While Premier Danielle Smith has spent her first week in office making statements about who is and isn’t the most persecuted groups of her lifetime, apologizing for repeating Russian talking points about the invasion of Ukraine, and preparing to enshrine the rights of the of Albertans who refused to be vaccinated for COVID-19, the Brooks-Medicine Hat by-election enters its second week.
Smith is the favourite to win the by-election in the southeast Alberta riding but she has only made one appearance in the riding since the race began on October 11.
The NDP have nominated Gwendoline Dirk and Alberta Party leader Barry Morishita is carrying his party’s banner. Bob Blayone is running for the Independence Party of Alberta but one separatist candidate in this race is not enough.
The ongoing fight to control the separatist Wildrose Independence Party has taken another twist as it appears disputed interim leader Jeevan Mangat has registered as the party’s candidate in the Brooks-Medicine Hat by-election.
The Mangat-led faction of the party pushed Paul Hinman out of the leadership earlier this year before the Hinman-camp claimed to have retaken control of the party at its 2022 annual general meeting. But the Elections Alberta website still recognizes Mangat as the interim leader of the party.
So the Wildrose Independence Party has two websites. wildrose.party is controlled by Hinman’s supporters and wildrosenation.com lists Mangat as interim leader and his supporters, including President Rick Northey and former Conservative Member of Parliament Rob Anders, on the Board of Governors.
Hinman told the Medicine Hat News that he’s sitting out the Brooks-Medicine Hat by-election in order to pursue legal action on October 20 to retake control of the party. Mangat isn’t sitting it out.
Both pretenders to the Wildrose Independence Party leadership have past connections to Premier Smith.
Hinman was Smith’s predecessor as leader of the Wildrose Party from 2005 to 2009 and served in her caucus as the MLA for Calgary-Glenmore from 2009 to 2012. Mangat was the Calgary-Fort candidate for the Smith-led Wildrose Party in the 2012 election.
The deadline for candidates to get their names on the by-election ballots is October 21.