Earl Dreeshen is heading back to Ottawa as part of the official Opposition.
The Conservative candidate decidedly won the new riding of Red Deer-Mountain View snagging 38,903 votes with 201 of 238 polls reporting.
First elected in 2008 in the former Red Deer riding, Dreeshen is no stranger to different scenarios playing out in Ottawa.
The 62-year-old life-long Conservative worked under both Conservative minority and majority governments.
But never on the other side of the table as the Liberal Party of Canada will form the next government with Justin Trudeau at the helm.
“I’ve talked to many people who have been in Opposition and I think they are joking because they say when you’re in Opposition, you can say anything and do anything,” said Dreeshen.
“But when you are in government you actually have to follow the line … I am an honest individual, making sure I hold people to task if that’s necessary. But I want to make sure people recognize how significant the Conservative Party has been, not just in the last four years but to Canada in general.”
Dreeshen has been involved with the party since 2005 and a life-long Conservative. He thanked his family and his supporters for the support. Dreeshen said he is looking forward to working hard for Central Albertans.
Chandra Kastern, the Liberal Party candidate, came in a distant second with 7,297 votes. Kastern, 32, said she could not be more proud of her team across Canada. Kastern said she wanted to earn 10 per cent of the vote in Red Deer-Mountain View because a Liberal has never crested 10 per cent of the vote in Central Alberta. She said she had less time and less fundraising capacity compared to the other candidates. Kastern said she ran a clean and tight budget campaign and she is proud of her local supporters and campaign workers.
“Obviously Canadians were hungry for change and the right kind of change,” said Kastern. “We’re seeing that happen tonight. It’s super exciting.”
NDP candidate Paul Harris said a third place finish with 4,510 votes was not the outcome he expected. Harris, a Red Deer city councillor, said he thought the NDP would do slightly better in the riding.
“I had no illusions that we would win it,” he said. “Although talking to people door to door, it felt like we might.”
Harris said the NDP wanted to form government but a lot of what they worked for made its way into the Liberal platform as policies changed over the course of the election campaign. Harris said the bright spot of the evening is that Harper is no longer in charge.
“For me he was the worst prime minister that I have seen in my lifetime,” said Harris. “I think history will look back and think this is the downfall of the country and it has taken us decades to build.”
Also running were Scott Milne, the Pirate Party candidate with 249 votes, Simon Oleny, the Green Party candidate with 1,339 votes and James Walper the Libertairian candidate with 375 votes.
The Red Deer-Mountain View riding runs from Red Deer south of Ross Street to Carstairs, west to Sundre (but not Rocky Mountain House) and east to Delburne and Elnora. It also includes Mountain View and Red Deer counties.
The new riding was carved out of the electoral districts of Crowfoot, Red Deer and Wild Rose.