Tag Archives: Morris Flewwelling

Alberta NDP still running that other leadership contest

Alberta NDP leadership race Rachel Notley David Eggen

Alberta NDP leadership rivals Rachel Notley and David Eggen (photo from Ms. Notley’s Facebook page).

It is pennies compared to the $1.8 million raised by Jim Prentice during the Progressive Conservative leadership race, but in the world of the Alberta NDP leadership contest, the money is flowing.

The NDP’s monthly contributions report from its leadership candidates shows Edmonton-Strathcona MLA and front-runner Rachel Notley has raised $82,826.99, Edmonton-Calder MLA David Eggen has has raised $32,924 and labour activist Rod Loyola raised $5,310 since the race started.

The largest donations made to the candidate have been from UFCW Local 401, which donated $15,000 each to Ms. Notley and Mr. Eggen, and $5,000 to Mr. Loyola. UFCW Local 401 is a major player in the provincial NDP and is expected to take up a large percentage of reserved NDP union-affiliate votes in this contest. None of the NDP supporters I have spoken with have been able to clearly explain how the union-affiliate vote process will work.

Ms. Notley’s candidacy has received a number of high profile endorsements, including those of fellow NDP MLA Deron Bilous, former NDP MLAs Barrie Chivers, Bob Hawkesworth and Jim Gurnett, former Red Deer mayor Morris Flewwelling (who ran for the PCs in the 1997 federal election), former PC MLA Tom Sindlinger and former Edmonton Public School Board trustee Dave Colburn.

While Ms. Notley appears to have the support of many NDP insiders and luminaries, I am told that Mr. Eggen’s campaign is busy selling memberships across the province. This being the party’s first contested leadership campaign since 1996, it is unclear what the benchmark for membership sales should be.

So far, the contest appears to have been a friendly affair, with no  public clashing between the candidates. Ms. Notley has released a five priority platform, and she and Mr. Eggen have continued in their roles as opposition critics.

Mirroring a larger internal NDP debate on the national level, Mr. Eggen has released a statement calling for peace between Israel and the Palestinians living in Gaza. Mr. Eggen called on the provincial government to review its investments through AIMCo and look to divestment in order to pressure a peaceful solution to the Middle East conflict.

Recent polls have shown NDP support growing in Edmonton, suggesting that the party could expand its four MLA caucus in the next election. Despite being in the midst of a leadership contest, which ends with a vote on October 18, 2014, the NDP continues to nominate candidates for the next election.

This week the NDP nominated Marlin Schmidt in Edmonton-Gold Bar and, on September 30, AUPE activist Heather Sweet is expected to be nominated in Edmonton-Manning. Those are both constituencies that the NDP are said to be targeting resources toward for the next election.

While current disenchantment with the PC Party has helped the NDP increase its support in Edmonton, the political environment remains unstable. The next leader of the NDP will need to work hard to ensure that progressive voters do not flock to one conservative party in order to block another conservative party from forming government during the next election.


The NDP is hosting a series of forums with the three leadership candidates across Alberta. The follow events all begin at 7:00 p.m.

Lethbridge, GALT Museum (502 1st Street S)- September 16, 2014

Calgary, Barnsworth Theatre (750 – 9th Avenue SE)- September 17, 2014

Edmonton, Campus St. Jean Auditorium (8406 Rue Anne Gaboury)- October 2, 2014

Ward system plebiscite faces Red Deer voters

New York Ward System

A map of New York’s ancient ward system.

Yesterday, I travelled to Red Deer to participate in a panel discussion with Mount Royal University professor Duane Bratt and former councillor Larry Pimm about an upcoming plebiscite on whether to adopt a ward system or to remain with an at-large system of electing the city’s eight councillors.

With a population of 90,564, according to the 2011 census, Red Deer has grown considerably over the past decade (the 2001 census showed 67,707 residents in the city).

With this population growth in mind, Red Deerians  should consider the important issue of representation and whether they will be better represented having one or more councillors representing their specific area of the city in a ward system.

Another question for Red Deerians to consider is whether their city has grown so large that it may become inaccessible for candidates to run in a city-wide election campaign. Facing nearly 100,000 residents, many candidates may not have access to the resources – money and volunteers – to run a large city-wide campaign.

Currently, four large municipalities in Alberta – Strathcona County (including Sherwood Park),  Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (including Fort McMurray) and the cities of Calgary and Edmonton – elect councillors through a ward system. Other cities, like Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Airdrie and St. Albert, currently elect their city councillors through an at-large system.

Red Deer is not the only Canadian city having this debate. In Oshawa, residents have presented a petition to their city council in favour of moving to a ward system, which the city abandoned in favour of an at-large system in 2010. In Sudbury, there is a debate whether to abandon the ward system and return to the at-large system. Even Vancouver, with more than 600,000 residents, there is still debate about whether should keep its at-large system.

It has been forty-five years since Edmontonians decided to abandon the at-large system in favour of wards. With a population of more than 370,000 in 1968, Edmontonians voted in favour of moving to a ward system and, in 1971, the city was divided into four wards where voters could choose three-candidates as councillors. In 1980, Edmonton was divided into six wards each represented by two councillors and, in 2010, the city moved to a system of twelve wards each represented by one councillor.

Regardless of the decision made by Red Deer voters in this year’s plebiscite, with a fast-expanding population and projections showing large growth ahead, representation may continue to be an issue in the future.

Hotly contested mayoral election

With the retirement of three-term mayor Morris Flewwelling, a hotly contested race to replace the mayor has emerged. Two incumbent councillors, Cindy Jefferies and Tara Veer, have been joined by candidates Chad Mason, William Horn and Dennis Trepanier in the race for mayor.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Red Deer First says the slate has no official connections with the Wildrose Party and the right-wing Manning Centre. “Manning Centre called us and asked if we would be interested in hooking up with them. We said no thank you, that’s not what we are into doing. We’ve never had any association beyond the phone call,” candidate Darren Young told the Red Deer Advocate.

quotes in response to ed stelmach’s resignation.

On his decision to not run in the next election:

Premier Ed Stelmach told the Fort Saskatchewan Record: “I got to thinking when I was interviewing the MLAs coming in and asking them for a five year commitment,” he said. “Another five years would put me close to 65 and I know there’s many politicians older than that and doing well, but that would have been 30 years of public service.

“Having served the constituency for many years. I feel good in terms of what we’ve been able to accomplish, in terms of improved infrastructure, whether it be Fort Saskatchewan, Vegreville or the communities in between.

“I know it’s time for a change and politics is demanding, and will be increasingly demanding, and that’s why I made the decision.”

Party insiders on the next leadership contest:

PC Party Executive Director Pat Godkin told Sun Media that “there is no timeline whatsoever” in place for a leadership contest.

PC Party President Bill Smith told iNews880 that “I think more along the lines we’re looking at spring and summer.”

Ralph Klein’s former Chief of Staff Rod Love told Global News: “You know there’s 68 members in the caucus, a lot of the names are well known about who might be in, who might be out.”

Potential candidates::

Deputy Premier Doug Horner told the St. Albert Gazette: “I was asked the question whether or not I would consider it and my response honestly is, well yeah, you’re going to consider it but it doesn’t mean I’m going to do it just yet.”

Former Finance Minister and current University of Calgary Chancellor Jim Dinning on CKNW Radio in Vancouver: “While I still have the passion and the interest, I do not want to run for that job.”

Finance Minister Ted Morton told the Calgary Herald: I have not made that decision. It is still, as I said (Tuesday), inappropriate for you guys to ask those questions and inappropriate for me to answer.”

Justice Minister Alison Redford told the Calgary Herald: “It might be something in the future that I’ll consider. Whether that is imminent or not I just don’t know at this time. That’s my honest answer.”

Culture and Community Spirit Minister Lindsay Blackett told the Calgary Herald: You always have to consider it,” he said shortly after hearing of Stelmach’s decision, “and see what level of support there is for you to try to do something like that. But I’m also mindful I’ve only been on the game for three years.”

Alberta Mayors:

Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel told CTV Edmonton: “I was a huge fan of the premier. He was a fine, fine man who was I think a great representative of the Province of Alberta. I wish him and his wife the best.”

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi told the Calgary Herald: “Right now I think it’s not time to think about politics. It is time to think about Premier Stelmach’s legacy as a really decent human being and a really dedicated public servant.”

Red Deer Mayor Morris Flewwelling told the Red Deer Advocate: “This government and Mr. Stelmach have done a good job of recognizing that municipalities are the engines of the economy. Stelmach came from municipal politics so he understood the revenue sharing and imbalance of revenue for municipalities.”

Opposition Parties comment:

Wildrose Alliance leader Danielle Smith told the Edmonton Journal: “Make no mistake, the reason I ran for leadership of the Wildrose party was to replace Ed Stelmach as premier of this province… “I think it’s too late at this point for the PCs to recover any of their former glory. … We think the next election will be a time for Albertans to turn the page on this Tory dynasty. It’s been in power for 40 years and it’s a new chapter.”

Liberal leader David Swann told the Edmonton Journal: “Everything will be on a holding pattern in the ministries to wait until direction comes from the party leader. Without clear leadership — in fact, division at the top — for what really needs to happen in terms of fixing health care, there will be a polarizing from those who want to see more private services provided to pick up the gap and those who feel that the primary problem is in leadership and management.”

Alberta Party acting leader Sue Huff told the Edmonton Journal: “I think it’s time for Albertans to really decide what it is they want for the future, for their children, for their grandchildren, and decide if we really want extreme right-wing politics to decide the day.”

NDP leader Brian Mason told the Edmonton Journal: “The Alberta Tories can’t be trusted to protect public health care. They have repeatedly sought to bring in more private care under various leaders, and leaked documents show they are planning it again. They run the least competent government in Canada. That’s the real problem.”

alberta politics notes 5/06/2010

Calgary-Buffalo Liberal MLA Kent Hehr has announced that he is running for Mayor of Calgary. Mr. Hehr does not have to resign his seat in the Assembly unless he is elected in the October 2010 election. If he does resign, a by-election will be triggered within six months (a Facebook group has been created to draft Wildrose Alliance leader Danielle Smith to seek candidacy in a Buffalo by-election).
– There had also been rumours that Lethbridge-East Liberal MLA Bridget Pastoor would run for Mayor in her city, she recently announced that she would not.
– The Liberal Party will be holding its annual convention in Edmonton – this year with a policy focus – and are slated to have political strategist and micro-celebrity Warren Kinsella as their keynote speaker.
– Community organizer Michael Janz has announced that he is running for the Edmonton Public School Board in Ward F. Over in Ward G, NDP Caucus Research Director Sarah Hoffman is running.
Deron Bilous was nominated as the NDP candidate in Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview last night. Supporter Denny Holmwood blogged about Mr. Bilous’ candidacy.
Calgary-Northeast Conservative MP Devinder Shory has been named in a lawsuit alleging a $70-million mortgage scam at the Bank of Montreal.
Ihor Broda was disbarred from the Law Society of Alberta. Mr. Broda ran unsuccessfully as the PC candidate in Edmonton-Castle Downs in 1997 and placed third in the race for Mayor of Edmonton in 1998.
– Premier Ed Stelmach‘s decision to suspend the fall Senate elections this year is being criticized by Red Deer Mayor Morris Flewwelling.
– While his cabinet tours the province, Premier Stelmach kicked off an overseas summer tour in Washington DC this week.
– The Pembina Institute is disputing Government of Alberta claims about provincial regulation of emissions generated from the oilsands.
– It is a bad week for private health care in Alberta. The Health Resources Centre (HRC) in Calgary and two private seniors homes in Red Deer have filed for bankruptcy protection. Alberta Health Services will pay the cost of the interim receiver for HRC, which could reach $250,000.
– And finally, in the “it’s about time” category: The city of Edmonton’s transportation committee approved a plan to fast-track the construction of three LRT lines.