In past elections, most Calgary constituencies would be considered safe territory for the governing PCs. Since the beginning of this election campaign, polls have shown the Wildrose Party in a position to make significant gains across Calgary and Southern Alberta, putting many Tory incumbents and rookie candidates at risk of defeat.
Toronto New Democrat Member of Parliament Olivia Chow was in Edmonton today campaigning with NDP leader Brian Mason in his Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood constituency, and making stops in Edmonton-Riverview, Edmonton-Manning and Edmonton-Gold Bar. The NDP are hoping candidates Lori Sigurdson, Cindy Olsen and Marlin Schmidt can make gains in these three constituencies.
The contest in Edmonton-Gold Bar will be very interesting to watch. Unlike the 2008 election, when incumbent Liberal MLA Hugh MacDonald‘s signs dominated front lawns across the constituency, this election’s lack of incumbent has opened up a three- or four- way competitive contest. Driving through the constituency it appears that Mr. Schmidt is holding his own against Liberal Josipa Petrunic and Progressive Conservative David Dorward.
Alberta Party leader Glenn Taylor will be where he should, campaigning in the Town of Hinton in the West Yellowhead constituency. Mr Taylor served as Mayor of Hinton from 2004 until January 2012. He recently recorded an online message to Albertans about why they should support his party on April 23.
Perhaps not where anyone would expect him to be during the last weekend of the campaign, Liberal Party leader Raj Sherman was scheduled to spend today in the traditionally conservative voting Red Deer, where the Liberals nabbed prominent local historian Michael Dawe as their candidate in Red Deer-North. Despite polls showing Liberal support has collapsed in Central Alberta, I would not be surprised to see Mr. Dawe do well on Election Night.
Dr. Sherman will spend the final day of the campaign in his Edmonton-Meadowlark constituency.
Tomorrow: The coveted daveberta election endorsements.
As the right-wingers continue to argue about the methodological strengths and weaknesses of online polls versus phone polls, the untold story appears to be the rise in support of Alberta’s NDP. The provincial NDP, which have been stuck in the 10% range since it lost Official Opposition status in 1993, appears to be benefiting from the Alberta ripple of the Orange Wave that hit Quebec in May 2011.
The NDP have attracted a surprising group of seaworthy candidates including former MLA David Eggen in Edmonton-Calder, Catholic School Trustee Cindy Olsen in Edmonton-Manning, AUPE Vice-President Sandra Azocar in Edmonton-Mill Woods, former five-term City Councillor Lorna Watkinson-Zimmer in Red Deer-South, and Shannon Phillips in Lethbridge-West. The NDP have a crew of 30 nominated candidates in 87 constituencies across the province, and will have over 40 nominated by the end of next week. On the surface, the NDP looks ready to tap into the 17% of Albertans who supported their party in the last federal election.
As a centre-left leaning urban progressive-type that has voted NDP as many times as I have voted Liberal, I have a hard time getting excited about the provincial NDP and an even harder time imagining that some New Democrats are not thinking that it may be past time for their provincial-wing to get a fresh face sitting in the admiral’s chair.
Current leader Brian Mason has served his party faithfully through two stormy elections and holds the second most thankless job in the province (the first currently being held by Liberal leader Raj Sherman). Mr. Mason has years of experience in the Assembly, but after more than two decades as a municipal and provincial politician he is hardly the fresh face that NDP may need to make an Orange splash in the next provincial election.
Banff-Cochrane: Former Rockyview School District Trustee Trudy Hauserwas acclaimed as as Wildrose candidate, which is not sitting well among some Wildrose supporters in the constituency. The group, including interested candidate Paul Ruggles, told the Cochrane Eagle that they felt the nomination selection was ‘closed-door process.’ Calgary-Buffalo: Mount Royal University Professor and recent Alberta Party leadership candidate Lee Easton is seeking his party’s nomination in this downtown Calgary riding. Seeking the Wildrose nomination is the former host of 770AMs Calgary TodayMike Blanchard.
Calgary-Mountain View: Outgoing Liberal Party leader David Swann was nominated as his party’s candidate. Dr. Swann was first elected to represent the constituency in 2004 and was handily re-elected in 2008.
Edmonton-Manning: Catholic School District Trustee Cindy Olsen was nominated as the NDP candidate.
Lethbridge-East: Kent Prestage was nominated as the Wildrose candidate. Mr. Prestage was the campaign manager for former Lethbridge MP Rick Casson and made an unsuccessful run for the Conservative Party nomination when Mr. Casson retired earlier this year.
Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills: Carstairs-based accountant William Stevenson is the first candidate to enter the nomination contest to replace retiring PC MLA Richard Marz. The PC nomination contest is expected to attract a crowded field.
Stony Plain: Two candidates have stepped up to retiring PC MLA Fred Lindsay. Town of Stony Plain Mayor Ken Lemke was the first to enter the nomination contest to replace Mr. Lindsay, who has represented the constituency since 2004. Constituency Manager Lorna Wolodkoentered this week. Arlin Biffert is the nominated Liberal candidate.
Wetaskiwin-Camrose: Camrose County Councillor Trevor Millerdefeated Tim Essington and Orest Werezak to become the Wildrose candidate. Mr. Werezak was the Wildrose Alliance candidate in Battle River-Wainwright in 2004 election and was the Federal Liberal candidate Crowfoot in the 2000 federal election.
The summer months are here and while the Progressive Conservatives and Liberals are preoccupied with choosing new leaders, the Wildrose Alliance are focusing on nominating a swath of candidates across the province. Here are some updates to the list of candidate nominations happening across Alberta:
Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater: Travis Olsonwas nominated as the Wildrose candidate on June 3, defeating Smoky Lake County Councillor Lori Danyluk, Thorhild social worker Lauri Genert and Sturgeon County Mayor Don Rigney in a mail-in ballot nomination contest. Athabasca-Redwater PC MLA Jeff Johnson has been nominated as his party’s candidate.
Calgary-Bow: Tim Dyck and John Hilton-O’Brien are vying for the Wildrose Alliance nomination. Mr. Hilton-O’Brien was the Alberta Alliance candidate in Grande Prairie-Wapiti in the 2004 election. PC MLA Alana DeLong has been nominated as her party’s candidate.
Calgary-Klein: Recent Aldermanic candidate Jeremy Nixon and former Alberta separatist leader Cory Morgan are seeking the Wildrose Alliance nomination scheduled for June 29. This will be Mr. Morgan’s fourth attempt at provincial elected office, having run as a candidate for the Alberta Independence Party in Banff-Cochrane in 2001, the Separation Party of Alberta in Highwood in 2004, and the Wildrose Alliance in Calgary-Mountain View in 2008.
Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill: The host of the popular CHQR radio show Calgary TodayMike Blanchard and Roy Alexander are seeking the Wildrose Alliance nomination in this constituency at a June 13 meeting.
Calgary-Northern Hills: Prasad Panda was nominated as the Wildrose Alliance candidate on May 27, 2011. Mr. Panda replaces previously nominated candidate Harpreet Nijjar, who withdrew from the nomination earlier this year. Calgary-Mackay PC MLA Teresa Woo-Paw has been nominated as her party’s candidate.
Cardston-Taber-Warner: This constituency was represented by now-Calgary-Glenmore Wildrose MLA Paul Hinman from 2004 until 2008. Dave Wright and Stirling businessman Doug Cooper are seeking that party’s nomination.
Chestermere-Rockyview: It would appear that Chestermere Town Councillor Heather Davies defeated Said Abdulbaki to become the Wildrose Alliance candidate in that constituency.
Edmonton-Decore: The Wildrose Alliance has nominated lawyer Chris Bataluk as their candidate.
Edmonton-Glenora: Former Alberta Party acting-leader Sue Huff is expected to be acclaimed as her party’s candidate in this constituency. PC MLA Heather Klimchuk has been nominated as her party’s candidate.
Edmonton-Manning: According to an unnamed source, Edmonton Catholic School District Trustee Cindy Olsen is strongly considering seeking the NDP nomination in this constituency, which is one of five in the province where the NDP candidate placed second in 2008. (UPDATE: Ms. Olsen announced this morning that she will seek the NDP nomination in Edmonton-Manning. See media release and confirmation from Edmonton-Strathcona NDP MLA Rachel Notley in the comments below) Already seeking the nomination is Mike Scott, who was the Edmonton-Sherwood Park NDP candidate in the recent federal election (and is also formerly known as Mike Koala on 100.3 FM The Bear). The NDP has scheduled their nomination meeting for June 27.
Edmonton-Whitemud: Rick Newcombe and Ian Crawford are seeking the Wildrose Alliance nomination. Although this will be Mr. Crawford’s first time seeking a Wildrose nomination, he has run unsuccessfully for City Council numerous times since 1992, for the Reform Party nomination in Edmonton-Strathcona in 1993, for the PC nominations in Edmonton-Rutherford and Edmonton-Ellerslie in 1993, for the Canadian Alliance in Edmonton-Southeast nomination in 2000, and for the PC nomination in Edmonton-Meadowlark in 2007 against Raj Sherman and Debbie Cavaliere. PC MLA Dave Hancock has been nominated as his party’s candidate.
Innisfail-Sylvan Lake: Developer Rod English and real estate broker Kerry Towle are seeking the Wildrose Alliance nomination, which is scheduled to happen on June 16.
Rocky Mountain House-Sundre: The Rimbey Review is reporting that Rocky Mountain House Town Councillor Sheila Mizera and Rimbey Town Councillor Joe Anglinare seeking the Wildrose Alliance nomination. Mr. Anglin is well-known as a vocal advocate for landowners rights and earned 23% of the vote as the 2008 Green Party candidate in Lacombe-Ponoka. He served briefly as the Leader of the Alberta Green Party until it was dissolved in 2009.
UPDATE: I have received an email from Mr. Anglin in in regards to the news he is seeking the Wildrose Alliance nomination: “I have been fishing in the Yukon for the last two weeks. Just returned today. This is news to me. I have not made any such announcement.”
Whitecourt-Ste. Anne: Whitecourt Town Councillor Maryann Chichakwas announced as her party’s candidate on May 20. PC MLA George VanderBurg has been nominated as his party’s candidate.
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