Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Conservatives Win Calgary Byelection; NDP Come in Fourth Behind Liberals

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Conservatives Win Calgary Byelection; NDP Come in Fourth Behind Liberals

Article excerpt

Conservatives win Calgary byelection


CALGARY - The Tories managed to hang onto one of their handful of seats in the provincial legislature in a byelection Tuesday that some observers described as a barometer of whether the party is still a force in Alberta politics.

It was a nail-biter of a night, with the race at times too close to call. But a short time before all 67 polls were reported, the Wildrose's Devinder Toor, a local businessman, conceded defeat to PC candidate Prab Gill, a real-estate appraiser, who won by a 335-vote margin.

Gill celebrated his victory with about 10 minutes of Bollywood dancing on stage as his jubilant supporters cheered him on.

"The PCs are back, baby!" he told them. "This is an incredible night for us. This is huge."

The bad news for the ruling NDP government was that their candidate, Roop Rai, a former radio host and producer, ended the night in fourth place behind the Liberal, property developer Khalil Karbani.

Calgary Greenway became vacant last November when Conservative legislature member Manmeet Bhullar was killed in a highway crash after he stopped to help a stranded motorist.

Bhullar was one of only 10 PCs who were left after Rachel Notley and the NDP won a majority in last May's election and ended more than four straight decades of Conservative governments. He had held the seat since first being elected in 2008.

"I knew we had enough to win this and carry on the work of our dear friend Manmeet," Gill said Tuesday, adding the support of Bhullar's family was crucial to his victory. "What I hope this win does is help us heal."

In a statement, Ric McIver, the interim leader of the Progressive Conservatives, congratulated Gill and welcomed him to caucus: "I am so pleased to know that ... Manmeet Bhullar's legacy of dedicated community service will live on."

Tuesday's result won't change the balance of power in the legislature.

Before the vote, the NDP had 54 of the 87 seats, the Wildrose party had 22 and the Tories had eight. The Liberals and the Alberta Party had one each.

Some political observers had suggested the byelection was a crucial one for the Tories. …

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