Ted Morton, Alberta’s Energy Minister under the previous government of Premier Alison Redford, failed to win reelection in the province’s April 23 election, raising questions about who will take the helm at the Ministry of Energy in the new administration.
Morton was one of only four Progressive Conservative (PC) party members to lose their seats in the legislature as the PC party retained majority control, holding on to 61 of 87 seats going into the 28th Legislature.
Morton’s ouster pleased some opponents of power projects in the province approved under the previous legislature.
“It’s excellent to see that some of the ministers who supported these projects are no longer in power,” Colleen Boddez, founder of the Alberta Landowners Council told TransmissionHub, referring to the Eastern Alberta Tie Line (EATL), the Western Alberta Tie Line (WATL), and the Heartland Transmission Line.
“It will be interesting to see who [Premier Redford] appoints and whether they will work to repeal Bill 36,” Boddez continued. Bill 36 is also known as the Land Stewardship Act, which many Albertans feel strips them of their property rights in favor of large power projects, she explained.
It is not yet known who will be appointed to Morton’s seat as Energy Minister.
“A minister of energy will be named in due course, but not within the next week,” a spokesperson for Alberta Energy told TransmissionHub on April 24. “It’s unlikely the premier will choose the new cabinet for a week to 10 days or longer.”
The PC party’s victory ran counter to at least two pre-election polls, which had predicted the end of the Tories’ 41-year majority rule.
A poll conducted by Forum Research shortly after Redford dissolved the legislature predicted a major power shift. “Alberta has a history of staying with one party for long periods of time, like 30 years, and then switching,” Forum Research President and CEO Lorne Bozinoff told TransmissionHub on March 28. “This looks like it could be one of those switching elections.”
A poll conducted for the Calgary Herald and the Edmonton Journal newspapers before the legislature was dissolved also showed the PC Party’s popularity was slipping quickly with the advantage going to the other parties, all of which had gone on record as opposed to the power line projects.
Ultimately, the Wildrose Party captured 17 seats while the Liberals won five seats and the New Democratic Party (NDP) took four.