Alberta Liberals Kevin Taft

sweet sweet calgary.

Dan and I drove to Calgary this weekend to spend some time with +200 fellow politicos at the Alberta Liberals election readiness convention.

It was a good weekend and was probably one of the best organized Alberta Liberal conventions I’ve been to since I started going to these things way back in 2000. It was a good chance to meet with MLA’s, candidates, and other volunteers from across Alberta. Other than the training sessions, there were some good speeches from Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft, Mount Royal College Political Science Professor Keith Brownsey, and other MLA’s- rallying the troops, etc.

I also had the chance to meet both Liberal candidates nominated to run in the upcoming by-elections: Craig Cheffins from Calgary Elbow and Tom Dooley from Drumheller-Stettler.

In Calgary Elbow, Craig Cheffins – former President of the Lakeview Community Association and Work Experience Coordinator for the Bachelor of Applied Justice Studies program at Mount Royal College – will be facing PC candidate Brian Heninger – longtime President of Heninger Toyota – and it’s shaping up to be a fight with both candidates having a chance of taking this riding.

Other nominated candidates include Alberta Green Party leader George Read and Trevor Grover – sacraficial lamb from the Social Credit Party.

Calgary Elbow will be a litmus test to gauge rural-based Ed Stelmach’s curb appeal in Calgary. This comes only months after Stelmach’s near shut out of the Jim-Dinning-loyalist-Calgary-Tory caucus from his cabinet in December.

In Drumheller-Stettler, Liberal candidate Tom Dooley – rancher and former County Councillor – has been nominated. As for the Tories, municipal consultant Jack Hayden is making his move. Other nominated candidates in Drumheller-Stettler include Socred Larry Davidson and Alberta Green Jennifer Wigmore.

This riding was Shirley McClellan’s stronghold for 20 years – which she won in a by-election in 1987 following the death of longtime Tory Minister Henry Kroeger. Though it’s much more likely that Calgary Elbow will be the more competitive race, weirder things have happened – in a 1992 by-election, Liberal Don MacDonald was elected in the Tory strong-hold of Three Hills a landslide with 26% margin. Even if the Liberals don’t win in Drumheller-Stettler, a strong second place finish in a deep rural riding like this one would boost momentum for Kevin Taft’s Liberals in rural Alberta.

With both major parties putting up a full court press for these seats it should be an exciting summer!

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