HIGH RIVER, Alberta - Alberta's Progressive Conservative Party survived its biggest challenge in more than four decades of rule on Monday, television networks declared, as voters balked at handing Canada's top energy-producing province to an upstart right-wing movement that promised traditional values and fiscal restraint.
The ruling party of Premier Alison Redford appeared to be the winner in the general election as it won or was leading in 60 of 87 voting districts in the province of 3.8 million people. Its biggest challenger, the Wildrose Party, was leading or elected in 20 districts.The Wildrose, even further to the right than the Progressive Conservatives, had been leading in the polls prior to the election and had been expected to make a stronger showing.
The Conservatives have ruled in Alberta since 1971, led by five leaders, the last being Redford, a 47-year-old lawyer and former justice minister. However, a series of scandals, deficit budgets and policies that angered the powerful oil patch lobby led to a break in the right-wing vote. However Wildrose did not prove in the end to be a threat to the PC's reign.