Kubinec wins Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock

PC candidate Maureen Kubinec won Monday’s election by a narrow margin of 341 votes. – Photo and graphics by Stephen Dafoe

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Westlock County Councillor Maureen Kubinec ensured Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock remained in PC hands Monday night after garnering 45 per cent of the vote. Kubinec received 7,447 votes, 341 more than Wildrose candidate and former Alberta Report publisher Link Byfield who received 7,106 votes (43 per cent). Byfield was the frontrunner throughout the evening with a healthy to moderate lead until Westlock and Morinville vote tallies began coming in around 10:30 p.m.

Speaking within moments of her victory, Kubinec said she was pumped from the win. “I’m definitely pumped and glad to have the nail biter over,” she said. “It was so close and we were just on pins and needles here. But we are quite excited.”

The PC candidate said having the opportunity to present her case at a number of All Candidate Forums in the region played a strong part in her victory. “I actually think that the forums played more of a part in this than might have been the case in the past,” she said, adding the Morinville forum helped get her position out. “I actually got a lot of positive feedback after that forum and people said I came and I listened, thought and made my decision.”

But while pleased to have won, Kubinec said she felt the closeness of the race meant she could have done better. “I think the property rights issue may have played a part in some of the more rural polls,” she said. “I needed to get the message out clearer that people’s property rights are not in jeopardy.”

As was the case throughout most parts of the province, the two conservative candidates took the majority of votes in what pollsters had predicted as a Wildrose win provincially. The ultimate outcome defied the polls with the PCs winning another majority government.

Kubinec said she was only partly surprised by her party’s strong standing in the province in light of those polls. “We were kind of told from the first meeting I went to after I won the nomination that they would be that,” she said of the polls. “They told us don’t listen to the polls. Don’t read the newspaper. Just put your head down and work. And that’s what our team did. It paid off. Polls are polls. The one that counted was tonight.”

Wildrose candidate displeased with PC tactics

For Wildrose candidate Link Byfield, the message the PCs got out was a less than honourable one. “I think the PCs fought a very dishonest campaign,” Byfield said. “They accused us of the same, but they fought a very dishonest campaign. There was a lot of hysterical fear mongering, and I think it will come back to haunt them because it was dishonourable to fight a campaign that way.”

Byfield said while the PCs accused his party of fear mongering on the matter of property rights and power lines, they were wrong. “The people of this province are going to see that we were right and it is going to cost us dearly as a province because we are proceeding apace,” he said, adding it leaves him with a bad feeling for the province. “We seem to keep making the same mistake. As one old guy in this part of the riding put it a little while ago: When the hull of the boat is rotten; it doesn’t help to change the captain. That’s what we keep trying to do.”

Byfield said at some point Albertans will have to learn the PCs are out of ideas, out of credibility and out of integrity. “I don’t say that of any individual MLA,” he said. “The group, collectively, is quite dishonourable, and dishonourable organizations cause problems.”

He sees the next four years under PC rule as one with a number of disappointments: clinics the province cannot afford, and deficits regardless of how high oil prices climb. “I may be wrong but I don’t think I am,” he said.

Combination of factors in PC win

Byfield said he felt there were two factors in the PCs win Monday night that in some cases drove people away from the Wildrose and in other cases drove voters away from the Liberals to the PCs. “One was the almost hysterical fear mongering which characterized the last week of their campaign,” he said. “The other one was the enormous volume of fraudulent Wildrose calls that hit people all through the riding in the last couple days of the campaign.” The former he feels lead traditional left of centre voters to vote for the PCs in opposition to the Wildrose. In the latter, the multiple calls frustrated some Wildrose supporters.

Whatever the reasons, left of centre parties received smaller percentages of votes in the constituency than they did four years ago. Liberal Leslie Penny, who took second place in the 2008 election with 15.25 per cent of the vote, received the fourth slot this time around with only 6 per cent or 929 votes. NDP candidate Trudy Grebenstein received 6 per cent of the vote with 983 ballots cast in her favour, 56 more votes than the 927 votes her predecessor Rod Olstad received in 2008. Morinville resident Lisa Grant received 1 per cent of the vote with 188 ballots cast in her favour, 291 votes fewer than the 479 votes than Dan Evans received in 2008 with the now defunct Alberta Greens.

But while some parties were up and others down, voters came out in record numbers during this election. The 2008 election saw 47.9 per cent of the then 24,792 electors coming out to the polls, casting 11,831 votes. Those numbers were up considerably this election with 16,653 votes cast during the advance polls and on Election Day.

Johnson wins Athabasca Redwater

PC Jeff Johnson took Athabasca Redwater Monday night with 52 per cent of the vote. Johnson was followed by Wildrose candidate Travis Olson with 33.3 per cent of the vote, NDP candidate Mandy Melnyk with 12.7 per cent of the vote, and Liberal Gino Akbari with 2.6 per cent of the vote. In total 15,241 votes were cast in Athabasca Redwater, a number considerably higher than the 11,008 votes cast In the 2008 general election.

Horner re-elected in Spruce Grove St. Albert

PC Doug Horner was re-elected in his constituency with 55 per cent of the vote. Horner was followed by Wildrose candidate Travis Hughes who took 27 per cent of the vote. The two candidates were followed by Liberal Chris Austin with 9.1 per cent of the vote and NDP J.J. Trudeau with 9 per cent of the vote.

Note: All results are unofficial until final ballot counts are verified by Elections Alberta

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  1. Nothing like a sore loser, Link. Pull yourself together and be grateful you had any support at all. Whining and suggesting the voters aren’t intelligent enough to make an educated choice only cements the belief you dont deserve to sit in the legislature.

  2. The PC win just put the last nail in the coffin of the polling business. Very weird outcome.

  3. Mr. Byfield the election is over, you lost. It’s time to stop making excuses or blaming anyone else for your loss. Give it up.

  4. I would say that perhaps more than the public listening to the “fear mongering” resulting in a surprise upset at the polls it was the way that constituents were treated by our Wildrose Candidate. I know that I for one attempted to ask Mr. Byfield a question that he found “offensive” and was told to “vote for someone else”. I certainly did as Mr. Byfield suggested and now find it almost comical that he is blaming the results of the election on the other parties. Perhaps it is time for Mr. Byfiled to look at his own tactics and take responsibility because I certainly did share the response I got from him with every person I spoke to about the election.

  5. Great election, glad to see so many came out to vote. Unfortunately, the venue where the polling took place was TERRIBLE. Our new community center, what a joke. I went to vote around 5:30 and the traffic was brutal. I waited 20 minutes to get onto the site! People were parking in the emergency lanes right in front of the building, there were line-ups out on 100 Ave to get into the parking area and the poor polling volunteers (thank you all for your time and effort) were besieged by voters. This is the first (and last) time I will go near that building. If yesterday is any indication, safety is at stake for anyone in or near this building. If an ambulance or fire truck were called there, it would (will) take them precious minutes! Where were our town’s finest (peace officers)? Out generating revenue to keep this building open? Why weren’t they directing traffic at the polling site! Next time I hope they hold the voting at the Parish Hall or one of the schools. Never had a problem going to them. And much safer too!

  6. I don’t doubt you must have been terribly frustrated having to wait to get into the parking lot at CCC and you are right there should have been someone directing traffic when it was expected that the voter turnout would be high. Maybe people are not aware that there is another good sized parking lot (on the west side of the school)and the entry is between the school and the daycare or you can acces it by driving east by the firehall. We exit that way and it brings us out by the firehall to the old highway. There is never a lineup nor is that lot used very much.

    Don’t give up on the CCC — it is a great venue and we are very lucky to have it right in town.

  7. The Town of Morinville, Bylaw Enforcement, MCHS and the Morinville Department have a new design for that entire area regarding traffic flow that will be implemented soon. It will provide better traffic low and prevent that type of jam up and the Morinville Fire Department will have all the proper carriage widths and access tothe structures as required. 99% of the time people are not coming in and out for a 7 minutes visit all between 5:00 and 8:00.

    Thank you for bringing your concern to our attention and I can assure you that we have your safety front and center.

    Even with the pain it took for you to come out to vote, “Will” think about what other people do in other countries just to get an opportunity to vote.

    Morinville is the greatest and only getting better every day!

    We have a gem in Morinville in the MCC and trashing our own facility instead of finding solutions is counter productive.

    Ron Cust
    Morinville Fire Chief
    “Because We Care”

  8. Will:

    Parking was identified as a problem before the sod was even turned, modifications on the parking lot($$$) are due to begin this spring and those who planned this facility were quick to boast that due to its close approximation to the center of town, most will choose to walk.

    As I live just across the street, I could see the frustration of those trying to get into the parking lot. I witnessed quite a few slow and just leave after seeing the congestion. I wonder if they ever came back to vote?

  9. Mr Editor: Yes you are right, wrong place to complain about the polling venue. It was a very exciting race. I did notice that all the news channels had the Wildrose candidate as the winner for most of the night and only changed when the final count was done!

    Ron, thanks for the update on something that should have been planned and implemented prior to the opening of the MCC! And for your information, I spent 29 years with the Canadian Forces and spent 4 of those years on tours in various countries around the world assisting those “other people” to live with the quality of life that we take for granted here in Canada! I have volunteered for committees with the town, specifically, the traffic safety committee, however, because of my views on safety being more important than generating revenue for the town, I was considered NOT accepable for that committee! Trashing where trashing is due I say! Cheers

    • Will, the last polls to come in were Westlock and Morinville – the tide began turning with the Westlock tallies and continued to gain a little ground with Morinville’s numbers in.

  10. Ummm wonder if the lack of parking / frustration factor had any effect on such a close race, especially when you point out that Morinville was one of the last polls reporting….

    • If memory serves me, Morinville was the last poll in the last election and in the PC Association election that elected Kubinec as candidate. This could be due to slow counters in Morinville or more likely the fact we have a largest number of votes to count. Voter turnout in BMW was approximately 65 per cent, higher than the provincial average of 57 per cent. I do not think PC voters were likely to be any less frustrated than Wildrose voters.

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