Chris Davis, Pincher Creek Voice
|Premier-designate Alison Redford|
The ballot counting process took a long time, and with the final results being below 50% for either of the top contenders, a count of the second choices of third place Doug Horner supporters was required for a conclusive victory. A reported challenge of two ridings results by GAry Mar held the proceedings up longer. Finally at approximately 1:30 am Sunday morning the final numbers were announced.
- Polling results: Gary Mar - 33233, Alison Redford - 28993, Doug Horner - 15950
- Final results, including the second choices of those who voted for Horner: Alison Redford - 37104, Gary Mar - 35491
Former dark-horse candidate Redford assumed the Alberta PC top spot with a margin of 1613 votes. Her campaign for the leadership used "change" as a keyword. In her acceptance speech, she reiterated that mantra. "With this leadership process we have renewed the party," she said. "Today alberta voted for change." She specifically mentioned education durning her speech and in interviews afterward, saying her first priority will be to reverse cuts to education. "Change that means that teachers will be returning to classrooms," she said, also mentioning change to ensure better access to healthcare.
She mentioned her recently deceased mother as a highly influential person in her political ambitions and attitudes. "It's our responsibility to make Alberta the best place in the world," she said before quitting the stage, leaving behind the impression of a leader determined to steer the course she sets.
Before Redford made her acceptance speech, Gary Mar and Doug Horner urged party members to unite behind her in the lead up to the next provincial election.
"Tonight the people of Alberta have made their wishes known, and I accept their decision," said Mar. Alison Redford will need all of our help in the months ahead. Let's unite tonight in celebration and commitment to renew our party."
Doug Horner, who seems destined for a spot in Redford's cabinet, was effusive in his support. "I am so happy that we are doing exactly that (uniting our party)," he said. "This province has a tremendous future and now we have a tremendous leader. Let's unanimously, unanimously say yes to this leader and let's give her our undivided support." He and Redford exchanged a seemingly heartfelt hug before she took to the podium.
Redford is the first woman to attain the Premiership in Alberta. She faces a tough challenge in the next provincial election, with the Wild Rose Party under leader Danielle Smith in particular looking like a strong contender, offering a different and some say more conservative choice to the electorate. The Alberta Liberal party still seems like a longshot contender, and other parties barely register on the radar in this province.
No date has been set for the next provincial election yet. By law one must be held by early 2013, five years since the last one on March 13, 2008. There has been some speculation the PC party might call a snap election now that their leadership process has been effected.
During her campaign for the leadership Redford explicitly indicated she would call for fixed election dates in the future.