Blaine Calkins takes the seat for Red-Deer Lacombe

Blaine Calkins takes the seat for Red-Deer Lacombe

With 50 per cent of the riding counted, Calkins has over 21,000 votes

The winner has been called for the Red Deer-Lacombe riding. Blaine Calkins has been named the Member of Parliament Elect for the riding in a landslide victory.

Despite less than 20 per cent of the ballots being counted, Calkins was named the next MP for the region with more than 7,000 votes over the NDP, who has the second most votes.

When all the votes were tallied, Calkins had roughly 80 per cent of the votes.

At his campaign headquarters, where he held his victory party, Calkins said the people of the Red Deer-Lacombe riding have sent a very clear message.

“…Sent me, apparently, back to Ottawa with a very strong mandate to hold Justin Trudeau to account,” Calkins said.

The Liberals will hold the government for another four years, with Justin Trudeau at the helm. However, Calkins says he will take the small victories that were had from Election Day.

“I am taking the small victories that I can from tonight on behalf of Alberta. And that is, Justin Trudeau will not be able to do anything in the House of Commons without help or support,” said Calkins.

For Calkins, this means the Prime Minister Elect will have to listen to the other parts of Canada outside of Ontario and Quebec.

He says his job, is to hold the Liberal Minority Government to account to ensure Alberta is heard on Parliament Hill.

“We have suffered from this province now for the last four years, under [Justin Trudeau’s] leadership. It has been three years and 11 months that Albertans have been waiting for this election.”

Like much of his campaign, Calkins said the energy sector will continue to be a priority for him and the other 34 Torys from Alberta elected Monday night.

The Alberta MPS wills will fight for jobs, economic prosperity and work towards becoming “full and equal partners in this country,” Calkins says.

When it comes to building pipeline like the Trans Mountain, Calkins says the Conservatives will not be obstacles in the process.

“Albertans have waited long enought to get a pipeline, and to get equipment into the ground. It’s not going to be Consevatives that are going to be an obstacle to pipeline development,” said Calkins.

Looking at another four years of a Liberal government isn’t the worst case scenario for Calkins.

“Justin Trudeau no longer has the ability to unilaterally do whatever he wants in this country. Canadians have spoken, and they said he needs to start listening to other parts of the country, and that includes Alberta.”

NDP candidate Lauren Pezzella, a 24-year-old student at Red Deer College, says she accomplished what she set out to do.

“The entire reason I ran was to make sure issues that are important to me got voiced in our community,” said Pezella. “I believe my running accomplished that.”

Pezzella wanted to make sure issues such as pharmacare and affordable health care got the necessary attention, but also says her top concern is improving the economy.

“World dependency on oil is going down,” she said, adding Canada should be preparing workers for the “economy of tomorrow” and investing in new technology and skills instead of “doubling-down” on oil and gas.

By about 8:45 p.m., the NDP had won 14.6 per cent of the vote across Canada, however by the time all votes were counted Pezzella had taken roughly nine per cent of the vote.

Pezzella says that federally, the NDP are trying to tackle some important issues and people respect that and she believes that will show in the polls.

Although Pezzella never saw herself in politics, she wanted to run to give young people a voice, which she says doesn’t happen often in modern politics. In the prelimary results, Pezzella was in second place with 5,888 votes.

Pezzella says she’d like to congratulate CPC MP Elect Blaine Calkins on a “very well-fought election cycle” and says Calkins was a “fantastic running mate.”

She is also grateful to her supporters and volunteers for this “rookie” who threw her hat in for this riding and says they “made all the world of difference.”

Liberal Candidate for Red Deer-Lacombe Tiffany Rose says she is please with the results Monday night.

“I’m so happy to see Liberals form government,” Rose said. “I’m so pleased with the results.”

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