The Okotoks Western Wheel: Stier re-elected in Livingstone-Macleod

 

Livingstone-Macleod's incumbent MLA credited the Wildrose Party's track record and support on the campaign trail for being re-elected to the legislature Tuesday night.

“I had a lot of confidence because the doors were very warm to me when I was going around to the communities,” said MLA-elect Pat Stier. “I think a lot of it had to do with me sticking to my principles when other people left (Wildrose floor-crossers). That was a key factor.”

Pat Stier was re-elected for a second term with 7,357 votes, while PC candidate Evan Berger came in second with 6,410 votes, NDP candidate Aileen Burke received 4,226 votes and Liberal candidate Alida Hess received 459 votes.

As it became evident the NDP Party would dominate the vote and emerge with a majority government, Stier remained confident it wouldn't have such an impact on the Foothills region due to the area's history as conservative supporters.

“I couldn't see them going NDP,” he said. “The doors were not telling me that at all. I would have been absolutely gob-smacked if that had happened.”

Berger congratulated Stier on his victor, adding he always expected the results in the riding would be close.

“You do everything you can, it's probably not all about the candidates as the party vote sometimes,” he said.

Berger said his campaign team worked hard, but there was a tone in the campaign that became difficult to overcome on election day.

He said the NDP victory in the election was a shock.

Berger wished Premier Rachel Notley and the new NDP government well. However, he said he is concerned whether the NDP caucus will have enough experienced MLAs.

“I think Ms. Notley's going to have a challenge picking a cabinet and then actually functioning, because we're a world player in Alberta, it's not just at the local level,” Berger said. “These people actually have to be able to work on the world stage with our competitors and travel and deal with our transfer system within confederation.”

Berger is also concerned the NDP win could lead to uncertainty in markets and for the province's oil and gas sector, particularly as Notley has said she would not support the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline.

“I think there's going to be a lot of uncertainty in terms of investment and our banking industry, a little bit of uncertainly in the ability for the oil industry to raise venture capital,” he said. “There's definitely uncertainty right now.”

Burke may have placed third, but she is on a high from her party's provincial win.

“I'm super pleased,” she said. “It's amazing.”

While disappointed the NDP Party isn't representing the constituency, she expects some influence from the party's majority position. With 4,226 votes, she more than quadrupled the party's 944 votes in the riding from three years ago.

“People's voices were heard and that's all we can ask for,” she said. “I'm hopeful that their voices will still be heard with the majority government.”

Burke plans to focus her efforts on formalizing an electoral district association, a formal legal organization in the constituency to get the NDP presence better known in the are and try to take the lead in the next election.