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Alberta Politics

Nomination Drama! Nadine Wellwood disqualified in Livingstone-Macleod, former Wildrose MLA Scott Cyr launches a UCP comeback

Today’s by-election in Brooks-Medicine Hat will determine if Premier Danielle Smith will have a seat in the Alberta Legislature, but ahead of that vote here are the latest candidate nomination updates.

Drama in Livingstone-Macleod 

Livingstone-Macleod MLA Roger Reid and Premier Danielle Smith United Conservative Party nomination
Roger Reid and Danielle Smith (source: Roger Reid/Instagram)

Days after he withdrew from the United Conservative Party’s nomination contest in Livingstone-Macleod, MLA Roger Reid told Globe & Mail reporter Carrie Tait that he would not vote for Nadine Wellwood if she succeeds him as the UCP candidate. Now, Wellwood’s controversial nomination has been rejected by the party.

Here’s what Reid told the Globe & Mail:

Wellwood has a long history of posts on social media in which she has compared vaccine passports to Nazi Germany, promoted ivermectin as a cure for COVID-19, and spread the conspiracy theory that U.S. President Joe Biden stole the 2020 election from former president Donald Trump. 

“I think her focus is not where the people of Livingstone-Macleod are focused,” Mr. Reid said in an interview when asked if he would support Ms. Wellwood. “What she has been posting and what she’s been speaking to is not addressing the broad concerns of most of the residents of this riding.” 

Ms. Wellwood said she did not have time to respond to questions on Thursday.

Nadine Wellwood Livingstone-Macleod UCP Nomination Disqualification Statement
A statement from Nadine Wellwood’s campaign.

Wellwood blamed the “party elite” in a statement saying she would appeal her disqualification.

Her appeal will be a first test of the new UCP board, which is now about half controlled by supporters of the Take Back Alberta PAC slate, which swept the elections at the recent UCP AGM. Supporters of that PAC have called for the reopening of nominations in Cardston-Sikiska and Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre, where challengers to the incumbent MLAs were disqualified earlier this year for making controversial statements on social media.

Former Wildrose MLA challenges Hanson

Scott Cyr UCP Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul Nomination Candidate MLA
Scott Cyr (source: Scott Cyr/Facebook)

Former Wildrose MLA Scott Cyr joins former MD of Bonnyville Reeve Greg Sawchuck in challenging MLA David Hanson for the UCP nomination in Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul.

Cyr was first elected in 2015 and did not run for re-election in 2019 after his Bonnyville-Cold Lake and Hanson’s Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills ridings were merged in the electoral boundaries redistribution. Cyr endorsed Hanson in 2018.

He was openly critical of UCP MLA’s caught up in the Aloha-gate scandal in December 2021, telling CTV that the vacations were a “slap in the face” for his family and the average Albertan.”

The UCP has now opened nominations in Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul, as well as Central Peace-Notley, Chestermere-Strathmore, Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview, and Edmonton-Mill Woods.

Other nomination updates:

  • NDP members are expected to nominate Justin Huseby in Calgary-South East and Denis Ram in Calgary-Peigan tonight.
  • MLA Jason Stephan publicly announced he will be seeking the UCP nomination for re-election in Red Deer-South. He is being challenged by Adele Poratto, who ran against Stephan for the nomination in 2019 and also ran for the Progressive Conservative nomination in 2008.
  • Fred Kreiner of Jasper and Lavone Olson of Brule are running for the NDP nomination in West Yellowhead. Olson was Yellowhead County Councillor from 2007 to 2013 and 2017 to 2021. A December 8 nomination vote has been scheduled.
  • Kanwarjit Singh Sandhu announced plans to seek the UCP nomination in Edmonton-Meadows at an event at the Sultan Banquet Hall. The southeast Edmonton riding is currently represented by NDP MLA Jasvir Deol.
  • The UCP has opened nominations in a handful of ridings, including Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock, where UCP MLA Glenn Van Dijken faces a challenge from 24-year old Westlock County Councillor Isaac Skuban.
  • Jacob Stacey has been nominated as the Liberal Party candidate in Sherwood Park. He previously announced his candidacy in Strathcona-Sherwood Park.
  • Jeremy Appell has some coverage and raises some questions about Marilyn North Peigan’s departure as the NDP candidate in Calgary-Klein, a key swing-riding in the next election.

And it looks like a UCP candidate who came close to winning in the last election probably won’t be running again in the next election. Former UCP candidate Karri Flatla, who ran for the party in Lethbridge-West in 2019, levelled some pretty harsh criticism at Smith on her Facebook page.

A screenshot from Karri Flatla's Facebook page criticizing Premier Danielle Smith.
A screenshot from Karri Flatla’s Facebook page criticizing Premier Danielle Smith.

Total nominated candidates

The NDP have nominated candidates in 62 of Alberta’s 87 ridings. The UCP have candidates named in 36 ridings and the Green Party has 18 candidates. The Alberta Party has nominated 3 candidates and the Liberal Party has one.

Here are the scheduled upcoming nominations:

  • November 8 – Calgary-Peigan NDP
  • November 8 – Calgary-South East NDP
  • November 16 – Calgary-West NDP
  • November 20 – Airdrie-East NDP
  • November 23 – Livingstone-Macleod NDP
  • November 26 – St. Albert UCP
  • December 2 & 3 – Drayton Valley-Devon UCP
  • December 8 – West Yellowhead NDP

I am maintaining a list of candidates running for party nominations, so if you are seeking a nomination and would like you name added to the list please let me know. Thanks!

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Alberta Politics

Nomination Updates: Brooks-Medicine Hat by-election, UCP and NDP open more races, Greens name 15 new candidates

There is no such thing as a boring week in Alberta politics and this past week was no exception. But while we are all trying to pay attention to what the new Premier said then and is saying now, it would be easy to let all the fun candidate nomination news that I enjoy writing about just sail by. I couldn’t possibly let that happen, because there are a lot of updates.

I’ll start with the by-election in Brooks-Medicine Hat.

Brooks-Medicine Hat by-election

A November 8 by-election has been called in Brooks-Medicine Hat and Premier Danielle Smith is running as the United Conservative Party candidate. She will face Alberta NDP candidate and retired teacher Gwendoline Dirk and Brooks mayor-turned-Alberta Party leader Barry Morishita.

Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillips was on hand to help Dirk’s kick off her campaign this week. Dirks is a retired high school teacher and Medicine Hat College instructor. She ran for a seat on the Medicine Hat Public School Board in 2021 and is a member of the Medicine Hat Police Commission. Her partner Peter Mueller was the NDP candidate in the neighbouring Cypress-Medicine Hat riding in the 2019 election.

This is Morishita’s first time running in an election as the leader of the Alberta Party but he is a veteran of elections in the City of Brooks. He served on Brooks City Council from 1998 to 2003 and 2010 to 2016, and was Mayor from 2019 until 2021.

This is not Morishita’s first time running in a provincial election. In 2001, he ran for the Liberals against Progressive Conservative cabinet minister Lyle Oberg, earning 15.5 per cent of the vote.

Former Newell County Councillor Mara Nesbitt, who had previously announced her plans to run for the nomination, has withdrawn and is supporting Smith’s candidacy.

The deadline for candidates to enter the nomination is October 21 and it’s looking like it won’t be a crowded race.

Buffalo Party leader John Holberg and party president Raman Bains announced that the recently formed right-wing party would not put forward a candidate to run in the by-election. “We wish the Premier the best of luck in the Brooks-Medicine Hat by election,” the statement declared.

Also out is the Liberal Party. Interim leader John Roggeveen told the Medicine Hat News that the party will not be running a candidate in the by-election. And Wildrose Independence Party leader Paul Hinman, who was once an MLA for a large southern rural Alberta riding, is busy being embroiled in legal action to take back control of the party.

Independence Party of Alberta leader and Calgary street preacher Artur Pawlowski is hosting information sessions on Oct 17 in Medicine Hat on Oct. 17 and Brooks on Oct. 19 but the party hasn’t publicly named a candidate. UPDATE: Bob Blayone has been named as the Independence Party candidate. 


Now to other candidate nomination news from across Alberta:

Alberta NDP

  • Two-term MLA David Shepherd was nominated as the NDP candidate Edmonton-City Centre. Shepard was first elected in 2015 and was re-elected in 2019 with 66 per cent of the vote.
  • Dawn Flaata was nominated as the NDP candidate in Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright at an October 15 meeting. Flaata is a local author with a long history of involvement in the chamber of commerce in Vermilion and was a Constituency Assistant to former Conservative MP Leon Benoit.
  • Communications consultant Amanda Chapman defeated firefighter Jason Curry to secure the NDP nomination in Calgary-Beddington.
  • Liana Paiva running for the NDP nomination in Peace River with a nomination meeting scheduled for Friday, October 28, 2022.
  • Lawyer Denis Ram is running for NDP nomination in Calgary-Peigan at a November 8 nomination meeting. Ram placed second in the NDP nomination in Calgary-Cross in July 2022.

United Conservative Party

  • Jon Horsman is the second candidate to declare plans to run for the UCP nomination in Calgary-Elbow. Horsman is a former bank vice-president and briefly was a candidate for the leadership of the UCP. Lawyer Andrea James announced her candidacy in June 2022.
  • Adele Poratto is running for the UCP nomination in Red Deer-South. Poratto ran for the nomination in 2018 and for the PC Party nomination in the riding ahead of the 2008 election. Ran for the nomination in 2018
  • Brazeau County Councillor Kara Westerlund is the third candidate to enter the UCP nomination contest in Drayton Valley-Devon. Westerlund has served on county council since 2010 and is a Vice President of the Rural Municipalities of Alberta. She joins Carol Vowk and Andrew Boitchenko.
  • It looks like Premier Smith has ceded the UCP nomination in Livingstone-Macleod to incumbent MLA Roger Reid. Reid had been running against Smith for the nomination in her home riding while she was running for the party leadership and he now says he plans to continue to run for the UCP nomination for the next election.
  • The UCP has opened up nominations in Drayton Valley-Devon, Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, Livingstone-Macleod, St. Albert and Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright.

Green Party of Alberta

The Green Party of Alberta has nominated 15 candidates, including party leader Jordan Wilkie, who will now run in Edmonton-Rutherford instead of Banff-Kananaskis as he previously announced. Here is the full list of nominated Green Party candidates:

  • Calgary-Buffalo: Heather Morigeau
  • Calgary-Currie: Jonathan Parks
  • Calgary-East: Jayden Baldonado
  • Calgary-Edgemont: Brandy Kinkead
  • Calgary-Hays: Evelyn Tanaka
  • Calgary-Peigan: Shaun Pulsifer
  • Cypress-Medicine Hat: Dustin Cartwright
  • Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview: Michael Hunter
  • Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood: Kristine Kowalchuk
  • Edmonton-North West: Tyler Beaulac
  • Edmonton-Rutherford: Jordan Wilkie
  • Edmonton-South West: Jeff Cullihall
  • Edmonton-Strtahcona: Robert Gooding-Townsend
  • Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills: Daniel Brisbin
  • Sherwood Park: Lucas Bevin

Upcoming nomination meetings

  • October 19 – Lacombe-Ponoka NDP
  • October 20 – Calgary-Fish Creek NDP
  • October 26 – Calgary-Hays NDP
  • October 26 – Edmonton-City Centre Green
  • October 28 – Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul NDP
  • October 28 – Peace River NDP
  • November 8 – Calgary-Peigan NDP
  • November 8 – Calgary-South East NDP

The tally

The NDP have now nominated candidates in 58 of Alberta’s 87 electoral districts. As previously noted, it appears as though the UCP have paused the nomination process until after their new leader is selected on October 6. The Green Party has 15 candidates nominated and the Alberta Party has named three candidates.

See the full list of nomination candidates here.

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Read my latest column about the challenges facing Premier Danielle Smith in the short 7-months ahead of the next election.

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Alberta Politics

Notley NDP fill their slate of 87 candidates, UCP with 3 nomination contests underway

The Alberta NDP will have a full-slate of candidates in Alberta’s 87 electoral districts by the end of today, with Premier Rachel Notley being nominated at a pre-election rally in Edmonton-Strathcona this afternoon. With a full-slate of candidates, Notley is preparing to call a provincial election with days or weeks.

Rounding up the slate of NDP candidates across the province are Roxie Baez Zamora in Airdrie-East, former Smoky Lake town councillor Theresa Taschuk in Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock, Heather Eddy in Calgary-South East, Kirby Smith in Cardston-Siksika, past city council candidate Shannon Dunfield in Grande Prairie-Wapiti, Acheson Business Association interim executive director Natalie Birnie in Morinville-St. Albert, Ryan Clarke in Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright, and Paula Cackett in West Yellowhead.

Birnie replaces previously nominated NDP candidate Shawna Gawreluck, who announced on social media yesterday that she was withdrawing her candidacy for family reasons.

Jason Stephan won the United Conservative Party nomination in Red Deer-South, defeating Bruce Buruma, Gary Davidson, Adele Poratto, and Norman Wiebe. Stephan is a lawyer and president of the Red Deer Taxpayers’ Association.

The UCP has three nomination contests still underway:

  • Sherry Adams, Rajesh Arora, Faton Bislimi, and Sanjay Patel are seeking the nomination in Edmonton-Ellerslie scheduled to take place on March 30, 2019.
  • Leila Houle and Atul Ranade are seeking the nomination in Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood scheduled to take place on March 21, 2019. Del Shupenia’s candidacy was not accepted by the party and George Lam and Michael Kalyn have withdrawn from the contest.
  • Sophia Kahn, Nazia Naqvi, Baljit Singh, and Heather Sworin are seeking the UCP nomination in Edmonton-Mill Woods scheduled to take place on March 30, 2019. Previously declared candidates Muhammad Afzal, Tariq Chaudhry and David Fletcher have withdrawn from the contest. Chaudhry withdrew from the contest in December 2018, claiming in an affidavit that Jason Kenney and the UCP cost him more than $25,000. Chaudhry claims Kenney encouraged him to run and asked him to sign up and pay for the $10-membership fee for 1,200 new members.

It is expected that candidates will be appointed for the three remaining UCP candidacies if an election is called this week.

The Alberta Party has nominated Robert Tremblay in Calgary-Fish Creek and Jason Avramenko in Chestermere-Strathmore.

Two former UCP nomination candidates have been nominated to run for other parties this week. Sandra Kim has been nominated as the Advantage Party candidate in Camrose, and Jerry Semen is the Freedom Conservative Party candidate in Spruce Grove-Stony Plain.

Yash Sharma, who was disqualified as a candidate for the Alberta Party, is now an Advantage Party candidate in Edmonton-Ellerslie.

Faiza Ali Abdi has been nominated as the Liberal Party candidate in Calgary-McCall.

If you know any candidates who have announced their intentions to stand for party nominations, please send me an email at david.cournoyer@gmail.com. I will add them to the list. Thank you!

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Alberta Politics

Jason Kenney fumbles Len Rhodes’ appointment, and NDP MLA loses nomination in Edmonton-Meadows

Photo: Appointed UCP candidate Len Rhodes and UCP leader Jason Kenney (source: YouTube).

The fallout from Jason Kenney’s decision to appoint former Edmonton Eskimos President and CEO Len Rhodes as the United Conservative Party candidate in Edmonton-Meadows continues.

As mentioned in the latest episode of the Daveberta Podcast, some members of the local UCP board of directors are up in arms about Kenney’s claim that they were consulted with and asked for Rhodes to be appointed as the candidate. Some of the disgruntled board members are said to be collecting signatures for a letter disputing Kenney’s claims, and that more than a dozen local directors have signed the letter.

Letter from Arundeep Sandhu to UCP supporters Edmonton Meadows
Letter from Arundeep Sandhu to UCP supporters Edmonton Meadows (Click to enlarge)

Rhodes’ surprise appointment last week eliminated three candidates – Arundeep Sandhu, Joel Mullen and Sant Sharma – who had been selling party memberships and door-knocking to compete for the UCP nomination for up to twelve months.

Arundeep Sandhu released a letter on social media today expressing his disappointment in the decision and thanking his supporters. It was a classy letter, but it certainly did not include the “let’s all get behind the appointed candidate” message that Kenney and Rhodes were likely looking for. 

Meanwhile, more than 400 New Democratic Party members voted to choose Jasvir Deol as their candidate in Edmonton-Meadows. Deol defeated Chand Gul and MLA Denise Woollard, who had been elected to represent Edmonton-Mill Creek in 2015. 

Jasvir Deol Alberta NDP Edmonton Meadows
Jasvir Deol

Deol was the NDP candidate in the 2015 federal election in the Edmonton-Mill Woods district, where he earned 12.7 per cent of the vote in the contest against Liberal Amarjeet Sohi and Conservative Tim Uppal. 

Woollard is the third NDP MLA to be challenged and defeated in a nomination contest. MLA Trevor Horne was defeated by MLA Marie Renaud in St. Albert and Jordan Stein defeated MLA Anam Kazim in Calgary-Glenmore

Peace River NDP MLA Debbie Jabbour is facing a nomination challenge from Justin Sharpe at a meeting scheduled to take place on February 28, 2019.

The NDP also nominated three other candidates this past weekend:

  • MD of Ranchlands Reeve Cameron Gardner has been nominated as the NDP candidate in Livingstone-Macleod.
  • Former Taber town councillor and past president of the Alberta Library Trustees Association Laura Ross-Giroux has been nominated as the NDP candidate in the southern Alberta district of Taber-Warner.
  • Crown prosecutor Moira Vane is the NDP candidate in Strathcona-Sherwood Park.

An NDP nomination meeting in West Yellowhead that was originally scheduled for this past weekend appears to have been rescheduled to March 9, 2019.

Dr. Esther Tailfeathers is seeking the NDP nomination in Cardston-Siksika. Dr. Tailfeathers is a Physician at the Blood Tribe Clinic at Standoff and a Clinical Lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta.

Melissa Langmaid has announced plans to seek the NDP nomination in Chestermere-Strathmore. Langmaid is an Environmental Advisor with AltaLink and a unit coordinator with the United Utility Workers’ Association

Holly Heffernan is seeking the NDP nomination in Drumheller-Stettler. Heffernan is a retired Registered Nurse and long-time NDP activist, having run numerous times for the NDP in both provincial and federal elections in Calgary.

UCP set Red Deer-South nomination vote for March 16

Adele Poratto Red Deer South United Conservative Party Alberta
Adele Poratto

The elusive mystery star candidate is nowhere to be seen, but the UCP has moved ahead with the party’s nomination vote in Red Deer-South anyway. Party members will choose from the Bruce Buruma, Gary Davidson, Adele Poratto, Jason Stephan, and Norman Wiebe on March 16, 2019.

Buruma is Director of Community Relations for  Red Deer Public School District and Executive Director of the Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools. Davidson is Chief of Emergency Medicine for Alberta Health Services’ Central Zone. Poratto is a decorator and event planner, and ran for the PC Party nomination in the district ahead of the 2008 election. Stephan is a lawyer and president of the Red Deer Taxpayers’ Association. And Wiebe was the Wildrose Party candidate in this district in the 2015 election, earning 24 percent of the vote behind NDP candidate Barb Miller and PC candidate Darcy Mykytyshyn.

Davidson’s wife, Pamela Davidson, sought the UCP Central Alberta Director election at the party’s 2018 annual general meeting and previously ran against Christine Moore in the Red Deer County Division 6 election in 2017. Moore ran unsuccessfully for the UCP nomination in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake ahead of the 2018 by-election and as the Progressive Conservative candidate in Red Deer-North in the 2015 election. 

The UCP has also opened nomination contests in Edmonton-EllerslieEdmonton-Highlands-Norwood, and Edmonton-MIll Woods. 

Rebel Strankman running as Independent

Rick Strankman Alberta United Conservative Drumheller Stettler MLA
Rick Strankman

Former UCP MLA Rick Strankman has announced his plans to run for re-election as an Independent candidate in Drumheller-Stettler. Strankman was elected as a Wildrose MLA in 2012 and 2015 and left the UCP caucus on January 15, 2019 following his loss of the party’s nomination to rancher Nate Horner in October 2018.

After nearly seven years as an MLA shackled with Party-first priorities, it is clear that Alberta’s party system of government has stripped effective representation and across-the-board best interests from Alberta’s citizens,” wrote Strankman in a media release posted on this website. “Running for election and winning office as an Independent will enable me to restore the priorities of all Drumheller Stettler citizens to the front lines of the Legislature and advance their priorities for resurrecting Alberta’s prosperity.” he said.

Former MLA Ian Donovan is running as an Independent in the new Cardston-Siksika district. Donovan was first elected as a Wildrose MLA in Little Bow in 2012 and crossed the floor to the PC Party in 2014. He was narrowly defeated in the 2015 election, finishing 12 votes behind Wildrose candidate David Schneider.

With Schneider declining to seek re-election, Donovan supported past Christian Heritage candidate Marc Slingerland in the UCP nomination contest against eventual winner Joseph Schow. Donovan later announced he was quitting the UCP, citing a dictatorship-like control of the party by Kenney.

Mandel awaits fate as 2 Alberta Party candidates back on the ballot 

The Court of Queen’s Bench has waived the 5-year ban on Alberta Party candidates Moe Rahall in Edmonton-Castle Downs and Diana Ly in Edmonton-Gold Bar, who will now be allowed to run in the 2019 election. Party leader Stephen Mandel and four other Alberta Party candidates still await their fate as the court has yet to remove their bans. 

Swann staffer runs for the Green Party

Janice Fraser is running for the Green Party in Calgary-McCall. Fraser is currently the office manager for Calgary-Mountain View Liberal MLA David Swann, who is retiring after four-terms in the Legislature. Swann’s other constituency office staffer, Joshua Codd, is the nominated Liberal Party candidate in Calgary-Currie.

Jane Drummond is running for the Green Party in Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre. Drummond is the editor of the Nordegg Squeek and has served as an Alberta Hiking Association member representing Terra Firma Nordegg Hiking.

Meanwhile, Chris Glassford has been nominated as the Alberta Advantage Party candidate in Sherwood Park and Mark Gregor has been nominated in Drayton Valley-Devon.

If you know any candidates who have announced their intentions to stand for party nominations, please send me an email at david.cournoyer@gmail.com. I will add them to the list. Thank you!