By Jamie Rieger
The outcome of the provincial election took almost all Albertans by surprise, including Drew Barnes, who was re-elected as MLA for the Wildrose Party to lead the Cypress-Medicine Hat riding, and municipal leaders who need to be able to work with their provincial ministers on a wide variety of issues, including grants to assist with covering the cost of infrastructure projects.
MLA Drew Barnes said that while he was surprised the NDP took the majority in the province, he is going to continue with his push in Edmonton for smaller government, fiscal responsibility, improvements to property rights legislation, and grassroots leadership.
“I was as surprised by the outcome because all of the indications pointed to people wanting a smaller, more efficient government,” said Barnes. “I am not surprised that the PCs didn’t win, though.”
Barnes easily won his riding, capturing 54.54% of the votes in Cypress-Medicine Hat riding, or 8,523 out of 15,627 votes and accounting for 51.5 percent of the 30,324 eligible voters percent in the riding.
“I am pleased to say that the people elected me to get the most value in Edmonton. The people in Bow Island, Redcliff, Cypress County, and the County of Forty Mile want their money spent wisely and they want to eliminate wasteful spending,”
Municipal leaders were equally surprised by the election results. Bow Island mayor Gordon Reynolds said last Wednesday that he had not been able to fully formulate what may lie ahead for Albertans and municipalities.
“Time will tell. It’s all going to depend on how heavy of a hand she plays this,” said Reynolds, adding that Agriculture was not mentioned in Notley’s acceptance speech.
“There were a lot of revenge votes that went to the Wildrose and the NDP, a split among the right wing votes. I have serious concerns where Agriculture will fit in to all of this and I have no idea what to expect on a municipal level,” he added. “My experience as a former BC resident is that they will create public jobs and we will see a bigger government,” said Reynolds. “Really, at the heart of it all, Alberta is a centralized province and now it is polarized. It’s going to be interesting to see what lies ahead.”
County of Forty Mile reeve, Bryne Lengyel said he and his council are prepared to work on developing new relationsships with the provincial NDP government.
“Well, the sun still came up the next morning even though there is a lot of discontent with this change of government,” said Lengyel. “We work with our provincial counterparts all the time and now will have to forge new relationships. It will take some time, but we will work together with them.”
“The NDP have been given a mandate and if they don’t follow through, they will suffer at the polls the next time,” he added.