by Morinville News Staff with files from Colin Smith
When the ballots were counted at the Westlock Memorial Hall Saturday night, Glenn van Dijken emerged the victor, defeating Morinville resident and former Town Councillor Joe Gosselin in the race to be the Wildrose Party candidate for Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock in the next election. That election could be called as early as the end of March.
Van Dijken, 52, and his wife Barb have been farming since 1983, initially in the Barrhead area. They now operate a grain farm near Dapp. Over the years, they have raised five children, four of whom have graduated from university, with one still at the U of A.
The Wildrose candidate has been active in the community, including coaching football and baseball and serving on the council of the Cedar Creek Christian Fellowship church.
Van Dijken has taken part in a number of boards of directors. He currently sits on the Federated Co-operative Limited board of directors and is currently chair of the FCL Audit Committee.
A founding director of the Western Hog Exchange, van Dijken served two years as chairman and five years as vice-chairman. He also spent twelve years on the Neerlandia Co-op board of directors, including six years as president and three years as vice-president.
Van Dijken has been a member of the Wildrose since 2009 and was a founding member of the local Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock constituency association.
In a Morinville News interview prior to Saturday’s vote, the candidate said he was a strong believer in conservative values, and wants to ensure Albertans are properly represented. He feels that politics in the province no longer gives people the power to decide on issues.
“I’m looking to be the candidate for Wildrose to essentially get power back in the hands of people,” he declared at the time. “I’m hoping to improve the political climate.”
Van Dijken believes the opportunity for all party members to make a difference is what sets the Wildrose Party apart from others.
“The Wildrose party believes in the philosophy of representatives answering to the constituents,” he said. “Free votes in the legislature allow us to represent constituents.
Van Dijken victory in Westlock makes the next provincial election a two-way race. Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA and Minister of Culture and Tourism, the Honourable Maureen Kubinec was previously proclaimed the PC candidate by the Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock PC Association. Morinville News freelancer Tristan Turner has also announced his intention of running for the NDP nod in the constituancy. Whether the candidacy is acclaimed or contested remains to be seen. An announcement is expected within two weeks.