By Kim Hutchison
After receiving an outstanding 77.1 per cent of the district’s votes, Wetaskiwin’s Blaine Calkins remains a Member of Parliament.
“I am very grateful to the constituency for providing such a strong mandate and I would like to sincerely thank the volunteers and supporters who worked on this campaign,” said Calkins. “Congratulations to my counterparts Rita Dillon, Shawn Mann, Tim Robson and Les Parsons for their efforts and I wish them the very best in their future endeavors.”
Calkins will head to Ottawa when Prime Minister Stephen Harper holds a caucus meeting determining the date he will resume Parliament.
Wetaskiwin district results were on par with those of the province as a whole with 64.6 per cent of Albertans voting for the Progressive Conservative party. Nationally, however, 37.6 per cent of Canadians voted in a similar manner meaning, after 37 days and $300 million, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative party will remain a minority government. Even though history has, seemingly repeated itself the advantage after this election is that the Conservatives have gained 19 seats in the House of Commons now holding 143 in total compared to the 76 seats held by Liberals, 50 held by Bloc Quebecois and 37 belonging to the New Democratic Party. Harper will head a stronger, sturdier minority government, and asking for the dissolution of a dysfunctional Parliament leading us into the 41st General Election will not be happening anytime soon. Perhaps voter turnout will improve when the time comes to cast a ballot once again.
Out of the 79,046 registered voters in the Wetaskiwin district, only 42,170, or 53 per cent, had their say while only 52.9 per cent of Albertans and 59.1 per cent of Canadians headed to the polls. Voter turnout for this election was the lowest in Canadian history. More people voted in the early 1900s than those of us in 2008. Even though past trends show Canada has experienced a long and gradual decline in federal election voter turnout, with recently heightened economic and environmental concerns the results of this election have many pondering why nearly one out of every two people chose not to help select the leader of our country.
The most popular reasons for not voting include not being educated on party platforms, not having transportation to the voting location, illness and disinterest in politics in general. With information overload coming from multiple parties all at once it may seem easier not to get involved but it’s important to remember that every vote counts.