By Lethbridge Herald on May 6, 2015.
Pat Stier, Wildrose, 7,357
Evan Berger, PC, 6,410
Aileen Burke, NDP, 4,226
Alida Hess, Liberal, 459
It was another close race for Livingstone-Macleod, but in the end, incumbent Wildrose MLA Pat Stier emerged victorious. Only 947 votes made the difference in the large riding of over 22 communities.
“I’ve been lucky again,” said Stier. “It’s only to the credit of the great volunteers and help that we’ve had here in this huge riding to make something like that happen. It’s an enormous task and we’re pretty fortunate.”
Stier was confident going into the election and voters showed their support at the polls, as he garnered 7,357 votes for 39.87 per cent. Progressive Conservative Evan Berger fought to recapture the position he last held three years ago, but fell second with 6,410 votes (34.74 per cent).
NDP Aileen Burke came in third with 4,226 votes (22.9 per cent) and Liberal Alida Hess, who threw her name in last minute, finished last with 459 votes (2.49 per cent).
“I think what has happened here is the people have recognized that they wanted to have a change, go with a different party as far as the government went, but as far as opposition goes, they felt I was doing a good job,” said Stier, who added he has great respect for runner-up Berger.
It will be Stier’s second consecutive term as MLA. When results first started pouring in, the PCs started out strong, but the Wildrose bounced back at the halfway mark, and the final results were down to the wire.
The riding had historically been represented by the PCs, until Stier overthrew former MLA Berger in the 2012 election. It was a tight race in which Stier won by a small margin of 1,192 votes. Berger came in second with 7,403 votes, while NDP Matthew Halton broke third with just under 1,000 votes. Liberal Alex Macdonald and Evergreen Larry Ashmore also ran.
As a Wildrose MLA, Stier said he’ll continue to work hard as the official opposition under the new NDP government. He called it an “appalling and shocking change for most people in Alberta” who have been supporting a “conservative type of value” for almost 44 years.
“So we’re now looking at something that nobody knows in this generation how to proceed with, and we’ll see in the next few weeks and months how it turns out. But … we’ll carry on with our good strategies and we’ll hold this new government to account in new ways perhaps. It will challenge a lot of us, but I’m sure we’ll be able to do a great job as before.”
More voters turned out to the polls than the last election. At press time, 18,452 of eligible voters in the riding had cast their ballot compared to 17,856 in 2012.
Located in the southwest corner of the province, the widespread riding encompasses Fort MacLeod, Claresholm, Pincher Creek, Nanton, Black Diamond and Turner Valley, as well as the Piikani First Nation.
Stier thanked the people of Livingstone-Macleod for their support, and said he’ll continue representing all constituents no matter which party they supported.
“(I will) advocate for them in terms of environmental issues, issues with power lines, issues with agriculture and issues with oil and gas. I’ll be representing all of you and hopefully try to get those points addressed as often as possible in the legislature.”
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