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Bleak time for Alberta


We all saw it coming: Albertans awoke Tuesday morning to find ourselves once again on the other side of the aisle across from a Liberal government, this time a minority one.

The election of a minority government shows Canadians are less unified than ever, and that becomes apparent when you look at which provinces elected which party representatives. You might be thinking, "Why did all of Canada's federal parties fail to win the hearts of the electorate?"

Trudeau certainly didn't emerge a winner, losing his majority grasp on Parliament. He lost a majority of the votes cast too, although our first-past-the-post electoral system ensured he held onto power anyway. The last four years have been costly for Trudeau, who has lost trust, respect and quite possibly his moral compass. The coming years may prove more costly still.

As for Scheer? The Conservatives' pick for party leader fell short, rendering him uninspiring and a milquetoast alternative to Trudeau.

For many Albertans, it must feel like the Pierre Trudeau era all over again. With the Conservatives capturing all but one of the province's ridings, and much of the Prairies while they were at it, the us-versus-them sentiment that's been lurking under the surface looks about to enjoy a renaissance. The far-fetched sentiment of Western separation is undoubtedly on its way to a revival in a province that is clearly fed up with being ignored.

Here in St. Albert, voters predictably saw to it that incumbent Conservative MP Michael Cooper carried the day. Although the embattled politician faced heavy and justified criticisms this year, voters looked past them. Cooper made national headlines for his comments at the federal justice committee where he quoted a news article's excerpt from the manifesto of an accused mass-murderer, and then for a CBC report claiming he denigrated "goat-herder cultures" during a seminar when he was in law school. He's been attacked throughout his last term for his partisanship, his penchant for heckling and his personal beliefs.

Regardless, 60 per cent of voters in the St. Albert-Edmonton riding gave him a mandate to represent them again, undoubtedly in part due to his party affiliation, but also because despite his flaws, he has proved to be an effective MP. Last term, Cooper came remarkably close to pushing two private member's bills through Parliament, a feat few opposition MPs can claim to have accomplished. He's tirelessly supported victims of impaired driving and championed local causes such as Wynn's Law. Like him or not, he's an effective advocate for issues St. Albertans, Albertans and Canadians care about.

Albertans are counting on MPs like Cooper to make sure our collective voice is heard in Ottawa. The Trudeau Liberals need to show us that they can govern for all Canadians, and Cooper et al have the difficult task of making sure they do just that.