THE CANADIAN PRESSAlberta Premier Jim Prentice, left, celebrates with his wife Karen after winning a seat in the provincial legislature following a byelection in Calgary, Monday, Oct. 27, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Alberta’s official opposition urged Calgary and Edmonton residents to “send the PCs a message” in four byelections on Monday and voters did exactly that – it just wasn’t the message the Wildrose had been hoping for.
The governing PCs swept to victory in all four constituencies, by a large margin in the case of Premier Jim Prentice, who handily earned his seat in Calgary-Foothills.
“Albertans want a lot more action and a lot less talk; they want a lot less politics and a lot more government,” Prentice said in his victory address. “We’re on the right path and we know the work has just begun”
Education Minister Gordon Dirks also earned a seat, albeit by a much narrower margin, in Calgary-Elbow.
“I think we won because we have a tremendous leader in Premier Jim Prentice,” Dirks said, to thunderous applause from the crowd of supporters at his campaign headquarters in the Calgary community of Mission.
Dirks called Prentice “a man of a vision, a man of integrity, a man of great skill, a man who has said this is where our province needs to go, and he’s already begun to take us there.”
Mount Royal political science professor Duane Bratt said it was an impressive win for Prentice’s PCs.
“It’s a strong endorsement  of Jim Prentice, there’s no other way of viewing that. With everything that’s occurred with the Tory party over the last year, for him to come in and win, really, a mini-election where the stakes were so high, where the opposition took out TV ads . . . it’s a pretty strong mandate.”
Bratt, meanwhile, suggested the Wildrose Party may be facing difficult questions from their membership.
“They tried to dampen expectations once these byelections were called, saying, ‘Well these are all PC seats.’ That’s true, but if you’re going to form the government, you’re going to have take seats from the PCs.”
Wildrose leader Danielle Smith said her party – which finished second in two ridings and third in the other two – received a lot of “next time” commitments from prospective voters at the doors and many commented that the party had matured.
“But an upset just wasn’t in the cards for us tonight,” she said. “Tomorrow, we get back to work holding the government to account and providing Albertans with a ready-to-govern alternative in the next election.”
Smith also scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. Tuesday but did not specify the topic.
Mike Ellis won a close race in Calgary-West, topping former school trustee Sheila Taylor.
Former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel handily won in Edmonton-Whitemud, well ahead of the second place candidate from the NDP. Mandel said his party will get to work on the health portfolio.
“We’ve decided from the beginning it’s about working with people. We’ll consult Albertans about what their concerns of on health,” he said.
“We’ll find ways to help those who need help the most. We need to be a province of great heart and great soul.”
— With files from Jeremy Nolais, Yasmin Jaswal & Leah Holoiday