Alberta Politics

NEP what? Trudeau Liberals dominate Oil Capital Fort McMurray

Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was once despised in Alberta. This doesn't appear to be the case for this son, Justin.
Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was once despised in Alberta. This doesn’t appear to be the case for this son, Justin.

Preliminary results from last week’s Fort McMurray-Athabasca by-election show that federal Liberal candidate Kyle Harrietha dominated in the industrial capital of Canada’s oil economy.

According to an initial breakdown of the results by polling station, Mr. Harrietha earned 46% of the votes cast (2,560 votes) in the northern region the riding on June 30, 2014, which includes the Municipal District of Wood Buffalo, Fort McMurray, Fort Chipewyan and Wabasca.

Kyle Harrietha Liberal Fort McMurray alberta
Kyle Harrietha

The winner of the by-election, Conservative David Yurdiga, earned 36% (2,012 votes) in the same area and NDP candidate Lori McDaniel garnered 11% (660 votes). Mr. Yurdiga solidified his win across the riding in the southern reaches, where he won 57% of the vote in the more traditionally Conservative voting Athabasca, Slave Lake, High Prairie and Lac La Biche. In the south, Mr. Harrietha trailed with 23% of the votes cast on election day and Ms. McDaniel earned 12%.

It should be earth-shattering that a Liberal candidate could win more votes in Fort McMurray than the Conservatives, especially considering Mr. Harrietha’s campaign was bolstered by multiple visits from Justin TRUDEAU.

Justin Trudeau Alberta
Justin Trudeau

A diverse population, a strong Liberal candidate, grievances with the federal government’s lack of investment in public infrastructure and an unknown Conservative candidate certainly contributed to the results. But perhaps we have finally reached a point in our history when the long-cancelled National Energy Program and deceased boogyman Pierre Trudeau, vilified by Conservatives for decades, are now part of an antiquated national mythology, like the log driver or the Social Credit Party.

Regardless of the low voter turnout, which is a concern for anyone interested in a healthy democracy, it cannot be ignored that droves of Conservative voters chose to stay home rather than vote for their party’s candidate.

Perhaps realizing that the Conservative’s tiresome fear ads targeting the likeable younger Mr. Trudeau have not had their desired effect, the Ottawa Tories are now claiming Canada is “Better with Harper” as Prime Minister. After eight years in government, the Tories have become arrogant and too comfortable in Ottawa.

Mr. Harper likes to brag about his party’s support of the oil sands and the energy industry, but perhaps that Fort McMurrayites turned to a Trudeau in this by-election will also convince him to also support the community of people who call the region home.

9 replies on “NEP what? Trudeau Liberals dominate Oil Capital Fort McMurray”

Living in Fort McMurray myself, I can definitely vouch that Liberals appeared to have much more support here than the Tories. The population here is quite diverse and people coming here form across the country don’t leave their political leanings at the border, or course. If the Liberals can build on their support here and hammer away at Tory support in the south of the riding, the Conservatives may end up with a nasty shock come election day.

You were on par with your initial thoughts, that a diverse population (particularly liberal voters from eastern and central canada) and the effort trudeau put into the riding as factors for the Liberal numbers, but then you go way out of the ballpark–almost like you were itching too– and ran it down to a change in the political culture itself.

The results of this bi-election is really no surprise to me, as in Fort McMurray, everybody is working, and the only people that vote, are the ones that are political renaissance, the rest of them just don’t want to get involved, and it’s sociably acceptable not to get involved, the renaissance would be hard pressed if they decided to get involved. This is master planning at it’s finest, people today just don’t want to be involved, this leaves areas like Fort McMurray a target rich environment for the Liberals.

Appreciate the analysis. It brings hope to those of us who recognize and acknowledge the need for balance in viewpoints and dialogue across Canada. The “alternative media” and gathering cells of people are at work on the eventual release from the tyranny and oppression of the classic fascism that has ruled this province and region for years.

Hopefully this is a sign that some Western Canadians are open to voting for a party other than the Conservatives. Harper has taken Western Canadians for granted and broken the high moral principles he claimed he would follow when he took office. But it is also important for the Liberals to learn the lesson not to take Western Canadians for granted in the future.

I think in the end the Conservative did win by big margin, but not as big as the last time. It is, nevertheless, a good victory for Liberals as it shows that the Conservatives aren’t as strong here as it once was. I sure would hope that this is a sign of change, but I am cautiously optimistic. I am reminded here of a quote that Lewis Black gave about that stupidity didn’t leave because Obama got elected. I think if the Liberals can a few seats in Alberta and increase their membership and number of voters than will show that true change will have come. It certainly challenges the cynicism that comes from those who say Albertans don’t vote for anything but the Conservatives so it isn’t worth trying to change anything.

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