OTTAWA - Conservatives's rule of Canada's oil-rich Alberta province after 44 years was ended by the last-ranked leftist New Democratic Party in an election upset Tuesday.
The NDP handed the Tories led by a former member of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet a crushing defeat at the height of a global oil slump that has cost Alberta at least 20,000 jobs since September after a decade-long boom.
The party won more than 50 out of 87 seats in the provincial legislature, up from four previously held, according to television predictions. The NDP had never before won more than 16 seats.
The Tories, meanwhile, were expected to place third after losing 60 seats.
Jim Prentice had taken over as Alberta premier only six months ago from a predecessor ousted over an expenses scandal.
He raised taxes to cover a forecasted Can$7 billion shortfall in energy royalties, and skirted a fixed-election law to call snap elections while the main opposition Wildrose Party was still reeling from the defection of its leader and two-thirds of its caucus to the Tories in December.
The NDP committed to increase taxes of top earners, a hike in education and health funding, and a review of Alberta's fossil fuel royalties regime.