Danielle Smith‘s candidacy hasn’t exactly been a secret (as first written about here). While she is certainly not a typical angry hard-core conservative, her roots with the Fraser Institute, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, and the editorial pages of the Calgary Herald are sure to endear the well-spoken Smith to Alberta’s libertarian circles. She has yet to seek provincial office, but Calgarians may remember Smith from her brief tenure on Calgary’s dysfunctional Board of Education, which was soon-after fired by then-Education Minister Lyle Oberg. Two of Smith’s early endorsements include Link Byfield and Libertarian Party of Canada leader Dennis Young.
Mark Dyrholm is the National Vice-President of the Progressive Group for Independent Business (PGIB), the former vice-president of the College of Chiropractors of Alberta, and was a PGIB-endorsed candidate during Calgary’s 2004 municipal election (when he ran against Ward 13 Alderman and Calgary-Glenmore PC by-election candidate Diane Colley-Urquhart). Dyrholm made an unsuccessful bid for the Calgary-Lougheed PC nomination against Dave Rodney in 2004 and is reportedly the former President of the Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills PC association. Dyrholm’s Strategy/Coalition Outreach manager is the always colourful Craig Chandler.
As reported by the Calgary Herald’s Renata D’Aliesio, Jeff Willerton plans to enter the contest when he raises the $10,000 candidate fee. When not picking fights at Pride Parades, Willerton has run as a Social Credit candidate in Barrhead-Westlock (2001), an Alberta Party and WRAP candidate in Airdrie-Chestermere (2004 & 2008), an Independent candidate in the Calgary-Elbow by election (2007), and contested the leadership of the Social Credit Party (1999). In 2001, Willerton sparked a short-lived public feud between Alberta Speaker Ken Kowalski and then-Athabasca MP Dave Chatters.