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Van Dijken looking forward to starting his role as MLA

by Colin Smith

Building relationships is going to be the major focus in the immediate future for newly elected Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Glenn van Dijken.

According to Elections Alberta figures the Wildrose Party candidate topped the polls with 7,205 votes, followed by the NDP’s Tristan Turner with 6,233 and Progressive Conservative incumbent Maureen Kubinec with 4,878.

“I found the campaign quite fulfilling, “ van Dijken said in an interview with Morinville News. “It was 28 days of high pressure. At times you wondered how you were going to get through it.

“We felt it went reasonably well. We felt good about it.”

First of all, van Dijken will be learning the ropes of his new job.

He has already received an information package for new MLAs and orientation sessions will begin at the Legislature next week.

“Whenever I’ve gotten into any new business there is always a learning curve that happens,” he said. “I’ve never been unable to deal with that before.”

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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 taken part in a number of boards of directors, most recently 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 three years as vice-president.

He joined the Wildrose since 2009 in was a founding member of the local Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock constituency association. In the run-up to the election, he won the constituency nomination over Joe Gosselin.

Identifying himself as a strong believer in conservative values, van Dijken said one of his major concerns was ensuring that Albertans are properly represented.

Now as the elected representative for the people of Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock he emphasizes the importance of relationship building.

“It’s all about building relationships within communities, with the leadership of communities,” he said. “My priority will be building relationships. Getting a handle on different communities. Learning their priorities, their needs and how I can help them from a government perspective.

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“Towns, communities, chambers of commerce — I’m going to really need those organizations to reach out to me.”
While van Dijken’s perspective may be different than that of the NDP government now in power in Alberta, he looks forward to a fundamentally positive interaction with the ruling party.

“I’m very much a person who wants to cooperate as much as possible to find common solutions,” he said.

Still, as a member of the Wildrose Party caucus, the other hat he wears is one of providing opposition to the government.

“The opposition has a responsibility to monitor the NDP government and speak to any situations
“The other hat is to be a representative for people who voted for the right side of things, I guess you could say. That’s representing the province as a whole.”

Van Dijken expressed his appreciation to those involved in the election campaign.

“I would really like to thank the people of Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock for putting their faith in me and thank Maureen for the three years she has put in. It’s not an easy role. And thank Tristan for his effort. He is a fine young man and I hope to be in touch with him in the future.”

His constituency and how the province can help it will be his chief concern in office, van Dijken said.
“I’m working for the people of Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock first and that will be my focus for the next four years.”

“I would really like to thank the people of Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock for putting their faith in me and thank Maureen for the three years she has put in. It’s not an easy role. And thank Tristan for his effort. He is a fine young man and I hope to be in touch with him in the future.”

His constituency and how the province can help it will be his chief concern in office, van Dijken said.
“I’m working for the people of Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock first and that will be my focus for the next four years.”

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