Alberta Politics

How former PC MLAs fared in the 2017 municipal elections

Photo: Former Alberta PC MLAs Jacquie Fenske, Don Scott, Linda Johnson and Art Johnston

Alberta’s 2015 provincial election resulted in the election of 75 new MLAs in the 87 seat Legislative Assembly. More than two years after that historic election, a group of former Progressive Conservative MLAs put their names forward to stand in the October 16, 2017 municipal elections. Here is a quick look at how the former PC MLAs fared in their attempts to stage political comebacks:

Former PC MLAs elected in Fort McMurray

They served together in the Legislature from 2012 until 2015, and last week former Fort McMurray-Conklin MLA Don Scott was elected Mayor and former Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Mike Allen was elected as a Councillor in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

In 2015, Scott was unseated by Wildrose leader Brian Jean and Allen was unseated by Wildroser Tany YaoStephen Drover, who placed second to Yao in the 2015 election as the NDP candidate, was re-elected as a Fort McMurray Public School Trustee this week.

Other former PC MLAs not so successful

In Strathcona County, former PC MLA Jacquie Fenske finished third in a five-person race that saw incumbent Mayor Roxanne Carr unseated by former federal Liberal candidate Rod Frank. This marks the third time in three consecutive elections that an incumbent mayor has been defeated in Strathcona County. Fenske had served as MLA for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville from 2012 to 2015.

In Calgary, both former PC MLAs Linda Johnson and Art Johnston were unsuccessful in their bids to be elected to City Council. Johnson had served as MLA for Calgary-Glenmore from 2012 to 2015 and Johnston as MLA for Calgary-Hays from 2004 to 2012.

In Edmonton’s Ward 5, former Edmonton-McClung MLA David Xiao finished second behind Sarah Hamilton. Xiao had served as MLA for Edmonton-McClung from 2008 to 2015. Hamilton previously worked as press secretary to PC cabinet minister Stephen Mandel and Director of Communications for the Coal Association of Canada.

Conservative landslide in Sturgeon River-Parkland

Sturgeon River-Parkland by-election.
Sturgeon River-Parkland by-election.

Conservative candidate Dane Lloyd surprised no one when he held his party’s stronghold in today’s federal by-election in Sturgeon River-Parkland. With 242 of 251 polls reporting, Lloyd had 77 percent of the vote, compared to 12 percent for Liberal Brian Gold, 7 percent for New Democrat Shawna Gawreluck and 2 percent of the vote for Christian Heritage Party candidate Ernest Chauvet.

Meanwhile in Quebec, the Conservatives were unable to hold the Lac-Saint-Jean riding in a federal by-election triggered by Denis Lebel‘s resignation. The Conservatives had held the riding since 2007 but, with 236 of 264 polls reporting, the party’s candidate was placed third behind Liberal Richard Hébert and Bloc Quebecois candidate Marc Maltais. The by-election marks the first time voters in this conservative riding have elected a Liberal since 1980, when another Trudeau was Prime Minister.

6 replies on “How former PC MLAs fared in the 2017 municipal elections”

Wrong about Strathcona County. It’s only the third consecutive election that the incumbent has lost. Cathy Olesen served two terms before she was defeated by Linda Osinchuk in 2010. When Cathy ran for mayor in 2004, there was no incumbent mayor in the race.

In 2013, Osinchuk was defeated by Carr. And of course we know the result in 2017.

Dane Lloyd did better than Rona Ambrose in Edmonton-Spruce Grove (77% vs. 71%) because he’s more of a true conservative than she was. People are tired of phony conservatives (see the former PC’s who lost) and want strong, clear, principled conservative leadership. Dane Lloyd will offer this.

I suspect the lack of success of former PC MLA’s in the recent municipal elections will be debated. Some will argue they were not progressive enough, some will argue they were not conservative enough. However, I think that more progressive candidates often won should provide a clue to where Albertans are actually at politically.

Of course this does not neatly translate at the provincial level, as the municipal candidates do not run under party banners. However, I think there is some peril shown here for Conservatives who think the winning solution for them is to move to the right. I suspect they will probably ignore this warning and tilt right full steam ahead anyways. They better hope for their sake there are no political icebergs there, but they can’t say they weren’t warned.

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