Grande Prairie – Mackenzie MP criticizes O’Toole for poor Conservative showing

·3 min read

Chris Warkentin will keep his parliamentary seat in Ottawa for the Grande Prairie-Mackenzie riding but his party took a hit locally and federally.

Warkentin received 35,106 votes Monday night, followed by 6,200 for NDP Jennifer Villebrun, 5,263 for PPC Shawn McLean, 2,314 for Liberal Dan Campbell, 2,092 for Maverick Ambrose Ralph and 318 for Rhino Donovan Eckstrom.

Still, Warkentin’s share of votes sits at 68.4 per cent*. In 2019, he was re-elected with 84 per cent of the vote in this riding.

Justin Trudeau - despite being widely criticized for calling the $600M early election, will head up a minority government. His Liberal party received 158 seats. The Conservative party has 119, the Bloc Québécois 34, the NDP with 25, and the Green party with two.

Warkentin told Town & Country News election night the Conservative party missed a win.

“It was when our party leader started to waffle on some of the policies that we had brought forward and hadn't been clear that I believe that Canadians became uncertain and unwilling to continue to look to our party as an alternative,” said Warkentin. “I believe that that was the beginning of polls shifting back in favour of the Liberals.”

Warkentin said that Conservative party members would have an opportunity to voice their concerns and make decisions about the party leader Erin O’Toole.

He said he’s heard from other members they are concerned and believe that changes need to be made.

Warkentin said that the Liberals lost significant support by calling the election in the middle of the fourth wave of COVID, Alberta farms were dealing with drought conditions and British Columbia was facing “unprecedented forest fires.”

Warkentin doesn’t believe that this new government will last long.

“Justin Trudeau has promised during this campaign that if he was only given a minority that he would plunge Canadians back into an election within 18 months, and I don't expect that this will be a long-term government.”

Moving forward, his priorities are supporting the ag sector in northwestern Alberta.

“We've heard from farmers in most communities throughout the Peace that have faced one of the most difficult harvest seasons that they can remember.

“I will be advocating for the federal government to step up to support the provincial government to see that the supports are in place to help many of the farm families.”

He also said that his support for the energy sector would continue with advocating for building more infrastructure and stable regulations needed in the industry.

“We have a very supportive provincial government, but we have a federal government that has continually moved the goalposts when it comes to the development of the energy sector here in Alberta.”

For now, he is happy to serve the people of the Grande Prairie-Mackenzie riding.

“Tonight, I am elected by those who voted for me, but tomorrow I serve every single constituent that lives in the Peace Country.”

The Grande Prairie-Mackenzie riding had a voter turnout of 61.84 per cent.

Nationally, voter turnout sat at 58.8 per cent.

Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News

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