by Stephen Dafoe
Conservative candidate Rona Ambrose will be returning to Ottawa to serve another run in the House of Commons after receiving 70.2 per cent of the vote in Monday’s federal election. Ambrose was first elected to Parliament in the 2004 federal election and swept Sturgeon River-Parkland Monday.
The Conservative Party candidate received 42,977 votes Oct. 19, 33,406 votes more than her closest rival, Liberal candidate Travis Dueck. Dueck’s 9,571 votes were followed by NDP candidate Guy Desforges with 6,092 votes, Green candidate Brendon Greene with 1,851 votes, and Christian Heritage Candidate Ernest Chauvet with 715 votes.
Voter turnout this election was stronger than previous elections. Monday saw 72.05 per cent (61,206) of Sturgeon River-Parkland’s 84,952 registered voters coming out. That is a large jump from the 56.2 per cent who voted in 2011 and the 51 per cent who voted in 2008 in the former riding of Westlock-St. Paul. The 2006 election saw a voter turnout of 61.53 per cent in the riding. National turnout was just under 65 per cent Monday with 96 per cent of polls reporting.
Federal upset for the Conservatives
Although Ambrose received the majority vote mandate she was hoping for in the Sturgeon River-Parkland election, her party fell far Monday night, and party leader Stephen Harper asked that an interim leader be appointed.
With 184 seats projected (with 96 per cent of polls tallied) Justin Trudeau surpassed what many saw as a Liberal minority to sweep a strong majority, an increase of 148 seats over the 36 they held at the dissolution of the 41st Parliament.
The Conservative Party was poised to win 100 seats in the 338-seat House of Commons, 59 seats less than the 159 they held when the election began 11 weeks ago.
Although the Bloc Québécois rose from 2 seats to 10, their leader Gilles Duceppe lost his seat Monday night to an NDP rival.
Hardest hit in Monday’s election were Tom Mulcair’s NDP, who dropped from 95 seats at the start of the election to a projected 43. Elizabeth May and her Green Party entered the race with two seats at the start of the election and ended the night with only their leader’s seat held.
Alberta Premier Rachel Motley expressed her congratulations to Prime Minister Elect Justin Trudeau Monday night.
“I look forward to working collaboratively with him to build a strong Alberta within a strong Canada,” the Premier said in a release issued Monday night. “As leaders, we need to work together to build important infrastructure, strengthen our health-care system, address climate change and develop a respectful relationship with Indigenous peoples. By growing our economy and protecting the environment, we can continue to make Alberta and Canada a great place to live, work and raise a family.”