It is a near certainty that incumbent MP Dane Lloyd will win the Sturgeon River-Parkland vote and return to Ottawa as our MP.
In the 2017 by-election, Lloyd garnered 77.4 per cent of the tally. In the 2015 general election, his predecessor Rona Ambrose earned 70.2 per cent of the votes cast. We could go back further, but you get the picture. We tend to vote Conservative in these parts, and given the Liberals are currently in power, that is unlikely to change this time around.
Voter apathy will likely be high, voter turnout predictably low. Voters deserve better this election.
We do not mean they deserve better than Mr. Lloyd. This publication feels the half-term MP has done a good job in his first two years in office serving this area. Sure, there was that inappropriately timed high-five, which we took him to task for editorially when it happened.
Where the voters deserve better, is in the efforts from some of those running, if they are in fact running at all.
We take our hats off particularly to Cass Romyn of the Green Party of Canada, Tyler Beauchamp of the People’s Party of Canada, and Ernest Chauvet of the Christian Heritage Party.
Despite knowing their odds of winning are slim, they are out campaigning locally to bring the issues they and their parties are passionate about to the electorate.
That is admirable. It is like the hockey team that finds themselves ten goals back in the third but fights every inch of ice while there is time left on the clock.
And respect must be given to Mr. Lloyd, who must know he is a shoe in to return to Ottawa but is out campaigning anyway.
We are aware of one local business he visited to discuss, for an hour-and-a-half, one issue that is not a significant campaign issue for most Canadians but is an issue for the business owner. Mr. Beauchamp also took the time to speak with the same business owner.
But what then do we make of the Liberals and NDP in this riding?
Morinville News reached out to all candidates for an interview, and in four out of six of those instances, we were able to provide our readers with roughly 1100 words of policies, platforms and commentary to help inform voters in this area.
Sure, it is a drag to talk to old reporters in an election that is almost entirely won through cognitive dissonance and memes posted on social media, but four out of six candidates were willing to go old school and talk with us.
Both the Liberal candidate Ronald Brochu and NDP candidate Guy Desforges, the latter of whom earned 10% of the vote here in 2015, did not get back to us for an interview. We did get added to the NDP mailing list in an attempt to reach Mr. Desforges, and have received daily updates about Mr. Singh. Sorry, not what we were looking for.
Federal Liberal and NDP supporters may be few and far between in this area. But they and others who may have liked to hear what the candidates are about deserved better than candidates who appear to be nothing more than names on a ballot.
But a recent conversation with a colleague in Hinton tells a greater tale of apathy. Out of seven candidates running in that riding, only two have done interviews with the paper—the CPC candidate and PPC candidate. And it was those same two who were the only ones to show up for the Hinton Chamber’s All-Candidates Forum Monday night. The other five were just no-shows. No regrets were sent. There simply was no response.
To the Sturgeon River-Parkland electorate, we encourage you to take 20 minutes and read the interviews with Dane Lloyd of the Conservative Party of Canada, Cass Romyn of the Green Party of Canada, Tyler Beauchamp of the People’s Party of Canada, and Ernest Chauvet of the Christian Heritage Party. We have a bit on the other two as well, but in the absence of an actual interview, we have little to present.
But however you intend to vote, please vote. The 2017 by-election had a 23.69% turnout. Although 2015 had 72.05% turnout, in 2011 it was only 56%, and in 2008 it was 51%.