Three cabinet ministers lose seats as UCP takes northern Alberta

Oniel Carlier, Danielle Larivee and Marg McCuaig-Boyd among casualties as UCP expands its territory.

Oniel Carlier, Danielle Larivee and Marg McCuaig-Boyd fall as UCP steals territory

UCP's Tany Yao was re-elected in the riding of Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo. With 92 per cent of the votes counted, he was leading by a margin of 49 per cent. (Jamie Malbeuf/CBC News)

It was no surprise that the United Conservative Party dominated northern Alberta ridings in Tuesday's election, including stealing the seats of three NDP cabinet ministers.

In one of the biggest upsets, the NDP's former minister of agriculture and forestry, Oneil Carlier, lost his seat in Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland. With 98 per cent of the polls counted, the UCP's Shane Getson had 13,684 votes, while Carlier trailed with 4,883. 

The NDP also lost the battle in Peace Country, where two incumbents from different parties were vying for a single riding.

The redistribution of Alberta's ridings created Central Peace-Notley, pitting the UCP's Todd Loewen, who had been elected the Wildrose MLA for Grande Prairie-Smoky in 2015, against the NDP's Marg McCuaig-Boyd, the 2015 victor in the Dunvegan-Central-Peace-Notley riding.

With 95 per cent of the polls counted, Loewen had a 10,261 votes, while McCuaig-Boyd, Alberta's minister of energy, only had 2,633.

McCuaig-Boyd said she's proud of the NDP's moves to diversify the petrochemical industry, including the Inter Pipeline's Heartland Petrochemical Complex in Fort Saskatchewan, which converts gas to plastics.

"Too often, we just ripped and shipped our resources out and I think it's time to look at how we can get more value of Alberta's resources, here in Alberta," she said. "Had somebody done that years ago, we wouldn't have suffered the downturn as badly as we did."

She's also looking forward to seeing how outgoing premier Rachel Notley steps up in the legislature as leader of the official opposition.

The other major upset was a tight race in Lesser Slave Lake, where Danielle Larivee, incumbent MLA and minister of children's services and status of women, was projected to lose to the UCP's Pat Rehn.

With 96 per cent of the polls counted, Rehn, who worked in construction and in the sawmill industry, was ahead by 14 per cent.

Laila Goodridge was declared the winner of Fort McMurray-Lac la Biche over the NDP’s Jane Stroud. (Jamie Malbeuf/CBC)

Both of the ridings in Fort McMurray were called early as the UCP candidates quickly widened their leads.

Laila Goodridge was declared the winner of Fort McMurray-Lac la Biche over the NDP's Jane Stroud, a three-time Wood Buffalo councillor.

Goodridge was the incumbent, having won the seat in a byelection after the electoral boundaries were redrawn to form it out of Fort McMurray-Conklin, the riding of former MLA and Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean.

Goodridge said while door-knocking on thousands of doors during the campaign, she heard countless calls from residents for government to restore what's become known as the "Alberta advantage."

"I'm going to continue fighting for jobs, the economy and pipelines," she said Tuesday. "This is my home and I'm going to defend it."

In Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, the lead was even bigger with the UCP incumbent candidate Tany Yao. With 92 per cent of the polls counted, Yao was sitting with 8,943 votes — more than 6,000 votes ahead of the NDP candidate. 

Yao told CBC News he wants to focus on improving infrastructure and access to health care in Fort McMurray.

"We lack a lot of things, we could use some more support," he said. "We are the economic engine of this nation."

"We just want a common sense government that's going to provide a fiscal responsibility."

In Peace River, the UCP's Dan Williams took the seat away from NDP incumbent Debbie Jabbour. Actor Dakota House was also running in the riding for the Alberta Party and came in third. 

With files from Jamie Malbeuf




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