Conservative incumbent Blaine Calkins is heading back to Ottawa representing the Wetaskiwin riding.
The Lacombe resident was the clear winner in Monday’s federal election voting, unofficially capturing 37,015 votes, or 81.45 per cent of the popular vote with 204 of the 207 polls tallied in the rural riding north of Red Deer. New Democrat Party candidate Tim Robson finished a distant second taking 5,189 votes, or 11.41 per cent of the popular vote.
“It’s an honour and privilege for me to serve and I am looking forward to doing it now in a stable, predictable majority government for the next four years,” said Calkins. “That’s the new dynamic in Ottawa. The voters in Canada made up their mind.”
Calkins said voters wanted Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the helm for a majority Conservative government, and NDP Leader Jack Layton as the leader of the official Opposition. Calkins said the difference with a majority government is that they will be able to pass legislation in a timely and effective manner.
In 2008, the Lacombe resident captured 32,528 votes, or 77.1 per cent of the vote, and 35,776 votes, or 75.2 per cent, in 2006.
“This a great day for Canada,” said the 42-year-old father of three.
Calkins was quick to point out they will have to wait and see what the political debate will shape up to be in Ottawa with the NDP as the official Opposition.
“The New Democratic Party often, in my opinion, does things that are quite a bit different than what they say they are going to do,” said Calkins. “So we will see if the actions match the words. There will be more scrutiny on Jack Layton as leader of the Opposition.”
This was the third time that Robson, a 60-year-old insurance agent, threw his hat in the electoral ring for the NDP. In the 2008 federal election, he placed another distant second, capturing 3,636 votes or 8.6 per cent. In 2004, Robson captured 3,090 votes or 7. 3 per cent of the votes, placing third after Liberal candidate Rick Bonnett, who received 11.9 per cent.
This time, Robson said, he lost his battle in the election forums where the more polished incumbent clearly outshined him.
“In Ponoka, they would clap after he was finished,” said Robson. “And it was dead silence (when I spoke). Actually in Ponoka, they were heckling me. That was not a high point. I’d hope to come in second. I hoped certainly to get more votes.”
News that the NDP had earned the official Opposition status helped to soften the blow. Robson was happy to see that the NDP “crushed the Bloc Quebecois” but he said Prime Minister Stephen Harper does not play well with others and does not deserve the majority government.
“That’s a shame because he doesn’t deserve it,” said Robson. “I am a sore loser.”
Robson said he will not run in the next federal election.
“Three strikes and you’re out,” he said.
Green Party of Canada parachute candidate Robert Johnston of Calgary placed third with 1,943 votes or 4.27 per cent of the votes. Liberal Party newcomer Christopher Anderson, a journeyman electrician, finished last, taking 1,315 votes or 2.86 per cent of the votes. Neither candidates were available for comment.