Prins re-elected

Incumbent Progressive Conservative Ray Prins was overwhelmingly re-elected in the Lacombe-Ponoka constituency in the March 3 provincial election.

  • Mar. 6, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Deputy reeve for Ponoka County Gawney Hinkley

Deputy reeve for Ponoka County Gawney Hinkley

Incumbent Progressive Conservative Ray Prins was overwhelmingly re-elected in the Lacombe-Ponoka constituency in the March 3 provincial election. Prins won with 58 per cent of the vote. The next closest candidate was Joe Anglin from the Alberta Green Party with 23 per cent of the vote.

Alberta also stayed Conservative by electing their 11th straight Tory government winning 72 of 83 seats. The Alberta Liberals who had 16 seats in the 2004 election, lost seats capturing nine seats and the New Democratic party won two seats cutting their previous total in half. The Conservatives gained 11 seats and increased their share of the popular vote by approximately six per cent since the last election in 2004.

Prins was stationed at his election office in Lacombe waiting for the results and was declared the winner just before 9 p.m. as cheers went through the room of approximately 100 supporters.

“I’m just extremely pleased with the turnout here tonight and the solid support we got right across the constituency,” said Prins. “I believe what it is, is a reflection of the work that we have done as a government over the last three years. I think my work in this constituency of delivering a lot of the projects and programs that people wanted and needed showed tonight.”

Once the new Legislature starts Prins has one of Ponoka’s greatest needs on the top of his list.

“Going forward, one of the first things I would like to see happen is the modernization of Ponoka Composite High School. It’s obvious now that it needs some work and it’s in the 20 year plan so I believe that it is going to be, probably, moved up to as close to the top as we can get it.”

Ponoka Mayor Henkelman was on hand at Prins’ headquarters and was very happy with the results for the Town of Ponoka and thought the majority government in Alberta showed that people are happy with the way that the government is headed.

“I think it’s great. It’s a victory for the Town of Ponoka. I think we are very pleased because of the experience that Ray [Prins] has and it’s good for both the Town and County of Ponoka,” said Henkelman. “To have an MLA that is part of the government is very important. It is pretty hard to get anything accomplished in government if you are the only seat in the House.”

Henkelman thought that it is important to have a good working relationship with that Town like Prins’ has had with Ponoka. Henkelman also thought that Prins agriculture experience would be a benefit to the Town and County of Ponoka.

Deputy Reeve for the County of Ponoka Gawney Hinkley was also on hand at Prins’ headquarters and was very pleased with the results because he thinks that Prins is a very good man and is very appreciative of the votes and will see that the voters are not unhappy.

“I think it’s great that he has been elected with the landslide that he has. That means that he’s going to have the pull from the provincial government to get the financial situations that we need in the County of Ponoka and get them in place,” said Hinkley.

Voter turnout

In the Lacombe-Ponoka constituency there were 28,467 voters eligible to vote and 14,108 voters or 49.5 per cent turned out to the polls according to the Elections Alberta webpage. The unofficial poll results reported that Prins received 8,201 votes (in the 2004 election Prins recieved 6,919 votes), Anglin received 3,226, Alberta Liberal candidate Edith McPh edran received 1,200 votes, Wildrose Alliance Party candidate Daniel Friesen received 911 votes and NDP candidate Steve Bradshaw received 570 votes.

Prins lost only one of 75 polling stations to Anglin. His only defeat was at the Homeglen station in the Bluffton area, where Anglin won 110 votes compared to Prins with 94 votes.

“If we lost one poll in Bluffton I am not surprised because that is close to where the issue was with the EUB [Energy and Utilities Board] and the AltaLink line. That’s been a sore point with these people and I don’t blame them for voting this way,” said Prins after finding out about his one loss. “But we need to go there and explain to these people how we have dealt with this situation and moving forward their rights are being protected the process that we have with the AUC Act [Alberta Utilities and Commission Act] is a good process and if there are any more questions I would be more than willing to go out there and share these ideas with these people.”

In 17 Ponoka and area polls not including the advance and mobile polls there were 7,757 eligible voters and 3,525 people or 45 per cent voted. Prins captured 2,035 or 57.7 per cent of the vote, Anglin had 842 votes or 23.8 per cent, McPhedran won 302 votes or 8.5 per cent, Friesen had 206 votes or five per cent and Bradshaw had 140 votes or 3.9 per cent.