by Morinville News Staff with files from Colin Smith
Westlock farmer Glenn van Dijken took Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock from PC hands Tuesday night after garnering 39.34 per cent of the vote. Van Dijken received 7,205 votes, 972 more than NDP candidate Tristan Turner who received 6,233 votes (34.03%). PC incumbent Maureen Kubinec came in last with 4,878 votes (26.63%). Van Dijken joins the Wildrose in obtaining a 21-seat opposition voice in the legislature.
Van Dijken was the frontrunner throughout the evening with a moderate to healthy lead as polls were counted throughout the constituency.
But while some parties were way up and others way down, voters came out in solid numbers during this election. Tuesday night saw 18,316 of the 28,176 eligible voters cast ballots for a 65 per cent turnout. The 2012 election saw 16,653 of the 27,606 eligible votes cast during the advance polls and on Election Day, a 60% turnout.
About the MLA elect
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.
He 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.
NDP place strong in Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock
In keeping with the tone of the night, the NDP did considerably better Tuesday locally than they have in the last two general elections. In the 2012 election, the party drew only 6 per cent of the vote at 983 ballots, 56 more than the 927 the party received in 2008. Tuesday night’s tally of 6,233 votes for Morinville resident Tristan Turner was part of the orange-surge that swept the province and gave NDP Leader Rachel Notley 54 seats in the legislature and a majority government.
Piquette wins Athabasca Redwater
NDP candidate Colin Piquette took Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater Monday night with 6,795 votes (40.48%). Piquette was followed by PC candidate Jeff Johnson with 5,017 votes (29.89%) and Wildrose candidate Travis Olson with 4,975 votes (29.64%). In total 16,787 votes of the eligible 25,826 voters were cast in Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater, a number considerably higher than the 15,241 votes cast in the 2008 general election. Voter turnout this time around was 65%.
Students also held an election in the province. Of the more than 87,000 votes cast, 82,474 were valid, 2,526 were rejected, and 2,123 were declined. Students gave the NDP 56 seats, the Wildrose 23, PCs 6, and one each for the Liberals and Alberta Party, numbers that accurately reflected their adult counterparts.
Fourteen schools in the constituency participated in the student vote and elected Tristan Turner MLA with 291 votes, 30 more than Wildrose candidate Glenn van Dijken. PC incumbent Maureen Kubinec took third slot with only 126 votes.
Leader in, another out
While the majority and opposition leaders are relatively new, new PC Leader Jim Prentice, who won his seat, announced he was resigning as PC Leader and as MLA. A by-election will be held to fill the void. Prentice’s party earned only 10 seats.
Note: All results are unofficial until final ballot counts are verified by Elections Alberta.