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Tories stunning defeat sends strong message to Stelmach
Stewart Shaw, ctvedmonton.ca
Published Tuesday, September 15, 2009 4:48PM MDT
Paul Hinman and the Wildrose Alliance Party encouraged Calgary-Glenmore voters to "Send Ed a Message" during the by-election, and they surely did.
The Conservatives finished a distant third in voting Monday evening. Paul Hinman and the Wildrose Alliance Party pulled off a stunning victory taking 37 per cent of the vote in the southwest Calgary riding.
As early results started to trickle in, it became clear that the incumbent Conservatives, represented by candidate Diane Colley-Urquuhart, were in danger of losing their seat in the Alberta Legislature.
As the results came in, the gap between the Tories grew wider and wider, with the race being between Hinman and Liberal candidate Avalon Roberts.
Hinman spoke with reporters shortly after he was declared the winner saying voters were very clear which direction they wanted to go.
"They're fed up with the way things are being run. The divide and conquer, from north to south, east to west, rural versus urban, one industry against another industry. People do not like it. We want a level equal opportunity playing field and that's what we'll be. We'll be representing for Albertans, Calgarians and businesses across this province."
Over at the Liberal headquarters, Avalon Roberts who finished in second, with less than 300 votes behind Hinman, called the results bittersweet.
"But I'm also encouraged that the people of Calgary-Glenmore sent the message, perhaps with the wrong messenger, but they did send the message that we are disgruntled with the mismanagement of this province with this government." said Roberts.
Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann said Monday night's results were a huge disappointment.
"We need to be communicating more simply about our messages around fiscal responsibility, environmental sustainability and social dignity for all and somehow those messages didn't get through," he said.
Premier Ed Stelmach said Tuesday his party has to communicate better with voters.
"What I heard that we might have to move to more conservative values in the budgeting and maybe do more to bring our costs in line," said Stelmach.
This is the second by-election Stelmach has lost since becoming premier. For months, the Tories have been facing a growing deficit and massive health reforms. Analysist say the vote is a boost for an upstart party.
"This is really a dream come true for the Wildrose Alliance. This is really going to help build momentum as they head into the leadership campaign," said political scientist at MacEwan College Chaldeans Mensah.
Paul Hinman will join the New Democrats and Liberals in the Legislative Assembly as the 13th member of the opposition when the Legislature sits again on October 26, 2009. There is also one independent MLA.
Hinman is a former one term MLA for the riding of Cardston-Taber-Warner in southern Alberta and is the interim leader of the Wildrose Alliance Party of Alberta.
With files from CTV Calgary and Scott Roberts
Paul Hinman WAP - 4,052
Avalon Roberts LIB - 3,776
Diane Colley-Urquhart PC - 2,863
Eric Carpendale NDP - 148
Len Skowronski SC - 118
Tony Grochowski IND - 71
66 out of 66 polls reporting