'Open for business': Jason Kenney's UCP wins majority in Alberta election

While Edmonton is expected to be an NDP stronghold polls suggest Calgary will elect more UCP MLAs

Kenney's distaste for the NDP and federal government's carbon plan could create its own headache. "I have just spoken to premier elect and I have offered him my honest congrats", said Notley. "I think he felt that he could contribute in a meaningful way and change where Alberta was heading".

United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney has retained his seat of Calgary-Lougheed in the Alberta election.

Liberal Leader David Khan says the party's showing in the election does not mean the end of his party in Alberta.

For a fiery Kenney, the fight for pipelines will be ramped up, putting opponents on notice that Alberta's patience has run out.

Kenney's challenge is those struggles are rooted in problems that the province has been wrestling with for the last half-decade - hard problems he accused the outgoing NDP of mishandling. Kenney's United Conservative Party captured 63 seats and more than 55 per cent of the popular vote, defeating the incumbent government of Rachel Notley's New Democrats.

"To many of our fellow oil and gas workers who are out of work, underemployed, or otherwise without hope, it feels like spring has returned to Alberta", said Mark Scholz, CEO of the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors.

The four-week campaign focused on personal attacks and on Alberta's fragile economy, which has been struggling with sluggish oil prices and unemployment levels above seven per cent in Calgary and Edmonton.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer's connections to Kenney, who served as a Harper minister while Scheer spent much of his tenure in the Speaker's chair, could appeal to western voters, particularly on issues like pipelines and the carbon tax, said Jared Wesley, a political science professor at the University of Alberta.

While economic conditions have improved, many voters lost patience with persistent budget deficits, higher unemployment and a lack of progress on new oil export pipelines.

He closed his speech with his take on the province's fabric as a community. He said Alberta has been targeted by a foreign-funded campaign of special interests seeking to landlock Canadian energy.

Premier Rachel Notley and incoming premier Jason Kenney began the formal transfer of power in Alberta on Thursday, with Notley saying Kenney is already getting real-life lessons on the difference between political grandstanding and governing.

In his victory speech on Tuesday night, Jason Kenney repeated his promise that he will fight back against US -funded groups that he accuses of economic sabotage by preventing Alberta from exporting oil in any direction but south. "You're trying to improve the lives of ordinary people by listening to them, and being one of them", he said.

And while relentlessly targeted by the NDP and critics as anti-LGBTQ, Kenney attended UCP Pride events the last two years, accepts "same-sex" marriage as settled law, and says he wants more homosexual candidates and a greater presence of LGBTory in his party.

Gary Mar, CEO of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada, said in a statement that he welcomes Kenney's vow to restore Alberta competitiveness.

And support is growing at home as well.

Spokespeople for Imperial Oil Ltd, Husky Energy Inc. and Cenovus Energy Inc. all said their company congratulates and looks forward to working with the Kenney government without further comment. While that wasn't popular within the ministry, he added, they eventually got behind him and it "became a very effective idea".

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