A Wildrose has bloomed in Morinville and swept away decades of PC government rule.
Wildrose Party candidate Glenn van Dijken was the clear winner of the Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock election Tuesday night, trouncing opponents Tristan Turner (NDP) and incumbent Maureen Kubinec (PC) with about 40 per cent of the vote.
He is now the MLA-elect for the riding.
Despite netting almost half of the popular vote within an hour of the close of polls, van Dijken said he waited until almost 60 of the riding’s 87 polls before declaring victory.
“I’m a pretty subdued gentleman,” he said from his Westlock campaign office, noting that many of his fellow campaigners wanted to celebrate far before he did.
van Dijken said he knew he had a lot of support in the north part of the riding where he’s based but was concerned about the south and Morinville.
“I wanted to be sure that we were well on our way.”
While voters clearly bought into his party’s message of small government and fiscal responsibility, van Dijken said the PCs themselves played a big part his win.
“I believe myself that the PCs defeated themselves by not respecting the taxpayer,” he said.
Albertans felt they were being used as puppets with the defection of nine Wildrose members to the PCs and the early election call, he continued, and demanded respect from their government.
van Dijken said he’d have a steep learning curve ahead of him as he learned the ropes of being an MLA.
van Dijken thanked Kubinec for her three years of service and commended the Turner for being a “model citizen.”
Turner: I’ll be back
Turner took second place with about 33 per cent of the popular vote.
The first time candidate said he was a bit disappointed, but noted that it was still an incredible showing given that his party got just six per cent of the vote in the 2012 election.
“This time, we beat a cabinet minister.”
Turner said he suspects that he surprised and impressed many voters who might have been skeptical of him due to his age through the debates, and that many more were moved by NDP leader Rachel Notley’s performance.
Anti-PC sentiment definitely helped, he continued.
“At the doors I was hearing about how (people) were sick and tired about how they were treated under Maureen (Kubinec) and under the PC government,” he said, and how they saw the NDP as a real alternative.
“What people were concerned about was accountability and trust, and they didn’t see it under the PCs.”
The NDP majority government will mean that Albertans will finally get the honest government and teachers that they need, Turner said. Morinville doesn’t have an NDP MLA, but van Dijken would definitely speak well for the riding.
“This is not the last he’ll hear from me, for sure,” he said of van Dijken. Although he wasn’t sure if he would run again, Turner said he would keep an eye on the issues.
“I’m very excited for the future of this province.”
Kubinec: back to pasture
Kubinec trailed the pack with about 27 per cent of the vote – far below the 45 she had in 2012.
Kubinec, a one-term MLA and former tourism minister for Alberta, said the mood in her Westlock office was one of surprise and disappointment Tuesday night.
“We ran a really good campaign. I had an amazing group of volunteers. I feel there was nothing more I could have done.”
Kubinec agreed that hostility towards the PCs was a factor in her loss, noting how some voters had told her things like “We like the job you did, but I’m angry” at the door.
“People were upset. They voted the way the chose to.”
Kubinec said she met some amazing people during her time in office and had a great time as culture and tourism minister. She planned to go back to her family and farm life, and wasn’t sure if she would run again.
“Life will go on.”