As the April 24 provincial election campaign began to heat up in early April, the two front-runners in the Drumheller-Stettler constituency had opposing opinions on the contentious issue of property rights.
Incumbent MLA and Progressive Conservative candidate Jack Hayden stood firm on government policies, despite contrary comments from challenger Rick Strankman of the new Wildrose party.
Hayden remained confident that new bills on property rights would protect local property owners, though information from Strankman and his fledgling party suggested otherwise.
On the campaign trail, Strankman pledged change, wiser spending and “a better province,” as he met with 40 supporters in Stettler.
Wildrose leader Danielle Smith also visited Stettler. Smith gave high marks to Strankman, saying he would give Wildrose “a good chance” of winning Drumheller-Stettler.
St. George’s Anglican Church in Stettler honoured minister Rev. Jack Schulze, who retired after 20 years in full-time ministry.
Stettler-and-area community leaders voiced concerns about new limits on the accessibility of Service Canada services in town.
During a campaign stop in the Drumheller-Stettler riding, Premier Alison Redford pledged to upgrade schools and education. She also endorsed cabinet minister and local PC candidate Jack Hayden.
The Stettler RCMP head has proposed new bylaws for the Town of Stettler, with heavier fines and stricter regulations for drinking establishments, that could set new and higher standards for life and behaviour in the community.
“People aren’t getting the message (about the dangers of drunk-driving),” said Sgt. Duncan Babchuk.
“This is where we feel Stettler is behind (in its efforts) to make and keep a safer community. We need to move forward to keep up with other municipalities.”
Snowy and cool weather attracted between 2,500 to 3,000 people indoors to the 32nd annual Stettler and district trade show at the Stettler Recreation Centre. More than 100 exhibitors from Alberta promoted their products and services.
Rick Strankman of the Wildrose party became the MLA for the Drumheller-Stettler constituency when he unseated incumbent PC MLA Jack Hayden of Endiang in the April 24 provincial election.
Strankman topped the polls with 7,451 votes, ahead of Hayden with 6,573. Far behind were Aditya Rao of the New Democratic Party with 416, Liberal candidate Cam Roset with 362, and Andrew Berdahl of the Green Party with 282.
“For me, it was bittersweet,” said Strankman, 58, a farmer from Altario.
Provincially, the PC party won a majority with 61 seats under rookie Premier Alison Redford, while the Wildrose captured 17 seats under Danielle Smith. The Liberals won five ridings, and the NDP took four.
Stettler Alliance Church could be on the move. Church leaders opened their lot on Highway 12 to accommodate highway commercial land development for the Town of Stettler.