With three days left until Alberta’s provincial election begins, most parties are still filling their slates of candidates. The United Conservative Party is the only party currently with a full slate of 87 candidates. The Alberta NDP have named 84 candidates and are expected to complete their slate of 87 by Sunday, April 30.
The NDP have nominated Colleen Quintal in Cardston-Siksika. Quintal is President of the NDP constituency association in Lethbridge-East and works as a staff representative with CUPE in Lethbridge.
The NDP are expected to name candidates this weekend in Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche, Grande Prairie-Wapiti and Taber-Warner.
The Alberta Party has named Wayne Rufiange is as their candidate in Morinville-St. Albert. Rufiange sought the Alberta Party nomination in the riding in 2019, but was defeated by former St. Albert city councillor Neil Korotash. He instead ran in Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock in the last election.
Brad Friesen is running for the Alberta Party in Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo.
The Independence Party has nominated Rodney Bowen as their candidate in Central Peace-Notley.
The Wildrose Independence Party has nominated interim party leader Jeevan Mangat in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake and Mike Lorusso in Highwood.
Former Calgary Catholic School District Trustee Pamela Rath has been nominated United Conservative Party candidate in Calgary-Mountain View. Rath served as a trustee from 2017 until her resignation in December 2022 for “personal and family matters.”
Rath’s resignation came a few months after she was censured by her trustee colleagues after being found to be in violation of the board’s code of conduct, though the nature of her alleged misconduct was never made public.
The riding has been represented by Alberta NDP MLA Kathleen Ganley since 2019 and was previously represented by Liberal MLA David Swann from 2004 to 2019.
Hogg defeated retired teacher Tim Gruber and private college founder David Martin. She has served as a trustee with the Prairie Rose Public School since 2013 and previously served as President of the Public School Boards’ Association of Alberta.
And way up north, Scott Sinclair defeated three other candidates to win the UCP nomination in Lesser Slave Lake.I’m told that Sinclair beat second place finisher Martine Carifelle by three votes. Sinclair will face Registered Nurse and former NDP MLA Danielle Larivee in the election.
Grande Prairie UCP race draws a crowd
Three more candidates – Larry Gibson, Don Golden and Tayyab Parvez – have joined the UCP nomination contest to replace retiring MLA Tracy Allard..
Gibson is an energy and utilities consultant and former chair of the Grande Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce. Golden is a realtor and former Catholic school board trustee. And Parvez is an engineer and the nephew of Calgary-North MLA Muhammad Yaseen. Nolan Dyck announced his candidacy last week.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Travis Toews is expected to announce soon whether or not he will run for re-election in the neighbouring Grande Prairie-Wapiti. Toews was first elected as MLA in 2019 and placed second to Danielle Smith in the 2022 UCP leadership race.
More nomination updates
Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock: Pastor-turned-horizontal directional driller Landen Tischerwas nominated as the NDP candidate in this sprawling riding north of Edmonton.
Calgary-Bow: Paul Godard has been nominated as the Alberta Party candidate. Godard ran for the Alberta Party in the riding in 2019.
Calgary-Edgemont:Allen Schultz has been nominated as the Alberta Party candidate.
Calgary-Foothills:Shaoli Wang has been nominated as the Alberta Party candidate. Wang previously ran for mayor in 2021 and as an Independent candidate in Calgary-Rocky Ridge in the 2019 federal election.
Camrose: Bob Blayone has announced he will run for the Independence Party of Alberta nomination in this central Alberta riding. Baylone acts as a spokesperson for the Independence Party and previously ran for town council in Peace River in 2021.
Central Peace-Notley: Lynn Lekisch is the Alberta Party candidate in this northwest Alberta riding. Lekisch ran for the NDP nomination in the riding in July 2022 but was defeated by Megan Ciurysek.
Edmonton-Castle Downs: Patrick Stewart has been nominated as the Alberta Party candidate.
Edmonton-Decore: Lawyer Brent Tyson has been nominated as the Alberta Party candidate.
Edmonton-Meadows: Amritpal Matharu defeated Kanwarjit Singh Sandhu to win the UCP nomination. Matharu is a shop manager at TJs Auto and Brakes & Tires and General Secretary of Gurdwara Millwoods.
Edmonton-West Henday: Joseph Angeles and Slava Cravcenco are on the ballot at the UCP nomination meeting on March 2.
Leduc-Beaumont: Al Luthra is no longer seeking the nomination. Heather Feldbusch, Nam Kular, Brandon Lunty, Dawn Miller, Dave Quest, and Karen Richert will be on the ballot when UCP members in the riding vote to choose a candidate on March 18.
Livingston-Macleod – Nanton town councillor Kevin Todd has been nominated as the Alberta Party candidate. Todd had previously been seeking the UCP nomination but had a change of heart before the candidate entry deadline and choose to run for the Alberta Party instead.
Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills- Past Independence Party leadership candidate Katherine Kowalchuk is running for that party’s nomination in this central Alberta riding. Kowalchuk is connected to the COVID-skeptical Lawyers 4 Truth group and was briefly nominated as a Liberal Party candidate in Calgary-Signal Hill ahead of the 2015 federal election.
Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre: Fred Schwieger is running for the Independence Party of Alberta. A nomination vote is scheduled for March 18, 19 and 20.
And it’s in Edmonton-Whitemud that the Emergency Room doctor and former leader of the Alberta Liberal Party hopes to make his next political comeback.
Sherman first jumped onto the political scene back in 2008, when he was elected as the Progressive Conservative MLA for Edmonton-Meadowlark. He briefly served as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Wellness but his time in the PC fold was short.
Sherman was removed from the PC Caucus in 2010 and briefly enjoyed an almost folk-hero status in Alberta politics before deciding to run for the Liberal Party leadership in 2011. He won on the first ballot in the party’s first (and only) open-membership vote.
Sherman was unable to mend the Liberal Party’s political wounds and only narrowly held on to his seat in the 2012 election. The moribund Liberals placed a distant third behind Alison Redford‘s PCs and Danielle Smith‘s Wildrose Party.
Four candidates are on the ballot in the Lesser Slave Lake UCP nomination vote on February 25 and 26. Former constituency assistant Martine Carifelle, oil field operator Jerrad Cunningham, auto glass repair shop owner Scott Sinclair, and former chief Silas Yellowknee of the Bigstone First Nation are seeking the nomination to succeed retiring UCP MLA Pat Rehn.
Tischer running for NDP in Athbasca-Barrhead-Westlock
Pastor-turned-horizontal directional driller Landen Tischer is expected to be acclaimed as the NDP candidate in this sprawling rural riding north of Edmonton. A nomination meeting is being held on February 25.
The riding is currently represented by UCP MLA Glenn van Dijken, who fended off a nomination challenge from Westlock County Councillor Isaac Skuban late last year.
Newly nominated candidates
Edmonton-Manning: UCP voters in this north east Edmonton riding voted to select their candidate last night but the results have not yet been released. Alberto Mazzocca and Jaspreet Saggu were seeking the nomination.
Edmonton-North West: Ali Haymour was acclaimed as the UCP candidate. Haymour is a familiar name to north Edmonton voters, having previously run for City Council in 2017 and 2021, and as the Alberta Party candidate in Edmonton-Decore in 2019 and the NDP candidate in Edmonton-Castle Downs in 2008 and 2012.
Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland: UCP MLA Shane Getson has been acclaimed as his party candidate in this rural riding just north west of Edmonton. Town of Mayerthorpe Mayor Janet Jabush is now the Alberta Party candidate. Jabush has served as mayor since 2019.
Edmonton-Strathcona: NDP leader Rachel Notley is expected to be acclaimed as her party’s candidate at a nomination rally at NAIT on March 11. Notley was first elected in 2008 and was re-elected in 2019 with 72.27 per cent of the vote.
Cypress-Medicine Hat:Dustin Cartwright has withdrawn his candidacy for the Green Party in this south east Alberta riding.
Rutherford was elected in 2019 with 58.4 per cent of the vote. He announced his retirement from provincial politics shortly after he was appointed by Premier Danielle Smith as Government Caucus Whip and Minister without Portfolio.
The NDP have nominated paramedic Cam Heenan as their candidate. The riding was represented by NDP MLA Shaye Anderson from 2015 to 2019.
Taking Back Jason Nixon’s nomination
The Take Back Alberta-stacked board of the Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre UCP association announced on Facebook that they have begun discussions to reopen the nomination in the riding. Incumbent MLA Jason Nixon‘s allies were recently voted off the board and replaced by a TBA-backed slate.
Nixon served as Minister of Finance in the waining days of Kenney’s government and was dropped from cabinet when Smith entered the Premier’s Office. His brother, Jeremy Nixon, is the UCP MLA for Calgary-Klein and is now the Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services.
Take Back Alberta also has its sights set on taking over the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake UCP board and reopening the candidate nomination in that riding.
Local UCP President and the junior Dreeshen’s uncle, Charlie Moore, is defiant.
“They’re storming the castle and we’re heating up the boiling oil, I guess,” Moore told the Western Standard. “I’ve sent my troops forward to try to talk to some of the more logical ones in that group. We have to convert some of them. Surely there’s some common sense in there somewhere. They can’t all be totally extremists.”
Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock: Landen Tischer is expected to be nominated as the NDP candidate in this sprawling rural riding north of Edmonton at a February 25 nomination meeting. Check out his TikTok’s.
Calgary-North East – Inderjit Grewal has joined the UCP nomination contest in this riding currently represented by cabinet minister Rajan Sawhney. Former Dashmesh Culture Centre chairman Harjit Singh Saroya is also running for the nomination.
Cypress-Medicine Hat: Independent MLA Drew Barnesannounced he will not seek the UCP nomination to run for re-election. The former UCP was kicked out of the governing caucus in 2021 after becoming one of Kenney’s biggest internal public critics. He and now-returned UCP MLA Todd Loewen formed an unofficial UCP-caucus-in-exile during their banishment but Barnes did not return into the UCP fold when Loewen ran for the party leadership in 2022. Barnes publicly mused in 2021 about starting a rural-based political party.
Edmonton-Ellerslie: Ranjit Bath was nominated as the UCP candidate in this southeast Edmonton riding.
“I am humbled and full of gratitude for support from members in Calgary-North,” said Angral in a media release. “Our community has come together and I am ready to work towards our common goals of uplifting North Calgary and work the concerns of residents as part of the Alberta NDP team as we head into the next election.”
Angral is President, CEO, producer, and host of Sabrang Radio 94.7FM and President of the Punjabi Council of Commerce in Calgary. His community involvement includes organizing multicultural and sport events including Culturefest, Vaisakhi Mela, Bollywood Nights, and cricket tournaments.
de Jonge is a former President of the Calgary Dental Assistants Association and a former Constituency Assistant in the office of former Calgary-Skyview Conservative MP Jag Sahota. She has volunteered with a number of organizations and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and philosophy at the University of Calgary.
de Jonge’s campaign promises included creating an Alberta Pension Plan and opposing COVID-19 vaccine requirements.
The ballots are currently at UCP headquarters and are sealed in secure storage, and will not be opened until vote time, returning officer Ron Youngtold Lakeland Connect.
UCP members vote in Beverly-Clareview
UCP members in Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview will choose from three candidates in a nomination vote on December 20. Engineer and past city council candidate Felix Amenaghawon, photographer and past city council candidate Lana Palmer, and car company financial specialist Luke Suvanto.
The riding is currently represented by NDP MLA Deron Bilous since 2012. Bilous announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election after 3-terms as MLA. Teacher and past NDP president Peggy Wrightwon the nomination to succeed Bilous as the NDP candidate.
Green Party candidate withdraws from “toxic” provincial politics
Carl McKay has withdrawn as the Green Party candidate in Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock. In am email to this publisher on this website, McKay said that “I have removed myself from Provincial Politics and from the Provincial electoral registry. Participating in provincial politics is toxic and I have withdrawn as a candidate on Friday December 9, 2022.”
Tunde Obasan defeated Karen Stix to win the UCP nomination in Edmonton-South. This will be Obasan’s second time running as a UCP candidate in the riding. He placed second with 43.1 per cent of the vote in 2019. In 2021, he was the federal Conservative candidate in Edmonton-Strathcona, where he finished second with 25.3 per cent of the vote. Obasan will face NDP candidate Rhiannon Hoyle in the next election.
The UCP nomination vote in Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul, where MLA David Hanson faces a challenge from former MLA Scott Cyr and former county reeve Greg Sawchuk, concludes on December 12 and only a handful of other nomination votes are scheduled to happen before the new year:
The UCP has hired Steve Outhouse as the party’s campaign manager for the next provincial election.
The Ontario-based political staffer and campaigner was deputy chief of staff to former Conservative Party of Canada leader Erin O’Toole, and was campaign manager on Leslyn Lewis’ campaign for the federal Conservative leadership in 2022.
This announcement comes a week after the UCP hired another Ontario political organizer, Pierçon Knezic, as the party’s Director of Election Readiness.
If you haven’t already, subscribe to the Daveberta Substack to enjoy my bi-weekly columns on Alberta politics.
There are four nomination votes scheduled to take place this week:
December 8 – West Yellowhead NDP
Fred Kreiner and Lavone Olson are seeking the Alberta NDP nomination. Kreiner has worked a teacher, vice-principal and principal at schools in Edson and Jasper and served two terms as a school trustee in the North Central Francophone Education Region. Olson was Yellowhead County Councillor from 2007 to 2013 and 2017 to 2021 and is a a member of the Metis Nation of Alberta and the Mountain Metis Association of Grande Cache.
Kreiner is also the son of Helmut Kreiner, who served as Mayor of Whitecourt from 1986 to 1992. His mother, Gertrude Kreiner, was a public school trustee in Whitecourt.
The winner of this nomination vote will face United Conservative Party MLA Martin Long, who has already been nominated to run for re-election under his party’s banner.
December 9 & 10 – Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock UCP
UCP MLA Glenn van Dijken faces a nomination challenge from 24-year old Westlock County Councillor Isaac Skuban. van Dijken was first elected as a Wildrose Party candidate in 2015 and was re-elected under the UCP banner in 2019.
December 10, 11 & 12 – Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul UCP
UCP MLA David Hanson faces a nomination challenge from MLA Scott Cyr and former MD of Bonnyville reeve Greg Sawchuk. Hanson and Cyr were both first elected as Wildrose MLAs in 2015 and joined the UCP in 2017, but when their ridings were merged before the 2019 election, Cyr dropped his plans to run for a second consecutive term and Hanson was re-elected.
Lakeland Connect hosted an all candidate forum with the three candidates last week.
The NDP have nominated Caitlyn Blake in the east central Alberta riding,
December 11 – Edmonton-South UCP
Past candidate Tunde Obasan and accountant Karen Stix are seeking the UCP nomination. Obasan ran for UCP in the riding in 2019, placing second, and for the federal Conservatives in Edmonton-Strathcona in 2021. Stix is a professional accountant who runs her own accounting company and is an instructor with the Edmonton Nordic Ski Club. She is also the past president of the UCP association in the neighbouring Edmonton-Whitemud riding.
Incumbent MLA Thomas Dang was elected under the NDP banner in 2015 and 2019 but left the NDP Caucus in December 2021 after the RCMP searched his house in an investigation related to the breaching of an Alberta Health online database. Dang is now an Independent MLA and is not running for re-election.
A big thank you to everyone who has signed up and is reading my columns over on the Daveberta Substack. I’m always interested to hear what readers have to say so feel free to let me know what you think.
James Finkbeinerannounced on social media that he is seeking the United Conservative Party nomination in Cypress-Medicine Hat.
Finkbeiner was until recently the Vice-President of Operations for the Western Standard, right-wing news website run by former UCP MLA and Canadian Taxpayers Federation spokesperson Derek Fildebrandt. Beforejoining the Western Standard, Finkbeiner was general manager of an oilfield services company.
Barnes was first elected in 2012 as a member of Danielle Smith’s Wildrose Party and did not cross the floor in 2014. He was re-elected as a Wildrose candidate in 2015 and under the UCP banner in 2019.
Despite serving as official opposition finance critic before the UCP formed government in 2019, Barnes was left out of Kenney’s and Smith’s cabinets. He has publicly advocated for the creation of the Ministry of Autonomy, which he would like to lead.
Rowswell acclaimed in Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright
UCP MLA Garth Rowswell was acclaimed as his party’s candidate in Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright.
The NDP have nominatedDawn Flaata in the east central Alberta riding.
Other nomination updates
The UCP have scheduled a nomination vote in Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock on December 9 and 10. Second-term MLA Glenn van Dijken is being challenged by 24-year old Westlock County Councillor Isaac Skuban.
Globe and Mail journalist Carrie Taitreports that incumbent MLA Roger Reid will not reenter the UCP nomination contest in Livingstone-Macleod even after Nadine Wellwood’s disqualification was upheld. The vacancy has sparked speculation that Premier Smith, who lives in the riding, may run for re-election there in 2023.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 Sandhuannounced 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 Dijkenfaces 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.
Aheer was vague about whether she would run as an Independent or for another party, but it became increasingly clear that she would have a very difficult time winning the UCP nomination in her riding.
The second-term MLA placed last in the recent UCP leadership race and is facing a strong nomination challenge from Chantelle De Jonge. The former MP constituency assistant has stressed her conservative political credentials in contrast to Aheer’s more moderate conservative positions on social issues like abortion and public health restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
De Jonge’s recent endorsement from Bruce McAllister, who Aheer unseated as MLA in 2015 and now serves as Premier Danielle Smith‘s executive director at the McDougall Centre, sent a pretty clear message that there isn’t room for Aheer in the UCP.
McAllister is only one of the former Wildrose Party MLAs who crossed the floor with Smith to the Progressive Conservatives in 2014 to reemerge in the new Premier’s orbit.
Former Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson is Smith’s Transition Team Chair and Executive Director of the Premier’s Office, and former Strathmore-Brooks MLA Jason Hale was appointed last week as the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation.
New NDP candidates
The Alberta NDP have nominated Caitlyn Blake in Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul, lawyer Andrew Stewart in Calgary-Hays, and teacher Liana Paiva in Peace River. The NDP now have 63 candidates nominated to run in the next election.
UCP nominees emerge
Since Smith won the party leadership, the party has opened up nominations in a handful of ridings. The deadline to enter nominations in Drayton Valley-Devon, Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, Livingstone-Macleod, St. Albert and Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright is October 31, and in Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock, Airdrie-Cochrane, Airdrie-East, Calgary-Varsity, Edmonton-South and Taber-Warner is November 7, and Calgary-Elbow is November 10.
A number of prospective UCP nominees have recently announced their plans to run:
Martine Carifelle is seeking the UCP nomination in Lesser Slave Lake. She is incumbent UCP MLA Pat Rehn‘s former constituency manager. Rehn has not publicly announced if he is running for re-election.
Tunde Obasan is running for the UCP nomination in Edmonton-South. He was the party’s candidate in the riding in 2019 and ran for the federal Conservatives in Edmonton-Strathcona in 2021. Saad Siddiq and Karen Stix are also seeking the nomination.
Angela Wood is seeking the UCP nomination in St. Albert. Wood placed second in the St. Albert mayoral election in 2021.
The other parties
The Green Party has nominated Zak Abdi in Edmonton-City Centre, Chitra Bakshi in Edmonton-Mill Woods and Carl McKay in Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock.
Interim party leader John Roggeveen announced in an email to Alberta Liberal Party supporters they has opened up applications for people to run under the party’s banner in the next election.
Nagwan Al-Guneid defeated Jennifer Burgess to win the Alberta NDP nomination in Calgary-Glenmore.
A respected expert in sustainable energy development, Al-Guneid was endorsed by a number of high-profile Calgary politicos from the NDP, Liberal Party, Alberta Party and former Progressive Conservative Party.
“Our path to victory as a province, and as a community, depends on our ability to grow and support one another right here at home,” said Al-Guneid in a statement following her nomination win.
“As an economic driver, Calgary is an important player on the world energy stage, and I can see amazing opportunities for my community through the proposals Alberta’s NDP have been putting forward to diversify our economy and strengthen our energy diversity,” she said.
Al-Guneid is director of Business Renewables Centre Canada and previously worked for Energy Futures Lab and Total Energies. She was President and Board Chair of Calgary’s Ask Her from 2016 to 2020.
The riding is currently represented by United Conservative Party MLA Whitney Issik, who is Associate Minister of Status of Women.
Issik was first elected in 2019 and was a longtime PC Party volunteer, serving as campaign manager for Jim Prentice during his brief run for the federal PC Party nomination in Calgary-Southwest in 2002 and as policy co-chair of the federal PC Party during the 2000 federal election.
County Councillor Isaac Skuban challenging UCP MLA Glenn van Dijken
Westlock County Councillor Isaac Skuban plans to challenge two-term MLA Glenn van Dijken for the United Conservative Party nomination in the Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock riding.
“What pushed me to run is seeing the conservative movement slowly decrease in the polls and seeing the internal struggle happen within the party,” Skuban, 24, told Town and Country Today. “I know I can speak up and be effective.”
“I just think what’s happening in the party right now wouldn’t have happened if we had different people in the mix. I think we’re going to see a lot of nominations challenged across the province.” [editor’s note: all 21 UCP MLAs who have been nominated so far have been acclaimed]
Skuban was first elected to the County Council in September 2019 and is studying political science and economics at the University of Alberta. He has sat on the board of the local UCP constituency association.
The sprawling rural riding located north of Edmonton has been represented by Van Dijon since it was created in the 2019 election. It previously included parts of van Dijken’s former Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock riding and the former Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater riding, which was represented by NDP MLA Colin Piquette from 2015 to 2019.
Roger Reid confident he can fend off Danielle Smith
UCP MLA Roger Reid says he’s confident he can beat former Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith for the party’s nomination in Livingstone-Macleod.
“Danielle is certainly a formidable challenger, but I’ve enjoyed the opportunity despite all the challenges throughout the province in the last three years,” Reid told the Nanton News.
Smith represented the neighboring Highwood riding from 2012 to 2015 and some of that riding, including her hometown of High River, are now part of Livingstone-Macleod. She has declared plans to run for the UCP leadership if Premier Jason Kenney loses his leadership review.
New cases of COVID-19 are on the rise and the third wave of the global pandemic is hitting Alberta, but that did not deter a group of nearly 20 United Conservative Party MLAs from publicly speaking out against the provincial government’s implementation of mild public health restrictions in response.
Like the virus, the group of COVID critics inside the UCP Caucus has grown exponentially from the original six-pack of MLAs who publicly spoke out against public health measures at the beginning of March. The public letter signed by 15 UCP MLAs criticized Premier Jason Kenney for moving back to Step 1 of the province’s mild public health measures in response to the spike in new cases, which is largely a result of a vicious new variant of the deadly virus.
The letter signed by the 15 MLAs was soon after endorsed by Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright MLA Garth Rowswell and West Yellowhead MLA Martin Long, who also serves as the parliamentary secretary for small business. Also signalling support for the letter’s intentions was Calgary Member of Parliament Michelle Rempel-Garner, who serves as the Official Opposition Health Critic in Ottawa.
Peace River MLA Dan Williams, a long-time Kenney acolyte from Ottawa, did not endorse the letter but posted a video on social media criticizing the decision by Alberta Health Services to close down the rebel GraceLife Church, which had been holding in-person services in defiance of the government’s public health orders. He was joined in this call by Ontario MP Derek Sloan, who was kicked out of the federal Conservative caucus for his extreme social conservative views.
That the leaders of the UCP caucus mutiny appear to largely be from the former Wildrose caucus, or Wildrose-wing of the party, is not surprising. The former opposition party was notoriously raucous and unwilling to bow to the kind of centralized party leadership that Kenney would have become accustomed to during his many years in Ottawa.
It was also clear during Kenney’s press conference on Tuesday that he expected a negative reaction from his caucus. A significant portion of Kenney’s lecture was dedicated to managing MLAs expectations and acknowledging the differences of opinion in his caucus. Difference of opinion is one thing, but this is something entirely different.
The public health restrictions that Alberta fell back to earlier this week are nothing close to what restrictions have looked like in jurisdictions that have actually implemented lockdowns. Alberta schools are still open for in-person classes, and Albertans can still gather with up to 10 people outside, go shopping for non-essential items, get a haircut or a massage, dine or have drinks on a restaurant patio, and exercise at a gym with a personal trainer.
There is no doubt a lot of Albertans are frustrated about how the provincial government has handled the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Kenney government has not helped itself by releasing a string of confusing and inconsistent public health measures and messaging to Albertans about the government’s response.
While public opinion polling suggests many Albertans would like the government to impose stronger measures to stop the spread of the deadly virus, there is a loud minority who want to see the current restrictions lifted.
It is yet to be seen whether the revolt will extend beyond this strongly worded letter, but there is little doubt these MLAs are actively undermining the work being done by public health professionals and health care workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The caucus revolt is probably a reflection of deepening regional and partisan divides in Alberta, with most of the COVID Caucus MLAs representing largely rural and small town districts. It is notable that no UCP MLAs from Calgary, so far the hardest hit in the third wave, have publicly joined the revolt.
It also suggests that the United Conservative Party is not as united as its leader would like Albertans to believe.
Kenney’s personal approval ratings and support for his government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic plummeted over the past 13 months, and his party has floundered in the polls, finishing behind Rachel Notley’s NDP in a handful of recent voter opinion polls. The rise of the separatist Wildrose Independence Party in rural Alberta has some backbench UCP MLAs nervously looking over their right shoulders.
In some ways, the revolt probably serves as a welcome distraction to some in the UCP from the never ending string of scandals and policy failures, most recently the failure to stop the Carbon Tax at the Supreme Court, the loss of $1.5 billion of public money when the Keystone XL Pipeline was cancelled, the failure to sign a new contract with Alberta doctors, the retreat on open-pit coal mining, and the open rebellion by parents against the draft K-6 curriculum.
Under normal circumstances it would be hard to believe that this kind of caucus revolt would happen on a day when more than 1,300 new cases of COVID were reported and doctors are calling for a circuit breaker response, but in today’s world of Alberta politics, it would be harder to believe this would happen if the UCP were not floundering so deeply in the polls.
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.
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 email@example.com. I will add them to the list. Thank you!
With service in the United States Marine Corps, the Canadian Coast Guard, and a New Hampshire police service under this belt, Anglin burst on to the political stage in the mid-2000s, leading the Lavesta Area Group in a landowners revolt against the construction of giant electrical transmission lines through rural central Alberta and soon after took over the leadership of the Alberta Greens. He earned the best result ever for a provincial Green candidate in Alberta in 2008, when he earned 22 per cent of the vote in Lacombe-Ponoka.
He left the Greens soon after the election as the party dissolved. He won a seat on Rimbey Town Council and was rumoured to be considering numerous political options, including a potential jump to the then-renewed Alberta Party, but ended up joining the Wildrose Party instead.
Anglin has been on a legal crusade over the past few years as he pursued lawsuits against Alberta’s Chief Electoral Officer and Elections Alberta, alleging abuse of process and challenging financial penalties. Most recently, he asked the RCMP to investigate Nixon for alleged obstruction of justice.
His nomination as a candidate for the Alberta Party is a surprising because of his previous statements about the Freedom Conservative Party, but not surprising because of his history of party-hopping. His return to the world of electoral politics will undoubtably bring a level of entertainment value that will make this race worth watching in the upcoming election.
The NDP have nominated Melissa Langmaid in Chestermere-Strathmore. And Kyle Johnston is seeking the NDP nomination in Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills. Johnston is the former president of the Red Deer & District Labour Council and a member of United Steel Workers Local 1944 Unit 205.
The Alberta Party has nominated Vincent Rain in Lesser Slave Lake.
The Liberal Party has nominated Steve Cochan as its candidate in Edmonton-Gold Bar and Ryan Campbell in Calgary-Varsity.
The Green Party has nominated Stuart Andrews as its candidate in Edmonton-Strathcona.
Alberta Advantage Party leader Marilyn Burns will run as a candidate in Edmonton-South West.
The Freedom Conservative Party has nominated Regina Shakirova in Calgary-Bow and Wesley Caldwell in Camrose.
Eight more candidates affiliated with the Alberta Independence Party have filed their papers to run as Independent candidates:: Buster Malcolm in Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock, Thomas Manasek in Calgary-Fish Creek, Richard Fontaine in Calgary-South East, Christopher McAndrews in Calgary-Varsity, Terris Kolybaba in Edmonton-Manning, Dallas Price in Edmonton-Mill Woods, Dan Irving in Highwood, John McCanna in Lethbridge-East, and Vern Sparks in Livingstone-Macleod.
If you know any candidates who have announced their intentions to stand for party nominations, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will add them to the list. Thank you!
Six members of the Livingstone-Macleod UCP Constituency Association Board of Directors have walked away from the Board and the Party in recent days.
United Conservative Party executive director Janice Harrington released a statement this evening announcing that Randy Kerr has been removed as the party’s candidate in the new Calgary-Beddington district. Here is an excerpt from Harrington’s statement:
“Effective immediately, Mr. Randy Kerr has been removed as the UCP’s candidate in the constituency of Calgary-Beddington.
“In the last 48-hours, new information has come to our attention indicating Mr. Kerr was not forthright in responding to the Party’s inquiries regarding his financial contribution to the Jeff Callaway Leadership campaign.”
“To be clear, the Party is not making any allegations against Mr. Kerr regarding the legitimacy of his contribution to the Callaway Leadership, not against Mr. Callaway or his Campaign. This is not the Party’s rule to judge, and the Party does not in any way oversee financial contributions to leadership campaigns.
“However, it is our conclusion that Mr. Kerr was not sufficiently forthcoming with the Party’s earlier inquiries, and for that, he has been removed as a candidate.
“The Party has also proactively provided this new information to the appropriate office – that of the Elections Commissioner. Given that the matter is now with the Commissioner, it is inappropriate for us to comment further.
According to Elections Alberta financial disclosures, Kerr donated $4,000 to Callaway’s leadership campaign in 2017. The disclosure was released months ago, so it is unclear what Harrington meant when she wrote that “Mr. Kerr was not forthright in responding to the Party’s inquiries regarding his financial contribution to the Jeff Callaway Leadership campaign.”
Earlier this week, UCP staffer posted a creepy video online of Gill meeting with an NDP staffer in an apparent attempt to discredit him. Kenney later accused the NDP of “working in secret” and “conspiring” with Gill to attack the UCP.
The Elections Commissioner is said to be investigating allegations that UCP leadership candidate Jeff Callaway was running a “kamikaze mission” backed by Kenney’s campaign in order to damage the chances of former Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean winning the vote.
Harrington also announced that the UCP has appointed Josephine Pon as their candidate in this district. Pon had been defeated by Kerr in the August 2018 nomination contest.
Meanwhile, Karen McPherson, one of three Alberta Party MLAs in the Legislative Assembly, announced on social media today that she has decided against running for re-election when the provincial election is called.
McPherson had already been nominated to run as the Alberta Party candidate in Calgary-Beddington, which replaces much of her the Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill district she currently represents. She was first elected as an New Democratic Party MLA in 2015 in, unseating Progressive Conservative MLA Neil Brown, and left the NDP in 2017 to sit as an Independent and later joined the Alberta Party caucus.
The NDP have nominated Amanda Chapman as its candidate in Calgary-Beddington.
Non-Beddington related news
The Alberta Party has announced two new nominated candidates: Wayne Rufiange in Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock and Jason Beekman in Taber-Warner. Rufiange recently sought the Alberta Party nomination in Morinville-St. Albert, but was defeated by Neil Korotash. Rufiange is principal of R.F. Staples Secondary School in Westlock.
The Liberals have nominated a handful of new candidates: Robin Macintosh in Calgary-Elbow, Michael Macdonald in Calgary-Klein, and Wilson McCutchan in Calgary-Lougheed. McCutchan was the Liberal Party candidate in Calgary-West in the 2012 election, where he earned 7.4 per cent of the vote. And Shirley Ksienski has replaced previously nominated candidate Rork Hilford in Calgary-Glenmore.
The Green Party has announced Brian Deheer will be that party’s candidate in the new Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche district. Deheer was a candidate for the leadership of the party in 2017 and 2018, and in the 2015 election had the party’s strongest showing in Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills, where he earned 2.8 percent of the vote. He was the federal Green candidate in the 2014 Fort McMurray-Athabasca by-election and in Fort McMurray-Cold Lake during the 2015 federal general election. He most recently ran in the Fort McMurray-Conklin by-election, where he earned 0.72 percent of the vote.
Four more candidates affiliated with the Alberta Independence Party have filed their papers to run as Independent candidates: John Morton in Edmonton-City Centre, Kenneth Morrice in Calgary-Hays, Todd Wayne in Edmonton-Castle Downs and Ben Maddison in Lethbridge-West.
Currently operating as an unregistered political party, Alberta Independence Party will need 44 candidates approved by Elections Alberta in order to gain official party status in the upcoming election.
If you know any candidates who have announced their intentions to stand for party nominations, please send me an email at email@example.com. I will add them to the list. Thank you!