ATHABASCA/BARRHEAD/WESTLOCK - Although a number of votes remain to be counted, it is abundantly clear that incumbent Glenn van Dijken has won re-election in the Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock riding and a seat in the new United Conservative Party (UCP) majority government.
According to the Elections Alberta website, the results from 30 of 34 polling stations throughout the Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock constituency had been counted as of 11:35 p.m. on May 29, and van Dijken had a commanding lead of more than 6,000 votes over challenger Landen Tischer, who represented the New Democratic Party (NDP).
"Locally, we're very pleased with the results that we're seeing come in," said van Dijken, in a phone interview.
He noted that over the past month, he had been able to touch base with a lot of voters while travelling across the riding, and the response was generally positive.
A lot of people did express concerns over rural health care and how the UCP woudl deal with that going forward, he said, but in general, "constituents were quite happy with where we are in rural Alberta."
van Dijken noted that one change with this election compared to the 2019 contest was that a lot of business-owners were having difficulty finding enough workers; last time, people were more likely to be worried about being out of work, he said.
"it's kind of flipped, but we're in a good spot in rural Alberta," he said, acknowledging that there was more work to be done with catching up on wait lists.
Provincially, it was clear that the UCP would secure approximately 53 seats, while the NDP would win 34 — a total of 44 seats are required for a majority. Heading into the election, the UCP had 60 seats while the NDP held 23 and the remaining four were either vacant or held by independents.
van Dijken stressed that the UCP had delivered a vision for Alberta through the party's platform of continuing to build the economy and create jobs through methods like lowering taxes and growing investment, which was in stark contrast to the NDP's platform of raising corporate taxes.
"I think Albertans are aware that the last time we tried that, that was a risky venture and we're not willing to go there again," he said.
For more of a detailed breakdown of the May 29 provincial election, see the June 6 print edition of the Town & Country This Week.