Emad El-Zein will carry the United Conservative Party banner against Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley in Edmonton-Strathcona.
El-Zein is an engineer and business owner, and is the President of the local UCP association in Edmonton-Strathcona.
He was served as soccer coordinator and membership director of the Malmo Plains Community League.
Notley was first elected to represent Edmonton-Strathcona in 2008 and was re-elected in 2019 with 72 per cent of the vote.
Voters in the south central Edmonton riding have elected NDP MLAs in every election but one since 1986.
UCP to appoint Toews and Savage successors
The UCP has announced that it plans to appoint candidates in Grande Prairie-Wapiti and Calgary-North West to replace retiring Finance Minister Travis Toews and Environment Minister Sonya Savage. The two senior UCP ministers announced last Friday that they will not seek re-election.
Of the two, only Savage was already nominated to run in the May election.
Rumours circulated over the weekend that the UCP could appoint Trade, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Rajan Sawhney as the UCP candidate in Calgary-North West. Sawhney has served as MLA for Calgary-North East since 2019 but announced in February 2023 that she would not run for re-election.
There is also speculation in political circles that the UCP could name Nolan Dyck as the party’s candidate in Grande Prairie-Wapiti. Dyck is currently seeking the nomination in the neighbouring Grande Prairie riding but is President of the UCP association in Grande Prairie-Wapiti and is politically close to Toews.
Liberal Party names 6 new candidates
The Liberal Party has named six new candidates, bringing the party’s total slate of candidates up to seven.
The slate of new candidates includes Dr. Donna Wilson, a nursing professor at the University of Alberta who’s area of research focuses on health services and health policy.
Wilson will be carrying the party’s banner in Edmonton-Whitemud, where she previously ran for the Liberals in a 2014 by-election. Back then, the Liberals were led by now-UCP candidate Dr. Raj Sherman and the Wildrose Party was led by now UCP Premier Danielle Smith. The riding is currently represented by NDP MLA Rakhi Pancholi.
Wilson also ran for the Liberals in Edmonton-Riverview in the 2015 election.
Other Liberal Party candidates include:
- Charlie Heater in Calgary-Fish Creek
- Prince Mugisha in Calgary-North East
- Jean Kijuli in Edmonton-Manning
- Abdi Bakal in Edmonton-Mill Woods
- Patricia Chizek in Lethbridge-West
Bakal and Chizek were candidates in those ridings in the 2019 election. Liberal Party leader John Roggeveen has not announced where he plans to run.
Other nomination updates
The Independence Party of Alberta has nominated Bob Blayone in Camrose, Terry Wolsey in Cardston-Siksika, David Reid in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, Corrie Toone in Livigstone-Macleod, Katherine Kowalchuk in Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills, Fred Schwieger in Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre, Brent Ginther in Taber-Warner.
Ashley MacDonald is the Green Party candidate in Red Deer-South.
Upcoming nomination votes
With just 63 days left until Election Day, the UCP have nominated candidates in 81 of Alberta’s 87 ridings and Alberta NDP have nominated 77 candidates. The Green Party has 27 candidates, the Alberta Party has nominated 12 candidates, the Liberal Party has seven, and the Independence Party has at least seven.
Candidate nomination votes are currently scheduled for the following dates:
- April 1 – Calgary-North East UCP
- April 3 – Grande Prairie UCP
- April 21 – Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville
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2 replies on “UCP candidate Emad El-Zein to challenge NDP leader Rachel Notley in Edmonton-Strathcona”
I don’t know if there any many conservatives living in Edmonton Strathcona that follow this blog, but if so they might find this interesting. This was the case for the 2019 election, so I assume it still applies; if it is inaccurate, Dave, please let me know.
When the Kenneyites formed the UCP, they did not totally dissolve the original legacy parties of the Progressive Conservatives and Wildrose, because they did not want the names available for a conservative disenchanted with the UCP to re-form one of the old legacy parties. Technically, those parties still exist; they just don’t actually compete in elections.
The only problem with this dog-in-a-manger strategy is that the election rules require parties to run in at least one riding in order to be allowed to continue to exist. As a result, the UCP chose the riding they recognize as the one they have the least likelihood of winning (Strathcona)and run a token candidate for the PCs, and a second candidate for the Wildrose.
This gives conservative voters in Strathcona a wonderful opportunity to use their vote to show support for the conservative cause AND express displeasure with Danielle Smith by voting for one of the legacy parties.
The provincial constituency of Edmonton-Strathcona isn’t only a stronghold for the provincial NDP — it sits inside the federal riding of the same name, although federally it’s properly rendered as ‘Edmonton Strathcona’, unhyphenated. The federal riding is also a strong NDP seat, currently held by Heather McPherson, and before her by Linda Duncan.
So Mr El-Zein is the sacrificial lamb the UCP has to put up to be able to say that have candidates in every seat. He has virtually no chance of actually winning.