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Updated: Jason Stephan wins Red Deer-South decisively

Stephan will serve second term as MLA

Jason Stephan handily won his re-election bid in Red Deer-South on Monday.

Stephan said his campaign was run with integrity.

“We did not cheat. We did not personally attack others or fear monger. So that’s a good thing. We ran with integrity and honesty.

“The second thing is we worked very hard. I, myself, door knocked for hours every day other than Sundays,” he said

“The third thing is we were in the right.”

Alberta leads Canada in private sector and in Red Deer has seen “significant transformative growth” on the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre expansion project.

“That’s going to bless individuals and families long after I’m gone. So, our local issues are being addressed,” he said.

In a race that some political watchers predicted might be closer, Stephan won with 12,573 votes, compared with 9,299 for NDP candidate Michelle Baer. Green Party candidate Ashley MacDonald was third with 259 votes followed by Wildrose Loyalty Coalition candidate Jess Stretch with 178 and Solidarity Movement of Alberta candidate Pamela Liebenberg with 133.

“It’s obviously not the results we hoped for and I’m disappointed,” said Baer. “But I know the Alberta NDP will continue to listen to Albertans and will bring positive opposition into the legislature. We’ve only just gotten started for things like better health care, a stronger economy, better education and government accountability.

“We won’t stop working to build a better future for Alberta.”

Stephan was first elected in a landslide in 2019, picking up 16,159 votes – 60.3 per cent– well ahead of the 6,844 votes – 25.5 per cent received by NDP candidate Barb Miller, who was ousted after one term in office.

Stephan said when he campaigned in 2019 many energy industry workers and their families were struggling. This time around, the picture was much brighter.

“While the oil and gas industry is not the only industry in Alberta, it’s a very important industry and when it does well we either directly or indirectly all benefit.

“We talk about health and public services. They are very important, but if we don’t have a strong economy and a strong private sector we don’t have the money to pay for it. So, it’s very important that we have fiscal discipline.”

That is where the NDP government fell short, he said. “When they were in government, they deficit-financed their government the entire time. We balanced the budget twice. We’re cutting taxes.

“I think the proof in the pudding is we are seeing record migration.”

In a troubled world, Alberta is a land of opportunity, freedom and prosperity, he said.

“I see Albertans embracing that and understanding that. Unfortunately, the NDP didn’t have that good record to run on.”

Stephan was pleased that so many Albertans got involved in the democratic process.

“I think people are interested and they understand the government impacts their lives. The more people who get involved and vote and inform themselves the more accountable government is. And I really like more accountable government because then we’re better.”

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Paul Cowley

About the Author: Paul Cowley

Paul grew up in Brampton, Ont. and began his journalism career in 1990 at the Alaska Highway News in Fort. St. John, B.C.
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