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Wildrose may revisit climate policy after stunning election defeat

After losing an Alberta election many pollsters expected her to win, Wildrose leader Danielle Smith said her party might be taking another look at its skeptical position on global warming.

"Our members have now seen that some of our policies were rejected by Albertans, quite frankly," Smith told Postmedia News. "We will be revisiting some of those."

Smith included under that banner plans to create a provincial police and pension plan. Wildrose's support for conscience rights, the ability for, say, a marriage commissioner to refuse performing a same-sex marriage, could be up for debate as well.

"There may also be a stronger statement to make about climate change and our policy around greenhouse gas emissions," Smith said.

Wildrose's election platform described those concerned about Alberta's large carbon footprint as "environmental extremists."

"There is obviously still healthy scientific debate as to the extent man-made emissions of CO2 are affecting global temperatures," it read, "and this debate will likely carry on for many years."

Edmonton Journal columnist Graham Thompson speculated Tuesday that Smith's position on climate change, most notably articulated to boos and jeers during a CBC leader's debate, could have been a major factor in Wildrose's stunning Monday night defeat.

"That may have been the turning point," he wrote, "the moment when Albertans wondered with some alarm what it would be like to have a premier who would potentially embarrass the province on the world stage by denying global warming."

Alison Redford's Progressive Conservatives won 61 of Alberta's 97 seats, while the Wildrose Party took 17.

Geoff Dembicki reports on energy and climate issues for The Tyee.

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