Any good talk radio host understands that the show doesn’t belong to the host, it belongs to the listeners. And if this past weekend’s annual general meeting is any indication, talk radio host-turned-Premier Danielle Smith might be taking a similar approach as leader of the United Conservative Party.
Aside from a nod to protecting parental rights during her keynote speech, Smith largely stood out of the way as more than 3,700 delegates packed into Calgary’s BMO Centre to vote on party policy and elect a new executive board. It was an impressive crowd and probably the largest provincial political convention in Alberta’s history.
The seasons are changing and it’s not just the weather – the political seasons are changing too.
The first snow has fallen and the cold north winds are blowing across Alberta. The seasons are changing and it’s not just limited to the weather – the political seasons are changing too.
Five months after the 2023 provincial election, Alberta’s politicians will be back in the provincial capital on October 30 to start the first substantial sitting of this Legislative Assembly. MLAs met shortly after the election to choose a Speaker for the new Assembly (Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA Nathan Cooper) but this fall’s session will see Premier Danielle Smith’s re-elected United Conservative Party government introduce its legislative agenda.
“In addition to province-wide issues such as healthcare and jobs, I remain a champion for the expansion of internet access for all rural Alberta. As an essential service, Albertans need broadband access for agriculture, industry, education, as well as everyday life,” Rudyk said in a statement announcing her run for the nomination.
“I will fight for sustainable long term strategic infrastructure investments for municipalities and not just the current inconsistencies of the boom and bust approach,” said Rudyk. “Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville deserves better and I sincerely believe that Rachel Notley is the leader to make our future better.”
Rudyk is currently serving her fourth term as a Councillor in the town east of Edmonton and has served on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities board of directors since 2017. The FCM is a national advocacy group that represents more than 2,000 Canadian municipalities.
Rudyk operates a pipeline welding business with her husband, Andrew, and is a board member of the Vegreville Association For Living In Dignity (VALID), a fundraising volunteer for Refugee Sponsorship Vegreville, and the former vice-chair of the Alberta Health Services Yellowhead East Health Advisory Council Alberta.
She is the daughter of former Vegreville NDP MLA Derek Fox, who represented the riding in the Alberta Legislature from 1986 to 1993.
The NDP have scheduled a nomination meeting for April 21, 2023.
Rudyk is the latest addition to the group of current and former municipal elected officials running for the NDP in the rural and suburban ridings surrounding Edmonton.
Other municipal leaders on the NDP slate in the donut of ridings surrounding the capital city include Strathcona County Councillor Bill Tonita running in Strathcona-SherwoodPark, former Sturgeon County Councillor Karen Shaw running in Morinville-St. Albert, and former Spruce Grove City Councillor Chantal Saramaga-McKenzie running in Spruce Grove-Stony Plain.
Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville is currently represented by United Conservative Party MLA Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk, who was first elected in 2019 with 53 per cent of the vote. Armstrong-Homeniuk was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Ukrainian Refugee Settlement in October 2022.
Inderjit Grewal and Harjit Singh Saroya are running for the UCP nomination in Calgary-North East. The nomination vote is tomorrow, April 1.
Calgary-North East is currently represented by UCP MLA and cabinet minister Rajan Sawhney, who announced in February that she would not seek re-election. There has been recent political speculation that she could be appointed as the UCP candidate in Calgary-North West to replace retiring UCP MLA and cabinet minister Sonya Savage.
Gladys Blackmore, Nolan Dyck, Larry Gibson, and Tayyab Parvez are seeking the UCP nomination in Grande Prairie on April 3. The vote is being held to replace retiring UCP MLA Tracy Allard, who was first elected in 2019.
Other nomination news:
Chestermere-Strathmore: UCP MLA Leela Aheer is considering a run for the federal Conservative Party nomination in Calgary-Signal Hill, a seat being vacated by retiring Conservative MP Ron Liepert. Aheer has served as an MLA since 2015 and withdrew from the recent UCP nomination race in her riding after finishing last in the 2022 UCP leadership race and facing a strong nomination challenge from Chantelle De Jonge.
Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood: Lieberson Pang is seeking the UCP nomination.
Edmonton-West Henday: Dan Bildhauer is running for the Liberal Party. He previously ran for the Liberals in Edmonton-Meadowlark in the 2015 election.
Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin: Marie Rittenhouse has been nominated as the Independence Party of Alberta candidate.
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“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.”
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 Aheerannounced 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.
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.
Two-term MLA and vocal Kenney-critic Leela Aheer has filed her intentions with Elections Alberta to run for the United Conservative Party nomination in Chestermere-Strathmore. Aheer was first elected in 2015 as a Wildrose Party candidate and was re-elected with 68.5 per cent of the vote in 2019 in the riding.
Aheer is being challenged for the nomination by Chantelle de Jonge, a former political staffer to former Calgary-Skyview Member of Parliament Jag Sahota and recent graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Philosophy from the University of Calgary.
Jeremy Nixon running for re-election in Calgary-Klein
UCP MLA Jeremy Nixon has also signalled his intentions with Elections Alberta to run for his party’s nomination in Calgary-Klein, the riding he has represented since 2019.
Nixon currently serves as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Community and Social Services for Civil Society. He was removed from a previous role as parliamentary secretary for civil society in January 2021 after disregarding COVID-19 restrictions and traveling to Hawaii for a hot holiday in December 2020.
He is the brother of Environment & Parks Minister and Government House Leader Jason Nixon.
The riding was home to one of the closer races in Calgary in the 2019 election and is expected to be strongly contested by the NDP in the next election.
Marie Renaud running for re-election in St. Albert
St. Albert NDP MLA Marie Renaud announced her plans to seek her party’s nomination to run for re-election in when the provincial election is called.
“I will continue to champion public healthcare, public education and economic security for St. Albert and Albertans across the province,” Renaud wrote in a tweet announcing her candidacy. “We cannot build a prosperous future by continuing to pass on costs to municipalities like St. Albert and, in turn, to Albertan families.”
Renaud was first elected to represent the suburban city located just north of Edmonton in 2015 and was re-elected in 2019 with 46.2 per cent of the vote. She was the first NDP MLA elected in St. Albert since 1986.
She currently serves as the Official Opposition critic for Community & Social Services, and Francophone Issues.
A nomination meeting is scheduled for March 24, 2022.
Former Alberta Party candidate running for UCP nomination
Beaver County Reeve Kevin Smook announced on Twitter that he plans to seek the UCP nomination in the Camrose, the riding currently represented by UCP MLA Jackie Lovely.
“I’m not here for the photo ops — I intend to roll up my sleeves and work for you and for the people of the Camrose Constituency,” Smook tweeted, in an apparent shot at Lovely.
Smook was first elected to Beaver County Council in 2013 and served as Reeve from 2014 to 2017 before starting his current term in 2021. He was the Alberta Party candidate in Camrose in the 2019 election, where he placed third with 12.8 per cent of the vote.
“I ran for the Alberta Party in the 2019 provincial election,” Smook told the Camrose Booster. “And while there was a conservative connection with them, I know that the strongest conservative movement is the United Conservative Party and I feel much more aligned here.
Tik tok, tik tok, the countdown to Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche
The countdown continues as Jason Kenney now has 6 days left to call the by-election in Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche. The by-election needs to be called by February 15 to choose a successor to former MLA Laila Goodridge who resigned nearly six months ago on August 15, 2021.
UCP candidate Brian Jean, who led the Wildrose Party from 2015 to 2018, has called on Kenney to resign and is openly organizing and fundraising against his party’s leader ahead of the April 9 leadership review. There has been chatter in some political circles that Kenney may be delaying the by-election until the last possible moment in order to replace Jean and appoint a UCP candidate who will demonstrate more loyalty to the leader.
Outside the UCP drama that has enveloped this by-election are NDP candidate Ariana Mancini , who was joined by Edmonton-Rutherford MLA Richard Feehan on the campaign trail last week, and Wildrose Independence Party leader Paul Hinman, who has been spending a considerable amount of time campaigning in the northeast Alberta riding.
The Alberta Party has not yet named its candidate.
Airdrie resident Steve Durrell has announced his plans to seek the Alberta NDP nomination to run in the Airdrie-Cochrane riding in the next provincial election.
“This coming election is one of high stakes. From education to our economy, from healthcare to respect for a person’s self-identity, Jason Kenney and the UCP have failed Albertans at every turn,” Durrell said in a statement posted on Facebook. “It’s time for change and to get Alberta back on track, and that is why I am seeking the nomination to run for the NDP, and support Rachel Notley on her road to once again being Premier of Alberta!”
Durrell is an organizer for United Steelworkers Local 1944.
If nominated, this will be Durrell’s second time as a NDP candidate in the riding. He ran in 2019 and placed second with 25.2 per cent of the vote behind United Conservative Party candidate Peter Guthrie.
Durrell became a target of Premier Jason Kenney in the 2019 election, when the UCP leader mocked him for being a 19-year old. He was actually 29-year old father of three at the time.
Rumble in Chestermere-Strathmore
Postmedia columnist Don Braidpenned a column about a showdown in the Chestermere-Strathmore riding, where Kenney loyalists are alleged to have mounted a hostile takeover of the local UCP constituency association.
The previous, or current riding association (depending on who’s side of the story you believe), is loyal to two-term UCP MLA and former UCP deputy leader Leela Aheer, who has called on Kenney to resign after a former political staffer filed a lawsuit against the Premier’s Office alleging sexual harassment, defamation, and toxic workplace culture at the Legislature.
Ahreer is popular among her UCP MLA colleagues so Kenney probably does not have the support to remove her from the UCP caucus like he did Drew Barnes and Todd Loewen last summer, so removing her local support (and access to the local UCP bank account) is a more indirect way of ensuring she does not seek re-election in 2023. If Aheer still has political ambitions, she will probably need to find a new party to run for.
As first noted on this website in May 2021, former federal Conservative staffer Chantelle de Jonge is already challenging Aheer for the UCP nomination to run in the next election. de Jonge worked in the constituency office of former Calgary-Skyview Member of Parliament Jag Sahota and recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Philosophy from the University of Calgary.
Confirmed UCP candidate and future UCP leadership hopeful Brian Jean is continuing to fire shots across Kenney’s bow ahead of the leadership review and the impending by-election in Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche.
Jean called on the UCP executive board to commit to holding an in-person vote on April 9 rather than moving to an online vote in response to the fifth wave of COVID-19 that is sweeping across Alberta. It was largely assumed that the Kenney loyal executive board chose to hold an in-person meeting in Red Deer to give the Premier more control of the process, but the rise in COVID-19 cases would justify moving the vote online.
A Leger poll released in December 2021 showed that 73 per cent of Albertans believed the province would be better off with a new premier.
In the background of this, as Jean noted, the RCMP are continuing to investigate allegations of voter fraud in the online vote for the UCP leadership in 2017. Kenney defeated Jean in that vote.
Jean defeated Kenney-backed candidate Joshua Gogo in the UCP nomination contest held in Nov. 2021. He will face NDP candidate Ariana Mancini and Wildrose Independence Party leader Paul Hinman in a by-election that needs to be called by Feb. 15, 2022. The other parties have not yet announced their candidates.
The Alberta Party is expected to make an announcement soon.
The Independence Party of Alberta has not announced a candidate, but announced in Nov. 2021 that their local constituency association board had been formed.
Hayter is the second NDP candidate nominated to run in the expected 2023 provincial election. Dr. Luanne Metz has been nominated to run in the neighbouring Calgary-Varisty.
Sayid Ahmed seeking UCP nomination in Edmonton-Decore
Sayid Ahmed has filed papers with Elections Alberta to seek the UCP nomination in Edmonton-Decore. Ahmed is a manager in the provincial Department of Health and is President of the UCP association in the neighbouring Edmonton-Manning district and Vice President of Policy for the Alberta Advisory Board of the Conservative Black Congress of Canada.
Edmonton-Decore has been represented by NDP MLA Chris Nielsen since 2015. Nielson was re-elected in 2019 with 47.5 per cent of the vote, ahead of UCP candidate Karen Principe (Principe is currently running for Edmonton City Council in Ward tastawiyiniwak). The third place candidate in that year’s race, Alberta Party candidate Ali Haymour, is running for city council in Edmonton’s Ward Anirniq.
The district is named after former MLA Laurence Decore, who served as MLA for the then-named Edmonton-Glengarry from 1989 to 1997 and as Mayor of Edmonton from 1983 to 1988. He was leader of the Alberta Liberal Party from 1988 to 1994.
Ahmed is the second prospective candidate to announce plans to seek a UCP nomination ahead of the 2023 election. Chantelle de Jonge has filed her papers to run for the UCP nomination in Chestermere-Strathmore.
Former Edmonton lawyer Randy Hogle running for Senate
Former Edmonton lawyer Randy Hogle has filed his papers to run as a candidate in the Senate Nominee election, which is being held on the same day as Alberta’s October 18 municipal elections.
Hogle had a successful legal career and, despite being legally blind, he excelled as an equestrian athlete. This is his second attempt at political office after a previous run for Edmonton City Council in 1992, during which one of his key platform points was the construction of bike lanes on Jasper Avenue.
Hogle is the son of former long-time CFRN news director Bruce Hogle and brother of former sports reporter and current Hockey Edmonton General Manager Steve Hogle.
Sorensen’s long record of public service includes terms as a trustee on the Canadian Rockies Public Schools from 1997 to 2001, as a Banff town councillor from 2004 to 2010 and as mayor from 2010 until her appointment to the Senate in 2021.
She will sit as an Independent member of Canada’s upper chamber.
Mykhailo Martyniouk has submitted his papers with Elections Alberta to run in the Senate Nominee election. Martyniouk is the current president of the Canadian Ukrainian Free Trade Agreement Association.
In 2019, Martyniouk donated $1,155 to Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview UCP candidate David Egan and in 2018 he donated $300 to the UCP association in Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview. In 2020, he donated 1,600 to the Conservative Party of Canada association in Edmonton-Manning.
Chantelle de Jonge has filed papers with Elections Alberta to run for the United Conservative Party nomination in Chestermere-Strathmore. The district is currently represented by UCP MLA Leela Aheer, who has served as Alberta’s Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women since her party formed government in 2019.
It is not clear whether the UCP has actually opened the candidate nomination process in this district, or any others at this point, but Alberta’s election laws require people who are interested in actively campaigning for party nominations to file their expression of interest with Elections Alberta.
As far as I can tell, de Jonge has not made any public statements about her candidacy, but I was able to find someone by that name on LinkedIn who is a former Constituency Assistant in the office of Calgary-Skyview Conservative MP Jag Sahota and a student of economics and philosophy at the University of Calgary.
Quest represented Strathcona-Sherwood Park from 2008 until 2015, when he was unseated by NDP candidate Estefan Cortes-Vargas. He ran for the Alberta Party in that district in the 2019 election, placing third with 13.3 per cent of the vote.