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Ex-Alberta Premier Rachel Notley Steps Away as Leader

(Bloomberg) -- Rachel Notley, who governed the oil-rich Canadian province of Alberta for four years, is stepping down as the leader of the opposition New Democratic Party.

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Notley said Tuesday she will remain in her role until a replacement is chosen through a leadership race.

“Short of having, raising and — of course — regularly debating with my family, the opportunity to serve this party and this province has been the honor of my life,” she told reporters in Edmonton.

Notley lost a provincial election last May to United Conservative Party Leader Danielle Smith, whose government has challenged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s efforts to rein in greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel production. Alberta produces the majority of Canada’s oil and gas, with its oil-sands deposits representing the world’s third-largest crude reserve.

Notley shocked Canada by winning the premier’s office in a historic election in 2015, ending decades of conservative rule in the province. She governed during a challenging period that saw oil prices slump and was ousted in 2019.

Still, she diverged significantly from the federal New Democratic Party in her support for the oil and gas sector. While she held office, she backed the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline to the west coast over the opposition of many in neighboring British Columbia. At the same time, she oversaw the phaseout of coal-fired electricity in the province and boosted support for renewable energy.

“Alberta New Democrats, under Rachel’s leadership, improved the lives of hardworking people in measurable ways,” Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the federal NDP, said in a statement.

“She has been an inspiration to New Democrats across the country as she brought the party from four seats to a majority government. She fought hard for Alberta to have a government that reflects Albertans’ values and priorities,” Singh added.

(Corrects headline to indicate that while Notley is stepping down as leader, she said she remains open to staying in a political role.)

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