Category Archives: Alberta Politics

NDP tops political fundraising in Alberta for second quarter in a row

Elections Alberta released the financial disclosures showing the results of political party fundraising in the second quarter of 2017.

Combined party and constituency fundraising results show the governing New Democratic Party in the lead in for the second consecutive quarter of 2017, having fundraised $553,733 between April 1, 2017 and June 30, 2017, a jump from $373,060 raised by the NDP in the first quarter of 2017.

The Wildrose Party raised $511,704, up from $345,125 in the first quarter, and the Progressive Conservatives raised $86,818, a steep drop from the $226,572 raised in the first four months of 2017. The the Alberta Party raised only $38,124.51 and the Liberal Party raised $33,845.93 in the same period.

The NDP have raised a combined total of $926,793 in the first two quarter of 2017, while the Wildrose raised $852,689 and the PCs raised $313,791.

This is the second fundraising quarter to fall under new political finance laws introduced by Democratic Renewal Minister Christina Gray in 2016, which lowered the maximum annual donation limits from $15,000 to $4,000. This followed reforms introduced by the NDP in 2015 that banned corporate and union donations to political parties and candidates.

Here is a quick look at the top donors for each of the five main political parties in Alberta in the second quarter of 2017:

Alberta NDP
Kathleen Feehan – $4,000
Allan Kettles – $4,000
Don Smith – $4,000
Tom Boyce – $2,718
Ericka Simonelli – $2,650
Anne McGrath – $2,407

Wildrose Party
Cheryl Wilei – $4,500
Paul Doucette – $4,000
Arlene Goodchild – $4,000
Sterling Goodchild – $4,000
Tasker Goodchild – $4,000
George Janzen – $4,000
Len McCullah – $4,000
Jennifer Swertz – $4,000

PC Party
John Peter – $4,000
Stanley Milner – $4,000
Heather Shaw – $4,000
Deborah Wall – $4,000
Jeff Boyce – $1,500
Wayne Foo – $1,500

Alberta Party
Rhondda Siebens – $4,000
Sharon Gutrath-Siebens – $3,000
Troy Wason – $1,700
Dale Huntingford – $1,500
Patricia Cochrane – $1,050

Liberal Party
Dan McLennan – $2,100
Grant Dunlop – $1,800
Bill Sevcik – $1,000
Raj Sherman – $1,000
Clifford Faden – $650
David Swann – $600
Nick Taylor – $600

Edmonton City Hall

There are 90 days left until Edmonton’s Municipal Elections

There are 90 days left until Edmonton’s municipal elections. 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:

  • Fahad Mughal Edmonton Mayoral Election

    Fahad Mughal

    He had initially planned to run for City Council in Ward 10, but Fahad Mughal made a surprise announcement at his campaign launch on July 15 that he would instead run against Don Iveson in the Mayoral election.

  • Eli Schrader is running for election to City Council in Ward 8. Schrader is civics director with the Cloverdale Community League and a member at large of the University of Alberta alumni association.
  • Cheryl Johner is planning to seek re-election as a trustee on the Edmonton Public School Board in Ward A. Johner was first elected in 2010.
  • Joseph Luri has announced his candidacy in Edmonton Public School Board’s Ward A. Luri has been a settlement practitioner in Edmonton since 2007 and is currently a team leader for the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers Domestic Violence Prevention Program.

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!

Alberta Legislative Assembly Edmonton

My response to the Interim Report of the Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission

Earlier this year I submitted a series of recommendations to Alberta’s Electoral Boundaries Commission, the appointed body tasked with redrawing Alberta’s provincial electoral districts for the next election. The Commission released an interim report in May 2017 and will be holding a series of public hearings in communities across Alberta in the coming weeks. The Commission will submit its final report on October 31, 2017.

Here are the recommendations I submitted to the commission on July 16, 2017 in response to the interim report:

Dear Commissioners,

My name is David Cournoyer, I am a voter living in the Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood constituency. I have followed the electoral boundary redistribution process for a number of years and am very interested in the process.

Proposed Alberta boundaries

I would like to thank the Commissioners for their work in this important process. The act of redistributing electoral boundaries is a challenging process and not one that should be taken lightly. In particular, this Commission faces the challenge of redistributing Alberta’s electoral boundaries without having the advantage of increasing the number of districts.

I have included below my recommendations in response to the interim report released by the Commission in May 2017:

Population

I believe this Commission can improve the population balance proposed in the interim report. The previous Commission did a good job keeping the population of most electoral districts within ten percent of the provincial average population per electoral district.

I recommend that the Commission attempt to keep districts within ten percent, and ideally within five percent, above or below the provincial average population per electoral district.

New Boundaries

I recommend the Commission consider the following amendments to the proposed districts included in the interim report:

Proposed Edmonton boundaries

Edmonton-East, Edmonton-North West, Edmonton-South, Edmonton-South West and Edmonton-West Henday: The Commission should reconsider using these geographic directional names for proposed districts, as they could cause confusion among voters. The names of the proposed districts are not necessarily reflective of their geographical areas. For example: The proposed Edmonton-East district is located west of the Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview and Edmonton-Manning districts and much of Edmonton-Northwest is located south of Edmonton-Castle Downs and east of Edmonton-West Henday.

Edmonton-Mill Woods-East and Edmonton-Mill Woods-West: I believe the names in these proposed districts may cause some unnecessary confusion among voters. I recommend the names of these proposed districts be changed.

Fort Saskatchewan-St. Paul, Vermilion-Lloydminster, and Stettler-Wainwright: These proposed district span from the Edmonton Metro area to the Alberta-Saskatchewan boundary, with the first two resembling a shelter-belt rather than a constituency representing communities of common interest. The Commission should consider redistributing the proposed districts in a way that would not divide communities along such oddly drawn east-west boundaries.

Highwood: It should be noted that under this proposed district, the Highwood River is no longer located within the Highwood constituency, for which I believe it may be named.

St. Albert-Redwater: The population of the City of St. Albert is too large to warrant the creation of two districts within the municipal boundaries. Instead of expanding a second St. Albert district north to Redwater, Smoky Lake, Buffalo Lake and Kikino, I recommend the creation of a district that would include St. Albert and the municipalities of Sturgeon County, Morinville, Legal, Cardiff, Bon Accord and Gibbons.

St. Anne-Stony Plain: I expect this has already been brought to the attention of the Commission, but the correct spelling is Ste. Anne, in reference to Lac Ste. Anne. It is my recommendation that the name of the proposed district, if it remains in the final report of the Commission, be renamed Lac Ste. Anne-Stony Plain.

Wetaskiwin-Camrose: I commend the Commission for their decision in the interim report to recommend the creation of a fully contiguous proposed district of Wetaskiwin-Camrose.

Thank you to the Commissioners for the opportunity to respond to the interim report. I wish you good luck in months ahead as you consider the feedback you have received in order to create the final report of this electoral boundary review.

 

Another Season of Stampede Politicking in Calgary

Rachel Notley Calgary Stampede Alberta

Rachel Notley

Politicians of all stripes descended on Alberta’s largest city this week for the annual Calgary Stampede festivities.

Though most of them have probably never ridden a horse or woke up at 5am (or earlier) to start their day on the farm, they were almost all brandishing big shiny belt buckles, wrangler-style shirts and cowboy hats of various sizes (and if they are lucky, they weren’t wearing them backwards).

Alberta’s NDP caucus held their annual summer caucus meeting in Calgary this week, which allowed most of the 54 NDP MLAs to scatter across the city to attend pancake breakfasts and BBQ lunches that could be found on almost every street corner this week.

The NDP had a particularly strong presence at Stampede events this year, signalling what many political watchers already believe – that Calgary will be a major battleground in the next provincial election. Calgarians elected fifteen NDP MLAs in the Orange Wave of 2015 but the party still remains organizationally weak in this city.

Brian Jean Calgary Stampede Alberta

Brian Jean

Premier Rachel Notley and various cabinet ministers used the week in Calgary to make a series of funding announcements, including loosening restrictions on restaurant patios, construction industry tax credits, improvements to the Canada-Alberta Job Grant and business grants for Alberta’s food processing and booming craft beer industry.

Already campaigning for the leadership of the currently non-existent United Conservative Party, Brian Jean was spotted attending some events that a leader of the right-wing Wildrose Party would not expected to be seen at – such as the annual United Nurses of Alberta BBQ and LGBTQ events. This is likely an attempt to differentiate himself from his social conservative leadership rival Jason Kenney.

Kenney, who is earning a reputation as the potshot king of Alberta politics, offered to pay for Notley to take a course in economics this week. Notley, who has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Alberta and a Law Degree from Osgoode Hall, rightfully pointed out the arrogance of Kenney’s comments.

Jason Kenney Calgary Stampede Alberta

Jason Kenney

Meanwhile, Alberta Together, a political action committee for the Alberta Party, attracted a sizeable group of disgruntled former PC Party members unhappy with Kenney’s leadership to an event this week in Calgary.

By the end of Sunday, most of the politicians visiting Calgary will have hung up their cowboy hats and packed away their boots and denim until next year. But while the Calgary Stampede may be the biggest political event of the season, it is only the beginning of what will be a summer full of political campaigns and maneuvering.

Wildrose MLA blames “hack job” for anti-Trudeau tweet

Speaking to a radio station in his Drumheller-Stettler constituency, Wildrose MLA Rick Strankman claimed the “electronic sphere” and a “hack job” were responsible for a tweet posted by his MLA twitter account last week accusing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of being a “gutless puke.”

The tweet appeared to have been sent in response to Trudeau’s initial plans not to attend this year’s Stampede, which he later changed (Trudeau was attending the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany earlier this week).

The tweet, which was deleted moments after it was posted, was first reported on this blog last week.

Who wants to lead Alberta’s Green Party?

Green Party of Alberta leadership candidates Grant Neufeld, Romy Tittel, and Marco Reid.

The Green Party of Alberta may not enjoy the same success of its cousins on the West Coast and in the Maritimes, but that has not stopped three Calgarians from stepping up to run for the leadership of the party.

Janet Keeping Alberta Green Party

Janet Keeping

Romy Tittel, Grant Neufeld and Marco Reid have submitted their applications to run in the race to replace Janet Keeping, who has led the party since 2012 and announced earlier this year that she would step down. Members will select a new leader at the party’s annual general meeting on November 4, 2017.

Tittel was a Green Party candidate in the 2015 federal election in Foothills and was the second woman to become a journeyman electrician in Alberta. Neufeld is a social activist, was president of the Alberta Greens from 2004 to 2006 and a candidate in Calgary-Buffalo in the 2004 provincial election. Marco Reid is a volunteer and member at large on the Green Party board.

The deadline to enter the race is September 10, 2017.

The party ran candidates in 24 constituencies in the 2015 election and earned a total 7,321 votes across the province. The party’s strongest showing in the last election was in Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills, where candidate Brian Deheer earned 2.8 percent of the vote.

More recently, Keeping earned 2.9 percent in the 2015 Calgary-Foothills by-election and Thana Boonlert earned 2 percent of the vote in the 2016 Calgary-Greenway by-election.

The Green Party’s best ever showing in a provincial election took place in 2008, when property rights activist Joe Anglin earned 22 percent of the vote in the Lacombe-Ponoka constituency. Anglin led the party for a short period until it was dissolved in 2009 and was later elected as a Wildrose candidate in Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre, where he served as MLA until 2015.

The party remerged in 2011 as the EverGreen Party and officially changed its name to the Green Party of Alberta in 2012.

Two weeks until decision day for Conservatives in Alberta

On July 6, 2016, Jason Kenney officially launched his campaign to capture the leadership of Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives and lead them into a merger with the right-wing Wildrose Party. After 19-years as an Ottawa politician, Kenney was easily able to stage a hostile take-over the broken and battered former governing party.

One year later, Kenney is campaigning to convince PC and Wildrose members to approve the creation of a new party in a July 22 vote, while also campaigning for the leadership of the yet-to-be created United Conservative Party (whether Conservatives are actually more united now is a completely different question).

A vote of 50 percent plus one is needed from PC Party members to approve the deal, but a steeper 75 percent support vote is needed from Wildrose Party members to fulfill their end of the agreement.

As has been pointed out before, it is expected that many conservative activists will purchase memberships in both the PC and Wildrose parties in order to vote twice on July 22.

Some Wildrosers are nervous that the three-quarters support could be hard to achieve.

On most days it can be hard to get 75 percent of Wildrose members to agree what day of the week it is,” one former Wildrose Party member told me, referring to the raucous reputation and anti-establishment tendencies of the party’s membership. But with the political careers of so many prominent Conservative politicians tied to the success of the July 22 vote, it is hard to believe it would be allowed to fail.

But just in case, a Plan B might be needed.

Rona Ambrose

Rona Ambrose

Four candidates have officially declared their interest in running for the leadership of the new United Conservative Party, when and if it is actually formed: Kenney, Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean, Calgary lawyer Doug Schweitzer and Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt.

Both Jean and Kenney have essentially been using their parties as vehicles to promote their leadership campaigns while also setting up separate political action committees. Fildebrandt has created United Liberty PAC and his leadership bid appears to be at least partly inspired by the strong showing by Maxime Bernier in Alberta during the recent federal Conservative leadership race.

It may just be wishful thinking by some conservatives, but speculation continues that former federal Official Opposition leader Rona Ambrose could enter the race. Ambrose recently resigned her seat in Parliament and is expected to begin a new role in Washington D.C. She, along with a crowd of Conservatives MPs, also endorsed Kenney after he announced his bid for the PC leadership a year ago.

Another Wildrose Bozo-Eruption

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau travelled to Hamburg, Germany to meet with world leaders at the G20 summit, some conservatives are angry he is not instead attending the Calgary Stampede.

Wildrose MLA Rick Strankman, who has represented Drumheller-Stettler since 2012, posted a tweet on July 4, 2017 which appeared to accuse Trudeau of being a “Gutless puke” for not attending the Stampede (see the screenshot).

The tweet was deleted moments after it was posted.

Edmonton City Hall

102 days left until Edmonton’s Municipal Elections

There are 102 days left until the October 16, 2017 municipal elections in Edmonton. 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:

  • Martin Narsing is running for Edmonton City Council in Ward 4. Narsing’s LinkedIn page lists him as being employed as a Directional Drilling Consulting.
  • Samantha Hees is running for Edmonton City Council in Ward 10. Hees works as a Unit Clerk with Alberta Health Services.
  • Edmonton’s Poet Laureate, Ahmed “Knowmadic” Ali, is running for election to the Edmonton Public School Board in Ward A. Knowmadic serves on the Edmonton Arts Council and is the co-founder and current artistic director of Edmonton’s only spoken word collective: Breath In Poetry.
  • Leslie Marks is running for election to the Edmonton Public School Board in Ward E. She is the owner of Sunflower Yoga and Music
  • Retired educator Alene Mutala is running for the Edmonton Catholic School District in Ward 75.

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!


Miranda Jimmy, a city council candidate in Ward 5, is hosting a Political Pub Night and networking event for women running in the 2017 elections. The event is free to all interested Edmontonians on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Yellowhead Brewery.

Helpless Angels, Alberta poet Tom Wayman’s collection, tops this week’s Audreys Books Edmonton bestseller list

Here is the list of the top 10 fiction and non-fiction titles sold in Edmonton for the week ended July 2, 2017, compiled by Audreys Books and provided by the Books Publishers Association of Alberta.

EDMONTON FICTION BESTSELLERS

1. Helpless Angels: A Book of Music (Poetry) – Tom Wayman*

2. Annie Muktuk and Other Stories – Norma Dunning*+
3. Seven Stones to Stand or Fall – Diana Gabaldon
4. Carson Crosses Canada (Children’s) – Linda Bailey (Author), Kass Reich (Illustrator)
5. The Widow’s Fire – Paul Butler*
6. The Alice Network – Kate Quinn
7. The Girl With All the Gifts – M.R. Carey
8. The Whistler – John Grisham
9. Ministry of Utmost Happiness – Arundhati Roy
10. A Horse Walks Into a Bar – David Grossman

EDMONTON NON-FICTION BESTSELLERS

1. Canada Quiz 150 Edition: How Much Do You Know About Canada? – Calvin Coish
2. Finding Gobi: A Little Dog With a Very Big Heart – Dion Leonard, Craig Borlase
3. No is Not Enough: Resisting the New Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need – Naomi Klein
4. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body – Roxane Gay
5. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry – Neil DeGrasse Tyson
6. Into the Fire: The Fight to Save Ft. McMurray – Jerron Hawlwy *, Graham Hurley *, Steve Sackett *
7. Ingenious: How Canadian Innovators Made the World Smarter, Smaller, Kinder, Safer,
Healthier, Wealthier, and Happier – David Johnston, Tom Jenkins
8. Rogue Heroes: The History of the SAS, Britain’s Secret Special Forces Unit That Sabotaged the Nazis and Changed the Nature of War – Ben Macintyre
9. On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century – Timothy Snyder
10. More Tough Crimes: True Cases by Canadian Judges and Criminal Lawyers – Hon. Patrick LeSage (Foreword), William Trudell (Ed.), Lorene Shyba (Ed.)*+

*Alberta Author
+Alberta Publisher

Passages by Alberta Author Anne Hamre leads Audreys Books Edmonton bestsellers list this week

Here is the list of the top 10 fiction and non-fiction titles sold in Edmonton for the week ended June 25, 2017, compiled by Audreys Books and provided by the Book Publishers Association of Alberta.

EDMONTON FICTION BESTSELLERS

1. Passages – Anne Hamre*

2. The Ghosts of Sundown (Young Adult) – D. C. Hooke*
3. Annie Muktuk and Other Stories – Norma Dunning*+
4. Two Times a Traitor (Children’s) – Karen Bass*
5. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
6. Ministry of Utmost Happiness – Arundhati Roy
7. Hag-Seed: The Tempest Retold – Margaret Atwood
8. The Spawning Grounds – Gail Anderson-Dargatz
9. Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur
10. Camino Island – John Grisham

EDMONTON NON-FICTION BESTSELLERS

1. A Peakbagger’s Guide to the Canadian Rockies: North – Ben Nearingburg*, Eric Coulthard*
2. Embers: One Ojibway’s Meditations – Richard Wagamese
3. No is Not Enough: Resisting The New Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need – Naomi Klein
4. The Social Life of Ink: Culture, Wonder And Our Relationship With The Written Word – Ted Bishop*
5. You Might Be From Canada If… – Michael de Adder
6. Hunger. A Memoir of (My) Body – Roxane Gay
7. My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward – Mark Lukach
8. You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir – Sherman Alexie
9. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari
10. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future – Ashlee Vance

* Alberta Author
+ Alberta Publisher

Social Credit introduced recall laws in Alberta in 1936 and repealed them in 1937 when Premier William Aberhart faced a recall challenge in his own riding.

Social Credit Party renamed the Alberta Pro-Life Political Association

The Alberta Social Credit Party is no more. Taken over by a group of anti-abortion activists in 2016, the party has officially changed its name to the Alberta Pro-Life Political Association. According to Elections Alberta, the name change became official on May 3, 2017.

While the Social Credit Party has sat on the conservative fringe of Alberta politics for much of the past four decades, the party fundamentally reshaped the politics of our province when it formed government from 1935 to 1971.

Inspired by the Social Credit teachings of British Major CH DouglasWilliam Aberhart‘s Social Credit Party swept the 1935 Alberta election in a populist wave, going from zero to 56 seats during the height of the Great Depression.

Upon learning of the election victory in 1935, the Social Credit Greenshirts in London were reported to have marched around the Bank of England Building holding torches and blowing their trumpets – no doubt inspired by the Battle of Jericho. (this was a period in western history when it was not uncommon for political parties to have official uniforms).

During its first decade in government, Aberhart’s radical administration tried to print its own currency, legislate control over the media, nationalize the banking system and ban alcohol sales. The Social Credit Party also introduced the province’s short-lived MLA recall law and a provincial sales tax.

In response to what they claimed to be a “world plot” by “socialists and world finance,” the Alberta government-funded Social Credit Board proposed in 1947 that the secret ballot and political parties be abolished. “The obvious remedy for the evils of party politics is the abolition of political parties dominated at the top as we know them today,” the report argued.

Ernest Manning abolished the Social Credit Board in 1948.

It really was a bizarre time in Alberta politics.

Under Manning’s leadership from 1943 to 1968, the Social Credit Party evolved into a generic conservative governing party, albeit with a social conservative bent.

Perhaps the most important lasting legacy of the Social Credit government today is the continued existence of the Alberta Treasury Branches, which was founded in 1938 after the federal government thwarted attempts by Aberhart to impose government control over banks operating in Alberta.

The party was defeated in 1971 and last elected an MLA to the Legislature in 1979. Leader Randy Thorsteinson, led the party to win 6.8 percent of the vote in the 1997 election and later formed the Alberta Alliance Party (which later became the Wildrose Party). He is now the leader of the Reform Party of Alberta.

The Social Credit Party ran six candidates in the 2015 election, earning a total 832 votes.

All roads lead to Red Deer and the Alberta Party for homeless politicos

Red Deer and the Alberta Party are frequent destinations for disaffected politicos in search of a new political home.

Katherine O'Neill

Katherine O’Neill

Led by former Progressive Conservative Party president Katherine O’Neill and backed for former cabinet minister Stephen Mandel, disaffected Tories are booking their flights to the central Alberta city this weekend to discuss bringing centrists “together,” presumably under the banner of the Alberta Party. The Alberta Together political action committee, led by O’Neill, has been created to search for a new home for centrists unhappy with the rightward direction of the established Conservative parties in the province.

The Alberta Party has been home to some very different stripes of politicos since it was founded in the early 1980s. The party had little success as a fringe right-wing Alberta separatist party during its first two decades of existence and made minor headlines when it was involved in unsuccessful merger negotiations with the Alberta Alliance (the predecessor of the Wildrose Party) in the mid-2000s.

It was only a only a few short years ago that another group of disaffected political activists, mostly Liberals and Greens, with a few PCs and New Democrats tossed in the mix (including myself), also met in Red Deer to discuss the creation of a new political… something. Those meetings back in 2010, following the landslide victory that Premier Ed Stelmach led the PCs to in 2008, led to the creation of what has become the current version of the Alberta Party.

Dave Taylor MLA

Dave Taylor

The party, which was nothing more than a great name at the time, was inherited by former Green Party supporters in 2009 (the Green Party of Alberta was disbanded in 2009) and soon after Hinton mayor and past NDP candidate Glenn Taylor became the party’s leader. Two-term Calgary-Currie MLA Dave Taylor became the party’s first MLA in 2011 after he left the then-Official Opposition Liberals.

The reinvention of the Alberta Party in 2010 dramatically shifted the tiny party into the limelight for a short period in the early 2010s, when it was seen as a potential successor to the failing Liberal Party brand in Alberta. But Stelmach’s decision to retire and Alison Redford’s ascendancyto what at the time looked like a reinvigorated ProgressiveConservative Party stole the wind from the Alberta Party’s sails.

The Alberta Party bandied around merger discussions with the Liberal Party before the 2012and 2015 elections, but nothing came of it. Rather than merging or accepting a floor crossing, the Alberta Party decided to endorse Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman’s re-election bid in Edmonton-Centre in 2015 (the five-term MLA was defeated by New Democrat David Shepherd in the orange tidal wave that swept the capital city).

Laurie Blakeman MLA Edmonton-Centre Liberal

Laurie Blakeman

Alberta Party leader Greg Clark, who worked as a Liberal Caucus staffer in the mid-1990s, was elected as the MLA for Calgary-Elbow in 2015. And since then, Clark has tried to position his party as a new home (and a safe refuge) for PCs who are uncomfortable with Jason Kenney’s social conservative leadership and the planned merger with the Wildrose Party to create the United Conservative Party.

Like those disaffected Liberals, Greens and New Democrats who gathered under the Alberta Party banner in the early 2010s to create a new alternative to the PCs, this group of disaffected PCs are gravitating toward the Alberta Party to create a new alternative. Some of the big names associated with the weekend gathering were involved in the PC Party’s epic defeat to Rachel Notley’s NDP in the 2015 election.

The Alberta Party is a blank slate with a great name, and a home for disaffected politicos without a home. Whether or not this latest group to wander over will make themselves at home in the Alberta Party is yet to be determined.

Edmonton City Hall

116 days left until Edmonton’s Municipal Elections

There are 116 days left until the October 16, 2017 municipal elections in Edmonton. 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:

  • Emerson Mayers is running for City Council in Ward 4. Mayers is a Registered Nurse and a former vice-president of United Nurses of Alberta Local 183 at Alberta Hospital Edmonton. He was a candidate for the Progressive Conservative Party in Edmonton-Strathcona in the 2012 election. He previously sought the Liberal Party nomination in Edmonton-Manning in 1997, the PC nomination in Edmonton-Manning in 2008, the PC nomination in Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood in 2012, and the PC nomination in Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview in 2015.
  • Bill Knight is running for City Council in Ward 6. Knight is the CEO of Three Knights Investments, the founder of B&B Demolition and a well-known philanthropist who has made generous donations to many charities and not-for-profit organizations in Edmonton.
  • Sim Senol is running for City Council in Ward 10. Senol is an administrator at the Centre for Teaching and Learning at the University of Alberta. She is also the President of the Parkallen Parents Association, the Treasurer of the Turkish Canadian Society, and the Chair of the Brightview Playground Development Committee.
  • Sherry Adams is running for re-election to the Edmonton Public School Board in Ward I. Adams was first elected in 2013.
  • Perry Chahal is running for for election to the Public School Board in Ward A. Chahal ran in Ward B in 2001 and 2010, Ward A in 2004, and as an Independent candidate in Alberta’s 2012 Senate nominee election.

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 continues to top Audreys Edmonton Bestseller List

Here is the list of the top 10 fiction and non-fiction titles sold in Edmonton for the week ended June 18, 2017, compiled by Audreys Books and provided by the Book Publishers Association of Alberta.

Edmonton Fiction Bestsellers

  1. Alphabet Stage (Children’s) – Linda M. Phillips* and Denyse V. Hayward*
  2. Annie Muktuk and Other Stories – Norma Dunning *
  3. Throwing the Diamond Hitch (Poetry) – Emily Ursuliak  *
  4. Two Times a Traitor (Children’s) – Karen Bass *
  5. These are Not Love Poems (Poetry) – Marina Reid Hale *
  6. Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains – Yasuko Thanh
  7. Beren and Luthien – J.R.R. Tolkien
  8. The Dark and Other Love Stories – Deborah Willis *
  9. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  10. The Girl With All the Gifts – M.R. Carey

Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers

  1. More Tough Crimes: True Cases by Canadian Judges and Criminal Lawyers – William Trudell & Lorene Shyba (Eds.), Hon. Patrick LeSage (foreword) *
  2. Winston Churchill and MacKenzie King: So Similar, So Different  – Terry Reardon
  3. Juliet’s Answer: One Man’s Search for Love and the Elusive Cure for Heartbreak – Glenn Dixon *
  4. No Is Not Enough: Resisting the New Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need – Naomi Klein
  5. Into the Fire: The Fight to Save Ft. McMurray – Jerron Hawley *, Graham Hurley *, Steve Sackett *
  6. The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate: Discoveries from a Secret World – Peter Wohlleben, Tim Flannery (foreword)
  7. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body – Roxane Gay
  8. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry – Neil DeGrasse Tyson
  9. 25 Places in Canada Every Family Should Visit – Jody Robbins *
  10. Fat for Fuel: A Revolutionary Diet to Combat Cancer, Boost Brain Power, and Increase Your Energy – Joseph Mercola

Alberta Conservatives now appear less united than they have in years

Progressive Conservative leader Jason Kenney took aim at the New Democratic Party and Alberta’s teachers this week, claiming that both groups are planning to hijack the July 22 vote to fold his party and the Wildrose Party into a new United Conservative Party. Kenney’s claims are unsubstantiated and are likely a distraction from the unity crisis happening in his own party.

After having served the party for approximately fifteen years in various capacities, I am not in support of the direction the party is currently taking under the new leader,” wrote Sumita Anand in an email May 24, 2017 email announcing her resignation as west Calgary regional director on the Progressive Conservative Party board of directors.

At the board level there is no opportunity for positive participation and there seems to be a staged place for only those board members who agree with the leader on all suggestions even if they are far from being either socially progressive or inclusive,” wrote Anand, who was president of the Calgary-Foothills PC association from 2014 to 2016.

Anand is one of a handful of high profile Conservatives to resign from the PC Party board since Kenney became leader on March 18, 2017.

Among the individuals who have left the PC Party board since the change in leadership include president Katherine O’Neill, northern finance committee chair Stephen Mandel, budget director Kim Krushell, southern Alberta vice-president Jordan Lien, south Calgary regional director Connor Turner, St. Albert regional director Lorna Wolodko, north Edmonton regional director Stephanie Shostak, central north east regional director Bud James and vice president organization Denise Brunner. Janice Harrington resigned as vice president outreach to become the party’s interim executive director.

Kenney’s public statements on Gay-Straight Alliances and his party’s recent political maneuvering around Edmonton’s Pride Parade suggest he is willing to appeal to the loud vocal minority of social conservatives at the expense of moderate conservatives already in his party.

Shostak announced on her Facebook page that she had joined the Alberta Party, and Brunner has emerged as the Edmonton regional organizer for the Alberta Party. Brunner recently sent an email to Alberta Party members announcing a series of annual general meetings to be held in the Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview, Edmonton-Castle Downs, Edmonton-Decore, and Edmonton-Manning constituencies.

The Alberta Party’s recruitment of former PC Party executive director Troy Wason, and his extensive list of contacts across the province, will surely help the party, but it needs organization on the ground and money in the bank. The Alberta Party raised only $14,070.49 in the first four months of 2017, which was only three percent of total amount that was fundraised by the governing New Democratic Party in the same period.

The Alberta Party is not the only recipient of political refugees from the PC Party. Former PC Party member Kerry Cundal recently ran for the Liberal Party leadership and some PCs unhappy with the direction of the party have even joined Rachel Notley‘s NDP.

The most high-profile Tory to join the NDP recently has been Calgary-North West MLA Sandra Jansen, who crossed the floor in November 2016 after dropping out of the PC leadership race. More recently, Thomas Ockley, a former PC caucus and party staffer who served as Richard Starke’s scrutineer in the 2017 PC leadership race, is now listed on the Alberta government website as being employed as a researcher for the NDP caucus at the Legislature.

Support for the new party is not unanimous in the Wildrose Party either. Leader Brian Jean faced pushback from party president Jeff Calloway this week. Sharon Maclise, the party’s president in Edmonton-Glenora, described abandoning the Wildrose Party to create a new party as an “idiotic idea” in a letter to the editor in one of Edmonton’s Postmedia newspapers last month.

Unlike Kenney, who only needs the support of 50 percent plus one to fold the PC Party, Jean requires a steep 75 percent approval from the Wildrose Party membership.

While Kenney’s hostile takeover of the PC Party earlier this year may lead to the creation of a United Conservative Party (at least on paper), conservatives in Alberta now appear less united than they have in years.


Here is the full email from Sumita Anand:

Dear President and fellow board members,

Regretfully, I submit my resignation from the board of Directors. 

After having served the party for approximately fifteen years in various capacities, I am not in support of the direction the party is currently taking under the new leader. 

During my tenure as a volunteer with the party, I have always observed and recognized the leader as being the pillar on which the progressive and conservative values stood firm and grounded, leading the party’s initiatives to form government without any selfish objectives. Those principals seem to have been lost under the current leadership.

At the board level there is no opportunity for positive participation and there seems to be a staged place for only those board members who agree with the leader on all suggestions even if they are far from being either socially progressive or inclusive. 

A party leader’s actions are a reflection of the direction for not only its members but for Albertans at large. Currently the party reflects being resourceful but not compassionate, responsible, open or practical.  I would like to contribute my capabilities to a party that is humble yet remarkable and according to me, those values are not aligned with the direction this party is taking. 

While working with the party, I have found great friends and take back with me very fond memories.  I appreciate the opportunity given to me through the years for contributing to community at large. 

I wish the current board success through its endeavors. 

Sincerely 

Sumita Anand 
Board member 
 Dated: 24th May 2017