BANFF-KANANASKIS – Miranda Rosin’s four-year term as MLA in Banff-Kananaskis has seemingly come to a bittersweet end, to say the least.
Mere minutes after making a victory speech on election night May 29, with what looked to be a locked win, the riding’s seat was swept from under the UCP incumbent as advance and mobile votes finished tallying to put NDP candidate Sarah Elmeligi ahead by 199 votes, according to Elections Alberta unofficial results.
While Rosin declined and has since not responded to requests from the Outlook for another interview after results changed and following the interview she gave shortly after her speech, she did reflect fondly on her first term in office.
“We’ve accomplished a lot in the Bow Valley in the past four years,” said Rosin. “It’s hard to pick one thing that stands out, but I think generally, I worked really hard to represent the tourism community. Not just the business owners and leaders, but the staff who work in hospitality, those who are overworked because there’s labour shortages, mid-level management, the owners and the entrepreneurs.”
Being appointed as the parliamentary secretary for tourism last November pushed her to work even harder for the industry, the people and the workers she cares about so much at the decision-making table, she said.
“It was one of my biggest honours, my past four years,” said Rosin. “It certainly worked, but I hope I’ll be able to continue into the future.”
On March 23, Rosin introduced Bill 208, which aims to establish a special designation in the Municipal Government Act for tourism communities, something the municipalities of Banff and Canmore have long asked for given the pressures on residents and expenditures to support an ever-growing visitor population.
The bill reached the floor of the Alberta legislature, but the lottery system afforded to MLAs meant that by chance, it did not get there until the last day of the spring session. Thus, the bill was shelved, not having adequate time to pass.
Prior to entering the political arena and running for the Banff-Kananaskis candidacy in 2019, Rosin, who was born and raised in Saskatchewan, was a market development manager with The Coca-Cola Company. Her background is in management and business development, having received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Regina.
Rosin described her first four years as MLA as an enormous growth experience.
“It has been tremendous,” she said. “I think I can probably say the same for all of my colleagues. We all ran for office knowing that we had a lot of work to do, a lot to do to correct the province, but I don’t think any of us expected the hand we were dealt with the collapse of oil and then a two-year pandemic.
“I am so honoured to have one of the few voices at the decision-making table during some of the most pivotal times in our nation’s history. It’s been a tremendous learning experience and I hope I can take all of what I’ve learned the past four years into another four years and represent our communities even better than I did the first four.”
With what still seemed like a win for the UCP in the riding, Rosin went on to talk about her priorities for the next term, including healthcare and affordability issues.
“We know we need to fix the health care system, we need to bring wait times down, we need to expand capacity and ensure that every Albertan has the quick and timely access to the health care system that they’re paying for,” she said.
As Rosin began discussing plans to address affordability, particularly in the Bow Valley, her campaign manager, Amber Ruddy, pulled her away as vote counts shifted in favour of Elmeligi.
What began as a celebration quickly morphed into quiet, hurried conversations among her campaign team and supporters left at the Powderhorn Saloon in Bragg Creek as midnight approached, with her seat in the political arena suddenly at risk.
Votes continued to stay in favour of the NDP, and a short while later, after a few private addresses with supporters in the room, Rosin left the saloon with several people trailing behind her. Her partner told media she would not be taking any further questions as they exited.
Rosin has yet to announce whether she will concede defeat or call on Elections Alberta for a recount.
Mount Royal political scientist Lori Williams said a review will occur given the vote count, but an automatic recount will not due to the margin of victory being higher than 101 votes.
If a count is 101 votes or higher, a verification review will take place, but it will not be a complete review.
“If they want a more thorough review – a judicial recount, then they’d have to satisfy a judge,” said Williams.
“This means they’ll check things like whether there were any questions out of the results based on an objection and whether that objection has merit to it,” said Williams. “They also inspect rejected ballots in particular and decide on the validity of each one of those, and will basically do a review of the records in the ballot to the level that satisfies the returning officer.”
That decision, however, can also be appealed within no more than eight days of the announcement of the official results, expected June 8. If Rosin wants to go beyond the verification review, she will need to file an appeal.
That process involves making an application in court and a judge has to find reasonable basis for recounting, Williams noted.
“It’s a higher threshold and you’ve got to have some basis for saying that there was a problem with the original count, such that, in this case, 199 votes would have gone the other way.”
Typically, a judicial review is more likely when it’s a closer count, said Williams, and when there is a recount, even within a margin of as little as seven votes like that which has been triggered in the Calgary-Acadia riding under the loss of Justice Minister and Solicitor Tyler Shandro to NDP challenger Diana Batten, it often confirms the winner.
As is the case in other ridings, the presence of fringe parties such as the Solidarity Movement of Alberta and Green Party of Alberta, which had candidacies occupied by Kyle Jubb and Regan Boychuk, respectively, in Banff-Kananaskis, may have also played a part in the outcome of the election by splitting the vote. Although, there were more Green party voters (342) who may have been more likely to vote NDP than those who voted for the Solidarity Movement (156), who may have been more likely to vote UCP.
Regardless of the outcome, it was clear from the get-go that it was going to be a close race in the swing riding, Williams added.
“The polls were saying it was going to be close. We knew that throughout the province it was going to be a steeper climb for the NDP, but I don’t think these results in Banff-Kananaskis surprise anybody because it was just too close to call.”
The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. The position covers Îyârhe (Stoney) Nakoda First Nation and Kananaskis Country.