Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Wildrose MLA Pat Stier re-elected in Livingstone-Macleod, majority government for NDP

Wildrose MLA Pat Stier will hold on to his Livingstone-Macleod seat
T. Lucas file photo
Chris Davis
(updated to reflect tied Calgary-Glenmore riding)

Incumbent Livingstone-Macleod Wildrose MLA Pat Stier will be keeping his seat in the Alberta legislature after defeating Evan Berger (PC), Aileen Burke (NDP), and Alida Hess (LIB) in yesterday's provincial election.  Stier won 48 polls, Berger won 26 polls, and Burke won 5 polls.  Voter turnout for Livingstone-Macleod was 62.65%, down from 66.43% in the 2012 election.

The New Democratic Party won an unprecedented NDP majority in Alberta, under the leadership of Rachel Notley (now Premier-designate).  The NDP won 53 or 54 seats (depending on the outcome of the tied Calgary-Glenmore riding)*, 9 or 10 more than they needed for a majority in the 87 seat Legislative Assembly.  The NDP held only 4 seats when the writ was called. The Wildrose Party remains the Official Opposition, under party leader Brian Jean, with a major increase in their presence in the legislature, from 5 seats when the writ dropped to 21 seats.  The Progressive Conservatives went from 70 to just 10 or 11 seats (also depending on the outcome in Calgary-Glenmore)*, ending a Canadian provincial government record run of almost 44 years in power.   The Progressive Conservatives have been the government in Alberta since the 1971 election.

There were nine parties registered in this election but only three that really mattered at the polls.  The Liberals and the Alberta Party won a seat each, a four seat drop for the Liberals and the first seat ever for the Alberta Party.

Approximately 41% of the popular vote went to the NDP, 28% to the PCs, and 24% to the Wildrose.

*Note that all results are unofficial at this time, there's a tie reported in at least one riding, with 94% of the polls reporting, and Jim Prentice stepped down as PC leader and announced he would be resigning the Calgary-Foothills seat he won in this election, which will force a by-election there.

I talked with MLA Pat Stier via telephone after his re-election was assured.  My first query was about his thoughts on the NDP majority, given that just last week he and I discussed what might happen if this election resulted in a minority government, which seemed likely to both of us at the time.  Of course, there are big ideological differences between the NDP and the Wildrose.

"You know what, this is just a shocking, appalling situation to be making a comment about," said Stier.  "We have a new government, It looks like we have a new government.  It looks like the Wildrose is partially responsible for seeing another Premier going down the trail.  The new government belongs of all things to the New Democratic Party.  For all intents and purposes one would say that this is one of those scenarios that you might have woke up from as weird dream or something.  No one in anyone's imagination would have put this together about a month ago, would they?"

Of his own win Stier said "What an amazing night.  I have been fortunate once again and I'm so thankful to the people in Livingstone-Macleod to be selected as their representative to go to the legislature again, and I will do my best to give every town and village some representation... I will try to get some of the feelings of the population before I go back up to speak for them in the legislature."

I asked Stier if the Wildrose party would continue to be a gadfly for the ruling party.  "Well, you know that we proved ourselves as being a great opposition, we had great strategies before.  A lot of our team that we had to lay off we'll be able to bring back now as part of that organization that was so effective, and I look forward to seeing how that same team can  apply itself to the new group that we have to oppose across the aisle now."

"It should be very interesting, and of course it's going to be kind of unique for me, because I have not lived through this kind of scenario before in Alberta here, where we actually have a change to a new party.  And the new budget that was presented has now been lost.  So now it will be interesting to see how these new people in the NDP Party put forward a new budget and what it's going to entail."

I related the final results for Livingstone-Macleod to Stier, as he said he hadn't seen them yet: Livingstone-Macleod 79 of 79 polls - WRP Pat Stier 7357, PC Evan Berger 6410, NDP Aileen Burke 4226, LIB Alida Hess 459

"So, you are looking at almost 4,000 more votes this time around than in 2012, if I recall," said Stier. " I think I had around 84 last time versus his 72, so it was about the same between he and I, and she's come a long way with 4,000 (+) votes, that's amazing."

In the 2012 election Stier got 8,565 votes (47.97%), Berger got 7,403 votes (41.46%), and NDP candidate Matthew Halton got 944 votes (5.29%).

Approximately 54% of the eligible Alberta population voted in the 2012 election.  62.65% of eligible Livingstone-Macleod citizens voted in the 2015 election. That's actually down from 66.43% in the 2012 election. There was an approximate 31% increase in advance poll voters compared to the 2012 election.

Stier said he wasn't surprised when Prentice announced he was stepping down.  "When we saw the polls last week, this exact result here by the way was on that site here the past week or so ago. The numbers were almost exactly the same."   I can verify that, having looked at that site myself last week.  "So when I saw that, I was assuming that he would probably step down.  Any leader that gets this kind of result hardly, rarely ever sticks around."

To Livingstone-Macleod candidate Aileen Burke Stier tweeted "Thank you Ms.Burke, and thank you for running. It is not easy to be a candidate, you did an admirable job representing your party."

I asked Aileen Burke (also via Twitter) for her thoughts once the results were known, after congratulating her on a huge improvement in the NDP numbers for Livingstone-Macleod.  "Thank you!" she said.  "It's a huge gain for us and, although we didn't win, we have a lot to build off. I can't thank everyone who participated in the Campaign enough. It's been a privilege. Congrats to Pat Stier!"  I asked her what was next for her.  "Building! We're going to get an EDA up and going and get our presence known. The work never stops. Other than that, it's too early to say."

Berger was unavailable to me for direct comment at this time, but tweeted "Congratulations to Pat Stier on his win in Livingstone Macleod. Thank you to everyone who came out in support, your efforts are very much appreciated. It has been a great experience getting out and meeting with the good people of the constituency again. Tomorrow is a new day for Alberta and I wish the new government all the best. Thank you again to everyone who put their names forward and to everyone who voted."

Some stats (unofficial, compiled by me from Elections Alberta and Wikipedia data):

Seats in the legislature:

  • NDP 54
  • WRP 21
  • PC 10
  • LIB 1
  • AP 1
  • Rachel Notley will be the 17th Premier of Alberta, the second woman to attain that position, and the first NDP leader to do so.
  • The leaders of all 5 top parties in the election won their seats, but Jim Prentice resigned his during his election night speech.
  • Liberal leader David Swann was the only member of his party to win a seat (Calgary-Mountain View).
  • Alberta Party leader Greg Clark was the only member of his party to win a seat (Calgary-Elbow).

  • 18452 votes were cast in Livingstone-Macleod, out of 29454 total electors, a turnout of 62.65%.  17856 votes were cast in the 2012 election out of 26881 total electors, a turnout of 66.43%.
  • Livingstone-Macleod results, 79 of 79 polls - WRP Pat Stier, PC Evan Berger, NDP Aileen Burke, LIB Alida Hess
  • Breakdown for Pincher Creek / Halifax Flats/ Twin Butte / Waterton Dam: WRP Pat Stier 842, PC Evan Berger 687, NDP Aileen Burke 633, LIB Alida Hess 63
  • Breakdown for Beaver Mines: NDP Aileen Burke 64, PC Evan Berger 59, WR Pat Stier 50, LIB Alida Hess 7
  • Breakdown for Lundbreck: WR Pat Stier 63, PC Evan Berger 56, NDP Aileen Burke 49, LIB Alida Hess 2
Nearby results:
  • Cardston-Taber-Warner results: WRP Grant Hunter 5126, PC Brian Brewin 4352, NDP Aaron Haugen 2407, AP Delbert Bodnarek 377
  • Lethbridge East results: NDP Maria Fitzpatrick 8913, PC Tammy Perlich 4745, WRP Kent Prestage 3881, LIB Bill West 1199
  • Lethbridge West results: NDP Shannon Phillips 11284, PC Greg Weadick 3984, WRP Ron Bain 3071, LIB Sheila Pyne 639
  • Little Bow results: WRP David Schneider 4803, PC Ian Donovan 4791, NDP Bev Muendel-Atherstone 3359, LIB Helen McMenamin 379
Related links/sources:

Elections Alberta
Wikipedia (multiple pages)

Selected tweets:

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