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Last updateWed, 31 May 2023 8am

UCP wins majority government in 2023 Alberta election

premier danielle smith new rdax 75

While there were a few surprises on election night in Alberta, the riding of Drumheller- Stettler remained true blue.
Albertans went to the polls on Monday, May 29, to choose the next government, with the United Conservative Party (UCP) hoping to remain in government behind the leadership of Danielle Smith. Close at her heels is the New Democratic Party of Alberta (NDP) led by Rachel Notley. For the first time in Alberta’s history, two women are at the helm of the leading parties, and both are former premiers.
In the end, the province stayed blue, with the UCP and Danielle Smith retaining power. For a party to govern would mean they would need 44 seats, and the UCP was able to capture 49 seats to the NDP’s 38.
In Drumheller-Stettler, incumbent Nate Horner retained his seat with 82.1 per cent of the vote.
“Overall, Premier Smith did a good job staying focused on affordability and healthcare which were ballot questions for most people. We just tried to use our great team of volunteers, and Constituency Association directors, and run a good campaign. We tried to show people we are working on things that still matter to them,” Horner told the Mail.
There were approximately 1.76 million votes cast in the provincial election. The UCP had 52.56 per cent of the popular vote, and the NDP had 44.02 per cent of the vote.
“I think she (Premier Smith) was clear that she represents all Albertans whether you vote for us or not, that she would try to earn their trust through sound policy,” said Horner.
He says with the new balance of power, the legislature will look different.
“It will probably mean it will go a little slower and have a little bit more focus on prioritizing legislation. I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing,” he said.
Juliet Franklin of the NDP did an admirable job of getting out the vote in the Drumheller-Stettler riding and captured 14.4 per cent of the vote.
“I have talked to so many wonderful people in this riding and learned so much about the riding and the concerns that people have here,” said Franklin. “My volunteer did amazing work helping me get out there and get the word out.”
In the last election, the NDP received about 6.5 per cent of the vote.
Shannon Packham of the Independence Party of Alberta (IPA) received 2.1 per cent of the vote. Hannah Stretch Viens of the Wildrose Loyalty Coalition (WLC) and Carla Evers of the Solidarity Movement (SM) of Alberta were not able to crack one per cent of the vote.
In Olds- Didsbury-Three Hills Riding, Nathan Cooper easily retained his seat with 75.1 per cent of the vote. Cheryl Hunter Loewen of the NDP captured 18.9 per cent of the vote, Katherine Kowalchuk of the IPA had 4.7 per cent and Cam Tatlock of WLC and Judy Bridges of the SM had under one per cent.
One of the first ridings where a winner was declared on Monday evening was in the Brooks-Medicine Hat riding, where UCP Leader Danielle Smith was elected with 66.5 per cent of the vote. Gwendoline Dirk of the NDP had 27. 3 per cent of the vote, and former Brooks Mayor and Alberta Party leader Barry Morishita won 6.2 per cent of the vote.
These results are unofficial, and the official results will be posted on Thursday, June 8.

Guilty plea for uttering threats


A Drumheller man was sentenced to 45 days in custody after pleading guilty to a breach and uttering threats.
Richard Wheeler 60, appeared in the Alberta Court of Justice in Drumheller on Friday, May 12 to make his pleas.
The court heard how on May 1 of this year, Wheeler had followed a woman walking with his bike, with whom he has a no-contact order. He made a threat to another male in the party by ramming his bike toward him.
He left the scene and hid in a dumpster. He was arrested on May 4.
This activity follows closely on previous legal trouble for Wheeler.
On April 24 of this year, he was sentenced to 30 days, less time served for assault and breaching his conditions. On March 24, he was given a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to uttering threats stemming from an altercation at Freson Bros.
Wheeler was sentenced to 45 days, but was given credit for 14 days in custody awaiting his court date.
He was also given an 18-month probation order.

Hand Hills set to host 105th stampede


The famous “up close and personal rodeo” is back for another season, promising action on the track, in the infield and into the night.
This will be the 105th year for the Hand Hills Lake Stampede, one of the longest-running rodeos in the province. After more than a century, t is one of the top rodeos for spectators and competitors. Last year it won the CPRA Small Committee of the Year, the fourth time in the last six years.
Hand Hills Community President Layton Rosin says there have been a few changes this year. He explains while the ticket price may be up a little, there are more free things for families to enjoy during the three-day long event.
The events kick off on Friday, June 2, with free pancake breakfast and slack starting at noon. The trade show and beer gardens also open at noon, and the first running of the chucks and chariots goes after the rodeo.
The kick off part features the Whiskey Boyz.
“I heard him in Hanna, and he was awesome. He would play the darkness of Johnny Cash, and he jumps to Celine Dion, I don’t know how his voice does it,” said Rosin.
He adds they are doubly blessed with Saturday night’s entertainment at the Cowboy Cabaret featuring Cole Malone.
Saturday cranks up bright and early with pancakes. The Wild Horse Race goes at 11:45 before the official opening.
Chief Ouray Crowfoot of the Siksika Nation is this year’s honoured guest. He is the son of the recently passed Sisoyaki (Amelia Crowfoot Clark). The Grandson of Cecil Crowfoot. The Great Grandson of Aakiinam (Joe Crowfoot) and the Great Great Great Grandson to Issapoomahksika (Chief Crowfoot). Chief Ouray Crowfoot has a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) as well as a Master’s degree in Accounting (MACC) and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Chief Crowfoot spent several years away from Siksika gaining his education and work experience and returned in 2017 to assist the Nation in the role of Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
This is quickly followed by the rodeo performances and then the wild pony races and the chucks and chariots.
Sunday follows the same schedule, with a Christian cowboy church service at 10 a.m.
Rosin says the strength of the rodeo is part of the strength of the community.
“We’re not just a rodeo. We have a hall, we put on dinners and dances, it is there for funerals and weddings,” he said. “People care about things for two weeks. It is really hard to get people to care about something year-round, let alone 100 years. I think that helps us.”
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