It’s déjà vu all over again for re-elected Conservative MP Michael Cooper.
“Guess what? We have a Parliament that looks pretty much like the one we had before the election was called,” Cooper exclaimed in his speech to a small laughing crowd at the Rugby Club in St. Albert on Monday night.
Cooper has won a third term in the St. Albert-Edmonton riding, defeating Greg Springate of the Liberal party, Kathleen Mpulubusi of the New Democratic Party, and Brigitte Cecelia of the People’s Party of Canada.
As of 9 a.m. Tuesday, Elections Canada numbers show Cooper had garnered 28,265 votes or 47.6 per cent of the vote.
“I'm feeling very satisfied at a very decisive win in the St. Albert-Edmonton riding,” he said.
That number, although was well above the second-place candidate Mpulubusi’s 17,067 votes, was not the sweeping victory he had during the 2019 election when he won 60.7 per cent of the vote.
Cooper said he wasn’t surprised to see the NDP make such large gains in the riding.
“I saw that coming. Frankly, the provincial government right now is unpopular,” he said.
The province has made some unpopular decisions that have not gone over well with everyone, particularly in the Edmonton region, he said.
“There was some of that in this riding. We also saw some bleeding to PPC.”
In the St. Albert-Edmonton riding, PPC candidate Cecelia, received 3,569 votes at six per cent of the vote. The 2019 election saw Cecelia receive 1,268 votes at 1.9 per cent.
Cecelia’s campaign manager, Barbara Nichols said they are feeling challenged and excited they took three times as many votes in this election.
“I think that we sent Mr. Cooper a strong message to say we don't like the direction that you're taking the St. Albert population. We don't like the direction that O'Toole's government is going, and we don't like the direction that the Liberal government is going,” she said.
The PPC have plans to keep going and growing.
Cooper was disappointed the Conservatives did not win nationally. Elections Canada numbers, current as of Sept. 21, have the Liberal Party at 158 seats and 32.2 per cent of the vote.
The Conservative Party is trailing at 119 seats and 34 per cent of the vote. In 2019, the Liberals won 157 seats and the Conservatives held 121 seats.
Jeff Wedman, Cooper’s election campaign manager, said on Monday night, we're back to where we started.
“[Liberal leader Justin] Trudeau should feel it is a repudiation of his attempt at a very naked power grab,” Wedman said, adding he is angry about the amount of money that was spent on the election during the fourth wave, when it was so clearly unnecessary.
“I know I am. I know a lot of people — everybody in this room is. People should be … There was no valid reason for it other than his ego,” he said.
That frustration may have been reflected in the local vote. Springate didn’t win as many votes this election as he did in 2019. Elections Canada data has Springate at 17.7 per cent, or 10,541 votes. In 2019, he won 12,477 votes at 19.2 per cent.
Springate was unable to be reached for comment in time for publication.
Wedman said although they didn’t want an election, they were ready to go last spring when it looked like an election might have been called.
“And if there's [one] another 12 months from now, we'll be ready again,” he said.
Wedman is hoping the government will work with the opposition and find common ground with people.
“If he tries to go unilaterally and run rampant over people with only 33 per cent of the vote. That's not how democracy works … It'll be up to the prime minister and what he wants to do going forward,” said Wedman
In the riding, Cooper said there are a lot of issues he will be tackling. The biggest issue will be rebuilding the economy, jobs, and holding the government accountable.
“As far as this riding goes, the top priorities are not that different from everywhere else in terms of jobs and the economy, dealing with COVID,” he said.
From Alberta’s standpoint, he continued, he believes the federal government has been hostile to Alberta’s interests.
“I along with all of my Conservative colleagues from Alberta are going to continue to fight to stand up and defend Alberta's interests,” he said.
Cooper said he will also continue to advocate for mental-health issues, particularly for jurors. During his first term in 2015, Cooper introduced legislation that would allow jurors to seek mental-health supports. The bill received unanimous support but was dropped when Parliament dissolved due to an election.
“I'm hoping that this Parliament, we can finally get it done and get it passed,” he said.
Taiwan-Canada relations are also important to Cooper, and they will continue to be a priority for him.
Overall, Cooper is looking forward to getting back to work.
“What role I play I guess remains to be seen. We still have to wait to see what the results look like. There's lots of close races out there.
“I think for tonight, I'm just going to watch the election and celebrate with my volunteers who have worked very, very hard over the course of the past 36 days.”