After an overnight delay, the vote counting was difficult and fast, leading to Danielle Smith being elected as the new leader of the UCP and the next prime minister of Alberta.
“I’m back,” Smith told the room after stepping onto the stage.
Smith said the night marked the beginning of a new chapter for Alberta.
“It is time for Alberta to be a senior partner in building a strong and united Canada,” she said.
“Soon, Alberta will ask Ottawa for permission to be prosperous and free.
“We will not let our voices be silenced or censored.
“We won’t be told what we have to put in our bodies to be able to work or travel.
“Albertans, not Ottawa, will chart our own destiny on our terms, and will work with our fellow Canadians to build the freest and most prosperous country in the world.” the earth.”
Smith won the sixth and final ballot of the night, defeating her closest challenger Travis Toews, a former minister under outgoing prime minister and UCP leader, Jason Kenney.
She got 53.77% of the vote compared to Toews’ 46.23%.
Brian Jean, Rebecca Schulz, Todd Loewen, Rajan Sawhney and Leela Aheer have all been eliminated in the previous rounds.
Smith thanked her fellow candidates, “for their commitment to our party, but also to democracy,” and said she looked forward to working with many of them.
She also thanked Kenney, saying he had fought for the Albertans for decades in a variety of capacities.
“First as a taxpayer advocate, then as one of the most influential conservative cabinet ministers in Canadian history, then led the charge to unify the conservative movement, run and beat Rachel Notley’s NDP, and then lead as prime minister for one of the most tumultuous times in Alberta’s history,” she said.
Obviously it won’t be long before Smith takes over the prime minister’s office.
She said Thursday night she will be in Edmonton next Tuesday to be sworn in.
She said she “can’t wait” to get started.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Albertans, it’s that we don’t expect our leaders to be perfect, but we do expect them to stay humble, admit when they’re wrong, and learn from them. their mistake,” she said.
“I love that about our province and am so grateful to have won this second chance from you guys.
“I’ll never forget it, and I promise you tonight, I won’t let you down.”
Loewen, after he was dropped from the race, said he felt he gave some Albertans a voice in this campaign.
He told CTV News on Thursday: “There are a lot of Albertans who feel they have not been heard in the last three years.
“I’ve received a lot of support across the province, not as much as I expected of course and not as much as I needed, but we’ve done a good, hard-working campaign and we’ve made a great campaign. positive translation.”
He said he remains proud of his campaign and it’s nice to see so many Albertans buying party memberships.
“I’ll congratulate (Danielle) happily.”
Loewen isn’t alone in accepting because the vote doesn’t go his way.
“I am a team player. I’ve said the same thing before. So we’re going to spend every day for the next seven or eight months making sure we see a Conservative government re-elected here in Alberta,” Schulz said after she was dropped from the race.
Jean, shortly before being ousted, said that whatever comes, it’s the result of membership, and that’s what matters.
“The main thing is that the members have their say and this is what they want to happen,” Jean said.
“We’ll see where it leads, but we have to make sure that whatever happens, we stay united.”
The UCP event and leadership results were originally scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. MT time but were delayed.
More than 250 volunteers were called in to help tally some 85,000 ballots, most of which were dropped in the mail.