INNISFAIL — Voters in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake riding supported the Wildrose Party in 2012 and they did it again on Tuesday, electing candidate Don MacIntyre.
MacIntyre ousted PC incumbent Kerry Towle, who was elected under the Wildrose banner in 2012 but crossed the floor to the Progressive Conservatives in November.
MacIntyre won with 7,827 of ballots cast, or 42.6 per cent of votes.
Towle received 5,138 votes, NDP candidate Patricia Norman pulled in 4,250 votes and Alberta Party candidate Danielle Klooster had 1,134.
With 29,496 eligible voters in the riding, 62 per cent of voters cast ballots.
MacIntyre said voters in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake wanted to bring back integrity.
“These people voted in 2012 for change. They voted for Wildrose and Kerry Towle betrayed that trust and they’re voting for Wildrose again. They didn’t change. She changed,” said MacIntyre, 59, who celebrated his win with supporters at his Innisfail campaign office.
Towle defeated longtime Tory Luke Ouellette in the 2012 provincial election when she ran for the Wildrose.
She was also one of 11 Wildrose MLAs to defect to the PCs late last year.
Towle agreed that people voted against her for crossing the floor.
“The reality of it is that people aren’t voting for Mr. MacIntyre,” said Towle, who was hit hard by the loss.
“Mr. MacIntyre is benefiting from all of my hard work, and my dedication to this riding and the policies I brought forward, and good on him. I left the Wildrose Party for good reasons. I don’t regret that decision at all. I hope he can do half the work I did. I wish him the best and all I want is what’s best for this riding.”
MacIntyre said the rejection of the Tories by voters was also a comment on PC Leader Jim Prentice’s lack of leadership and his early election call.
“(Prentice) has demonstrated a lack of ethics from the very beginning and Albertans are letting him know what they think of that,” MacIntyre said.
Towle said her party did break some promises and the PC brand was damaged.
“There’s a clear message from Albertans. They don’t want the entitlements. They don’t want the corruption from any party and they want health care fixed and they want certain issues dealt with.
“Mr. MacIntyre didn’t win. He won by default for our mistakes. I get that. I own that,” Towle said.
With a NDP government in power, MacIntyre only predicted provincial disaster.
“Albertans are going to wake up having an NDP government the same way the other provinces got a wakeup call having an NDP government. They drove their perspective provinces into the ground and that’s what we can expect from this government too.”
He promised the Wildrose would tenaciously fight any effort by the NDP to push through higher taxes.
Norman said it wasn’t the outcome she was hoping for in her riding, but the NDP majority was way more than she expected.
“I’m overwhelmed, but so incredibly happy. This just proves Alberta really was ready for change. We’re tired of government that isn’t going to listen. We’re not going to be bullied and we’re going to stand up for what matters,” the NDP candidate said.