Not only did Red Deerians see new MLAs for the north and south constituencies, they also saw a new party representing them after Tuesday night’s election results rolled in.
NDP candidate Barb Miller was elected in Red Deer South and NDP candidate Kim Schreiner was elected in Red Deer North.
Unofficial results for Red Deer North saw 32,082 voters with Schreiner garnering 4,973 votes, Wildrose candidate Buck Buchanan with 4,167 votes, PC candidate Christine Moore with 3,833 votes, Liberal candidate Michael Dawe with 3,265 votes and Alberta Party candidate Krystal Kromm with 670 votes.
Unofficial results for Red Deer South saw 35,912 voters with Miller garnering 6,361 votes, PC candidate Darcy Mykystyshyn with 4,969 votes, Wildrose candidate Norman Wiebe with 4,451 votes, Alberta Party candidate Serge Gingras with 962 votes, Liberal candidate Deborah Checkel with 696 votes, Independent candidate Patti Argent with 213 votes and Independent candidate William Berry with 54 votes.
“I’m amazed, happy, shocked – everything,” said Miller, who was speechless after arriving at the wind-up party for the NDP in Red Deer. “Alberta said they wanted change and they changed – they changed the whole electoral area of Red Deer and Alberta. It’s going to be all new.”
She added the title of MLA has not sunk in for her yet. “I’m still mom and grandma,” she said.
Miller added it was exciting for her to see Alberta’s new Premier-elect Rachel Notley win as the NDP Party secured a majority government early on as the election results came in.
“I was thrilled. I was watching TV and they said we were going to have a majority government – the PCs – and the numbers kept climbing and climbing and climbing (for the NDP). I’m just so happy that we got the orange wave.”
During the campaign, Miller said she heard loud and clear that Red Deerians in particular wanted change. “I think what we need to keep doing is listening to the people because they are the ones that are speaking and I am their voice.”
Schreiner said Albertans have spoken. “They wanted change and they are getting it. It’s about time. This was something that we felt was coming (an NDP majority government). All of the doors we went to, we knew we were doing really well. It was really exciting to officially see it,” she said. “It’s about time we start putting people first instead of corporations.”
She said she is excited about her new posting as MLA in Red Deer North. “I think it will take a little while to sink in, but I am very excited. I look forward to meeting with my party and going from there. We will work on what is important to Albertans. We know what their priorities are and that is what we are going to work on.”
Mykytyshyn said he was hoping for a different outcome.
“Clearly, the residents of Red Deer South have spoken, and I’ve always believed that the constituents are right,” he said. “We’re going to have an NDP MLA in Red Deer South, and we will look forward to seeing how they take their platform and move that forward, not only in our constituency, but across the province.
“I think we ran a great campaign. We had a fantastic team, probably more than 150 volunteers who helped us out. We decided to do some bold things in our campaign, especially around our sign strategy. We tried to demonstrate to the constituents of Red Deer South that we like to think differently. I’m very happy with how the campaign went, and I don’t think I’d change anything about it.”
Christine Moore, Conservative candidate for Red Deer North, said she was thankful for the support she received throughout her run from friends, family and the community. “Democracy spoke tonight, and we have to respect democracy,” she said, adding she didn’t want anyone who worked on the campaign to feel anything but pride in their accomplishments. “It was an adventure that I will never forget – and it was a real honour to meet the people of Red Deer North and hear about their dreams, hopes and fears for the future.
“It was amazing, and you all helped in so many ways. I will treasure that forever.
“We ran a great campaign and a clean campaign,” she said. “I will always treasure that as a great experience.” She added that she is scared, however, for the future of Alberta. “I believe we had a great plan – a plan that meant jobs, economic stability and a good future.
“Albertans are resilient – we will work hard and we’ll work together.”
Michael Dawe, Liberal candidate for Red Deer North, said the province-wide trend for the NDP party was overwhelming.
“When it comes down to it, essentially as an independent, a party does make a big difference in a lot of areas. That’s what we are seeing so far.”
Wiebe said he had hoped the NDP would not be forming government.
“I was expecting maybe that Wildrose would hold a majority with NDP as official opposition,” he said. As for the campaign, he said he felt like it went well.
“I think our campaign went fairly well. We got a bit of a late start. It was a little bit uncertain in the early days, but as the team gelled and we kept working, I became more and more impressed with our efforts. Everything came together nicely in the end.”
Buchanan also said he was happy with how his campaign went.
“It was a little late getting into the game but the people that we had worked hard. I think it turned out well.”
– with files from Mark Weber