ADAM JACKSON/Ponoka News
Well, here we are again.
Conservative Blaine Calkins is again the MP for the Wetaskiwin riding, but there’s a new twist this year – the conservatives have a majority government.
“I lost some friends tonight who won’t be joining me in Ottawa again, but I’ll have some new ones to meet,” said Calkins.
As many in the Wetaskiwin riding could tell – especially after the political forums in the area – the Wetaskiwin riding was only a race between Calkins and NDP candidate Tim Robson.
On election night, there was almost no competition.
Calkins won 81.5 per cent of the vote, while Robson was runner up with just 11.4 per cent of the vote for the Wetaskiwin riding.
The rarely seen Liberal candidate Chris Anderson and Green Party hopeful Robert Johnston had just over 7% of the vote combined.
The landslide vote is something that was predicated by citizens, but the lack of effort by the other candidates seemed to frustrate Calkins by the looks of his Twitter feed.
“Just finished last forum of campaign. Liberal and Green candidates did not show at any of the 4 public debates. I thought they wanted elxn?” said Calkins on his Twitter account.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve in this government, and the great constituency of Wetaskiwin,” said Calkins. “I will perform to the best of my ability to serve this government.”
Although the NDP wasn’t successful in the Wetaskiwin riding, the Canada-wide election has been a huge step for them, as they have essentially switched places with the crumbling Liberal Party.
“I think Canadians are saying loud and clear that they want something different – not a lot – and the difference is that they want to see predictability in the Conservative government, but they want to see a good accountable opposition as well,” said Calkins. “And if they picked Jack Layton to do that, I congratulate him.”
With a final seat count of 167 – 12 more seats than they needed to gain a majority – Calkins and the Conservative government see themselves in a good place right now.
“I couldn’t be more happy, I couldn’t be more thrilled,” said Calkins during an interview at his election party. “For the last five years, it has been minority governments where you never know what’s going to happen, and trying to govern in a situation where at any minute your government could fall – it’s a great day for Canada.”
This win marks the third time in three elections that Calkins has been elected to represent the riding of Wetaskiwin.
“He’s down to Earth, he’s just one of the people,” said Rod Fox, Calkins’ communications director. “He works his tail off.”
Calkins took the time during the election party to thank his faithful and to thank his family as well.
“There is a price that we pay (to serve in parliament), but it’s our families that pay the bigger price,” said Calkins. “We travel on and off for about 30 weeks out of the year… You guys have been a blessing in my life,” he added.
For Calkins, the road back to Ottawa begins tomorrow with the teardown of political signs and cleaning up everything that is left over from the election.
Calkins said that as soon as the parliament resumes, it’s going to be back to business.
“We’ll get back to the business we should have been working on all along, which is the budget that is yet to be passed,” said Calkins.
“We’re also going to make other changes right away that we have been asking to do for the last five years but haven’t been able to do so.”