‘Huge majority’ was actually less than half

The topic of the NDP government’s “huge majority” in the 2015 provincial election recently came up on this page.

The topic of the NDP government’s “huge majority” in the 2015 provincial election recently came up on this page. Generally speaking, the statement is not true, specifically when readers look at the raw numbers of whom Albertans voted for.

Overall, according to the Elections Alberta website which holds the results of the 2015 provincial election, Rachel Notley’s NDP captured 40.6 per cent of the vote count, which equals 604,518 votes.

In comparison, the Progressive Conservatives under Jim Prentice earned 27.8 per cent, a total of 413,610 while the Wildrose Alliance under Brian Jean managed 24.2 per cent of the vote count, which equals 360,511 Albertans who voted that way.

Combined, those three parties accounted for 92.6 per cent of the people who showed up to vote on election day. The other 7.4 per cent voted for other parties like Social Credit, Liberal and the Communist Party of Alberta.

Seat-wise, the NDP does indeed hold a “huge majority.” They have 54; PC and Wildrose combined have only 31. The majority allows the NDP to do things like pass important legislation without public consultation or debate.

But looking at the actual number of people who voted, only 4 out of 10 Albertans voted NDP; hardly a “huge majority.” If right-wing voters in Alberta weren’t waist-deep in vote-splitting, the PC and Wildrose would have attracted 52 per cent of the vote count, easily beating the NDP’s 40 per cent.

While some say the raw numbers show a “huge majority” for the NDP, the numbers from Elections Alberta actually prove that far more Albertans voted against the NDP than voted for them.

Opinion versus news

This newspaper’s readers no doubt pick up the publication looking for fair, balanced reporting of community events.

Readers will also no doubt notice that several sections of the Leduc/Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer have special headings at the top. Two of the most important sections are “Editorial,” and “Opinion.”

The editorial is an opinion piece written by the newspaper’s editor to convey an opinion on an important local, provincial, national or international issue. Ideally, the editorial presents the writer’s opinion on a fact that is under discussion in the community, and the best editors always back up their position with plenty of facts, statistics and other information. The editorial is journalism, but is a separate and distinct form of journalism from news writing. The essence of an opinion is to pick a side.

The same goes for the opinion page. The opinion columns written by Black Press staff can range over a variety of subjects, but should be written in mostly one fashion: the writer presents his or her opinion about an agreed-upon fact.

Of course, there is a third opinion offering in the Pipestone Flyer as well. Letters to the editor are a chance for readers to voice their own opinions about stories they see in this paper, or issues of concern in the community. Letters will also be clearly marked as opinion writing.

While readers should expect to see impartial reporting in the Pipestone Flyer’s news coverage, the editorial and column pages will present strong, well-argued opinions that definitely take a side, just as all legitimate newspapers do.