By Stephen Dafoe
Westlock – St. Paul – Conservative candidate Brian Storseth will be returning to Ottawa to serve a third run in the House of Commons after receiving 77.8 per cent of the vote in Monday’s federal election.
The Conservative Party candidate received 32,597 votes May 2, 27,501 votes more than his closest rival, NDP candidate Lyndsey Henderson, a candidate who refused to take media interviews or participate in any of the all-candidate forums during the six-week campaign. Henderson’s 5,096 votes were followed by Liberal candidate Rob Fox with 2,559 votes and Green candidate Lisa Grant with 1,623 votes.
Storseth, a 33-year-old insurance agent and business owner from Barrhead, was first elected to Parliament in 2006 with 68.2 per cent of the riding’s vote. He went on to increase that mandate to 72.7 per cent of the vote in 2008, despite voter turnout in the riding being below the national average which itself was the lowest in recorded Canadian electoral history.
However, voter turnout this election was slightly higher with 56.2 per cent of Westlock-St. Paul’s 74,575 eligible voters coming out to mark their X on a ballot compared to 51 per cent in 2008 and 61.53 per cent in 2006.
While the NDP saw a benefit from the increased voter turnout and party buzz, both the Greens and Liberals received fewer votes than they did in 2008. The Liberals received 1,250 fewer votes in the riding this time; the Greens 899 fewer.
Federal numbers show similar results
Although Storseth received the majority vote mandate he was hoping for in the election, his party also achieved the mandate they were looking for, a return to the House of Commons with a majority.
Data available by press time shows the Conservative Party poised to hold 167 seats in the 308-seat House of Commons, 12 seats more than the 155 seats needed to hold a majority in Parliament.
Jack Layton, riding on the backs of the Orange Crush that saw the NDP make large inroads into Quebec garnered 102 seats, making Layton and his party her Majesty’s Official Opposition, a first in the party’s history.
Hardest hit in Monday’s election were the Liberals who dropped from 77 seats to 34, and the Bloc Québécois who fell from 47 seats to 4. Elizabeth May and her Green Party entered the race with no seats and earned one during the election, May’s own Saanich-Gulf Islands riding.