UCP Maintains Rural Alberta Advantage

In another miracle on the prairies, the United Conservative Party has managed to keep both of their seats in rural Alberta.  Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, home of Conservative MP Earl Dreeshen, went to his son Devin.  Unofficially, Dreeshen received 8,033 votes with 35% of the electorate casting a ballot.  Of the 32% voter turnout in Fort McMurray – Conklin, 65% of the votes went to Wildrose/UCP party loyalist Laila Goodridge.

Voter turnout aside, the results indicate that rural Alberta is still a Conservative stronghold one year before the general election and 3-7 years after first electing right wing representatives.  In other news, the earth maintained its rolling movement and the sun “came up”.

Some might consider the support for NDP Jane Stroud in Fort McMurray-Conklin a bit of a surprise however.  Unofficially, Stroud ended up with 1,181 votes to Goodridge’s 2,365.  Without exit polls it is difficult to say whether the support was for Stroud as a strong local candidate or the NDP itself.   Oddly enough, some people do vote for people over party affiliation but, in general, most voters have little knowledge of the candidate themselves.

Photo Credit; Emma Graney Edmonton Journal @EmmaLGraney

For example, if ballots did not include party affiliation, voters might have to find out if the candidate represents their interests.  As a recent PressProgress article noted, a former staffer of Jason Kenney’s is working to see 52 pro-life (birth) candidates nominated as UCP representatives for the 2019 election.  Why would the personal views of candidates matter to pro-life (birth) groups?

The pro-life (birth) movement, of which the NDP candidate for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake was once a proponent, has both a moral and economical argument.  Morally, because every potential life has value.  Economically, because if the cycle of poverty was broken there wouldn’t be enough bricks to support the pyramid of wealth.

After the 2015 election, some were shocked to find out students, social workers and volunteers had been elected.  Imagine for a moment, if ballots had simple bios rather than party affiliation.  Alex Smith, restaurant owner, fighting to decrease regulations on business.  Or Hunter Black, retired postal worker, will champion parent-directed curriculum design.  Or Terry Doe, Imam, newcomer to Canada, dedicated to protecting religious rights and freedoms.

We might not know why people voted as they did in rural Alberta but the UCP has a theory; bad carbon tax, bad investment climate, bad employment prospects; bad, bad, bad.  The UCP promises good jobs, good investment, good tax cuts; good, good, good.

NDP bad.  UCP good.  It’s a simple message for a simple reason.  Nothing to see here.  NDP bad.  UCP good.  “Special interest groups”?  NDP interest groups bad. UCP interest groups good.  Sleep well, Alberta.

Note: This article contains both fact and opinion. Links to supporting documentation provided.

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean