Conservative Party of Canada sweeps east central Alberta in federal election

Albertans headed to the polls Mon. Sept. 20 to partake in democracy in the first round of elections - this time focused on who will make up Parliament nationally. Kar Luke of Delia, Alta. drops off his vote in the ballot box located at the Delia Community Hall as part of the Battle River-Crowfoot Riding. ECA Review/T.Huxley
Written by Stu Salkeld

Conservative Party of Canada candidates swept constituency seats in east central Alberta as incumbents Damien Kurek and Blaine Calkins easily defeated their opponents in the Sept. 20 federal election.

According to Elections Canada Sept. 21 Battle River-Crowfoot incumbent Kurek received 40,184 votes, which gave him 71.4 per cent of the vote.

In an interview with the ECA Review Sept. 21, Kurek stated he felt the election wasn’t a wise way to spend taxpayer dollars. “This was a $600 million waste of time and the taxpayer’s dollars,” said Kurek by phone.

Kurek stated the election was called purely for Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s gain but it looks like there will be only minor changes to government when the House of Commons reconvenes, likely in a few weeks. 

Kurek stated the election campaign drew attention away from critical issues like COVID and drought.

The MP also noted he felt the election call was the act of a desperate prime minister under fire from scandals and investigations.

When asked if he felt Trudeau would accept the disappointing results of the election and step down, Kurek answered he’s witnessed Liberal party caucus morale dropping for years with their MPs reduced to “voting machines” as they take instruction from Trudeau and a few ministers. Kurek stated he felt Liberal MPs across the country should ponder “…big questions that have to be answered.”

While campaigning across Battle River-Crowfoot riding over the summer the MP stated voters mentioned the same issues to him, including the fourth wave of COVID and the awful drought western Canadian producers are coping with. 

Voters also voiced frustration that a federal election was called and a lack of leadership on things like pipeline projects and fiscal responsibility.

Looking ahead to the next session of Parliament, Kurek noted he will continue working to keep the federal government accountable to rural Albertans.

Major issues he sees looming in the House of Commons include the ongoing COVID pandemic, the fact some support programs are set to expire plus the fact there hasn’t been a national public health briefing in months. 

The state of the Canadian agriculture industry must be an issue in the house he added, and Canada’s fiscal situation, including rising inflation that’s making it more challenging for Canadians to live the lives they want, also need to be front and centre.

In the election Kurek was facing challenges from Daniel Brisbin (Green Party of Canada) who received 532 votes or 0.9 per cent, Jeff Golka (Maverick Party) 2,315 votes or 4.1 per cent, John Irwin (Veterans Coalition Party of Canada) 165 votes or 0.3 per cent, Leah Diane McLeod (Liberal Party of Canada) 2,362 votes or 4.2 per cent, Tonya Ratushniak (NDP) 5,481 votes or 9.7 per cent and Dennis Trepanier (People’s Party of Canada) 5,269 or 9.4 per cent of the total votes cast.

The vast majority of the East Central Review’s readers are members of the expansive Battle River-Crowfoot constituency, which includes the major centres of the Town of Stettler, the Town of Wainwright, City of Camrose, County of Stettler, County of Kneehill, Town of Drumheller, M.D. of Starland, Town of Oyen and the Special Areas among many others.

Western reaches

The western reaches of the ECA Review’s coverage area including the Villages of Alix and Clive are located in the Red Deer-Lacombe constituency represented by longtime MP and former Red Deer College instructor Calkins.

According to Elections Canada Sept. 21 Calkins received 38,449 votes for a percentage of 64.2 per cent of those cast. His opponents totals were Joan Barnes (Independent) 561 votes or 0.9 per cent, Tanya Heyden-Kaye (NDP) 8,422 votes or 14.1 per cent, Harry Joujan (Maverick Party) 954 votes or 1.6 per cent, Megan Lim (PPC) 7,776 votes or 13 per cent, David Ondieki (Liberal) 3,527 votes or 5.9 per cent and Matthew Watson (Libertarian) 206 votes or 0.3 per cent.

The Liberal Party of Canada led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won the election but with a minority government.


Stu Salkeld

Local Journalism Initiative reporter

ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.