Devin Dreeshen, United Conservative Party, speaks to supporters Thursday night after winning the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake byelection. (Photo by MURRAY CRAWFORD/Advocate staff)

WATCH: Dreeshen takes Innisfail-Sylvan Lake byelection in a landslide

It was never really close.

Devin Dreeshen, United Conservative Party, ran away with the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake byelection Thursday night.

With 86 of 86 polls reporting he had 8,033 votes, representing 81.76 per cent.

Dreeshen said there were three issues he heard at the door during the campaign. The carbon tax, energy sector and rural crime.

“I think they do a lot of window dressing,” said Dreeshen about the NDP’s rural crime policies.

“Our caucus has released a report and it’s something in the upcoming election that we’ll look to make improvement on.”

Speaking to his supporters, Dreeshen talked about the energy sector and the carbon tax.

“The carbon tax, what the NDP has done to our energy sector and the effect it has had on so many families here in Central Alberta, we all heard it and we all sent a very clear message to the NDP tonight that their disastrous economic policies and their time in government is nearing an end,” said Dreeshen.

Dreeshen was joined by UCP leader Jason Kenney at his victory party at the Hideout in Red Deer.

“Albertans reject the failed economic policies of the NDP and they want a government that will stand up and fight for the province against all of those that are attacking us,” said Kenney. “Today’s huge result with over 80 per cent (of the vote) is a clear message and I hope that our premier has the humility to actually stop and listen to voters in two regions of the province tonight.”

Coming in second place was Nicole Mooney, NDP. She had 907 votes, or 9.23 per cent.

“I’m thrilled with the foundation we laid here in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake,” said Mooney. “Devin was the successful candidate, but I think we’ve made a lot of momentum and I’m happy with that.”

The seat became open when Don MacIntyre, a Wildrose and then UCP member, resigned after he was charged with sexual assault and sexual interference on Feb. 5.

MacIntyre was elected in 2015 with 7,827 votes, or 42.7 per cent. PC candidate Kerry Towle came in second with 5,128 votes, or 28 per cent.

Dreeshen, an area farmer, worked for the federal conservative party, in the office of agriculture minister Gerry Ritz. He had a role in eliminating the single desk marketing of wheat through the Canadian Wheat Board. He also wrote an article for The Hill Times, detailing his experience working on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Dreeshen said he considers his time in the U.S. beneficial and he has developed contacts within the administration.

“I have made great contacts there, it’s just a huge benefit for us,” said Dreeshen.

He is also the son of Earl Dreeshen, Red Deer-Mountain View MP.

Abigail Douglass, Alberta Party, won 729 votes or 7.42 per cent; David Inscho, independent, won 63 votes or 0.64 per cent; and Nick Jansen, Liberal, won 93 votes or 0.95 per cent.

Alberta will have a general election in 2019.



mcrawford@reddeeradvocate.com

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