Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tories Win Both Alberta Byelections, but Liberals Gain Ground in North

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tories Win Both Alberta Byelections, but Liberals Gain Ground in North

Article excerpt

Tories win both Alberta byelections


HIGH RIVER, Alta. - The federal Conservatives' foothold on Alberta held firm on Monday, with maybe just a toe slipping off the perch in the riding of Fort McMurray-Athabasca.

The Tories won both that northern riding and the southern constituency of Macleod in federal byelections, but bolstered by three visits from party leader Justin Trudeau, the Liberals gained significant ground in the oilsands capital.

Conservative candidate David Yurdiga was declared winner over Liberal Kyle Harrietha, with Yurdiga taking 46 per cent of the votes to Harrietha's 35 per cent.

That was more than triple the percentage taken by the Liberals back in 2011, when Yurdiga's predecessor, Brian Jean, won the riding with nearly 72 per cent of the vote and the NDP came in second.

In the southern Albera riding of Macleod, John Barlow officially made the move from newspaper editor to professional politician with an easy victory over his closest competitor, Liberal Dustin Fuller.

"We wanted to make sure we did well. Not just win but we wanted to make sure we had a strong result," said Barlow, 42, who waited just 30 minutes after the polls closed to deliver his victory speech to about 100 cheering supporters.

"We worked pretty hard and wanted to send a message that Macleod is still a very strong Conservative riding."

Barlow, who as a provincial Tory came within 2,000 votes of beating Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith in Alberta's last election, realizes he will have to go through the entire process again in the general election next year.

"I knew eight months ago that this was going to be step one and we'll be doing this all over again pretty soon but I'm going to savour tonight first," said Barlow.

"This is step one. We got through it. It's horrible to have sports cliches but it really was one period at a time. We focused on this and we will focus on the next election now when the time comes."

The byelection became necessary when Ted Menzies, former minister of state for finance, stepped down last November. …

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