Central Alberta stuck to its conservative roots.
There were no surprises in the ridings around Red Deer, where United Conservative Party candidates won landslides across the board.
Innisfail-Sylvan Lake candidate Devin Dreeshen watched the results with his family, including his father, Red Deer-Mountain View MP Earl Dreeshen, and a room full of supporters at the Cambridge Red Deer Hotel and Conference Centre.
Cheers went up as one NDP candidate after another went down to defeat. The cheers were louder still when a cabinet minister fell, and louder yet when Dreeshen’s results were flashed up on the screen. He would finish with about 74 per cent of the vote.
His closest challenger was NDP’s Robyn O’Brien with just under 14 per cent of the vote. Next was Alberta Party’s Danielle Klooster, Freedom Conservative Party’s Chad Miller, Alberta Advantage Party’s Brian Vanderkley, Indpendent Ed Wychopen and Reform Party’s Lauren Thorsteinson.
Now that Alberta’s voters have given his party a mandate, it will be time to get to work.
Getting rid of the carbon tax will be the first order of business, he said. “We’ve talked about that being the first bill, the Carbon Tax Repeal Act.
“Then, taking steps so that we can actually attract businesses to Alberta. We’ve seen that erosion of businesses over the past four years, so many different energy companies and other companies and capital fleeing Alberta. “We want to take big, bold steps to attract that investment back to Alberta.”
Dreeshen said there was much he learned from his father’s political career.
“For him, it was always about people. He always said that he wanted to have the same amount of friends leaving politics that he did going into politics.
“That humility is something he’s always talked about. That’s a value he has that I hope I can have as well.”
Chykerda, of the Alberta Party, said they were a bit disappointed.
“We were hoping for three seats for Alberta Party.”
“But you know everyone did a lot of work, there’s a lot of people here who were never involved in politics and never ran before, so we’re celebrating a lot of work that we did, and on that side of things, things are very positive.”
“My local riding is a very conservative, rural area. Alberta Party didn’t have a lot of presence there, so I think this was a start, getting people’s attention and providing them an option for the next election.”
In the Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre riding, UCP incumbent Jason Nixon had no problem holding his seat in a crowded field, taking more than 80 per cent of the vote.
The NDP’s Jeff Ible was a distant second, followed by Alberta Party’s Joe Anglin, Green Party’s Jane Drummond, Freedom Conservative Party’s Dawn Berard, Alberta Independence Party’s David Rogers, Alberta Advantage Party’s Paula Lamoureux and Independent Gordon Francey.
In Lacombe-Ponoka, incumbent UCP Ron Orr also had little trouble keeping his seat, with more than 70 per cent of the vote. NDP candidate Doug Hart finished second, followed by Alberta Party’s Myles Chykerda, Keith Parrill of the Freedom Conservative Party, Tessa Szwagierczak of the Alberta Independence Party and Shawn Tylke of the Alberta Advantage Party.
The Olds-Disbury-Three Hills riding also stayed solidly behind UCP incumbent Nathan Cooper, who had just under 80 per cent of the vote and was trailed by the NDP’s Kyle Johnston, the Alberta Party’s Chase Brown, Allen MacLennan of the Freedom Conservative Party and Dave Hughes of the Alberta Advantage Party.
UCP incumbent Nate Horner — with about 77 per cent of the vote — won easily in Drumheller-Stettler. Independent Rick Strankmen came in second, followed by the NDP’s Holly Heffernan and Alberta Party’s Mark Nikota, tied for third; Jason Hushagen of Alberta Independence Party and Greg Herzog of the Alberta Advantage Party rounded out the candidates.