Rachel Notley congratulates Jason Kenney in election concession speech

Outgoing premier vows to stay on as leader of the opposition

Rachel Notley gives her concession speech at NDP headquarters in Edmonton. JOSIE LUKEY PHOTO

It was an emotional evening for supporters and staffers of the Alberta NDP Party in Edmonton Tuesday night.

Leader Rachel Notley took the stage at the Edmonton Convention Centre to congratulate United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney on his win. Notley says she will do everything they can to ensure the transition to a new government is smooth and productive.

“The people of Alberta have spoken. Democracy is our absolute highest value and I accept their decision.” Notley said in her address.

“We have fundamentally changed politics in this province forever.”

Notley also congratulated Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel and Liberal leader David Khan for their work during the campaign.

At 11:00 p.m. results show the Alberta New Democrats took home around 32 per cent of the vote. The United Conservative party coming out on top forming a majority government with around 55 per cent.

As various media outlets declared a United Conservative government as early as 8:30 p.m., NDP supporters remained positive the party would be forming a strong opposition, but couldn’t hold back tears during Notley’s address.

“I definitely teared up a little bit.” said supporter Victoria Stevens.”I’m definitely going to miss her in the legislature and as our premier because she’s a very strong voice, a very pragmatic voice and she’s a wonderfully strong woman and someone I look up to and inspire to be like.”

Notley ended the night saying it’s been an honour to serve as Premier and it will be an honour to serve as leader of the opposition.

“As leader of the opposition I will do the job to the best of my ability and with the utmost integrity. I will defend the values we carried forward in government and the decisions those values drove and I will make sure our vision of Alberta endures through a rigorous and robust opposition holding government to account.”

NDP staff said this was the biggest campaign the Alberta New Democrats ever ran. Sally Housser, an NDP senior advisor, said the NDP more than doubled the number of volunteers and money raised during any previous campaign.

“With the amount of signs we had, the printer actually ran out of the type of ink used to make NDP signs,” says Housser, who also worked on the NDP’s 2015 election campaign.

NDP Leader Rachel Notley took Alberta by storm four years ago. In total they snagged a comfortable majority with 54 seats out of 87 in 2015. That left Conservatives in the party split between the Wildrose Party led by Brian Jean and the Progressive Conservative Party led by the late Jim Prentice. Eventually the PC’s and Wildrose would join to form the United Conservative Party and chose Jason Kenney as their leader.

Earlier in the night supporters were sparse when the NDP opened the doors to its headquarters at the Edmonton Convention Centre.

Around 130 supporters filled the space when the public was allowed in at 8:00 p.m. By 10:00 p.m. that crowd filled to around 1,200 people.

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