Straddling the Alberta border with Montana, Cardston-Taber-Warner was created in 1997 through the merger of the former Cardston-Chief Mountain and Taber-Warner constituencies, Cardston-Taber-Warner is probably the antithesis to my constituency (Edmonton-Strathcona) in the spectrum of Alberta politics.
In 1997, Cardston-Taber-Warner re-elected Tory MLA Ron Hierath as he easily rode to victory over the Social Credit and Alberta Liberal candidates (Hierath had previously been elected as the MLA for Taber-Warner). In 2001, Hierath was replaced as the Tory candidate by Cardston County Reeve Broyce Jacobs and was easily re-elected against Alberta First Party Leader John Reil. In 2004, Alberta Alliance candidate Paul Hinman narrowly defeated Jacobs by over 100 votes to become his party’s only MLA. Hinman became Leader of the Alberta Alliance shortly after the election.
In 2008, the Tories are targeting Cardston-Taber-Warner in a big way with Broyce Jacobs taking another run at Paul Hinman.
Paul Hinman has had a tough run as Alberta’s only Alliance MLA. In one year, he went from being an irrigation farmer, cow-calf producer, purebred-cattle breeder, feedlot operator and small-business entrepreneur to being the Leader of the Alberta Alliance after the last election. Having watched Hinman’s performance over the past couple years, I’d say that he has become more comfortable in his daunting role of leading the right-wing now-Wildrose Alliance against the well-funded Tory machine. Though I completely disagree with the majority of the views that Hinman and his party espouse, I really think it would be a shame if voters in Cardston-Taber-Warner replaced Hinman with simply another Progressive Conservative backbencher.
Enter Broyce Jacobs. Broyce Jacobs is a well-known name in the Cardston-area after having served 18-years as a Municipal Councillor and 17-years as Reeve of Cardston Country before becoming an MLA. Jacobs graduated from Brigham Young University in 1967 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and currently owns and operates a cattle ranch in Mountain View. I’m sure Jacobs will be taking nothing for granted in his second run against Hinman.
Alberta Liberal candidate Ron Hancock is a provincial tax specialist who is a former Councillor from the Town of Raymond and chairman of the Chinook Health Region Community Health Council on Seniors Issues. In his work with the provincial government, Hancock served as chief economist for the Alberta Housing Corporation, manager of rural business initiatives for Alberta Economic Development, and as a development officer in the Crowsnest Pass.
Green candidate Billy Turner is a University of Calgary Political Science student who spends his summers competing at rodeos all over Alberta in the bareback riding events in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association and the Calgary Stampede.
One of the big factors in this deep rural southern constituency is the large Mormon population which wields a substantial amount of political influence in the region (Cardston was settled in 1887 by Mormons from Utah who traveled to Alberta in one of that century’s last wagon migrations). Between 2004 and 2006, Cardston-Taber-Warner grew by 3.07%, bringing over 500 new voters to this constituency.
Cardston-Taber-Warner 2008 Candidates
Alberta Liberal – Ron Hancock
Green – Billy Turner
ND – Suzanne Sirias
PC – Broyce Jacobs
Wildrose Alliance – Paul Hinman*
Cardston-Taber-Warner Past Election Results
Paul Hinman, AA – 3,885
x Broyce Jacobs, PC – 3,756
Paula Shimp, Lib – 783
Lindsay Ferguson, Grn – 225
Luann Bannister, NDP – 185
Voter Turnout: 46.7%
Broyce Jacobs, PC – 5,256
John Reil, AFP – 2,557
Ron Hancock, Lib – 1,747
Suzanne Sirias, NDP – 240
Voter Turnout: 53.1%
Ron Hierath, PC – 5,157
Ken Rose, SC – 1,568
James Jackson, Lib – 1,417
Susanne Sirias, NDP – 518
Voter Turnout: 49.1%