Calgary-Shaw: Following a surprising announcement by three-term PC MLA Cindy Ady that she would not seek re-election, lawyer Farouk Adatia has been appointed to replace her at the Progressive Conservative candidate. Mr. Adatia was the Chief Financial Officer for Premier Alison Redford‘s leadership campaign in 2011, and he was an unsuccessful candidate in the hotly contested PC nomination in Calgary-Hawkwood earlier this year. Following the disqualification of former Calgary-McCall MLA Shiraz Shariff as the PC candidate in Calgary-West, it was speculated that Mr. Adatia might be appointed to run as a candidate there.
Calgary-Cross: Susan Stratton will represent the Evergreen Party in this east Calgary constituency. Ms. Stratton ran in this constituency in the 2008 election under the Green Party banner, earning 395 votes. In 2004, she ran for the Green Party in Calgary-North Hill, placing third and earning 1,261 votes.
Calgary-Elbow: Businessman Greg Clark has been nominated as the Alberta Party‘s candidate in the constituency represented by Premier Redford.
Edmonton-Meadowlark: Lawyer and past federal Liberal candidate Neil Mather will run in this west Edmonton constituency under the Alberta Party banner. In the 2004 election, Mr. Mather earned 12,912 in the Edmonton-Spruce Grove riding, which includes parts of Meadowlark. The constituency is currently represented by Liberal Party leader Raj Sherman, who was elected under the PC banner in 2008.
Edmonton-Rutherford: David Tonner, an organizing member of The Zeitgeist Movement, has been nominated as the Evergreen Party candidate.
Lacombe-Ponoka: Rancher and agricultural policy specialist Tony Jeglum has been nominated as the Alberta Party candidate.
In May 2008, Marz introduced a motion that “Bill 203, the Election Statutes (Fixed Election Dates) Amendment Act, 2008, be not now read a second time but that it be read a second time this day six months hence.” Marz’s motion was passed when 36 PC MLAs (including Allred) out-voted 5 opposition MLAs.”
Now it is November 2011, the Progressive Conservatives are still in office, Premier Ed Stelmach is gone, Premier Redford is in, Mr. Marz is retiring, Mr. Allred is being challenged for the PC nomination (and may retire), and Alberta might get fixed-election dates.
A seasoned strategist, Mr. MacDonald is said to be the man behind Mr. Decore’s infamous ‘debt clock’ that helped launch the Liberals into Official Opposition status in the 1993 election (and their best showing since the 1917 election). While the addition of Mr. MacDonald may boost their roster, it eats into the narrative that Tory MLA-turned-Liberal leader Dr. Raj Sherman is promoting about the birth (or re-birth) of the “new Liberals.”
Also biting into Dr. Sherman’s “new Liberals” narrative is the nomination of five former one-term MLAs as his party’s candidates in five potentially winnable constituencies – Mo Elsalhy in Edmonton-McClung, Bharat Agnihotri in Edmonton-Ellerslie, Weslyn Mather in Edmonton-Mill Woods, Rick Miller in Edmonton-Rutherford, and Bruce Miller in Edmonton-Glenora. Some of these are good candidates, but certainly not new.
A new face in the next election, Wildrose leader Danielle Smith has floated in conservative political circles since the 1990s and two of her party’s four MLAs have been in the Assembly for more than a decade. The “nascent” or “rookie” Alberta Party has existed in various forms since the 1980s and their leader Glenn Taylor ran for the NDP in the 1997 election.
Refusing to believe that new will ever be old or old will ever be new, the New Democrats have put a fresh face on an veteran politician. NDP leader Brian Mason has a fresh face – at least for the short-term – as he has shaved his mustache for Movember to raise awareness about prostate cancer. Mr. Mason has told the media that his trademark cookie-duster will return, meaning that once again, old will be new again.
The offer was made over the phone earlier this week. Sources say that Mr. Walters, the nominated Alberta Party candidate in Edmonton-Rutherford, was also offered a candidate nomination in the constituency of his choice if he would join the Liberals.
Sources say that the offer was sweetened when it was strongly implied that the Liberals would reopen the nomination process in Edmonton-Rutherford, to allow Mr. Walters to compete against already nominated candidate and former Liberal MLA Rick Miller.
When contacted by this blogger, Mr. Walters, the former lead organizer for the Greater Edmonton Alliance, said that he declined both offers and remains committed to the Alberta Party.
Kent Hehr is new deputy leader
New leader Raj Sherman is attempting to shake-up his eight MLA Liberal Caucus. One of his first moves was to appoint Calgary-Buffalo MLAKent Hehr as the party’s Deputy Leader, a position recently held by Edmonton-Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman. Mr. Hehr is a strong MLA and a rising star in the opposition benches, but the job of deputy leader is a minor-lead in a caucus of nine MLAs.
Also emerging from the Liberal ranks is speculation that long-time MLA Hugh MacDonald might not seek re-election when the writ is dropped for the next provincial general election. Mr. MacDonald has represented Edmonton-Gold Bar since 1997 and placed second to Dr. Sherman in his party’s recent leadership contest.
It is also being reported that two other Liberals may sit out the next election. In Edmonton-Ellerslie, former MLA and nominated candidate Bharat Agnihotri and in Calgary, past federal Liberal candidate Josipa Petrunic, may take a pass in the next campaign if it interferes with approaching commitments in their personal and professional lives.
Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater: At a nomination meeting scheduled for September 21, former Liberal caucus staffer turned NDP activist Mandy Melnyk will face Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3550 President Trudy Grebenstein for the NDP nomination.
Calgary-Buffalo: Mount Royal University Professor Lee Easton has withdrawn his name as the Alberta Party candidate in this constituency. Mr. Easton was a candidate for the Alberta Party leadership earlier this year.
Calgary-Currie: Businessman Norval Horner is seeking the Liberal nomination. Mr. Horner is a distant cousin to Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Doug Horner. The Liberals held this constituency until 2010, when two-term MLA Dave Taylor left to sit as an Independent. He later joined the Alberta Party and recently announced he would not be seeking re-election.
Calgary-East: Robin Luff was nominated as the NDP candidate at a joint-nomination meeting on September 5.
Calgary-Greenway: Al Brown was nominated as the NDP candidate at a joint-nomination meeting on September 5. Mr. Brown has run for the NDP on numerous occasions, including as their candidate in Calgary-East in the recent federal election.
Calgary-McCall: Collette Singh was nominated as the NDP candidate at a joint-nomination meeting on September 5. Ms. Singh was her party’s candidate in Calgary-Northeast in the recent federal election.
Calgary-Varsity: Cynthia Caldwell was nominated as the NDP candidate at a joint-nomination meeting on September 5.
Cardston-Taber-Warner: On September 17, businessman Doug Cooper and Village of Sterling Deputy Mayor Gary Bikman will contest the Wildrose nomination. Former nomination candidate David Wright withdrew his name from the contest and endorsed Mr. Bikman. The constituency was represented by Wildrose MLA Paul Hinman from 2004 until 2008 (Mr. Hinman now represents Calgary-Glenmore).
Drumheller-Stettler – What was originally shaping up to be a five person Wildrose nomination contest has dwindled down to a two person race. Still left in the contest are Rick Strankman and Doug Wade. The three other candidates, Dave France, Chris Warwick, and Patrick Turnbull, dropped out of the race when they did not meet the necessary qualifications required by their party.
Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview: Businessman Don Martin is seeking the Wildrose nomination.
Edmonton-Decore: Real Estate agent Ed Ammar is the nominated Liberal candidate in the constituency named for former Liberal Party leader Laurence Decore. Liberal MLAs Mr. Decore, Bill Bonner, and Bill Bonko represented the area from 1989 until 2008, when former School Board Trustee Janice Sarich captured it for the PCs.
Edmonton-Ellerslie: Community activist Chinwe Okelu is seeking the Alberta Party nomination. founder of Young and Associates, an Edmonton-based company that facilitates mediation and negotiations. He has run for City Council numerous times and his connections as a former Liberal Party supporter will create an interesting dynamic in this contest, in which former MLA Bharat Agnihotri is also running.
Edmonton-Glenora: Former NDP MLA Ray Martin is seeking his party’s nomination in this constituency. He was his party’s leader from 1984 until 1994, Mr. Martin was the MLA for Edmonton-Norwood from 1982 until 1993 and Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview from 2004 until 2008. He has also ran for federal office in 1997, 2000, 2008, and 2011.
Edmonton-Mill Creek: Mike Butler is seeking the Liberal nomination. Mr. Butler ran for the federal Liberals in Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont in the 2011 election and for the NDP in the same federal riding in the 2008 election. He also ran for the NDP in Edmonton-Rutherford in the 2008 provincial election.
Lethbridge-West: Activist and writer Shannon Phillips defeated James Moore to capture the NDP nomination on September 11. Ms. Phillips has received high-profile endorsements from Stephen Lewis and Naomi Klein.
St. Albert: Local businessman Tim Osborne was acclaimed as the Alberta Party candidate.
Four-term Edmonton-Gold Bar Liberal MLA Hugh MacDonald placed a distant second and Edmonton-Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman and conservative Calgarian Bill Harvey placed a close third and fourth in this online poll. Calgarian Bruce Payne barely registered on the online poll.
You might be forgiven if you have not paid much attention to the Alberta Liberal Party leadership contest, which is currently under way. The Liberal contest is not as exciting as the Progressive Conservative’s leadership contest, as flashy as the Wildrose (now minus the Alliance), or intriguing as the new Alberta Party, but it is important enough not to ignore. The Liberal Party is still the Official Opposition and while it has taken a beating in the polls and public image over the past few years, its next leader will play a role in the next provincial election.
Here is a look at the candidates for their leadership:
Laurie Blakeman Slogan: Laurie4Leader Elected Experience: MLA for Edmonton-Centre from 1997 to the present. Background: Laurie Blakeman is known as a vocal and unrelenting critic of the governing Tories. As Deputy Leader under party leaders Kevin Taft and David Swann, she also served as critic for Finance, the Environment, and Culture.
Her strong views as an unapologetic feminist representing Edmonton’s densest urban constituency have made her an enemy to many conservatives, but her skills as Opposition House Leader have gained her respect from some Tory MLAs across the floor. She is also one half of Edmonton’s political power couple, her husband is Ward 8 City Councillor Ben Henderson.
In 1998, Ms. Blakeman supported then-MLA Linda Sloan‘s leadership bid. She declined to run for her party’s leadership in 2004, telling the Globe & Mail that “she doesn’t have the fire in her belly to run” and again in 2008 admitting that fundraising was not her strength. Earlier this year she publicly mused about joining the Alberta Party, but instead decided to seek the Liberal Party leadership.
(Disclaimer: I like Laurie Blakeman have volunteered for her election campaigns in 2004 and 2008).
Bill Harvey Slogan: Returning to responsible government Elected Experience: Liberal candidate in Calgary-East in 2004 and 2008. Background: Calgary financial advisor Bill Harveyentered the leadership contest this week with a message that Liberals need to return to their past roots to succeed in the future. The main message on his website reminds Liberals of their 1990’s glory days under former leader Laurence Decore and is peppered with fiscal conservative language.
Hugh MacDonald Slogan: None Elected experience: MLA for Edmonton-Gold Bar from 1997 to present Background: Since stepping into his role as the opposition labour critic during his first-term and making headlines over the government’s shaky handling of rotting pine shakes roofing and lack of whistle-blower protection, Hugh MacDonald earned a reputation as a dogged critic of the Tories. As Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, his focus on uncovering Tory scandals sometimes makes him appear on the verge of paranoia, but he is relentless and hardworking. It is not uncommon to see Mr. MacDonald buried in books, doing his own research in the Legislature Library.
Mr. MacDonald is a dyed-in-the-wool Liberal partisan. Even if the Liberal Party is wiped off the political map in the next election, Hugh MacDonald will fight to the end (clasping a battle-axe in one hand while caped in blood-soaked battle armour under a Liberal Party flag). Inside the Liberal Party, Mr. MacDonald appeals to the stalwart crowd who believe that it is not the Liberal brand that has damaged their party, but that party members who have not adhered enough loyalty to the Liberal brand are responsible for the party’s 80 years of electoral defeat.
Bruce Payne Slogan: 87 Strong Elected experience: Nominated as the Liberal candidate in Calgary-Varsity Background: An unknown outside some Calgary political circles, it is difficult to know whether Bruce Payne is actually a serious candidate in this contest.
His 87 Strong slogan is in reference to the 87 constituencies that will be created when the next election is called. His campaign also takes a shot at the current Liberal MLAs and their tendency to attack the Tories for every “scandals, faux-pas, screw-ups, miscues and arrogant decisions” without a long-term strategy.
His campaign manager is the former Liberal Caucus communications director Neil Mackie, who departed from his job at the Assembly earlier this year.
Raj Sherman Slogan: None Elected experience: MLA Edmonton-Meadowlark from 2008 to present Background: Former Tory MLA Raj Sherman could be both the wildcard and the front-runner in this contest. Six months ago he wanted nothing to do with the Liberal Party as he sat in the PC caucus as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health & Wellness. Since writing the bluntly-worded email that led to hm being kicked out of the PC caucus, Dr. Sherman has attained a folk hero status among many Albertans.
After opening up their leadership vote to any Albertan without having to purchase a membership, I have a difficult time seeing Dr. Sherman as anything but the front-runner in this contest.
Although his opponents will criticize him for switching parties, it is hard to believe that Dr. Sherman has ever actually “belonged” to any political party. On February 13, 2008 PC candidate Dr. Sherman told the Edmonton Journal, “Ideas belong to society, they don’t belong to a party. For me, it wasn’t so much about parties as about getting the idea to the people who make decisions.”
Dr. Sherman has the support of former MLA Bharat Agnihotri, and I have been told that Calgary-Buffalo MLA Kent Hehr and Calgary-McCall MLA Darshan Kang are lending their support to his campaign.
Not yet entered the contest:
There may be a sixth candidate to enter this contest. Word on the street is that the executive of a medium-sized Calgary-based energy company may announce his candidacy next week.
Former MLA supports Raj for Liberal leader
Conservative MLA turned Liberal leadership hopeful Dr. Raj Sherman has the support of at least one former Liberal MLA. Bharat Agnihotri, who served as MLA for Edmonton-Ellerslie from 2004 to 2008, left a gushing endorsement on Dr. Sherman’s Facebook wall.
The Calgary-Foothills Wildrose nomination has attracted two candidates, Dustin Nau and Walter Wakula. Foothills is represented by Aboriginal Affairs Minister Len Webber, who has also been nominated as his party candidate for the next election. Said Abdulbaki will seek the Wildrose nomination against Chestermere Town Councillor Heather Davies in Chestermere-Rockyview. John Hilton-O’Brien in Calgary-Bow. Mr. Hilton-O’Brien will be facing Tim Dyck in his party’s nomination contest. Bow is represented by backbench PC MLA Alana DeLong, who was first elected in 2001. Beiseker Mayor Bruce Rowe has announced his intentions to seek the Wildrose nomination in Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills.
The Liberals will nominate candidates in Calgary-Foothills on April 8 and Edmonton-Riverview on April 15 , where Arif Khan is the only declared candidate.