Innisfail-Sylvan Lake constituents have elected a Wildrose MLA once again, with results on Tuesday night showing Don MacIntyre winning by a comfortable margin.
MacIntyre amassed 7,827 votes, while runner-up Kerry Towle of the Progressive Conservatives received 5,138. Patricia Norman of the New Democratic Party and Danielle Klooster of the Alberta Party received 4,250 and 1,134 votes, respectively.
The vote marked both a change and a return to old ways for the riding, whose constituents in 2012 voted in Kerry Towle, then of the Wildrose Party.
“It’s really all about the people that supported us and what we’re trying to do — this is their victory,” said MacIntyre. “They’re all volunteers … and they dug way down deep to get this constituency association back on its feet after having our Wildrose MLA betray all of their votes and all of their sacrifices in the last election.
“They pulled themselves up, dusted themselves off and got right back in the fight, because the battle was worth fighting for.”
MacIntyre expressed appreciation not just for the three candidates he was up against in the riding, but for everyone who takes part in the democratic process.
“I’ve worked overseas in nations that do not have democracy, and I have friends in those nations who would die for democracy,” he said. “Our democratic system, as flawed as it may be … it is what we have, and it’s worth fighting for, and it’s working like we’ve seen, so all of the candidates really can hold their heads up.”
MacIntyre will head to the Legislature on May 12 to take part in an orientation for new members.
Having worked as an instructor at NAIT, he’s accustomed to commuting between Edmonton and his home in Sylvan Lake. And while he acknowledges his new role will be “an adjustment” for him and his family, he assured they’re excited about what lies ahead of them.
“We’re looking forward to going to the Legislature and pushing for the change that Albertans need to see,” he said. “I am going to represent the majority well, I am going to be the voice of those who don’t have one, I am going to fight for those who fall through the cracks of a government that is insensitive to their needs, and I hope to make (constituents) proud.”
Towle felt there were a number of factors that led to another Wildrose victory in the riding, but pointed to the strong surge in the popularity of the New Democratic Party.
“The reality of it is is that the NDP won this riding,” she said. “They went from 700 votes (in 2012) to 4,000 votes — that is incredible.”
She noted it’s been an “an honour and a privilege” representing the riding as MLA, and assured that her voice will still be heard.
“I’ve fought hard for our seniors, our vulnerable, our disabled and our youth, and my voice isn’t gone,” she said. “I’ll be holding our MLA to account the same way as I was held to account, and I think that’s important.”
She added she’s proud of her political achievements, and would now look forward to spending more time with her family.
“I never got into politics because I wanted to be a politician; I got into politics because I wanted to change, and I think I made a difference,” she said. “I can be unemployed for the next four years and I’m fine, but I just want to make sure that the team who supported me knows that I adore them, that I love them and that they worked their butts off, and I wouldn’t even be here to say thank you without them.”
More than 18,000 Innisfail-Sylvan Lake constituents voted in Tuesday’s election. That’s roughly 63 per cent of the riding’s 29,000-plus eligible voters — up from around 59 per cent in 2012.