Donovan ends 25-year Tory run in Little Bow

Tuesday, 24 April 2012 02:01 Lethbridge Herald

Caroline Zentner

The Wildrose Party has put an end to a 25-year Conservative dynasty in the riding of Little Bow.
Ian Donovan, a grain farmer from the Mossleigh area, had a solid victory of more than 2,000 votes.
“I’m very excited. We poured our heart into this,” Donovan said in a telephone interview. “The candidates I ran against — John and Everett and Bev — truly it was a pleasure to run against them because we kept sticking to the policies and the parties and there was absolutely no personal comments, no personal attacks.”
Several issues were top of mind for voters in Little Bow, Donovan said. They included Bill 2, the Education Act, Bill 50, the Electric Statutes Amendment Act and  Bill 36, the Land Stewardship Act.
“Property owners are not happy with it so I hope to be able to bring that forward and either make some amendments or get the province to repeal them and we’ll figure out from there what happens,” he said.
Donovan brings 16 years of political experience as a councillor in the County of Vulcan. He was first elected when he was 19 years old and he said that track record stood him in good stead with voters.
“I’ve sat on county council for 16 years, I was reeve for two years, that came up very key to people because there’s a trust level,” he said.
Voters in Little Bow obviously felt it was time for a change and Conservative candidate John Kolk was quick to congratulate Donovan via text message.
The rural riding of Little Bow, which encompasses a large area that includes Coaldale, Enchant, Vulcan, Picture Butte and the Siksika Nation, has a history of giving elected politicians longtime support.
The Conservative riding was held by Barry McFarland for 20 years. He was first elected in 1992 and was elected to a sixth term in 2008 with 58 per cent of the vote. McFarland recently announced he would be retiring from provincial politics. Before McFarland, Ray Speaker had represented Little Bow as a Conservative since 1987.
“There was frustration with the Conservative party and they had an option and they took it,” Kolk said. “We worked hard, we ran a very above-board campaign with no poison and people had the opportunity to make a choice and they did. I have enough respect for democracy that I was honoured I could run. I enjoyed it and now I get to play with my grandchildren and do a little farming.”
Kolk said the Conservative majority was a good outcome for Alberta although he’s concerned that more than half of Alberta’s agricultural sector is now represented by members who aren’t part of the ruling party.
“We don’t have anybody who has a clue about irrigation, about the intense cropping that we do down here, in government and so for southern Alberta this is a bad news story,” he said.