Alberta Politics Canadian Politics Candidate nominations

Conservatives spar for safe Alberta ridings

While the epic battle between Rob Anders and Ron Liepert in Calgary-Signal Hill was entertaining to watch, preparation for the next federal election has sparked nomination contests in ridings across the province. And with two  by-elections expected to be called within weeks, federal political parties are lining up their candidates for the vote.

By-Election nominations

Justin Trudeau and Kyle Harrietha on the front page of Fort McMurray Today.
Justin Trudeau and Kyle Harrietha on the front page of Fort McMurray Today.

Fort McMurray-Athabasca
On March 30, Liberal Party members chose Kyle Harrietha as their candidate. Mr. Harrietha faced Chris Flett in the nomination contest.

The Liberals are expected to run a strong campaign in the sprawling northeast Alberta riding. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau recently visited the riding, drawing a crowd of hundreds to a meet-and-greet event in Fort McMurray.

The Conservative Party will hold its nomination votes on April 24 in High Prairie and Slave Lake, April 25 in Athabasca and Lac La Biche, and April 26 in Fort McMurray. The results will be announced following the Fort McMurray vote. Fort McMurray lawyer Arlan Delisle and Athabasca County councillor David Yurdiga are the only two candidates seeking the nomination.

Oilsands worker Lori McDaniel will run for the New Democrats and firefighter Tim Moen is the Libertarian Party candidate.

John Barlow George Canyon Conservative Macleod By-Election
John Barlow and George Canyon

On April 6, Dustin Fuller was nominated as the federal Liberal candidate in the upcoming by-election. Mr. Fuller will face Conservative John Barlow when the by-election is called. There has so far been no sign of any NDP or Green Party candidates.

General Election nominations

Meanwhile, nominations for the general election are also underway. As most of Alberta are largely considered safe territory for the Conservatives, competitive races have emerged in newly redrawn ridings across Alberta. Here are some ridings with recent updates:

Bow River
Country music crooner George Canyon has withdrawn his name from the Conservative nomination contest in southern Alberta’s Bow River. Christian television talk show host Paul Arthur has since announced he will seek the nomination.

Calgary-Nose Hill
Michelle Rempel was acclaimed as the Conservative candidate in this newly redrawn north Calgary riding. Ms. Rempel has represented the Calgary-Centre North riding since 2011.

Calgary-Rocky Ridge
Recent defeated in the Calgary-Signal Hill nomination contest, Mr. Anders may seek the Conservative nomination in this neighbouring riding. The Conservative nomination is already being sought by former MP Eric Lowther and party organizer Gord Elliott.

Mr. Lowther represented Calgary-Centre as the Reform Party/Canadian Alliance MP from 1997 until 2000, when he was defeated by former Prime Minister Joe Clark, who had returned to politics to lead the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.

Edmonton-Mill Woods
Edmonton-Sherwood Park MP Tim Uppal has decided to jump across the city to seek the Conservative nomination in the new Edmonton-Mill Woods riding. Mr. Uppal was the Canadian Alliance/Conservative candidate in that area in 2000 and 2004 but was defeated by Mike Lake for the Conservative nomination in 2006.

Varinder Bhullar is seeking the Liberal nomination and Deep Hundal has announced that he plans to run for the NDP nomination.

Will James Rajotte run for the Alberta PC Party leadership? It seems unlikely, but rumours persistTofael Chowdhury is challenging Mr. Rajotte for the Conservative nomination in this new south Edmonton riding.

This is not Mr. Chowdhury’s first attempt at a party nomination. In 2011, he challenged Matt Jeneroux for the Progressive Conservative nomination in the provincial riding of Edmonton-South West and in 2008 he unsuccessfully sought the federal Liberal Party nomination in Edmonton-Strathcona.

Edmonton Police Constable Brad Rutherford has entered the Conservative nomination race in this new riding. He will face Edmonton-McClung PC MLA David Xiao, who announced his candidacy in March.

Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan
Recent municipal election candidate Nicole van Kuppeveld has announced she will seek the Conservative nomination in this new riding east of Edmonton. Ms.  van Kuppeveld, the former president of the Sherwood Park provincial PC Party, will face off against Garnett Genuis, the 2012 Wildrose candidate in Sherwood Park.

If there are any additions to the list of nomination candidates for the 2015 federal election, please contact me through the comment section below or by email at david.cournoyer [at]

7 replies on “Conservatives spar for safe Alberta ridings”

Tofael Chowdhury, now that’s a name I haven’t heard in years. There were some weird shenanigans surrounding him and the Liberal nomination in Edmonton-Strathcona in 2006 (the party saying he was going to run, followed by the message that he hadn’t sold enough memberships so the other guy took it, followed by an angry letter penned by Chowdhury in the Edmonton Journal that he had never even been a candidate and the party was trying to make it look like a contested nomination when it wasn’t). I wrote about it in when I was a democraticSPACE blogger for the riding in in the 2008 election (the site seems to have since gone private, otherwise I’d link). Maybe that left a bad enough taste in his mouth that he went over to the other side? He definitely wasn’t always a Conservative, though–unless it’s some other Tofael Chowdhury, which I doubt.

IP – Thanks for the tip about Tofael Chowdhury’s past run/non-run in Edmonton-Strathcona. I will certainly look that up.

Also, another update to the list: I hear that Matt Grant is expected to be acclaimed as the Liberal candidate in Calgary-Confederation at a meeting on April 29 at SAIT. A new riding that encompasses portions of the current Calgary-Centre North and Calgary-West, Confederation is on my list of ridings to watch in the 2015 election.

Good coverage, but why so much emphasis on the Liberal candidate in Fort Mac-Athabasca? In the last federal election the NDP, not the Liberals, were the runners-up in virtually every Alberta riding won by the Conservatives. The Trudeau effect may make them more competitive in the rest of the country this time around, but not in Alberta; that name is still too toxic (not for rational reasons—the NEP was over 30 years ago—but that does negate the truth of it).

jerrymacgp – Thanks for the comment.

I predict the Liberals will actually do quite well in the Fort McMurray-Athabasca by-election. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I believe they could win, but I think a strong second place showing in this economically-important riding would be very telling.

So far as I can tell, the Liberals have nominated a solid candidate in Kyle Harrietha and have put a concerted effort into building an organization in the riding over the past two years. That is why I have focused on them in this post.

I think it is very interesting that the Tory nomination in FtMac-Athabasca, a race that would typically be hotly contested, has been a sleeper. It could be a sign that an interesting campaign lies ahead.

– Dave

Delighted to see (the elusive) David Xiao having to fight for a nomination. He was conveniently missing for the GSA vote and more interestingly averages $30 000 /yr in travel expenses…a backbencher living in West Edmonton…obviously a troublesome stat that will hopefully give Con voters pause. They can’t afford any more bad press! David is very good at turning out a large number of ethnic voters for nominations et al. Be interesting to see if they get to be “vouched” for

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