It has been a very busy six-week span for former Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche MLA Laila Goodridge. She became a mom to her first child Eoghan, left provincial politics, joined national politics and won her seat in Parliament in the recent federal election.
What's in store for the next six weeks, we asked the new Conservative Party MP.
"Hopefully a little more sleep" she joked. "Eoghan is a great little baby, healthy and happy."
On the political front, Goodridge is looking forward to her new role in the national forum as the riding's Member of Parliament. A provincial member of the Alberta Legislature since 2018 when she won a by-election following the resignation of former MLA Brian Jean, Goodridge says the provincial experience is an asset.
"My previous experience gives me the opportunity to hit the ground running," she told Lakeland This Week, making some time during a busy transition that will see her in Ottawa at the beginning of October for orientation. "Furthermore, I have developed strong relationships with provincial ministers to facilitate more collaboration."
Working with everyone
The results of the Sept. 20 federal election will keep the Conservatives as the opposition party in a minority government run by the Liberal Party. Hand-picked by current Conservative Party leader Erin O'Toole to be the party's candidate in the Fort McMurray-Cold Lake riding, Goodridge said party affiliations aside, she hopes to work with all federal representatives for the good of her constituents.
"I will work to build relationships with colleagues from all parties to try and find ways to collaborate and ensure our voice is heard," she said, adding that issues relating to the energy sector will hold significant importance for her. "Pipelines and energy corridors are items of critical interest and importance for the long term viability of Northeastern Alberta. I will always stand up for our energy sector and more specifically support our oil and gas sector. We need to ensure that we are supporting the viability of our world-class energy sector and the tens of thousands of workers that help keep Canada’s economy going."
That economy, which remains in a slump, will take a multi-pronged approach to improve, says the area's new MP. Working with other levels of government, coordinated partnerships with industrial leaders and community support will all be needed to make a change.
"During these challenging times between the economic recession and the pandemic, we cannot look at any issue in a silo," Goodridge said. "I strongly believe that we need to make sure that every decision being made is moving in the right direction to help our region get back on track."
Goodrige won the Sept. 20 election with 68 per cent of the vote. The voter turnout for the Fort McMurray-Cold Lake riding was just 54 per cent, with 44,000 people of the eligible 80,000 voters in the riding casting ballots. Lac La Biche's Shawn McDonald, the People's Party of Canada candidate finished in second place with 5,500 votes. NDP candidate Garnett Robinson, also from the Lac La Biche area was third with 4,400 votes. Liberal candidate Abdifatah Abdi brought in 3,000 votes, Maverick Party candidate Jonathan Meyers got 479 votes, Green Party candidate Brian Deheer drew 423 votes and Veterans Party candidate Hughie Whitmore got 88 ballots.
The total population of the Fort McMurray-Cold Lake riding is approximately 110,000.