It was an election of historical proportion Monday night all across Canadian soil. Not only were the threelocal Red Deer-Lacombe candidates, Blaine Calkins(PC), Jeff Rock(Lib) and Doug Hart (NDP) in awe of theoutcome – the 35.7 million people who call Canada home were shocked also as Liberal party leader JustinTrudeau saw a red rain fall across his country.
On a local level, Conservative candidate Blaine Calkins watched the numbers coming in from his electionheadquarters in North Red Deer. Due to time zone differentials, Calkins and his crew watched first as thenumbers from Atlantic Canada came in. The resounding results showed riding after riding turning up red.
Calkins appeared calm, however unsure, as the numbers trickled in from across the nation until theinevitable west coast numbers began to taper across the screen. First the Manitoba numbers – everyone inthe room appeared to relax a little. The southern most tips of both middle prairie provinces were the firstnotable break in the red, with a familiar blue streak creeping from Saskatchewan into Alberta.
Thankfully for Calkins and his Conservatives, the blissful blue seen on the televised map spread like a lowflame across the screen, engulfing all of Alberta and ensuring his seat as a member of parliament.
“It’s a very humbling experience – it’s a fourth time for an election win,” said Calkins following the PCsweep of the prairie provinces. “I’m very grateful and I’m very thankful to the voters here in Red Deer-Lacombe. It feels bittersweet – sweet that I have another opportunity to go back to Ottawa, but obviouslyI’m frustrated with the national numbers.”
As he spoke in front of a large projector screen mounted on the wall, slowly the Liberal numbers crepthigher and higher on the wall behind him. Slowly, but surely gaining the Liberal parting a victory on theboard. It was inevitable at this point, with major news outlets across the country garnishing Justin Trudeauthe next prime minister of Canada.
“My job will be to represent my constituents and to hold the Liberals to account so they don’t neglectAlberta like they have done in the past. I think Canadians have chosen style over substance,” he saidfinishing with a word on the NDP.“The Orange Crush (NDPs) now look like the Orange Crash. The premier’sendorsement didn’t seem to help him out anyways.”
Further south in the city, Liberal candidate Jeff Rock was amidst a bustle activity in his campaignheadquarters. Although it was certain he would not become an elected MP – Rock was ecstatic at thenotion of a majority Liberal government.
“It’s very surreal. What democracy is about is everyday, average people stepping up to run in the hopes ofbuilding a better Canada and a better country and seeking to serve the people of the local constituency. Isee myself as an everyday, average guy – I’m a minister by day, a community member,” said Rock. “It’s notnecessarily about win or lose, it’s about engaging people and we’ve done that with such a success. I’mdelighted and thrilled. We rocked this election.”
“Justin Trudeau, what makes me so proud to be a Liberal and what makes me so proud to be part of histeam, is that he said, ‘I will not go negative. I will speak optimism and hopefulness’ and he stuck to hisword, and that makes me so proud. I think Canadians were a little bit wary of that at first – the negativityworked – I think Canadians chose optimism, hope, love, community and togetherness rather thandivisiveness. I’m so proud of our country – that we have chosen that optimism.”
Final numbers for the election show Conservative Blaine Calkins with 43,599 votes, Jeff Rock received9,545 votes, NDP Doug Hart received 7,055 votes, while Les Kuzyk with the Green Party received 1,773votes. In total, 61,972 residents cast their ballots which translates to a 71.55% voter turnout in that riding.