Election 2008: All’s (almost) quiet on the western front

The Conservatives maintained their dominance of the Prairie provinces in Tuesday’s federal election, with the notable exception of a hotly contested race with the New Democratic Party in Saskatchewan.

In Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, Conservative Kelly Block fended off New Democrat Nettie Wiebe. With 149 of 150 polls reporting at 12:54 a.m. (Wednesday), Block’s 45.3 per cent plurality was enough for CTV to declare her the winner over Wiebe’s 44.5 per cent. In the final tally, Block defeated Wiebe by a mere 253 votes.

Block and Wiebe exchanged the first place position several times through the evening. As results from polling stations rolled in, the two were rarely separated by more than one per cent..

The Saskatchewan riding represented the toughest battle the Conservatives faced on the Prairies. Earlier, Conservative Tim Uppal of Edmonton-Sherwood Park managed to fend off independent challenger James Ford and complete the Conservatives’ sweep of Alberta.

Between Manitoba and Alberta, the Tories only failed to carry six ridings. The NDP won Churchill, Elmwood-Transcona, Winnipeg North and Winnipeg Centre, all in Manitoba. Meanwhile, the Liberals captured just two ridings across the Prairies, as Liberal caucus member Ralph Goodale maintained his Saskatchewan riding of Wascana, while in Manitoba, Anita Neville retained her seat in Winnipeg South Centre.