Watch above: Quinn Ohler speaks to Health Minister Stephen Mandel following his Edmonton-Whitemud win.
EDMONTON – Health Minister Stephen Mandel has gained a seat in the Alberta Legislature after being elected MLA for Edmonton-Whitemud Monday.
“I really want to thank the residents of Whitemud for their confidence they bestowed upon us,” he said to the boisterous crowd at his campaign office Monday night. “They’ve been phenomenally warm, friendly and opened their hearts; sometimes critical, which is fair.
“I look forward to working with them over the next 18 months and hopefully quite a bit longer.”
The former Edmonton mayor quickly came out in front, finishing with 42 per cent of the vote.
NDP candidate Bob Turner followed with 22 per cent, the Wildrose’s Tim Grover followed with 19 per cent.
Monday’s four byelections, three in Calgary and one in Edmonton, were widely considered a test for Alberta’s PC party in the wake of the Alison Redford era, which saw the party’s popularity plummet.
The byelections turned out to be no test for the PCs, though; the party won all four seats.
In his victory speech, Mandel credited Prentice for his leadership, saying he has “incredible confidence” in the premier.
“Jim is a great leader, someone who I passionately believe in who will make our province a better place for all of us,” Mandel said.
He also thanked his family before going on to acknowledge the frustrations he said he heard from Albertans as he was out door-knocking.
“Some question our ability to make decisions about health from lack of experience, but I can tell you working with doctors and nurses and pharmacists and people who are in the industry will allow us to find out the answers we need to make. Not answered from the top, but answered working with people.”
Mandel was appointed to the health portfolio last month by Premier Jim Prentice, who also won his seat in Calgary-Foothills.
The byelection outcomes don’t have the potential to change the balance of power.
The Tories held 57 seats in the 87-seat legislature when the byelections were called. The Wildrose had 17, the Liberals five and the NDP four.
The Edmonton-Whitemud riding was previously held by former premier David Hancock, who announced in September he was leaving politics.
With files from The Canadian Press.