The political landscape in St. Albert changed drastically Tuesday night as the city's two ridings went from being represented by two NDP MLAs to being split between one government MLA and one opposition member.
On Tuesday, St. Albertans chose incumbent NDP MLA Marie Renaud as their representative for the larger St. Albert riding, while the UCP's Dale Nally was selected to represent the Morinville-St. Albert riding for the next four years. Nally will sit as a member of the majority-government UCP, while Renaud will join her party in forming the official opposition.
St. Albert Mayor Cathy Heron said it is the first time in a long time that an opposition member will be representing the city.
"It will be the first time that I can remember that we haven’t had our MLA in the big riding ... not a part of the leading party."
The 1993 election was the last time St. Albert wasn't represented by a government member. Len Bracko of the Liberal Party won the St. Albert seat, while the majority of the province voted for the Progressive Conservatives.
Heron said the key to getting things done will be collaboration.
“(Renaud) is going to be representing St. Albert and she is going to need specific things out of the government.”
Heron noted she isn’t concerned with having an opposition MLA because Renaud is a kind person.
Renaud said the priorities for the city are outlined by different local groups, such as the municipal government and the school board, so it’s a matter of continuing to work closely with them.
“I don’t imagine it’s a bad thing to have one government MLA and one opposition MLA,” Renaud said.
The MLA-elect said she doesn’t have a problem working with anybody who is respectful.
“Michael Cooper, the (Conservative) MP, I doubt we agree on much, but I think he is a very nice person and we worked on some case work issues together that did quite well. I supported some of his legislation,” Renaud said.
Renaud said she isn’t going oppose something just because it comes from the other side of the aisle.
“I have no problem working with anybody.”
Nally, who has only met Renaud briefly, said the success of representing the city will come down to the two of them working together.
"The onus comes down on both (Renaud) and I to sort of reach across the aisle and work together with one another," Nally said.
The MLA-elect said he has heard Renaud is great to work with, so he does not anticipate having any problems working collaboratively with her for the best interests of residents.
"We both want to represent the residents in our riding in the best way possible, so I'm sure we can work together on that."