated his promise to create jobs and improve investment in Alberta's energy sector.

Kenney said Albertans have entrusted the UCP to bring the province out of a period of "sustained economic decline and stagnation."

"Our commitment is to stay true to our word," he said. "It is to keep our promises. Of course events will happen and circumstances will change. People understand that, but we must be seen to do everything we can to keep our promise." 

Meanwhile, outgoing Alberta premier Rachel Notley met with her caucus Friday before her party becomes the official opposition.

Notley told the 23 members-elect that they will hold Kenney and his government to account on issues like freezing spending on health care and education while claiming he's not cutting funding.

"As an opposition caucus of four, the NDP consistently punched well above its weight and I can tell you right now I know without question that this much larger group is going to be an historic force in this legislature," she said. 

"And we are going to be the strongest opposition that this province has ever seen."

Notley will assign critic portfolios to her caucus after Kenney announces his cabinet on Tuesday. 

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