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Incoming Alberta premier Rachel Notley plans to reach out to energy industry

NDP Leader Rachel Notley reacts on stage after being elected Alberta's new premier in Edmonton on Tuesday, May 5, 2015.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
May 06, 2015 - 3:08 PM

EDMONTON - Incoming Alberta premier Rachel Notley says her first job will be to reach out to reassure energy industry leaders that her NDP government doesn't plan to make decisions without them.

"They can count on us to work collaboratively with them," Notley said Wednesday after her party won a majority by pushing out the Progressive Conservatives.

"I'm hopeful that over the next two weeks they will come to realize that things are going to be just A-OK over here in Alberta."

During the campaign, the NDP promised to raise corporate taxes to 12 per cent from 10 per cent and examine whether Albertans are getting their fair share of royalties. That stance created concern among executives in the industry.

Notley has also said she would take a less hands-on role in stumping for certain pipeline proposals — unlike past Progressive Conservative premiers who actively promoted projects such as Keystone XL and Northern Gateway.

Notley was non-commital on when she hopes to have the party's first budget or when she might announce her cabinet. She pointed out the lieutenant-governor still needs to ask her to form a government.

She said she's been getting transition advice from people across the country, including former Saskatchewan NDP premier Roy Romanow.

She also said she hopes to work with the federal government on climate change and energy.

The NDP took 53 of 87 seats in Tuesday's election, toppling a 44-year PC dynasty. The Tories were reduced to third place behind the Wildrose party, which will form the official Opposition.

The NDP swept all 19 constituencies in Edmonton and made significant inroads in previously barren NDP territory in Calgary, Lethbridge and rural Alberta.

It was a crushing defeat for the Tories, who had steered the ship of state since 1971 — longer than any party anywhere in the country.

Prentice told subdued supporters in Calgary that he was stepping down as leader effective immediately and would also leave the Calgary Foothills seat he just recaptured.

"Clearly ... my contribution to public life is at an end."

He took over a party in September that had been stung by scandals involving perks and lavish spending under former premier Alison Redford. The party had also failed to build promised schools and was criticized for lavish salaries and severance payouts to political staff and government executives.

Notley told supporters that the election resets the compass.

"Albertans have voted for change and one of the changes that they voted for is a new kind of respect and a new kind of relationship with their government," she said.

"Whether you are a business leader, a union leader, a municipal leader, someone who leads in our civil society or whether you are a plain-old just great wonderful Albertan, let me say this to you: Our legislature belongs to you."

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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