Braid: Kenney drives NDP from office after epic political odyssey

Jason Kenney greets supporters at the United Conservative Party 2019 election night headquarters in Calgary, AB onTuesday, April 16, 2019. Jim Wells/Postmedia

They arrived on a wind of change in 2015, only to be blown out of office four years later by an even more powerful gale.

Rachel Notley’s New Democrats, with all their dreams and hopes and agonies, succumbed exactly as UCP Leader Jason Kenney said they would, overwhelmed by a united conservative bloc that is once again Alberta’s dominant political force.

It was a genuine thumping, with the UCP winning more than 60 seats, and the New Democrats largely cornered in their Edmonton stronghold. The Alberta Party and Liberals were shut out.

Kenney has been personally demonized in this campaign, but even his most bitter enemies have to recognize the scope of his achievement.

To come back to Alberta from Ottawa, to talk about uniting conservatives, to run for the Progressive Conservative leadership, to win that unlikely prize; then to virtually force successful merger talks with Wildrose; to win the new united party’s leadership, and now to capture the premier’s office — that staggering list is simply unprecedented in Canadian provincial politics.

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There is no question that if Kenney hadn’t appeared on the scene, the old Progressive Conservatives and Wildrose would have fought each other for votes once again, probably ensuring another NDP victory Tuesday night.

To do all this, as we’re now aware, Kenney’s people didn’t exactly follow the boy scout manual. The goal was immutable, the means adjustable, and that may yet cause…

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