Alberta Party leader Greg Clark with supporters in Calgary-Elbow.

Calgary-Greenway Update: Alberta Party sits it out, Larry Heather and Said Abdulbaki run as Independents.

The Alberta Party has decided to not run a candidate in the March 22, 2016 by-election in the Calgary-Greenway constituency. It was a strange choice by the small political party, which brands itself as a centrist alternative. Its leader, Greg Clark, was elected to the Legislative Assembly in May 2015.

The Alberta Party said the decision to not run a candidate was based on its choice to focus on preparing for the 2019 general election, but the party cannot brand themselves as the “de-facto official opposition,” as it did in a press release yesterday, if they do not participate in by-elections.

By sitting out the by-election, the Alberta Party is ceding ground to the other opposition parties ahead of the 2019 election. What else could this political party be doing that is more important than running a candidate in a by-election?

Here are a list of the other candidates nominated and registered to run in the March 22 by-election:

  • Perennial election candidate and social conservative advocate Larry Heather will run as an Independent candidate. Mr. Heather has run in at least 17 elections since 1984, including as an Independent candidate in Calgary-Heritage in the 2015 federal election and as a Social Credit candidate in the 2014 Calgary-Elbow by-election.
  • Said Abdulbaki will run as an Independent candidate. Mr. Abdulbaki stood as a Liberal candidate in the 2012 and 2015 provincial elections in the neighbouring Calgary-Fort constituency. He also ran as a Wildrose Alliance candidate in the 2008 provincial election in the Calgary-Montrose constituency, which became Calgary-Greenway in 2012.
  • New Democratic Party members nominated Roop Rai at a February 20, 2016 nomination meeting. Ms. Rai is a former radio host and constituency staffer for Calgary-McCall MLA Irfan Sabir.
  • After initially appointing Prabhdeep Gill as a candidate, the Progressive Conservatives changed course and held a nomination vote on February 27, 2016, the day the nomination vote was initially scheduled to happen. The previously appointed candidate, Mr. Gill, defeated three other candidates in the nomination vote.
  • Thana Boonlert, running for the Green Party, was the first candidate to be nominated in February 2016.
  • Past candidate Devinder Toor defeated Robin Martin to win the Wildrose Party nomination on February 26, 2016. Mr. Toor was his party’s candidate in the 2015 election when he placed third with 20 percent of the vote. Mr. Martin is the son-in-law of Calgary-Forest Lawn Member of Parliament Deepak Obhrai.
  • Khalil Karbani defeated Saima Jamal to win the Liberal Party nomination. Mr. Karbani is the president of the Taradale Community Association and was a candidate for the Wildrose Party nomination in the neighbouring Calgary-McCall constituency before the 2012 election. Liberals are hoping to translate some of the federal party’s recent success in Calgary, including former Liberal MLA Darshan Kang’s win in Calgary-Skyview, to this by-election.

https://twitter.com/Dave_Khan/status/702758757969756160

  • The Reform Party of Alberta announced on its Facebook Page that it would not be officially registered as a political party with Elections Alberta in time to contest the by-election. There will not be a Reform Party candidate running in this by-election.

A full list of nomination candidates and their social media links can be found here.

10 thoughts on “Calgary-Greenway Update: Alberta Party sits it out, Larry Heather and Said Abdulbaki run as Independents.

  1. Jerrymacgp

    I can think of nothing more quixotic than running as an Independent. Has any Independent candidate ever won an election anywhere in Canada (aside from the NWT & Nunavut, which do not have a party system)? We have seen Independent members, but they were elected as party candidates and left (or were booted from) their caucuses.

    Reply
    1. Dave Cournoyer Post author

      The election of Independent candidates in Canadian federal and provincial elections are rare but not unheard of.

      Former Liberal MP John Nunziata was re-elected to the House of Commons as an Independent candidate in the 1997 election. He was defeated in the 2000 election.

      Former Reform/Canadian Alliance Party MP Chuck Cadman was re-elected to the House of Commons as an Independent candidate in 2004 representing a BC riding.

      Independent candidate André Arthur was elected to the House of Commons representing a Quebec riding in the 2006 and 2008 federal elections. He was defeated in 2011.

      Independent candidate Vicki Huntington was elected to the BC Legislature in 2009 and re-elected in 2013. She is still an MLA.

      The last time an Independent candidate was elected in Alberta was 1982, when two former Social Credit MLAs – Walt Buck and Raymond Speaker – were re-elected as Independents.

      Reply
  2. Alfredo Louro

    The Alberta Party probably can’t afford to run a campaign, I think. As for the Wildrose-turned-Liberal candidate, that’s just mind-boggling.

    Reply
  3. Ryan

    An article on the small Alberta Party and other nominated candidates, but nothing with regards to the Green Party?

    Reply
  4. D. J. Climenhaga

    In answer to JerryMacGP:

    – Bill Casey, Cumberland-Colchester (N.S.), 2008

    – Andre Arthur, Portneuf (P.Q.), 2008, 2006

    – Chuck Cadman, North Surrey (B.C.), 2004

    And many more in earlier times. In other words, not easy, but possible.

    Reply
  5. Roger

    “Said Abdulbaki will run as an Independent candidate. Mr. Abdulbaki stood as a Liberal candidate in the 2012 and 2015 provincial elections in the neighbouring Calgary-Fort constituency. He also ran as a Wildrose Alliance candidate in the 2008 ”

    “Khalil Karbani defeated Saima Jamal to win the Liberal Party nomination. Mr. Karbani is the president of the Taradale Community Association and was a candidate for the Wildrose Party nomination”

    So it would appear that for these two gentlemen, a personal commitment to a specific political view is not important. Getting elected, under whatever banner is. Liberal/Wildrose, Wildrose/Liberal…what’s the difference!

    Reply
  6. Randy Thorsteinson

    Thank you for the mention of the Reform Party of Alberta not being able to run a candidate in the Calgary Greenway by-election. Elections Alberta informed us that under Alberta election law new political parties will not be registered within sixty days prior to an election. Unfortunately for us we turned in all of our documentation, and over 8,000 signatures as required, twenty nine days prior to the by-election being called.

    We are very disappointed, the purpose of a party is to run candidates and we were diligently preparing for the by-election. We are told that the registration process will resume once the by-election is over and are anticipating our registration to be complete by April 30.

    We will be ready to run in the next election, be it province wide in 2019 or a by-election if the opportunity presents itself.

    Randy Thorsteinson
    Leader
    Reform Party of Alberta

    Reply

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