Author Archives: Dave Cournoyer

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn tops Audreys Book’ Edmonton Bestseller list this week

Here is the list of the top 10 fiction and non-fiction titles sold in Edmonton for the week ended Aug. 28, 2017, compiled by Audreys Books and provided by the Book Publishers Association of Alberta.

Edmonton Fiction Bestsellers

1. The Alice Network – Kate Quinn
2. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry – Fredrik Backman
3. Selection Day – Aravind Adiga
4. Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien
5. The Cafe by the Sea: A Novel – Jenny Colgan
6. The Force – Don Winslow
7. Men Without Women – Haruki Murakami
8. By Gaslight – Steven Price
9. Rather Be the Devil – Ian Rankin
10. The History of Bees – Maja Lunde

Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers

1. Finding Gobi: A Little Dog With a Very Big Heart – Dion Leonard, Craig Borlase
2. Voice in the Wild: A Memoir – Laurie Sarkadi
3. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry – Neil deGrasse Tyson
4. The Glass Castle – Jeanette Walls
5. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari
6. Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy – Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg
7. Yardwork: The Biography of an Urban Place – Daniel Coleman
8. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future – Ashlee Vance
9. The Preservatory: Seasonally Inspired Recipes for Creating and Cooking with Artisanal Preserves – Lee Murphy
10. Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story – Diane Ackerman

 

Alberta Politics Roundup: It rarely slows down, even in the summer

Photo: Grande Prairie-Smoky MLA Todd Loewen, Livingstone-Macleod MLA Pat Stier, UCP leadership candidate Brian Jean, and Little Bow MLA David Schneider. (credit: Brian Jean’s Facebook page)

It feels like politics rarely slow down in Alberta, even in the summer. Here is a quick look at some of what has been happening:

New UCP caucus has a spending problems

A day after the United Conservative Party lined up to criticize Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci, it was revealed that the UCP caucus is facing a $337,000-deficit this year. The report triggered criticism of former Wildrose leader Brian Jean (pictured in the photo above) from Bonnyville-Cold Lake UCP MLA Scott Cyr and party leadership candidate Doug Schweitzer.

Cyr said Wildrose MLAs were stonewalled when they requested information about ballooning staff at the former official opposition caucus office.

Schweitzer said the new party will not be a credible voice for fiscal management if it cannot manage its own internal budget. Schweitzer has described Jean’s leadership platform as “big government” and is proposing deep cuts to the provincial budget if he becomes premier in 2019.

Bilous hosts town halls in Coal Communities

Minister of Economic Development and Trade Deron Bilous will be spending much of the next week visiting communities impacted by the phase-out of coal fired power plants. Bilous will be hosting town hall meetings in Hanna on August 27 and 28, Forestburg on August 28 and 29, and Leduc, Warburg and Wabamun on August 31. Bilous admitted earlier this month that the New Democratic Party government needed to improve its communications with these communities (I wrote about this in Nov. 2016).

Kenney too busy to meet with kd lang

When Jason Kenney was asked why he was not attending any Calgary Pride Week events, he initially said it was because he did not get an invitation. When he received an invitation from Alberta-born internationally successful musician kd lang to meet in person to discuss LGBTQ issues, Kenney’s spokesperson said the UCP leadership candidate was too busy. It appears as though Kenney will go to far lengths not to do anything that would alienate the social conservative supporters he hopes will help make him leader of the UCP in October 2017.

Hehr on the move

Calgary-Centre Member of Parliament Kent Hehr is expected to be shuffled from his role as Minister of Veterans Affairs as Newfoundland MP Seamus O’Regan is moved into the role. When Hehr was appointed to cabinet in 2015, he became the first Liberal cabinet minister from Calgary since the early 1970s. It is not yet known what his new role will be.

Kang expected to be booted from Liberal caucus

The Hill Times reports that Calgary MP Darshan Kang is expected to be removed from the Liberal Caucus this week “after an investigation into sexual harassment allegations levelled against him by a young staffer unearthed troubling findings.” Kang was elected as the MP for Calgary-Skyview in 2015 after serving two-terms as the Liberal MLA for Calgary-McCall.

Keller out of Sturgeon River-Parkland race

Gerry Keller, the former chief of staff to Rona Ambrose, has decided not to enter the Conservative Party nomination to run in the upcoming Sturgeon River-Parkland by-election. Current candidates running for the nomination include local party organizer Jamie Mozeson, recently relocated BC-businessman Rick Peterson and political staffer Dane Lloyd.

 

Photo: Former PC MLAs Jacquie Fenske, Don Scott, Linda Johnson and Ron Casey

Former PC MLAs running for municipal office in 2017

Alberta’s 2015 provincial election resulted in the election of 75 new MLAs in the 87 seat Legislative Assembly. More than two years after that historic election, a group of former Progressive Conservative MLAs have put forward their names to stand in the October 16, 2017 municipal elections. Here is a quick look at some of the former PC MLAs jumping into municipal politics:

  • Jacquie Fenske is running for Mayor of Strathcona County. Fenske served as the PC MLA for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville from 2012 until 2015 and previous to that as a Strathcona County councillor. Fenske was unseated by New Democrat Jessica Littlewood in the 2015 election.
  • Former Fort McMurray-Conklin PC MLA Don Scott is running to become the next mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. Scott served on council from 2010 to 2012 and as MLA from 2012 until he was unseated by Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean in 2015. He served as Associate Minister of Accountability, Transparency and Transformation from 2012 to 2014 and Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education from 2014 until 2015.
  • Linda Johnson announced she is running for Calgary City Council in Ward 11. Johnson was the PC MLA for Calgary-Glenmore from 2012 until 2015, when she was defeated by 6 votes by New Democrat Anam Kazim. Current Ward 11 councillor Brian Pincott, who is not seeking re-election this year, is considering a run for the NDP in Calgary-Mountain View in the next provincial election.
  • Former Banff-Cochrane PC MLA Ron Casey is running for Mayor of Canmore, an office he held from 1998 to 2001 and 2004 until entering provincial politics in 2012. Casey will challenge John Borrowman, who was elected mayor in the by-election following the 2012 provincial election. Casey was unseated in the 2015 election by New Democrat Cameron Westhead.
  • Former PC MLA David Xiao is running for city council in Ward 5. Xiao was the MLA for Edmonton-McClung from 2008 to 2012 and served as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Employment and Immigration. ‘Edmonton-McClung MLA David Xiao’s claimed travel expenses of nearly $35,000 last year, more than any of his Edmonton colleagues,’ the CBC reported on Jan. 22, 2013. In 2014, he was disqualified from running for the federal Conservative nomination in the Edmonton-West riding. He was defeated in the 2015 election by New Democrat Lorne Dach.
  • Former PC MLA Art Johnston is running for Calgary City Council in Ward 13. Johnston was MLA for Calgary-Hays from 2004 to 2012. Johnston has the distinction of being the only MLA to endorse Alison Redford in the first round of voting in the 2011 PC leadership race and he served as parliamentary assistant to premier Redford from 2011 until 2012. He lost two bids to win his party’s nominations in advance of the 2012 election – to Rick Fraser in Calgary-South East and Ric McIver in Calgary-Hays.
  • Dave Quest had initially announced plans to run for Strathcona County council but has since withdrawn his name from the race. He served as the PC MLA for Strathcona-Sherwood Park from 2004 to 2015 until he was unseated by New Democrat Estefania Cortes-Vargas.

If I have missed any former MLAs running in this year’s municipal election, please let me know and I will mention them in future updates. Thanks!

Former PC MLA now organizing for the Alberta Party

Blake Pedersen MLA Medicine Hat

Blake Pedersen

Speaking of former PC MLAs… Blake Pedersen is listed as the contact person for upcoming annual general meetings for Alberta Party associations in the Medicine Hat and Cypress-Medicine Hat constituencies.

Pedersen was elected in 2012 as the Wildrose Party MLA for Medicine Hat and crossed the floor to the PCs in 2014. During his time as MLA he served as the Official Opposition critic for Culture and Innovation and Advanced Education.

He was unseated by New Democrat Bob Wanner in the 2015 election.

The Treasure by Alberta author Suzanne LaMontagne leads Audreys Book’ Edmonton Bestseller list this week

Here is the list of the top 10 fiction and non-fiction titles sold in Edmonton for the week ended Aug. 20, 2017, compiled by Audreys Books and provided by the Book Publishers Association of Alberta.

EDMONTON FICTION BESTSELLERS

1. The Treasure – Suzanne Lamontagne*
2. Daimonion – J.P. Jackson*
3. The Alice Network – Kate Quinn
4, We All Love the Beautiful Girls – Joanne Proulx
5. Nightingale – Kristin Hannah
6. The Lying Game – Ruth Ware
7. Girl in Snow – Danya Kukafka
8. The History of Bees – Maja Lunde
9. Late Show – Michael Connelly
10. Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien

EDMONTON NON-FICTION BESTSELLERS

1. Reality Fitness: An Incremental, Achievable, & Sustainable Weight Loss Method – Angela De Jong*
2. Welcome to Radio! – Bob Layton*
3. The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from A Secret World – Peter Wohlleben, Tim Flannery
4. Tales of the Modern Nomad – John Early
5. Preserving on Paper: Seventeenth-Century Englishwomen’s Receipt Books – Kristine Kowalchuk*
6. Modern Death: How Medicine Changed the End of Life – Haider Warraich
7. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body – Roxane Gay
8. The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in Healthy Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain – Steven R. Gundry MD
9. The Social Life of Ink: Culture, Wonder, And Our Relationship With The Written Word – Ted Bishop*
10. The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story – Diane Ackerman

*Alberta Author +Alberta Publisher

Edmonton City Hall

55 days left until Edmonton’s municipal elections

With 55 days left until the October 16, 2017 municipal elections in Alberta, more candidates have put their names forward to run for public office. Here are some of the latest updates to the list of candidates running in Edmonton’s municipal election for City Council, the Edmonton Catholic School District and the Edmonton Public School Board.:

If you know any other candidates who have announced their intentions to stand for Mayor, Council, or School Board and are not on this list, please send me an email at david.cournoyer@gmail.com. I will add them. Thank you!

Paper Teeth by Alberta author Lauralyn Chow tops Audreys List of Bestselling Books

Here is the list of the top 10 fiction and non-fiction titles sold in Edmonton for the week ended Aug. 13, 2017, compiled by Audreys Books and provided by the Book Publishers Association of Alberta.

Edmonton Fiction Bestsellers

1. Paper Teeth – Lauralyn Chow * +
2. The Late Show – Michael Connelly
3. Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien
4, Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur
5. Raincheck – Marlo Lanz *
6. The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead
7. Camino Island – John Grisham
8. Seven Stones to Stand or Fall – Diana Gabaldon
9. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
10. House of Names – Colm Tóibín

Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers

1. Confederation Drive – Janice MacDonald * +
2. Fifty Percent of Mountaineering Is Uphill – Susanna Pfisterer
3. Welcome to Radio! – Bob Layton *
4. Dunkirk: The History Behind the Major Motion Picture – Joshua Levine
5. No is Not Enough: Resisting the New Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need – Naomi Klein
6. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow – Yuval Noah Harari
7. Rocks, Ridges, and Rivers: Geological Wonders of Banff, Yoho and Jasper National Parks – Dale Leckie *
8. The Beauty of Discomfort: How What We Avoid is What We Need – Amanda Lang
9. Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy – Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg
10. You Might Be from Canada If… – Michael de Adder

*Alberta Author
+ Alberta Publisher

Wildrose leader Brian Jean campaigned with Derek Fildebrandt in Strathmore-Brooks on the first day of the 2015 election. (Photo from Brian Jean's Facebook Page).

Derek Fildebrandt has a very, very bad week.

Photo: In happier times, as Derek Fildebrandt campaigned alongside Wildrose leader Brian Jean in Strathmore-Brooks on the first day of the 2015 election. (Photo from Brian Jean’s Facebook Page).

Over the course of eight days, Strathmore-Brooks MLA Derek Fildebrandt went from being a potential leadership candidate to stepping down from the United Conservative Party Caucus.

As a former spokesperson for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and Official Opposition finance critic in Alberta’s Legislative Assembly, he had earned a reputation as a relentlessly partisan critic of the old Progressive Conservative and current New Democratic Party governments. His reputation as a fiscal crusader, and his political future, were put in question this week.

Here is a quick look at the past eight days in FIldebrandt’s political world:

August 8, 2017: Former Wildrose Party finance critic and United Conservative Party finance co-critic Derek Fildebrandt announces he will not run for the leadership of the new party. He tells reporters than he will instead use his United Liberty PAC to push the party and leadership candidates to adopt libertarian policies.

He takes a direct shot at former Wildrose leader Brian Jean, now a candidate for the UCP, saying that “he is not the best man to lead the party and lead Alberta.” (Background: Jean attempted to suspend Fildebrandt from the Wildrose Caucus in June 2016).

August 9, 2017: Postmedia reports that Fildebrandt has been renting his taxpayer-subsidized downtown Edmonton apartment on Airbnb. Fildebrandt tells the media to “Find someone under 35 with a downtown apartment that doesn’t let their apartment if they’re gone half the year.

August 10, 2017: Fildebrandt issues a statement saying he plans to donate the $2,555 he earned through Airbnb to the provincial debt. ‘I’m not interested in letting the politics of smear distract from the real issues,’ his statement read.

Rather than focusing on complaining about people trying to smear him, he should acknowledge that it was a mistake and he should apologize,” Premier Rachel Notley tells reporters.

Finance Minister Joe Ceci calls on Fildebrandt to apologize for his actions. “The public puts a lot of faith in their elected officials, and when people act like that I think they destroy that faith,” Ceci told reporters.

Alberta Party leader Greg Clark calls for penalties for MLAs who break reimbursement rules and writes to Legislative Assembly Speaker Bob Wanner to ask for an audit of all MLA living expenses.

Late that night, Fildebrandt announces he is taking leave from his position as UCP finance co-critic and is leaving on vacation.

August 14, 2017: Clark releases documents that he suggests show Fildebrandt claimed meal expenses and an MLA per-diem for the same meal nine times. Fildebrandt releases a statement admitting that there “were some administrative errors in processing meal receipts.

These expense claims are concerning and appear to be part of a larger pattern of behaviour that is unacceptable for a member of the United Conservative Party caucus,” United Conservative Party leader Nathan Cooper said in an statement

August 15, 2017: CBC reports that ‘Edmonton police conducted an investigation and on June 14, 2016, charged Fildebrandt under the provincial traffic act with leaving the scene of an accident and failing to notify the owner of the damaged vehicle.’ Cooper tells CBC he did not know about the charge. The trial was adjourned until September 6, 2017, when Fildebrandt is expected to present his evidence.

Late tonight, Fildebrandt issued a statement on his Facebook page where he took two swipes at the media before announcing his plans to leave the UCP caucus and sit as an Independent MLA.

Doug Schweitzer United Conservative Party

Rebel Media becomes a wedge issue in the United Conservative Party leadership race

This weekend’s violent march of Nazis and white supremacists through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia made international headlines and also had repercussions for the United Conservative Party leadership race in Alberta.

Leadership candidate Doug Schweitzer, a Calgary lawyer who is trying to position himself as a social moderate in the contest, used this weekend’s dark events south of the border to call on Jason Kenney and Brian Jean to denounce Rebel Media. The fringe right-wing website is more of an opposition group than a media organization and is seen to be closely allied with “alt-right” organizers in Canada and the United States.

“Enough is enough. We have to be better than this in Canada. Stand up to them for a change. We all need to lead by example,” Schweitzer tweeted.

Founders of the website include Ezra Levant, who, along with Kenney was a member of the “snack pack” in the mid-1990s, and Hamish Marshall, who is Jean’s campaign manager and was campaign manager for Andrew Scheer‘s successful federal leadership bid.

Many Wildrose Party and federal Conservative politicians have supported Levant’s Rebel website on social media, through online interviews, and participation in rallies and events organized by Levant and his employees.

Schweitzer’s challenge to Jean and Kenney will undoubtedly result in nasty pushback from a legion of right-wing twitter users, which I am sure he is prepared to respond to. But drawing a line helps Schweitzer differentiate himself from the two major candidates in the race, who have both been seen to be sympathetic or supportive of Levant’s Rebel website, and signals what kind of conservatives might not be welcome in a United Conservative Party led by Doug Schweitzer.

2012 Derek Fildebrandt to 2017 Derek Fildebrandt: No Tax Dollars for Airbnb

Photos: 2012 Derek Fildebrandt (above), 2017 Derek Fildebrandt (below).

For Immediate Release

CALGARY – Standing in front of a giant inflatable pork chop, 2012 Derek Fildebrandt denounced 2017 Derek Fildebrandt for renting his government-subsidized downtown Edmonton apartment on Airbnb.

Derek Fildebrandt Alberta Wildrose MLA

2017 Derek Fildebrandt

“People with enough money to support themselves and rent out government-subsidized second homes on Airbnb shouldn’t be the beneficiaries of taxpayer subsidized housing,” said 2012 Derek Fildebrandt, the then-Alberta spokesperson for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

“Making $134,000 dollars doesn’t make you rich, but it makes you capable of standing on your own two feet. If an MLA isn’t passing the smell test then it’s time for the party leader to do the right thing, and kick this person out,” continued 2012 Derek.

“Taxpayers pay good money to help house MLAs and this money is clearly going to people who don’t need or deserve it,” said 2012 Derek.

“These news reports strongly suggest that a system intended to help MLAs is being gamed and that some people are allowing it to be gamed,” fumed 2012 Derek. “We need a full audit of MLA Housing Allowance to determine the extent of this practice.”

2012 Derek also reiterated his belief in MLA recall.

“We’ve always stood for recall but 2017 Derek makes the case better than we ever could. So we want to give Albertans, and voters in Strathmore-Brooks specifically, the right to recall their MLA,” he said.

“I am writing my nomination for the Teddy Awards this morning and 2017 Derek is at the top of my list,” said 2012 Derek, as he poked the giant pork chop with an oversized cardboard fork.

– 30 –

(The above piece is satire, but most of the quotes are adapted from CTF press releases and media reports)

Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt faced a bizarre 72 hour suspension from the Official Opposition caucus this week.

Derek Fildebrandt caught renting government-subsidized apartment on Airbnb

United Conservative MLA Derek Fildebrandt has been renting his government-subsidized downtown Edmonton apartment on Airbnb, according to a report by one of Postmedia’s Edmonton newspapers.

MLAs who live outside of the Edmonton area are eligible to receive a housing allowance to use toward a residence in the capital city, but the rules appear to be silent on whether an MLA can rent their government-subsidized accommodations on Airbnb while they are not there.

According to the Postmedia report, “between January and March, eight Airbnb renters reviewed the apartment. Over the same three months, Fildebrandt claimed $7,720 for accommodation in Edmonton.”

While the housing allowance makes sense, the entitlement is certainly not meant to be a secondary source of income for the MLA.

This might not be as big surprise if Fildebrandt were some Tory good ol’ boy, but he is someone who built his political career around attacking public spending by elected officials.

From the time he arrived in Alberta to work as the local spokesperson for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, he was a very spiky thorn in the side of the old Progressive Conservative government. As the Wildrose Party finance critic since 2015, he has been an unabashed partisan in his attacks against Rachel Notley’s New Democratic Party government.

This story comes only days after Fildebrandt announced he would not run for the leadership of the United Conservative Party. In one media report, he blamed the story on Brian Jean’s “backroom operators.”

Fildebrandt could have easily used this as an opportunity to make a point about public spending by claiming the funds he received through renting his government-subsidized Airbnb and applying for a lower housing allowance. But instead, he now says he will use the funds to help pay down Alberta’s provincial debt – after he got caught.

UPDATE: Fildebrandt announced last night that he is on-leave from his position as Finance co-critic for the United Conservative Party and is leaving the province on vacation.

The Late Show, by Michael Connelly, tops Audreys Books Edmonton Bestseller List this Week

Here is the list of the top 10 fiction and non-fiction titles sold in Edmonton for the week ended Aug. 6, 2017, compiled by Audreys Books and provided by the Book Publishers Association of Alberta.

EDMONTON FICTION BESTSELLERS

1. The Late Show – Michael Connelly
2. Ministry of Utmost Happiness – Arundhati Roy
3. The Last Neanderthal – Claire Cameron
4. A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
5. The Nix – Nathan Hill
6. The Alice Network – Kate Quinn
7. Truly Madly Guilty – Liane Moriarty
8. The Scribe of Siena – Melodie Winawer
9. Faithful – Alice Hoffman
10. The Bosun Chair – Jennifer Bowering Delisle*

EDMONTON NON-FICTION BESTSELLERS

1. Reality Fitness: An Incremental, Achievable, & Sustainable Weight Loss Method – Angela De Jong
2. No Is Not Enough: Resisting the New Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need – Naomi Klein
3. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry – Neil deGrasse Tyson
4. Finding Gobi: A Little Dog with a Very Big Heart – Dion Leonard, Craig Borlase
5. On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century – Timothy Snyder
6. The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America – Thomas King
7. Gutenberg’s Fingerprint: Paper, Pixels and the Lasting Impression of Books – Merilyn Simonds
8. Keeping My Sisters’ Secrets: The Moving True Story of Three Sisters Born into Poverty and their Fight for Survival – Beezy Marsh
9. Our Place: Changing the Nature of Alberta – Kevin Van Tighem*
10. Welcome to Radio! – Bob Layton*

*Alberta Author

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien tops Audreys Bestseller List

Here is the list of the top 10 fiction and non-fiction titles sold in Edmonton for the week ended July 30, 2017, compiled by Audreys Books and provided by the Books Publishers Association of Alberta.

Fiction

  1. Do Not Say We Have Nothing — Madeleine Thien

    Do Not Say We Have Nothing — Madeleine Thien

    Do Not Say We Have Nothing — Madeleine Thien

  2. Milk and Honey — Rupi Kaur
  3. Beren and Lúthien — J. R. R. Tolkien
  4. The Alice Network — Kate Quinn
  5. The Handmaid’s Tale — Margaret Atwood
  6. The Whistler — John Grisham
  7. The Nightingale — Kristin Hannah
  8. Bit Riot — Douglas Coupland
  9. Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains — Yasuko Thanh
  10. Anything is Possible — Elizabeth Strout

Non-Fiction

  1. Reality Fitness: An Incremental, Achievable, and Sustainable Weight Loss Method — Angela deJong*
  2. Among the Walking Wounded: Soldiers, Survival, and PTSD — John Conrad*
  3. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry — Neil deGrasse Tyson
  4. Welcome to Radio! My Life in Broadcasting, So Far — Bob Layton*
  5. Dementia in the Family: Practical Advice from a Caregiver — Lee Cardwell*
  6. No is Not Enough: Resisting the New Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need — Naomi Klein
  7. The Glass Castle — Jeannette Walls
  8. Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency — Joshua Green
  9. Collaborating with the Enemy: How to Work with People You Don’t Agree with or Like or Trust — Adam Kahane
  10. Confederation Drive — Janice MacDonald*

*Alberta author, Alberta Publisher

Sturgeon River-Parkland by-election.

Sturgeon River-Parkland by-election to replace Rona Ambrose to be called by end of 2017

A federal by-election will be held in Sturgeon River-Parkland in the coming months following the resignation of Conservative Member of Parliament Rona Ambrose. Ambrose served as MP for this riding from 2015 to 2017 and as MP for the now defunct Edmonton-Spruce Grove riding from 2004 to 2015.

A by-election must be called by December 31, 2017.

This is a very safe Conservative riding.

Ambrose earned 43,220 votes in the October 2015 election, compared to 9,586 votes for Liberal Travis Dueck, 6,166 for New Democrat Guy Desforges, 1,875 votes for Green Brendon Greene and 690 for Christian Heritage candidate Ernest Chauvet.

In order to find a competitive race in this riding, you have to go all the way back to a 1986 by-election, when parts of the riding were included in the former Pembina riding. In that year’s by-election, Progressive Conservative Walter Van de Walle narrowly edged out New Democrat and former Edmonton mayor Ivor Dent by 274 votes.

No doubt an indication of their political strength in the riding, the Conservatives appear to be the only party with an active candidate nomination race underway. Here is a look at the candidates, both declared and prospective:

  • According to her online biography, Conservative Party activist Jamie Mozeson has worked as a political staffer in the offices of a few prominent Conservative politicians, including former Stony Plain MLA Stan Woloshyn, Edmonton MP Mike Lake, Premier Jim Prentice and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. She recently served as Alberta Regional Organizer and Target Seat Manager during the 2015 election.
  • Vancouver businessman Rick Peterson placed 11th out of 13 candidates in the recent Conservative Party leadership race and is reported to be considering running for the Conservative Party’s nomination in this by-election. According to recent comments posted on Twitter, he is moving to Edmonton this month, presumably to run in the by-election.
  • Garry Keller does not appear to have officially announced his candidacy, but there was speculation by Ottawa media following Ambrose’s resignation that he might run in the by-election. Keller, who is from Stony Plain, served as Ambrose’s chief of staff and previously served as chief of staff for Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird. He worked as Legislative Assistant to former area MP John Williams from 1997 to 2006.

Ambrose appointed to blue ribbon NAFTA Panel

It was announced today that Ambrose will be appointed to the Canadian government’s North American Free Trade Agreement advisory panel ahead of renegotiation discussions with the United States and Mexico. Ambrose joins 12 other panelists, including Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff, fellow former Conservative MP James Moore, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley‘s former Chief of Staff Brian Topp.

Don Iveson Mayor Edmonton 2017 election

81 days left until Edmonton’s Municipal Elections

Don Iveson officially launched his campaign for re-election as Mayor of Edmonton at an event at La Cite Francophone yesterday. Here is the video of his campaign launch speech, which is also available on his Facebook page.

It's a beautiful night to launch the re-election campaign! The one and only Julian Faid has kicked off the evening's program and we'll be live with Don's speech here at La Cité Francophone starting at 8pm.

Posted by Don Iveson for Mayor on Wednesday, July 26, 2017

With 81 days left until the October 16, 2017 municipal elections in Alberta, more candidates have put their names forward to run for public office. Here are some of the latest updates to the list of candidates running in Edmonton’s municipal election for City Council and the Edmonton Public School Board:

  • Bob Ligertwood is running for mayor. He is the owner of Naked Cyber Cafe and Expresso Bar and he previously ran for mayor in 2007 and 2010.
  • Felix Amenaghawom is running in Ward 4. Amenaghawom is an Assistant General Supervisor with the City of Edmonton.
  • Former Progressive Conservative MLA David Xiao is running for city council in Ward 5. Xiao was the MLA for Edmonton-McClung from 2008 to 2012 and served as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Employment and Immigration. ‘Edmonton-McClung MLA David Xiao’s claimed travel expenses of nearly $35,000 last year, more than any of his Edmonton colleagues,’ the CBC reported on Jan. 22, 2013. In 2014, he was disqualified from running for the federal Conservative nomination in the Edmonton-West riding. He was defeated in the 2015 election by New Democrat Lorne Dach.
  • Glenda Williams is running for City Council in Ward 10.
  • Shelagh Dunn is running for Edmonton Public School Board in Ward C. Dunn is a psychologist who has worked as a counsellor in schools and at post-secondary institutions, and taught high school and post-secondary students about community engagement and mental health.
  • Saira Wagner is running for Edmonton Public School Board in Ward I.
  • Jeff Lee is running for the Edmonton Catholic School Board in Ward 73. He is the owner of the The Homework Centre, located in St. Gabriel School.

If you know any other candidates who have announced their intentions to stand for Mayor, Council, or School Board and are not on this list, please send me an email at david.cournoyer@gmail.com. I will add them. Thank you!

Alphabet Stage, a children’s book by Linda Phillips and Denise Hayward, returns to top of Audreys Edmonton Bestseller list

Here is the list of the top 10 fiction and non-fiction titles sold in Edmonton for the week ended July 23, 2017, compiled by Audreys Books and provided by the Books Publishers Association of Alberta.

EDMONTON FICTION BESTSELLERS

1. Alphabet Stage (Children’s) – Linda M. Phillips & Denise V. Hayward

2. Swimming Lessons – Claire Fuller
3. The Alice Network – Kate Quinn
4. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
5. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness – Arundhati Roy
6. Here I Am – Jonathan Safran Foer
7. Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien
8. The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
9. Camino Island – John Grisham
10. The Spawning Grounds – Gail Angerson-Dargatz

EDMONTON NON-FICTION BESTSELLERS

1. On the Road with the Coking Ladies: Let’s Get Grilling – Phyllis Hinz, Lamont
MacKay
2. Welcome to Radio! – Bob Layton*
3. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Harari
4. Embers: One Ojibway’s Meditations – Richard Wagamese
5. Passage Across the Mersey – Robert Bhatia*
6. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future – Ashlee Vance
7. Finding Gobi: A Little Dog With a Very Big Heart – Dion Leonard, Craig Borlase
8. No Is Not Enough: Resisting the New Shock Politics and Winning the World We
Need – Naomi Klein
9. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry – Neil DeGrasse Tyson
10. You Might Be from Canada If… – Michael de Adder

* Alberta Author