I didn’t realize how many new councillors and mayors were elected in Alberta last month. I recently attended the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) annual convention, which is a gathering of mayors and councillors representing urban municipalities across the province.
At one point a presenter asked the crowd to please stand up if this was your first time being elected to a municipal council. At least half the room stood up. I had to research the statistics afterwards and I learned that this is the first term on council for forty six percent of the people elected on Oct. 16, 2017.
The AUMA convention spans three days and on the second day Premier Rachel Notley addressed the crowd.
At the onset of the speech, I wasn’t sure how the audience would receive her but it didn’t take long for the room to appreciate what she had to say. She chose her key messages very well and there was spontaneous applause throughout her speech when she spoke about getting oil pipelines built and Alberta as the world leader in oil and gas best practices. When she concluded, the 1,000+ person crowd erupted with a standing ovation.
There were lots of Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) from the Alberta Government at the convention and I must say that the NDP MLAs have become much more adept in their roles. Those that I heard from spoke with more confidence and clarity than I had heard from them in the past.
The following day Jason Kenney, leader of the United Conservative Party, addressed the crowd. The audience received his speech with enthusiasm. When he concluded, the crowd erupted with a standing ovation for him also.
I believe that this support shown for both of these provincial political party leaders at the AUMA convention is a strong indication that the next general election in Alberta on or before May 31, 2019 will be a close race.