6 pm (mountain time!): The much anticipated downtown Toronto Alberta election night party is ready to roll: the Alberta flag has been proudly hung, the Big Rock beers have been opened, and I’m sportin’ a Supportin’ Morton button. Polls are still open for another two hours, but the room is already full with a dozen ex-Albertans – and two Ontarians curious to see who will be signing their next equalization cheque.
8:10 pm: In most Alberta elections, we’d be calling it right about now.
8:14 pm: Watching the Global TV live stream online – they have a CNN-style touch screen! Sadly, due to James Moore’s budget cuts, CBC will be announcing results via abacus tonight.
8:42 pm: Current numbers have the PCs leading in 45, Wildrose leading in 22, NDP in 2, Liberals in 1. maybe this is the Dennis Coderre bounce.
8:50 pm: PCs now lead 55-21. And that’s the sound of pundits everywhere frantically re-writing their articles before deadline.
9:01 pm:And they call it for the PCs. Absolutely shocking. Tom Flanagan blows it in the bottom of the 9th again. Conversation at our Toronto election party:
“I thought this was supposed to be a close election”
“By Alberta standards, this IS a close election”
9:40 pm: Guess we need to give Alberta Liberals an assist on this one. The ALP vote is down 15-20 points from their usual levels, far and away the margin of victory.
10:37 pm: And the traditional chant goes up at PC headquarters: “40 more years! 40 more years!“. That’s it for tonight all – tomorrow, I’ll try to make some sense of one of the most shocking election nights in a long time.