I did the math: It’s UGLY! An Alberta Post-Election Communication Analysis (PR politipost)

The NDP have gone from fourth to first, breaking 43 years of PCAA governments
The NDP have gone from fourth to first, breaking 43 years of PCAA governments

If it feels different, it is. For nearly 44 years the same party has held power in Alberta. Until now.

The NDP has won the rights to form a majority government in Alberta. The PCAA dynasty has come to an end.

Read that again. Let it sink in. This is a historic moment for Canada. Equality spreads its wings from coast-to-coast for the first time in nearly half a decade. Be proud that you have done, even though some of you absolutely hate this moment and are in complete disbelief.

When I moved to Alberta five years ago, there was a fear for voting anything but Conservative. I was told that by everyone around me. “Just vote PC.” “Don’t cross them, they’ll crush you.” “Is there any other party?” Those were the statements I heard. Every time I shook my head and looked at the flag to see if I was still in Canada or had moved to dictatorship North Korea?

I met many of the PCAA folks over the years. Many I would consider friends. I don’t blame them for doing what they did, they were exercising a simple human behaviour: retaining power. 

Voters rejected fear as a tactic on May 5. What Albertans really rejected – was a lack of sound strategy. 

It’s safe to say now that the PCAA was an old and tired group. They failed at following through the simplest of communication: Research, Analyze, Communicate/Execute, Evaluate.

Projection Front
Polls were nearly bang on. NDP majority, WR official opposition, and PC’s in third. The signs were everywhere.

The research was obvious for anyone – anyone who looked. Albertans were tired of paying the ultimate price every time the economy stumbled. They were tired of a constantly stumbling economy. They were tired that their government didn’t have their back, a government who couldn’t balance the books when times were good, and a government who made them pay more when times were bad (remember, employment insurance claims have risen 30% for two consecutive months in Alberta).

The analysis of data and comments on various social media would have easily shown voters were not happy, and they told you (PCAA) why they were unhappy. You failed to research, you failed to analyze.

Next, your communication sucked. You began with a pre-budget message to “look in the mirror.” Without considering many Albertans were selling their mirror to put food on the table. At that point, they even used that mirror to reflect the sun in your eyes in an effort to wake you up. You put sunglasses on and walked away.

The grimmest of handshakes
The grimmest of handshakes

You continued with a budget that punished Albertans who were already paying with wage reductions, layoffs, and various other cutbacks. At the same time, your party, known for having a hand in the pocket of corporate big-wigs (not unusual for a party in power for a decade or more), proved just that. You didn’t make corporations pay a Canadian discontinued penny, while the people suffering due to corporate mismanagement as well as your party’s mismanagement, had to foot a $1.5 billion tax/fee increase alone. You forgot those that line your party pockets only have one vote each (and 1% of the total vote). The rest (that’s 99%, since math is hard), were unhappy with your lack of research, analysis and communication – and they also controlled the vote.

Albertans wanted increased taxes, and you ignored their views. 44% of them told you. This is the same percentage that showed support consistently for the NDP in the days before the polls. That is no coincidence.

You failed at one large piece you took for granted. After decades of booms and busts in Alberta, you showed proof your party could not manage a government. People saw that, and gave up on you. That was after you gave up on them.

Here’s the hard truth. Albertans wanted a better government, and you obviously were not it. They chose Alberta’s future, and it doesn’t involve you. 


Next time, start with developing a communications strategy. It appears you didn’t have one this time. You had a series of poorly-executed tactics. It was ugly.

The evaluation was just as ugly. Your party lost this election all on your own. If you are shocked by that today, your party has an ugly future in Alberta. Research will show you that.

“I haven’t done the math yet,” said Rachel Notley. Well, when you do, it’s ugly. And partly because your communications strategy sucked.

Election results via the Calgary Herald