rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Vote-anywhere in Alberta made it easier to cast a vote against the NDP

Please chip in to support rabble's election 2019 coverage. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Soon-to-be-Alberta-premier Jason Kenney. Photo: David J. Climenhaga

Well, God bless the NDP, I guess, who could apparently be depended upon to do the right thing, even if it killed them.

Alberta's official vote results are now in and they suggest how the province's new "vote anywhere" provisions did no favours for the departing government.

Elections Alberta published its official election results yesterday, and they show a startling 36.7 per cent of voters chose to vote in advance polls, and of those nearly a third took advantage of the new "vote anywhere" procedure introduced on the NDP's watch.

In all, more than 1.9 million ballots were cast in the April 16 general election -- with about 10,500 spoiled. Elections Alberta initially said more than 70 per cent of the eligible electorate voted, although they've now reduced that estimate to 64 per cent.

Remember, the actual NDP vote went up marginally from 2015, when the party won a majority government, to 2019, when it was shut out of most of the province except the city of Edmonton -- to 619,147 votes from 604,518. But without the vote split on the right and a rush to the polls by Conservative voters who sat it out last time, the party's share of the popular vote declined significantly, to 33 per cent from 41 per cent.

Vote-anywhere balloting made it easier to cast a vote against the government from, well, anywhere.

Well, that's your first-past-the-post system for you. Maybe the NDP shoulda-coulda-woulda done some electoral reform -- alas, the illusion runs strong among parties in a parliamentary system that having won one majority they can always win another.

It will be interesting to see if the incoming United Conservative Party government led by Jason Kenney keeps these easy-vote provisions in future elections, since they certainly run counter to the traditional conservative approach of encouraging a judicious amount of vote suppression.

Meanwhile, as the parties get ready to switch sides of the legislature, there's more evidence that the United Conservative Party can be depended upon to do the wrong thing, although the jury's still out -- not necessarily an inappropriate metaphor -- on whether it will do them any harm.

The day before yesterday, the Office of the Election Commissioner announced it had levied another $10,500 in fines in the sordid "Kamikaze Campaign" during the 2017 United Conservative Party leadership election won by Jason Kenney.

Two administrative penalties of $5,250 were levied against Jeffrey Parks, one for giving his wife Michelle Parks money to donate to Jeff Callaway's campaign and the other was passing through a donation to Callaway with money given to him by another person.

Employed as Callaway's executive assistant, Parks said he believed he was just being a team player when he handed over the cash to his boss's campaign -- now known to have been set up for the purpose of scuttling Kenney's chief rival, former Wildrose leader Brian Jean, in concert with the supposedly kinder, gentler Kenney campaign.

The total number of penalties handed out in the Kamikaze affair has now reached $46,000.

It's hard to believe that once he's sworn in, Kenney will allow the Office of the Election Commissioner to continue to exist, at least under the leadership of Commissioner Lorne Gibson. But we'll have to wait to see what happens on that front.

Yesterday afternoon, the CBC revealed that RCMP investigators were going door to door in some Edmonton neighbourhoods Thursday holding unannounced interviews with voters in the 2017 UCP leadership election.

News reports have indicated email addresses fraudulently associated with UCP memberships were used to vote in the UCP leadership race in 2017.

Whatever the outcome of the police investigation turns out to be, there's not much the UCP can do to shut it down.

David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions with The Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald. This post is also found on David Climenhaga's blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.

Photo: David J. Climenhaga.

Help make rabble sustainable. Please consider supporting our work with a monthly donation. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.