By Christi Albers-Manicke, Emily Jaycox, and Reeti Rohilla,
BLACK PRESS NEWS MEDIA
Tanya Heyden-Kaye of Ponoka, candidate for the New Democratic Party (NDP) received the second highest amount of votes in the Red Deer-Lacombe riding in the 2021 federal snap election held on Sept. 20, behind Conservative incumbent Blaine Calkins.
The other candidates for the riding were Joan Barnes, no affiliation; Harry Joujan, Maverick Party; Megan Lim, People’s Party of Canada (PPC); David Ondieki, Liberal Party of Canada, and Matthew Watson, Libertarian Party of Canada.
By 10:50 p.m, Elections Canada had reported 6,453 votes for Heyden-Kaye, or 14.2 per cent of the vote, behind Calkin’s 64 per cent.
“I’m pleased, for sure,” said Heyden-Kaye, who lives in Ponoka.
“We’ll see what happens next time,” she said.
“The biggest thing I think I accomplished was just going out and listening to people and talking to them about things they need.”
She added she plans to stay involved in her community and neighbouring communities and being a listening ear, and will hopefully fun for office again in the future.
Heyden-Kaye says the best part of being a candidate was all the support and messages she received. One voter, who she didn’t know before her campaign began, even made a Tik Tok video of himself putting her sign in his lawn.
“It’s great to be a part of the process and it’s nice to know Albertans want a choice.”
With over 5,914 votes, Megan Lim, PPC candidate for the Red Deer-Lacombe says she is very pleased with her campaign and her party’s position.
“For a party as new as the PPC, these types of numbers are unheard of and we did it without any coverage from the mainstream media,” said Lim.
“I enjoyed so much about being a candidate and I truly believe the PPC supporters are the most passionate of any voters in Canada.
“I stood up vocally for what I believe in and I hope that my family and my supporters are proud of that. I am truly humbled by the support.”
Lim sends her congratulations to Blaine Calkins and the Conservative Party.
“I’m sure he will continue to work hard to represent Albertans.”
There was no post election comment from Joujan, Maverick candidate for Red Deer-Lacombe.
Meeting many people and hearing their stories, candidate Joan Barnes, no affiliation, says that running for election had an impressionable impact on her life.
“I am very proud of Blaine Calkins, as he has had a lot of support here, and I just want to congratulate him on taking office another time,” said Barnes.
With no party affiliation, Barnes says that she knew she was making a tough choice, but found that her voice was heard by the people in her riding of Red Deer-Lacombe.
Barnes says that her experience running for election has reminded her that the country is broken in several aspects.
“I’ve learned that our country is so broken and we do need to end the corruption of our country, we have to,” she said.
“A lot of people are very disheartened because they don’t feel that they are being heard out there, even by the ones that are voted in the house for them. And this is my key take-away — that party lines supersede the personal voice of the constituents, and it shouldn’t be like that,” said Barnes.
“The party should not have that much authority.”
Barnes says that she stood for the election as an independent candidate to give the voice back to the people, as oppose to running party lines.
Ondieki, Liberal candidate, was not immediately available for comment.
Watson, Libertarian candidate, had the least amount of votes by press time, but the lack of votes hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm for politics.
“It was a very interesting experience,” said Watson.
“I’ll do better next time because I will be getting more information together in order to make stronger arguments.”
Watson says with the snap election being called, there wasn’t a lot of prep time to get signs made, or to get around the constituency to talk to voters.
He was hoping to get at least a couple hundred votes, but says maybe by the time all the votes are counted he will be closer to that goal.
He says the other issue was the Libertarian Party’s platform is similar to the PPC, but the PPC was more advertised.
Watson says he plans to stay involved in politics and will run for office again in a future election.
“I feel pretty good. People should go out and try their hand at the process. If they feel they have something to contribute, they should try.”
What he would do better next time is to work on his public speaking, he says.
He expressed appreciation for the other candidates, particularly the ones who participated at forums with him.
“The smaller parties put in a lot of hard work and that deserves to be recognized.”
Mail-in ballots did not begin to be counted until Tuesday, Sept. 21 and final election results may take a few days.