Wildrose MLA blasts urban voters for poor grasp of social issues, free speech

STIRLING — A southern Alberta Wildrose candidate says his party lost the election because city voters didn’t understand the issues.

STIRLING — A southern Alberta Wildrose candidate says his party lost the election because city voters didn’t understand the issues.

Gary Bikman won the riding of Cardston-Taber-Warner by a landslide in Monday’s election, one of the 17 seats Wildrose won in the province, 14 in rural areas.

The Progressive Conservatives won 61 seats in the province, with 41 in Alberta cities.

Bikman says urban voters didn’t understand that issues such as Edmonton candidate Allan Hunsperger saying that gay people must change their ways or forever be damned to burn in a lake of fire and Calgary candidate Ron Leech saying he had an advantage because he is Caucasian are matters of free speech.

Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith repeatedly said before the vote that her candidates are entitled to their views and her party had no plans to legislate on contentious social issues.

She would not comment on Bikman’s statements Wednesday because she said she didn’t know the context of his statements.

Bikman said Tuesday: “I think that these social issues that came up during the last week and the PC’s ability to exploit them, caused some concern in the voters within urban areas, at least, because they didn’t really understand the issues, they didn’t really understand that there was an aspect of free speech.”

Bikman also said rural people “possess more common sense, a least that’s my experience.

“The people who make their living off the land really seem to understand the way nature really works.”

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