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Alberta Politics

He’s back, again! Former Liberal leader and aspiring UCP leadership candidate Raj Sherman running for UCP nomination in Edmonton-Whitemud

Despite being rejected as a candidate for the United Conservative Party leadership last year, former Liberal Party leader Dr. Raj Sherman is running for the UCP nomination in Edmonton-Whitemud.

Running on a leadership platform to fix the health care system, Sherman requested an exemption to run in the race for not being a party member for 6 months.

While the UCP Leadership Election Committee granted a waiver for prospective leadership candidate Michelle Rempel Garner, Sherman’s application was rejected by the UCP. But that didn’t stop him from continuing to act like an approved candidate all the way up until the final entry deadline.

The party has opened up nominations in Edmonton-Whitemud but has not signalled if they plan to let Sherman actually enter the race.

Sherman served as MLA for Edmonton-Meadowlark as a Progressive Conservative from 2008 to 2010, as an Independent MLA from 2010 to 2011 and as a Liberal from 2011 to 2015. He led the Alberta Liberal Party from 2011 to 2015.

Edmonton-Whitemud has been represented by Alberta NDP MLA Rakhi Pancholi since 2019, when she was elected with 49.18 per cent of the vote.

AUPE’s Heisted running for NDP nomination in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake

Jason Heistad Innisfail-Sylvan Lake NDP candidate nomination
Jason Heistad (source: AUPE)

Innisfail Town Councillor and AUPE Executive Secretary-Treasurer Jason Heistad is running for the NDP nomination in the central Alberta riding of Innisfail-Sylvan Lake.

Heistad was first elected to town council in 2010 and was re-elected in 2021 with the most votes of any councillor candidate. He was elected to his fifth term as AUPE’s Executive Secretary-Treasurer in 2021.

A nomination vote is scheduled for February 6.

The riding is currently represented by UCP MLA and cabinet minister Devin Dreeshen.

UCP MLA Pat Rehn not running for re-election

Pat Rehn and Jason Kenney during the 2019 election.
Pat Rehn and then-UCP leader Jason Kenney during the 2019 election.

Lesser Slave Lake UCP MLA Pat Rehn is not running for re-election. It’s not a surprise but a confirmation of what a lot of people thought would happen.

Danielle Larivee NDP Lesser Slave Lake
Danielle Larivee

The one-term MLA was ejected from the UCP Caucus in January 2021 after taking a trip to Mexico in defiance of his own government’s COVID-19 travel recommendations.

Local municipal officials also called on Rehn to resign for being invisible in the riding and allegedly spending more time focusing on his business interests in Texas than on being MLA for Lesser Slave Lake.

Rehn was allowed to rejoin the UCP Caucus in July 2021 and he endorsed Danielle Smith in the party’s 2022 leadership race.

Martine Carifelle and Scott Sinclair are seeking the UCP nomination. The NDP have nominated registered nurse Danielle Larivee, who represented the riding from 2015 to 2019 and served as a cabinet minister in Rachel Notley‘s first government.

More nomination updates

With just over four months until the next provincial election, the Alberta NDP have nominated candidates in 69 of Alberta’s 87 ridings. The UCP have candidates named in 52 ridings and the Green Party has 25 candidates. The Alberta Party has nominated 3 candidates and the Liberal Party has one.

Here are more of the latest nomination updates from across Alberta:

United Conservative Party
Alberta NDP
  • Calgary-Klein: Mattie McMillan, Angela McIntyre and Lizette Tejada are running for the NDP nomination in Calgary-Klein on February 15.
  • Drumheller-Stettler: Stettler pharmacist Juliet Franklin is running for the NDP nomination in this sprawling east central Alberta riding. A nomination meeting is scheduled for February 13, 2023.
  • Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre: Fisheries biologist Vance Buchwald is running for the NDP nomination in this sprawling west central Alberta riding. A nomination meeting scheduled for February 15, 2023. In 2021, Buchwald urged Clearwater County Council to take a stand against coal mining development near Nordegg.
Green Party of Alberta
  • The Green Party has nominated Regan Boychuk in Banff-Kananaskis, Ahmad Hassan in Calgary-Falconridge, Kenneth Drysdale in Calgary-Klein, and Cheri Hawley in Edmonton-Whitemud.
  • Heather Morigeau has withdrawn her candidacy in Calgary-Buffalo, as has Jonathan Parks in Calgary-Currie.
Alberta Party

The Alberta Party has opened up nominations in Calgary-Varsity. Nominations closed on January 15. If more than one candidate entered the race a nomination vote will be held on January 29, 2023.


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Daveberta Dave CournoyerSubscribe to the Daveberta Substack and get my regular Alberta politics column, like my recent columns about the Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, delivered straight into your email inbox.

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Alberta Politics

Fred Kreiner wins West Yellowhead NDP nomination race, Dharminder Premi jumps into Chestermere-Strathmore UCP contest

Three quick candidate nomination updates this morning:

  • Former school principal and school board trustee Fred Kreiner defeated former county councillor Lavone Olson to win the Alberta NDP nomination in West Yellowhead. 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 Greater North Central Francophone Education Region.
  • Dharminder Premi will challenge Chantelle de Jonge for the United Conservative Party nomination in Chestermere-Strathmore at a December 17 vote. Premi is President of SoftForward Technologies Inc. and is a public member of the Rockyview County Subdivision & Development Appeal Board / Enforcement Review Committee. Incumbent UCP MLA Leela Aheer announced in October that she will not run for re-election under the UCP banner but has not publicly said if she will run as an Independent or for another party.
  • Mattie McMillan announced she plans to once again seek the NDP nomination in Calgary-Klein. McMillan ran for the party nomination in March 2022 that chose Marilyn North Peigan. North Peigan was removed as the NDP candidate in November 2022.

Here are the scheduled upcoming nomination votes, some of which I profiled earlier this week:

  • December 9 & 10 – Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock UCP
  • December 10, 11, 12 – Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul UCP
  • December 11 – Edmonton-South UCP
  • December 17 – Calgary-North NDP
  • December 17 – Chestermere-Strathmore UCP
  • December 20 – Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview UCP

I am building 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!


Liberals make interim leader permanent

John Roggeveen Alberta Liberal Party Leader
John Roggeveen (source: LinkedIn)

The Alberta Liberal Party announced that interim leader John Roggeveen, who has served in that position since March 2021, is now the party’s permanent leader.

The Calgary-based lawyer and long-time party supporter stepped into the interim role three months after David Khan stepped down in November 2020.

The party’s August 2022 leadership race was a bust when no candidates were approved to run for the party leadership.

Roggeveen has served on the party’s executive and was a candidate in Calgary-Shaw in 2004, 2008 and 2012, Calgary-Elbow in 2015 and Calgary-Fish Creek in 2019.

Following a disappointing result in the 2019 election, the party failed to elect any MLAs to the Alberta Legislature for the first time since 1982.


Barry Cooper and the Alberta Sovereignty Act

A lot of people reacting to University of Calgary political science professor Barry Cooper’s comments about Alberta separatism yesterday on CBC’s The Current. Back in September, I published a column on the Daveberta Substack about Dr. Cooper’s long history of separatist comments and his role as an architect of the Alberta Sovereignty Act.

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Alberta Politics

MLA Roger Reid drops out of Livingstone-Macleod UCP nomination race, Nadine Wellwood could be acclaimed as candidate

The big nomination news this week is MLA Roger Reid‘s announcement that he has dropped out of the United Conservative Party nomination contest in Livingstone-Macleod.

Reid was first elected in 2019 and was undeterred from running for the nomination again even when it looked like he would face new party leader Danielle Smith in the contest. But then Reid suddenly dropped out on the morning after the October 31 candidate entry deadline.

Statement from our MLA Roger Reid:
November 1, 2022
After much personal wrestling and conversations with family and friends I have decided to withdraw my name from the United Conservative Party nomination for Livingstone Macleod. While I hoped to serve a second term, I no longer feel it is possible for me to do so.
It has been a tremendous honour to represent the people of this riding as the MLA. I have discovered many amazing places so close to home and it has been my privilege to meet with constituents from High River to the Crowsnest over the last 4 years. I will continue to be focused on the needs of Livingstone Macleod through the end of my term.
The last couple of years have been particularly challenging for our province. Neither I, nor our government have been perfect, but I believe the work we have done has put Alberta back on track. We are stronger and in a better position to weather the current storms than we were four years ago.
There is still work to do. To move forward we must be a united movement to ensure a strong conservative government continues to lead the province. It is essential for our true prosperity.
As I end my term, I will ensure that the concerns and the needs of Livingstone Macleod are kept in front of our Premier and her cabinet until the next election is called.
Thank you for allowing me privilege of representing you.
In Service,
Roger W. Reid
MLA – Livingstone Macleod

Unless there is another surprise candidate in the race, it looks like Nadine Wellwood could be acclaimed as the UCP candidate in the rural southwest Alberta riding.

Danielle Smith and Nadine Wellwood United Conservative Party Take Back Alberta
Premier Danielle Smith and Nadine Wellwood at the Take Back Alberta hospitality suite at the UCP AGM (source: Nadine Wellwood/Twitter)

Wellwood was a candidate for the right-wing People’s Party of Canada in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections and the 2021 Senate nominee election. She is a prolific sharer of internet conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and globalist plots on her social media, and she also participated in the blockade at Coutts border crossing earlier this year.

The UCP has not announced if it has accepted Wellwood’s application to seek the UCP nomination in Livingstone-Macleod.

Well-known conservationist Kevin Van Tighem is expected to be chosen as the Alberta NDP candidate at a November 23 nomination meeting. Van Tighem is the former Superintendent of Banff National Park, author of Our Place: Changing the Nature of Alberta and Wild Roses Are Worth It: Reimagining the Alberta Advantage, and an outspoken opponent of open-pit coal mining on the Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountains.

NDP drop Calgary-Klein candidate

Marilyn North Peigan Alberta NDP Calgary-Klein nomination
Marilyn North Peigan

Marilyn North Peigan is no longer the NDP candidate in Calgary-Klein.

NDP provincial secretary Brandon Stevens issued a statement about her candidate status after North Peigan retweeted a video clip of City Councillor Dan McLean with an accompanying tweet alleging he was corrupt and that one of his family members was a corrupt board member for the Calgary Stampede.

Stevens also stated that while McLean’s actions in the original video circulating online are racist and unacceptable, the statements made by North Peigan towards his family and the Stampede are not appropriate and not reflective of the views of the Alberta NDP.

North Peigan defeated Heather Eddy and Mattie McMillan to win the NDP nomination in March 2022.

The Calgary-Klein riding is currently represented by UCP MLA Jeremy Nixon and is seen as a potential NDP pick up in the next election.

Other UCP nomination updates

  • Past city council candidate Lana Palmer is seeking the UCP nomination Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview.
  • Construction company owner Dave Guenter is running for UCP nomination in Calgary-Fish Creek. Incumbent UCP MLA Richard Gotfried is not running for re-election.
  • Premier Smith says it’s up to Drew Barnes to decide whether he wants to rejoin the UCP Caucus and seek the party’s nomination to run for re-election. Barnes was first elected as MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat in 2012 and was one of four Wildrose MLAs not to cross the floor with Smith in 2014. He was kicked out of the UCP Caucus in 2021 after becoming one of former Premier Jason Kenney‘s biggest internal critics.
  • Two-term MLA Ron Orr is not running for re-election and Jennifer Johnson and paramedic Dusty Myshrall have stepped forward to run for the UCP nomination in Lacombe-Ponoka. Johnson’s social media feed shows her recently attending events organized by the separatist Alberta Prosperity Project and COVID-19 skeptical Canadians For Truth group.

Brooks-Medicine Hat by-election

Advance voting in the Brooks-Medicine Hat by-election is open until Saturday, November 5. On Election Day, November 8, voting stations will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The five candidates contesting the by-election, UCP leader Danielle Smith, NDP leader Gwendoline Dirk, Alberta Party leader Barry Morishita, Wildrose Independence Party interim leader Jeevan Mangat, and Independence Party candidate Bob Blayone, participated in a forum organized by the Alberta Teachers’ Association Grasslands Local No. 34.

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.

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

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

Former People’s Party candidate Nadine Wellwood seeks UCP nomination in Livingstone-Macleod, NDP names Calgary-Fish Creek and Lacombe-Ponoka candidates

Right-wing political activist Nadine Wellwood announced on social media that she plans to run for United Conservative Party nomination in the Livingstone-Macleod riding.

Wellwood was an outspoken opponent of COVID-19 public health measures and ran as a candidate for Maxime Bernier‘s right-wing populist People’s Party of Canada in Banff-Airdrie in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections. She also ran as a PPC candidate in Alberta’s Senate nominee election and placed ninth out of thirteen candidates in that race.

Wellwood has worked as a correspondent for the right-wing online news website the Western Standard. She was also a speaker at a 2021 Bowden rodeo held in defiance of the Alberta government’s public health measures and appears to have participated in the blockade at the Canada-US border crossing at Coutts.

The riding is currently represented by UCP MLA Roger Reid. Reid’s path to re-election appeared to open wider when Premier Danielle Smith announced she would not run in her home riding but instead contest a by-election in Brooks-Medicine Hat.

Conservationist and author Kevin Van Tighem announced his plans to seek the Alberta NDP nomination in the riding last week.

Wellwood’s announcement comes right after the Take Back Alberta slate of candidates swept the executive and board elections at last weekend’s UCP annual general meeting at the River Cree Casino on the Enoch Cree First Nation. The political action committee organized against Jason Kenney in the UCP leadership review, opposed COVID public health measures and expressed support for the Coutts blockade.

Recent candidate nominations

  • Teacher Dave Dale was nominated as the NDP candidate in Lacombe-Ponoka.
  • Tech start-up builder Rebecca Bounsall was nominated as the NDP candidate in Calgary-Fish Creek. She was the party’s candidate in 2019, when she earned 28 per cent of the vote.

The NDP have now nominated candidates in 60 of Alberta’s 87 ridings. The UCP have candidates named in 36 ridings and the Green Party has 15 candidates. The Alberta Party has nominated 3 candidates.

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!

Conventions! Cabinet!

I will have more to say about this past weekend’s NDP and UCP conventions, as well as Premier Smith’s first cabinet, on the Daveberta Substack later this week. Look for my next column to hit your email inboxes on Thursday. Sign up to not miss out.

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Alberta Politics

Michaela Frey resigns, opens up Brooks-Medicine Hat by-election for Danielle Smith

Michaela Frey has resigned as the United Conservative Party MLA for Brooks-Medicine Hat, opening up a by-election for new party leader Danielle Smith to to claim a seat in the Legislature.

Update: Smith has confirmed she will run as the UCP candidate in the Brooks-Medicine Hat by-election.

Smith was already running for the UCP nomination in her home riding of Livingstone-Macleod but incumbent MLA Roger Reid has publicly shown no indication he’s not still running for the nomination against his new leader.

Already running in the riding are retired teacher Gwendoline Dirk for the Alberta NDP and Alberta Party leader Barry Morishita, who also happens to be the former Mayor of Brooks.

I’ll have more on Brooks-Medicine Hat when a by-election is called (so probably soon).

And, not wanting to get caught off-guard if Smith decides to call an early general election, here are the NDP’s upcoming nomination meetings:

– Second-term MLA David Shepard is seeking the NDP nomination to run for re-election in Edmonton-City Centre. A nomination meeting is scheduled for October 11.

Dawn Flaata is running for the NDP nomination in Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright. A nomination meeting is scheduled for October 15.

Amanda Chapman and Jason Curry are running for the NDP nomination in Calgary-Beddington. A nomination vote is scheduled for October 17.

Dave Dale is running for the NDP nomination in Lacombe-Ponoka. A nomination meeting is scheduled for October 19.

Rebecca Bousall is running for the NDP nomination in Calgary-Fish Creek. A nomination meeting is scheduled for October 20.

Andrew Stewart is running for the NDP nomination in Calgary-Hays. A nomination meeting is scheduled for October 26.

Caitlyn Blake is running for the NDP nomination in Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul. A nomination meeting is scheduled for October 28.

Justin Huseby is running for the NDP nomination in Calgary-South East. A nomination meeting is scheduled for November 8.

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Alberta Politics

Jaelene Tweedle wins NDP nomination in Red Deer-North, Danielle Smith says she won’t call a by-election in Calgary-Elbow

Jaelene Tweedle defeated Craig Curtis to win the Alberta NDP nomination in Red Deer-North.

“I believe without a doubt that Red Deer-North, and all of Alberta, can thrive under the NDP,” Tweedle said in a statement.

“I will work to ensure our community has access to quality healthcare, a world class public education system, long-term job growth and opportunities for our children, supports and dignity for our most vulnerable, and ensure affordability for families with a competent government steering the ship.”

Tweedle is a former oilfield administrator and was a candidate for the Red Deer Public School Board in 2021.

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange and Premier Jason Kenney (Source: Government of Alberta)
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange and Premier Jason Kenney in 2019 (Source: Government of Alberta)

The riding is currently represented by United Conservative Party MLA and Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange. She was elected in 2019 with 60 per cent of the vote.

The riding was represented by NDP MLA Kim Schreiner from 2015 to 2019 and one of its past MLAs was Stockwell Day, who held the riding from 1986 until he jumped into federal politics in 2000.

Rebecca Bounsall is running for the NDP nomination in Calgary-Fish Creek. She was the party’s candidate in 2019 and earned 28 per cent of the vote.

No by-election in Calgary-Elbow?

UCP leadership front runner Danielle Smith is saying she will call a by-election in a safe rural riding if she wins tonight’s leadership vote. But she is not saying which riding that will be.

The former Wildrose Party leader has been running for the UCP nomination in Livingstone-Macleod but the incumbent UCP MLA Roger Reid appears to be busy campaigning for the nomination.

Smith has also said she will not call a concurrent by-election in Calgary-Elbow, the riding vacated by former UCP MLA Doug Schweitzer last month. The NDP have nominated energy analyst Samir Kayande as their candidate and lawyer Kerry Cundal is running for the Alberta Party. The riding was held by Alberta Party MLA Greg Clark from 2015 to 2019.

Lawyer Andrea James has already announced her plans to run for the UCP nomination and there is speculation in political circles that former City Councillor and mayoral candidate Jeff Davison could also seek the nomination.

Calling a by-election in a safe rural seat so a potential future Premier Smith can get into the Legislative while also not calling a by-election in the already vacant riding sounds like a pretty good way of helping the UCP lose the seat in the next election.

The tally

The NDP have now nominated candidates in 55 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 Alberta Party has nominated three candidates.

See the full list of nomination candidates here.

The Daveberta Substack

A big thank you to everyone who has subscribed and sent feedback about the new Daveberta Substack.

You can read my first post about Danielle Smith’s Alberta Sovereignty Act here.

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Alberta Politics

UCP MLA Richard Gotfried not running for re-election, NDP nominate former economic development VP Court Ellingson in Calgary-Foothills

Calgary-Fish Creek MLA Richard Gotfried has announced he will not run for re-election. Gotfried was the only rookie Progressive Conservative MLA elected in 2015, stealing the south Calgary seat from the Wildrose Party after long-time MLA Heather Forsyth retired from elected politics.

The affable Gotfried was re-elected under the United Conservative Party banner in 2019 with 61.5 per cent of the vote.

He is the seventh MLA to publicly announce plans to not seek re-election when the next election is called. Others not running again include:

Recently nominated candidates

  • Former Calgary Economic Development vice-president Court Ellingson was nominated as the Alberta NDP candidate in Calgary-Foothills.
  • Calgary Transit Operator Raj Jessel was nominated as the NDP candidate in Chestermere-Strathmore.
  • Lawyer Cheryl Hunter Loewen was nominated as the NDP candidate in Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills.

Recently announced

Lawyer Andrew Stewart has announced his plans to seek the NDP nomination in Calgary-Hays. A nomination meeting is scheduled for October 26. The riding has been represented by UCP MLA Ric McIver since 2012.

Upcoming nomination meetings

  • Former Red Deer City Manager Craig Curtis and past school board candidate Jaelene Tweedle are on the ballot as NDP members in Red Deer-North choose their next candidate on October 5. 
  • MLA David Shepherd is expected to be nominated to run for re-election in Edmonton-City Centre on October 11.
  • More NDP nomination meetings are scheduled in Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright (October 15), Calgary-Beddington (October 17), Lacombe-Ponoka (October 19), and Calgary-Hays (October 26).

The NDP have now nominated candidates in 54 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 Alberta Party has nominated three candidates.

See the full list of nomination candidates here.

The Daveberta Substack

And one more thing – a big thank you to everyone who has subscribed and sent feedback about the new Daveberta Substack.

You can read my first post about Danielle Smith’s Alberta Sovereignty Act here.

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Alberta Politics

A look at this weekend’s UCP AGM as the formerly One-Big-Happy-Conservative-Family gathers for its first in-person convention since 2019

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s good news week ahead of this weekend’s United Conservative Party annual general meeting was largely overshadowed by a slow motion rebellion in his party.

While the Premier wanted to talk about childcare and the economy, a disgruntled group of UCP constituency presidents announced Monday morning that they had convinced 22 constituency associations to pass identical motions calling for a review of Kenney’s leadership to be moved before March 1, 2022.

The leadership review had been pushed to April 2022 from fall 2022 after Kenney averted a caucus revolt over the summer.

a map of the United Conservative Party constituency associations that have passed motions calling for a review of Jason Kenney’s leadership before March 1, 2022.
a map of the United Conservative Party constituency associations that have passed motions calling for a review of Jason Kenney’s leadership before March 1, 2022.

According to recent polling, Kenney is the least popular Premier in Canada, sitting at 22 per cent approval among Albertans, and his party has floundered in the polls and fundraising for the past year.

Rachel Notley would be Premier once again if an election were held today, which will surely be a future on the minds of many UCP activists this weekend.

Kenney’s fumbling response to the COVID-19 pandemic is part of the problem, but so to is his cabinet’s decision to wage a multi-front war against everyone from Alberta’s parks, nurses and teachers while trying to open the Rocky Mountains up to open-pit coal mining.

A party that famously promised “Jobs, Economy and Pipelines” in the 2019 election has delivered everything but.

When the business of the meeting begins, special resolutions will only be able to be brought to the floor of the AGM by Kenney and one resolution being introduced by the Kenney-friendly UCP association in Edmonton-North West would increase the number of constituency associations needed to trigger an early leadership review from 1/4 of 87 to 1/3 of 87.

A list of of the 22 constituency associations who passed the motion calling for an early review shows that this is largely a rural revolt against Kenney’s leadership, likely from the unruly rural Wildrose-side of the party, which has never been satisfied to subjugate itself to to the kind of centralized leadership that the Premier would have been comfortable with in Ottawa.

The first signatory of the letter from the 22 was a name that would be quite familiar to Kenney – Jack Redekop – the current president of the Calgary-Fish Creek UCP and former president of Kenney’s won former federal electoral district association in Calgary-Midnapore.

One of the common criticisms of Kenney is that he has become detached from the party’s organization and local leadership since his election as Premier in 2019. Wildrosers who don’t like a centralized party leadership are unhappy, as are former Progressive Conservatives, who might be accustomed to more attention and access to their leadership.

The two groups have also discovered that all the things they disliked about each others politics when they were two parties are still there, except now they are in the same party.

The revolt hasn’t been limited to the party membership.

Jason Kenney and Leela Aheer, UCP MLA Chestermere-Strathmore
Jason Kenney and former UCP deputy leader Leela Aheer in happier time (source: YouTube)

Four MLAs – Chestemere-Strathmore MLA Leela Aheer, Airdrie-Cochrane MLA Peter Guthrie, Airdrie-East MLA Angela Pitt, and Calgary-Fish Creek MLA Richard Gotfried – have either publicly called for Kenney to resign or have openly criticized his leadership. And while most of their colleagues have avoided making public comments about Kenney’s leadership, the unhappiness among UCP MLAs and their staff is palpable.

There has been a steady stream of high-profile political staffers leaving their positions in the UCP government for jobs in the private sector. This past month saw the departure of press secretary Blaise Boehmer, who levelled some pretty heavy criticisms against Kenney, and UCP Caucus executive director Brittany Baltimore, who both recently took jobs with government relations companies.

Guthrie levelled allegations to the UCP Caucus this week that Political Action Committees supporting Kenney were paying the delegate fees of supporters in order to stack the votes in favour of the Premier during the AGM.

Peter Guthrie MLA Airdrie-Cochrane UCP Communism
Peter Guthrie

Postmedia columnist Don Braid wrote in his most recent column that a private company was organizing to send delegates in order to curry favour with UCP cabinet ministers if Kenney survives his leadership challenges.

Independent MLA Todd Loewen , who was kicked out of the UCP Caucus earlier this year for calling on Kenney to resign, and Edmonton-South NDP MLA Thomas Dang wrote letters to the Chief Elections Officer asking his office to investigate the allegations.

Albertans, and UCP members, are angry at Kenney, but aside from former Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean who is running for the UCP nomination in the Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche by-election, there is no obvious heir apparent inside the UCP for his opponents to rally around.

Cynthia Moore has been acclaimed as President and Sonia Kont acclaimed as Vice President of Fundraising, but there are races for the Secretary and Vice President of Communications positions.

Central Peace-Notley UCP President Samantha Steinke, who has publicly called for an early leadership review, is challenging incumbent Ruven Rajoo for VP Communications. Red Deer-South constituency President Janis Nett and Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo President Vicki Kozmak-LeFrense are running for the Secretary position, which was made vacant when former Secretary Cathy Smith resigned earlier this year.

A number of candidates are contesting regional director positions, including Sundre-resident Heidi Overguard, who was appointed by the UCP government to the Board of Directors of Alberta Health Services in Nov. 2019.

Meanwhile, UCP members will be lining up at the microphone to debate policies about cancel culture, private health care, private schools, and hydrogen, among other issues. The CBC reported that Kenney’s office instructed staffers to vote down policies “introducing a provincial sales tax, relocalizing 911 dispatch, a moratorium on new coal exploration and development on the eastern slopes of the Rockies and creating a revenue-neutral Alberta carbon tax to replace the federal backstop.”

This weekend’s convention will be a much different affair from the party’s last in-person annual general meeting after it’s big win in the 2019 election.

Kenney will surely be focused on rallying the party to give him one more chance ahead of next spring’s review, but don’t expect to hear many of the celebratory rallying cries we heard two years ago. The party no longer feels like it is united and it is certainly not the one big conservative happy family that Kenney helped establish in 2017.

The UCP AGM starts at the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino in Calgary on Friday, Nov. 19 and will wrap up on Sunday, Nov. 21.

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Alberta Politics

Here he goes, again. Brian Jean running for the UCP nomination in the Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche by-election

Here he goes, again.

Former Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean announced today that he plans to run for the job he quit three years ago.

Jean announced on Facebook that he plans to seek the United Conservative Party nomination in the upcoming Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche by-election. The by-election to replace Laila Goodridge, who was recently elected as a Member of Parliament, needs to be called by Feb. 15, 2022. He is the second candidate to announce after Joshua Gogo entered the race last month.

Jean represented the predecessor riding, Fort McMurray-Conklin, from 2015 until 2018, when he quit after losing the UCP leadership to Jason Kenney.

This is Jean’s second political comeback. His first happened when he was a last minute candidate for the Wildrose Party leadership in 2015 after stepping down as a MP in 2014. He saved the party from the brink of oblivion in that election and became leader of the Official Opposition.

Since leaving the Legislature in 2018, he has become a vocal critic of the government, flirted with western separatism in online columns, and called for Kenney to resign as leader of the UCP.

“Something must be done or Rachel Notley will win the next election with an overwhelming majority,” Jean wrote on Facebook of the popular NDP leader who’s party has been leading in the polls since last November, once again publicly signalling his lack of confidence in Kenney.

Jean has every reason to dislike Kenney after an alleged Kamakaze campaign was organized against him during the UCP leadership race, and since quitting he has appeared to take pleasure in poking at his rival from the sidelines.

Jean was even spotted at a Calgary Stampede BBQ hosted by ousted UCP MLAs Drew Barnes and Todd Loewen over the summer.

Brian Jean and Jason Kenney
Brian Jean and Jason Kenney

There is little doubt that he could win the nomination and the by-election. He is a well-known and popular figure in Fort McMurray, and he comes across as affable and down to earth to anyone who meets him. His lack of stick-to-it-iveness should probably raise some concerns, but at this point local conservatives might just be hopeful to find a candidate who can reliably hold on to the seat.

The question is whether the increasingly unpopular Kenney will allow a rival who has openly called for his resignation to run under his party’s banner?

And if Jean isn’t allowed to run for Kenney’s party, will he run as an Independent or for another party, like the struggling Wildrose Independence Party.

Of course, Jean isn’t alone in calling for Kenney’s resignation.

Leela Aheer and Brian Jean
Leela Aheer and Brian Jean

His former colleague, UCP MLA Leela Aheer, stood at a podium in the Legislature Rotunda last week to call for the Premier to step down and she does not appear to have faced any consequences. Calgary-Fish Creek MLA Richard Gotfried has been openly agitating for an leadership review to be held before March 1.

No emergency caucus meeting was held to kick them out, and perhaps more notably, no Kenney loyalists in the cabinet or caucus stepped up to rebuke them and defend their leader. The silence was deafening.

So, Jean now wants his seat back, and he probably wants his party back too.


It is not uncommon for party leaders and politicians to spend time in ridings where by-elections are expected,

Rachel Notley (source: Facebook)

Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley was in Fort McMurray in October meeting with community groups and highlighting the UCP government’s failure to stop the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, which overwhelmed the staff at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre.

Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview NDP MLA Deron Bilous, who served as Economic Development Minister in the first Notley government, is in Fort McMurray this week and has posted a series of videos about his visit on Instagram.

The UCP Caucus was scheduled to hold its annual retreat in Fort McMurray on Sept. 15 and 16, but the event that would have brought most UCP MLAs to the northeast Alberta city ahead of the by-election was abruptly canceled on Sept. 10 after rumours that Kenney was facing a caucus revolt. Kenney also cancelled his scheduled Sept. 15 keynote speech to the annual Oil Sands Conference and Trade Show, which the UCP Caucus retreat was planned around.

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Alberta Politics

Kenney’s office hit with lawsuit alleging sexual harassment, defamation, and toxic workplace culture at the Legislature

On Oct. 26, 2021, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney was having a rare good day. He got the result he argued he was looking for from the province-wide Equalization Referendum and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave him the gift of appointing long-time environmental activist Steven Guilbeault as Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

Kenney’s good day lasted less than 24 hours.

In what can only be described as a bombshell story, the CBC first reported today that a former ministerial Chief of Staff is suing the Premier’s Office, “saying she suffered from a toxic workplace culture and was fired as retribution for speaking out about the problems she saw there.”

Devin Dreeshen

The allegations in Ariella Kimmel‘s lawsuit include sexual harassment and heavy drinking by ministers and staff in legislature offices, as well as claims that senior staff in the premier’s office fabricated rumours about her contributing to her termination, reported CBC journalist Elise von Scheel.

The CBC reported that Kimmel has filed a lawsuit against the Kenney’s office for alleged sexual harassment and defamation.

Kimmel was Chief of Staff to Minister Doug Schweitzer until February 2021 and before that worked as Director of Community Relations in the Premier’s Office and as the United Conservative Party’s Director of Outreach before the 2019 election.

Kimmel had previously worked for Kenney during his time in Ottawa as executive coordinator for multiculturalism when he was Minister of Employment and Social Development and as an assistant during his time as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

The statement of claim, which is reported in detail by CBC, makes serious allegations against numerous officials and staffers in the UCP government, including Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen.

Responding to a question in the Assembly today from Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood NDP MLA Janis Irwin, Kenney said that his office was appointing an independent review to make recommendations to revise human resource practices for political staff.

Calgary-Fish Creek UCP MLA Richard Gotfried called on the government to not wait for a review and instead immediately adopt the Respect in the Workplace program promoted by Respect Group Inc.

While none of the allegations have been proven in court, the conditions described are probably not uncommon in political offices across Canada. Kimmel’s lawsuit shines a big spotlight on a toxic workplace culture in the Legislature that needs to change immediately.

Aheer is having none of it

Jason Kenney and Leela Aheer, UCP MLA Chestermere-Strathmore
Jason Kenney and Leela Aheer (source: YouTube)

Chestermere-Strathmore UCP MLA Leela Aheer responded to the allegations by calling on Kenney to resign and drawing comparisons to disgraced Calgary City Councillor Sean Chu. A A former cabinet minister and UCP deputy leader, Aheer was dropped from cabinet after criticizing the UCP’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Standing at a podium in the Legislature Rotunda today, Aheer refused to stand down and appeared to be daring Kenney and her MLA colleagues to remove her from the UCP Caucus.

UCP MLAs voted to remove Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes and Central Peace-Notley MLA Todd Loewen from the caucus in June following Loewen’s call for Kenney to resign.

Kenney avoided a caucus revolt and non-confidence vote last month when he agreed to push up his leadership review from fall 2022 to April 2022. That move was successful in appeasing the disorganized opposition inside the UCP Caucus, but not the party, as numerous UCP constituency associations continue to push for Kenney’s review to be held before March 1, 2022.

Kenney’s approval rating dropped to an abysmal 22 per cent last month and leaked poll results showed that 75 per cent of Albertans disapprove of the UCP government, one of the strongest disapproval ratings for an Alberta government in recent memory.

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Alberta Politics

How much longer can Jason Kenney survive?

Premier Jason Kenney managed to out maneuver disgruntled United Conservative Party MLAs by convincing them to withdraw a motion of non-confidence by pushing ahead his leadership review to April 2022, but he still has his party to contend with.

A growing number of UCP constituency associations have passed motions calling for a leadership review to take place before March 1, 2022. The CBC first reported that more than 10 constituency associations had passed motions, and Postmedia columnist Don Braid tweeted that number was 16.

Text of the UCP motion calling to hold a review of Jason Kenney’s leadership before March 1, 2021.
Text of the UCP motion calling to hold a review of Jason Kenney’s leadership before March 1, 2021.

Calgary-Fish Creek UCP MLA Richard Gotfried, who has been publicly critical of Kenney’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, posted the text of the motion on Twitter.

Gotfried noted that his constituency board passed the motion two weeks ago with 21 votes in favour and none opposed.

For Kenney’s opponents in the UCP, 22 is the magic number of constituency boards required to force the leadership vote before March 1 and quite possibly at the party’s upcoming annual general meeting in Calgary in November 2021.

Kenney’s leadership has been in a constant state of turmoil for most of the past two years and a recent poll from ThinkHQ showed him plummeting to a dismal 22 per cent approval rating. According to the poll, Kenney is deeply unpopular with every demographic and regional group of Albertans.

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Alberta Politics

Alberta matters in this federal election for all the wrong reasons

There’s a chance that the federal election results in Alberta could end up being less than exciting, with the Conservatives winning most of the province’s seats, but there’s no doubt Alberta had an impact in this federal election: Premier Jason Kenney might have cost Erin O’Toole and the Conservatives their chance at forming government in Ottawa.

The former wonder kid of Canada’s conservative movement, Kenney spent a month in hiding to avoid embarrassing O’Toole only to emerge in the final few days of the campaign to drop a bomb in his federal cousin’s lap. Kenney’s Open for Summer plan that removed all public health restrictions in time for the Calgary Stampede in July led to a vicious fourth wave of COVID-19 that has seen a steep spike in new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

It is unlikely that Premier Jason Kenney will be joining Conservative leader Erin O'Toole when he visits Edmonton-Centre tomorrow.
Erin O’Toole and Jason Kenney during happier times.

Intensive Care Units across Alberta are filling up and Kenney has had to plead with other provinces to take our sick patients if we run out of space.

All non-emergency surgeries in Alberta are cancelled and 75 per cent of the operating rooms at the Alberta Children’s Hospital are closing because doctors and nurses are being redeployed to take care of COVID patients.

Public sector health care unions are urging Kenney to ask the federal government for help from the military and the Red Cross.

O’Toole praised Kenney’s response to the pandemic and has refused to answer questions about it from reporters since Alberta once again declared a State of Public Health Emergency last week. 

While the Conservatives are expected to sweep Alberta once again, O’Toole only visited the province once in this election campaign. He spent a morning in Edmonton during the first week of the campaign, making a policy announcement in Edmonton-Centre and stopping for a photo-op at a Jollibee’s before shuffling back to the airport for an afternoon flight to British Columbia.

But unlike recent federal elections, this time the right-wing of the political spectrum is pretty crowded in Alberta.

People’s Party leader Maxime Bernier has taken advantage of O’Toole and Kenney’s perceived political weaknesses by spending a considerable amount of time in Alberta during this election.

Appealing to groups ranging from the vaccine hesitant to indoctrinated COVID conspiracy theorists, Bernier has been attracting large crowds at his Alberta rallies. And his candidates have earned endorsements from former Conservative MP David Yurdiga and former Reform MP Cliff Breitkreuz.

Former Ontario MP Derek Sloan, who was kicked out of the Conservative Party for accepting a donation from a well-known white supremacist, has been embraced the COVID conspiracy theories as he campaigns as an Independent candidate in Banff-Airdrie with the full-support of former Conservative MP Rob Anders.

And then there’s the separatist Maverick Party led by former Conservative MP and oil industry lobbyist Jay Hill, which is still in the mix despite Alberta separatism not being the hot topic it was after the 2019 federal election.

Meanwhile, the silence coming from the United Conservative Party Caucus is deafening.

Aside from dissenting Tweets and Facebook comments from two already disgruntled backbenchers – former cabinet minister and Chestermere-Strathmore MLA Leela Aheer and Calgary-Fish Creek MLA Richard Gotfried – the predicted caucus revolt has not yet spilled out into the public. But maybe that changes if Justin Trudeau’s Liberals form government on Monday.

Directors of the UCP association in Olds-Didsbury-Three-Hills, home of Speaker and former interim leader Nathan Cooper, near unanimously passed a motion calling for a leadership review and party vice-president Joel Mullen is reported to have called for a review.

Kenney’s supporters on the UCP provincial executive headed off previous calls by scheduling leadership review at the party’s Fall 2022 convention, only months ahead of the expected 2023 provincial election.

If O’Toole does not become Prime Minister after the federal ballots are counted, he might not be the only Conservative leader looking for a new job. Kenney’s already embattled leadership could become even more tenuous.

Kerry Diotte unites the NDP in Alberta

Jagmeet Singh and Blake Desjarlais in Edmonton-Griesbach on Sept. 18, 2021.

In what is likely his biggest single achievement of his political career, Conservative candidate Kerry Diotte has succeeded in bridging the political divide between the provincial and federal NDP in Alberta.

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh was back in Alberta yesterday for his second visit to the Edmonton-Griesbach, where the party believes candidate Blake Desjarlais can unseat Diotte to pick up a second seat for the NDP.

With NDP incumbent Heather McPherson believed to be secure for re-election in Edmonton-Strathcona, the party has been pouring its resources into Griesbach.

Rachel Notley and Janis Irwin with Blake Desjarlais and volunteers in Edmonton-Griesbach.
Rachel Notley and Janis Irwin with Blake Desjarlais and volunteers in Edmonton-Griesbach.

And Singh isn’t the only party leader on the campaign trail for Desjarlais.

Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley was on the doors last week helping Desjarlais get his vote out. While Notley tried her best to avoid being involved in the 2019 federal campaign, she and about a dozen NDP MLAs, including local MLAs Janis Irwin and David Eggen have been spotted door knocking with Desjarlais.

Pipelines and the carbon tax kept the NDP cousins apart in 2019, but the possibility of defeating Kerry Diotte has brought the provincial and federal NDP together in 2021.

Liberals have their sights set on Edmonton-Centre, Mill Woods and Calgary-Skyview

The Liberals hope to reestablish a beachhead in Alberta and if they are successful it will likely be in Edmonton-Centre, Edmonton-Mill Woods or Calgary-Skyview.

Ben Henderson and Don Iveson in Edmonton-MIll Woods.
Ben Henderson and Don Iveson in Edmonton-MIll Woods.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau only made one brief stop in Alberta during the first week of the election campaign to speak at a rally for Calgary-Skyview candidate George Chahal.

University—Rosedale Liberal candidate and former Edmonton native Chrystia Freeland visited Alberta twice to campaign with candidates in Calgary and Edmonton, including Randy Boissonnault in Edmonton-Centre and Ben Henderson in Edmonton-Mill Woods.

Also visiting Alberta during the campaign were Vancouver-South Liberal candidate Harjit Sajan, who campaigned in Calgary-Centre with Sabrina Grover, and Surrey-Newton Liberal candidate Sukh Dhaliwal, who campaigned with Henderson in Mill Woods.

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson endorsed Henderson and campaigned with him in the final days of the election. The two men have served together on Edmonton City Council since 2007. 

Voting stations are open from 7:30am to 7:30pm on Sept. 20, 2021. 

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Alberta Politics

More turmoil in Kenney’s Caucus: UCP MLA Richard Gotfried resigns as chair of the Calgary Caucus and criticizes “hypocrisy” in government leadership

Calgary-Fish Creek MLA Richard Gotfried is the latest member of the United Conservative Party Caucus to publicly criticize his party’s leadership.

According to a statement and comments on Facebook, Gotfried resigned as chair of the UCP’s Calgary Caucus last Thursday so that he can have “even more latitude to speak unreservedly on matters of principle, ethics and government/caucus operations…”

“I call upon all elected representatives at all levels of government across our province to show leadership, to act responsibly and to avoid the hypocrisy that makes a mockery of the tough decisions we have to make and the sacrifices/responsible behaviour we have been asking of each and every Albertan for the past 15 months,” Gotfried wrote in a post on his MLA Facebook page.

Gotfried’s statement was written in a very respectful tone and didn’t name Premier Jason Kenney, Health Minister Tyler Shandro, Finance Minister Travis Toews or Environment & Parks Minister Jason Nixon, who were pictured in the photos of the boozy Sky Palace patio party that circulated on social media last week, but reading between the lines it was pretty clear who his message was directed to.

Richard Gotfried United Conservative Party MLA Calgary-Fish Creek
Richard Gotfried’s statement on Facebook

The timing of Gotfried’s statement follows the release of the final report of the Facility-based Continuing Care Review that Gotfried led, which was almost completely overshadowed by the boozy Sky Palace patio party and Kenney’s ill-timed lecture in defence of Sir John A Macdonald.

Boozy Sky Palace Patio Party Jason Kenney Tyler Shandro Travis Toews Jason Nixon
One of the now infamous boozy Sky Palace patio party photos.

Gotfried is the sponsor of Bill 70: COVID-19 Related Measures Act, a government bill designed to shield owners of long-term care centers from COVID-19 related lawsuits.

He was first elected as a Progressive Conservative MLA in 2015 and was re-elected in 2019 under the UCP banner. He endorsed Kenney in the 2017 PC Party leadership race.

Airdrie-East MLA Angela Pitt and Bonnyville-Cold Lake-Two Hills MLA David Hanson, and cabinet ministers Leela Aheer and Rajan Sawhney have publicly called on Kenney to apologize for violating the government’s own COVID-19 public health rules by hosting the boozy patio party on the 11th floor balcony of the Federal Building in Edmonton.

Kenney and his staff continue to deny he broke any rules.

Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes and Central Peace-Notley MLA Todd Loewen were ejected from the UCP Caucus three weeks ago after Loewen called on Kenney to resign as leader of the party.


Notley leads only united party left in AlbertaRachel Notley Alberta NDP leader

In a clear contrast to what is happening in the UCP Caucus, delegates to the Alberta NDP convention this past weekend gave Rachel Notley’s leadership a huge endorsement. When the ballots were counted, 98.2 per cent of NDP delegates endorsed Notley’s leadership in the mandatory leadership review vote held at every NDP convention.

The convention included the usual debate over policy positions and motions and a host of panels featuring Democratic strategists from Arizona and municipal politicians from rural Alberta.

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Alberta Politics

VP Weissenberger, Agent-General Rodney and the ABCs of patronage

“This Alberta is a meritocracy” – Jason Kenney (April 30, 2019)

It was first reported this week by the CBC that John Weissenberger has been hired as the Alberta Energy Regulator’s new vice president of its science and innovation branch. Weissenberger is a former adjunct professor at the University of Alberta and manager of geological services with Husky, but it is his deep political connections that raised eyes this week. 

Weissenberger is a long-time conservative activist going back to the early days of the Reform Party and was Jason Kenney’s campaign manager during his successful bids for the the Progressive Conservative and United Conservative Party leadership campaigns in 2017. He was also director of the Alberta Victory Fund, the political action committee created to support Kenney’s campaign for the UCP leadership, and has been described as former prime minister Stephen Harper’s best friend.

It has also been reported that Weissenberger is a self-proclaimed ‘climate change skeptic,’ something that is unlikely to help the government’s bid to attract international investment and companies to move to Alberta.

Weissenberger’s wife, Angela Tu Weissenberger, was appointed by the UCP to the board of the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission in November 2019.

“Sherpa Dave” is Kenney’s Man in Texas

Dave Rodney MLA Calgary Lougheed
Dave Rodney

Congenial former Progressive Conservative MLA Dave Rodney has been appointed as Alberta’s Agent General in Houston, Texas. Rodney served as the PC MLA for Calgary-Lougheed from 2004 until 2017 when he resigned to allow Kenney to run in a by-election.

Rodney’s reward for stepping down, it would appear, is a pseudo-diplomatic post with a $250,000 annual salary. The former MLA served as a backbencher for all but two of his thirteen years in the Legislature. He served as Associate Minister of Wellness from 2012 to 2014.

And as anyone who has paid close attention to Alberta politics will know, Rodney is the first Canadian to have reached the summit of Mount Everest, twice.

Rodney’s appointment is reminiscent of former Stettler MLA Brian Downey‘s appointment as chairman of the Alberta Grain Commission when he resigned his seat in 1989 to allow Premier Don Getty to return to the Assembly (Getty had lost his Edmonton-Whitemud seat to Liberal Percy Wickman in the 1989 general election).

Rodney’s appointment marks the return of the Agent General title, a term that was widely used by Alberta’s out-of-country representatives until 1996, when the Agent-General Act was repealed and the Managing Director job title was adopted.

At the time the Agent General title was abolished, it had become associated with partisan patronage following a long string of appointments that included former PC MLA Mary LeMessurier to a post in London, former MLA Fred Peacock as the Asia-Pacific Agent General, a political aide in Getty’s office as Agent General in Hong Kong, and Getty’s wife’s cousin’s husband as Agent General in Tokyo.

Tory Patronage Machine Humming

Like the engine of a blue Dodge Ram, the UCP patronage machine has revved up since the party formed government in April 2019. counting donors, which would expand the list substantially, here is a quick list of individuals with connections to Kenney, the UCP and the conservative movement who have been appointed to various agency, board and commission positions:

  • Len Rhodes was appointed as Chair of the board of directors of the Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission. He was the UCP candidate in Edmonton-Meadows in 2019.
  • Janice Sarich was appointed to the board of governors of MacEwan University. Sarich was the UCP candidate in Edmonton-Decore in 2019 and represented the district as a PC MLA from 2008 to 2015.
  • Lily Le was appointed to board of governors of Norquest College. Le was the UCP candidate in Edmonton-City Centre in 2019.
  • Laurie Mozeson was appointed to the Municipal Government Board. Mozeson was the UCP candidate in Edmonton-McClung in 2019.
  • Karri Flatla was appointed to the Board of Governors of Lethbridge College. She was the UCP candidate in Lethbridge-West in 2019.
  • Tom Olsen was hired as CEO of the Canadian Energy Centre. He was the UCP candidate in Calgary-Buffalo in 2019.
  • Bettina Pierre-Gilles was appointed to board of Bow Valley College. Pierre-Gilles ran for the UCP nomination in Calgary-Currie ahead of the 2019 election.
  • Donna Kennedy-Glans appointed to board of governors of Banff Centre. Kennedy-Glans was the PC MLA for Calgary-Varsity from 2012 to 2015 and briefly ran for the party leadership in 2017. She was also appointed to the Fair Deal Panel.
  • Janice Harrington was appointed as Alberta’s Health Advocate and Mental Health Patient Advocate. Harrington was executive director of the PC Party and UCP from 2017 to 2019 and was previously involved in PC Party campaigns.
  • Shelley Beck was appointed to the board of governors of Medicine Hat College. Beck has worked as a constituency assistant to Cypress-Medicine Hat UCP MLA Drew Barnes.
  • Wayne Drysdale was appointed to the Municipal Government Board. Drysdale served as the PC and UCP MLA for Grande Prairie-Wapiti from 2008 to 2019. He was Minister of Transportation from 2014 to 2015.
  • Heather Forsyth was appointed to the Alberta Review Board. Forsyth served as the PC and Wildrose MLA for Calgary-Fish Creek from 1993 to 2015. She served as Solicitor General from 2001 to 2004 and Minister of Children’s Services from 2004 to 2006.
  • Lloyd Snelgrove was appointed to the Board of Governors of Lakeland College. Snelgrove served as the PC MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster from 2001 to 2012. He served as Minister of Finance and Enterprise from January 2011 to October 2011.
  • Bill Smith was appointed as member and vice-chair of the Public Health Appeal Board. Smith is the former president of the PC Party and was a candidate for Mayor of Calgary in 2017.
  • Andy Crooks was appointed to Municipal Government Board. Crooks was chairman of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation during Jason Kenney‘s time as its spokesperson in the 1990s.
  • Richard Casson was appointed to the Board of Governors of the University of Lethbridge. Casson served as the Member of Parliament for Lethbridge from 1997 to 2011.
  • James Rajotte was appointed to the Board of Governors of the University of Alberta. Rajotte served as the MP for Edmonton-South West and Edmonton-Leduc from 2000 to 2015.
  • Diane Ablonczy was appointed as a member of the Council of the Alberta Order of Excellence. Ablonczy served as the MP for Calgary-North and Calgary-Nose Hill from 1993 to 2015.
  • Ted Menzies was appointed to the Board of Governors of Olds College. Menzies served as MP for Macleod from 2004 to 2015.
  • Janice MacKinnon was appointed to the Board of Governors of The University of Alberta. MacKinnon chaired the UCP government’s Panel on Alberta’s Finances in 2019.

Editor’s Note: Thank you to Brent Wittmeier for the inspiration for the title of this post.

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Alberta Politics

Let the fall session begin – MLAs return to Edmonton on Oct 8

The fall session of the Alberta Legislative Assembly reconvenes on Tuesday, October 8, 2019, with Government House Leader Jason Nixon promising up to 17 new pieces of government legislation to be introduced before MLAs break for the year in December. The Legislature was initially scheduled to return on October 22, the day after the federal election, but MLAs were called back to the capital earlier than expected. As well as new bills, UCP Finance Minister Travis Toews is expected to present an austerity budget on October 24, 2019.

Richard Gotfried MLA UCP Calgary Fish Creek Alberta Election 2019
Richard Gotfried

The tone of the session is already expected to be confrontational, but the results of the October 21 federal election will determine whether the UCP caucus be celebratory (in the case of Conservative Party victory) or antagonized (in the case of a Liberal Party victory) as Toews tables his first budget.

There will also be some changes at the Legislative committee level. According to the Legislative Order Paper, Calgary-Fish Creek United Conservative Party MLA Richard Gotfried appears to have been removed as chairperson of the Standing Committee on the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund, replaced as chairperson by Lacombe-Ponoka UCP MLA Ron Orr and as a committee member by Calgary-East UCP MLA Peter Singh. Gotfried also appears to have been removed from the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members’ Public Bills, where he will be replaced by Brooks-Medicine Hat UCP MLA Michaela Glasgo. Gotfried was first elected as a Progressive Conservative MLA in 2015 and was re-elected as a UCP MLA in 2019.

It is not clear what sparked the shuffle, but there has been speculation that Premier Jason Kenney might make some minor adjustments to his cabinet this fall.

NDP wrap up town hall tour, Notley staying put.

Rachel Notley Alberta NDP
Rachel Notley (photo from Facebook)

The official opposition New Democratic Party wrapped up a multi-city town hall tour of Alberta focused on the upcoming provincial budget. The NDP likely used these town hall meetings to collect contact information and expand their outreach network while adjusting to their role as opposition after four years as government. The uncertainty created by the expected budget cuts will almost certainly be a central narrative of this legislative session.

Despite rumours of an ambassadorial appointment, NDP leader Rachel Notley told David Climenhaga of AlbertaPolitics.ca that she has no plans on stepping down as leader anytime soon. “I’ve been very clear. I’m staying on until the next election,” Notley said.

Notley’s declaration puts aside rumours of her departure, at least for now, that fuelled speculation about an NDP leadership contest that could include former cabinet ministers and now prominent opposition critics Sarah Hoffman and Shannon Phillips.

Alberta Liberals to report on their future.

The Alberta Liberal Party is holding its annual convention on November 16 in Edmonton. The one-day meeting will include the presentation of a report by the party’s Review Committee,  which was tasked determining potential options for the future of the party. The 2019 provincial election marked the first time since 1982 that the Liberals failed to elect any candidates to the Assembly. The convention will feature a keynote presentation from John Santos, a respected public opinion and political science researcher based in Calgary.

Disqualified UCP nomination candidate now separatist party president.

Todd Beasley is now president of the Alberta Independence Party. Beasley was considered the front-runner in the July 2018 UCP nomination contest in Brooks-Medicine Hat before he was removed from the race for publishing horrible comments about muslims on the internet. He ran as an Independent candidate instead and earned 12.4 per cent of the vote. The party is without a leader since Dave Bjorkman resigned following the 2019 provincial election.

More names added to Elections Alberta’s list of banned candidates

Elections Alberta has added a number of new names to its public list of Individuals Ineligible to Run as a Candidate or Act as a Chief Financial Officer. Names on this list can include election candidates, nomination candidates, and CFOs who have missed deadlines or improperly submitted financial disclosure forms to Elections Alberta.

New additions to the list include Former MLA Ian Donovan, who ran as an Independent candidate in Cardston-Siksika, Jovita Mendita, who was a candidate for the UCP nomination in Edmonton-Strathcona, and a number of Alberta Independence Party and Freedom Conservative Party candidates.