Alison Redford is the ninth woman in Canadian history to be a first minister, which does not make her the most successful female politician in Canada. It is his her landslide win in the election yesterday that is the reason she is the woman that has had done the best in Canadian politics.
Three other women have won partisan provincial or territorial elections, Catherine Callbeck in PEI in 1993, Pat Duncan in Yukon in 2000 and Kathy Dunderdale in Newfoundland and Labradour in 2011. But when you look at the populations involved, a total of about 650,000, this is less than cities that have had women as mayors. Yes, premier has more powers, but still the nature of representing 125,000 people is very different than being mayor of a city of more than a million people.
Alison Redford's win in one of the major provinces of Canada is a serious breakthrough. About 3.7 million people live in Alberta which is about 11% of the total population of the country. It is also over a million more than the biggest municipal government in Canada.
It is also impressive because of the sort of battle the election was. This is not a 2008 Alberta election where Ed Stelmach won by default. 2012 was an election that was a hard fought battle that no one seriously though Alison Redford could win. By winning this election, she has gone from being caretaker of a dying government to being one of the most serious political campaigners in Canada.
She was not supposed to win the leadership last year either, but even though she was very far behind Gary Mar after the first vote - 18.74% versus 40.76%, she managed to win. The three candidates that were dropped after the first vote all endorsed Gary Mar but still she won 51.11% to 48.89%. It is one of the more stunning come from behind wins in Canadian politics.
After this stunning come from behind win yesterday, Alison Redford will likely be able to serve as premier for many years to come.