Penticton city councillor Dan Albas extended the Conservative Party of Canada’s grip on the Okanagan Coquihalla, winning the riding with a convincing 53 per cent of the votes cast in Monday’s federal election.
Albas will now replace retiring Conservative cabinet minister Stockwell Day as the Okanagan Coquihalla’s MP in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s new majority government.
“When I go to Ottawa, I look forward to making sure your interests are heard and defended and perhaps even rewarded in Ottawa,” Albas told a jubilant packed crowd at the Penticton Golf and Country Club.
“More than anything else, I promise to invest my time, my energy and my passion in serving the constituents of this riding. You see, my view of government places trust not in any one person or party, but where it belongs, in the people.
“I pledge to balance my willingness to do good in Ottawa with the knowledge that government is never more dangerous than when our desire to have it help us blinds us to its great power to harm us.”
With 188 of 293 poll stations reporting, Albas’ nearest competitor New Democrat David Finnis garnered 25.3 per cent of the votes cast, while Liberal John Kidder received 10.3 per cent and Dan Bouchard of the Green Party got 9.3 per cent. Independent conservative Sean Upshaw received 1.7 per cent and independent Dietrich Wittel got 0.4 per cent.
Crediting the work of Conservative volunteers and supporters throughout the riding and round the country, Albas said the Tories won their majority by talking about issues that resonate with Canadians.
“When I talked to people around the riding, I was hearing the same things,” said Albas. “People liked the direction of the country but they were concerned about jobs for themselves, their jobs or their grandchildren. They were worried about their pensions. They were worried about safer streets. They wanted to see some changes and they were saying go back and get things done.
“The people have spoken and they have spoken very loudly. They want some stability and they want a strong stable Conservative government. And I am proud to be part of that change.”