With the first full week of Alberta’s 2015 election campaign coming to an end, I took a look at where the leaders of Alberta’s political parties have visited in the last seven days [see the map above].
The day the writ was dropped, Progressive Conservative leader Jim Prentice hopped into his party’s campaign bus and hit the highway into rural Alberta. First driving through the West Yellowhead constituency, Mr. Prentice’s tour included campaign stops with Finance Minister Robin Campbell and a trip down memory lane to Grande Cache, where he spent part of his childhood.
The PC tour continued through central and southern rural Alberta with a quick stop in Calgary. Much of Mr. Prentice’s first week was dedicated to campaigning in constituencies that voted Wildrose in the last election – Airdrie, Drumheller-Stettler, Highwood, Lacombe-Ponoka, Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, Livingstone-Macleod, and Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills.
NDP leader Rachel Notley started election with campaign stops in Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge. During the first weekend of the campaign, Ms. Notley traveled to Fort McMurray, where she campaigned with candidates Stephen Drover and Ariana Mancini, and participated in the local Firefighters charity event. Upon her return to Edmonton, she was greeted by a crowd of more than 500 NDP supporters at a Sunday afternoon rally at the Citadel Theatre.
Wildrose leader Brian Jean, travelling Alberta in his campaign RV, has made stops in Edmonton, Grande Prairie, and Calgary, but has divided most of his time in rural southern and central Alberta and the two Fort McMurray constituencies (he is running for election in Fort McMurray-Conklin). As the campaign continues, I expect that Mr. Jean will continue to focus on key rural areas of rural Alberta and Calgary, including Strathmore-Brooks, where the Wildrose hope former Taxpayers Federation spokesperson Derek Fildebrandt can win.
Alberta Party leader Greg Clark and Liberal leader David Swann appear to be focusing most of their energies on winning their own constituencies in Calgary, but both have made trips to Edmonton to hold press conferences and campaign with local candidates. Mr. Clark, alongside Edmonton-Gold Bar candidate Cristina Stasia, released the Alberta Party platform at the University of Alberta campus.
As the Progressive Conservative Party rushes towards an early election call, party officials are investigating nomination irregularities and allegations of bribery, reports Metro Edmonton. According to Metro, the PC Party is investigating the process that led to the acclamation of MLA Naresh Bhardwaj as the PC candidate in Edmonton-Ellerslie. Allegations of nomination irregularities have been raised by PC members in Edmonton-Decore and Bonnyville-Cold Lake.
But, as controversy surrounds some nomination contests, all parties continue to rush through the nomination process. The following list are the latest updates to the growing list of Alberta Election 2015 candidates:
Airdrie: Chris Noble is seeking the NDP nomination.
Athabasca-Redwater-Sturgeon: Colin Piquette, son of former New Democratic Party MLA Leo Piquette, is acclaimed as the NDP candidate. Mr. Piquette was the 2001 NDP candidate in the former Athabasca-Wabasca constituency, where he placed third with 9.5% of the vote.
Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock: Tristin Turner is seeking the NDP nomination. In 2014, Mr. Turner was a recipient of a Top 30 Under 30 award through the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation.
Calgary-Bow: Lawyer Byron Nelson defeated past city council candidate Chris Harper in a 214 to 136 vote for the Progressive Conservative nomination. Recently graduated Law student Alyx Nanji was Mr. Nelson’s campaign manager.
Calgary-Cross: Some north east Calgary PCs are worried that former Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson will be appointed as their party’s candidate in Calgary-Cross, despite six other candidates being in the race. As I wrote on February 25, 2015, it is widely speculated that Premier Jim Prentice could appoint Mr. Hanson as the PC candidate in this constituency.
Calgary-Currie: Shelley Wark-Martyn resigned as President of the Liberal Party today and is rumoured to be preparing to run for her party in this constituency. I am told that an odd rule in the Liberal Party bylaws does not permit party office holders from also being candidates. Ms. Wark-Martyn served as an Ontario New Democratic MPP from 1990 to 1995, during which time she also served as a cabinet minister in Premier Bob Rae‘s government.
Calgary Elbow: Educator and storyteller Catherine Wellburn is seeking the NDP nomination, which is scheduled for March 19, 2015.
Calgary-Fort: Vic Goosen has been nominated as the Alberta Party candidate.
Calgary-Glenmore: Terry Lo is the Alberta Party candidate and Anam Kazim is seeking the NDP nomination, scheduled for March 19, 2015.
Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill: Incumbent MLA Neil Brown defeated two challengers to secure the PC nomination. Community Shuttle Operator and University of Calgary Political Science Graduate Student Ezra Voth is the nominated Alberta Party candidate.
Calgary-Shaw: Evert Smith has been nominated as the Alberta Party candidate.
Calgary-Varsity: Jeremy Mroch is the nominated Alberta Party candidate. According to his website, he has “most recently been involved at the executive level in the development and commercialization of lower environmental impact energy and oilfield greening technologies.”
Cypress-Medicine Hat: Former Cypress County Reeve Bob Olson has announced he’s seeking the PC nomination for this southeast rural constituency. Also in the race is Danny Fieldberg. Former PC MLA Len Mitzel announced he will not seek the nomination.
Drayton Valley-Devon: Katherine Swampy is seeking the NDP nomination.
Edmonton-Gold Bar: University of Alberta lecturer Cristina Stasia is the nominated Alberta Party candidate. Dr. Stasia has won numerous teaching awards and is a founding board members of WAVE: Women’s Advocacy Voice of Edmonton.
Edmonton-Manning: Gurcharan Garcha is said to be running against MLA Peter Sandhu for the PC nomination in this northeast Edmonton constituency. Mr. Garcha runs the G Driving School. Adam Mounzar is seeking the Liberal Party nomination.
Edmonton Meadowlark: Registered Social Worker Jeanette de Vries will challenge Jon Carson for the NDP nomination.
Edmonton-Rutherford: Local businessman Chris Labossiere defeated Grant Mann in for the PC nomination. The constituency is currently represented by former Health Minister Fred Horne, who is not seeking re-election.
Edmonton-South West: Former Catholic School Trustee Rudy Arcilla is seeking the Liberal nomination. In 2012, Mr. Arcilla earned 15% of the vote as the Liberal candidate.
Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo: First-term MLA Mike Allen defeated Catholic School Trustee Tracy McKinnon for the PC nomination. Some PC Party members in Fort McMurray have expressed their unhappiness after they discovered local organizers scheduled candidate speeches after the voting had closed at the nomination meeting.
Medicine Hat: Teacher and past city council candidate Jim Black is the Alberta Party candidate. Mr. Black is also the Political Engagement Officer for Alberta Teachers’ Association Local 2 in the Prairie Rose School District.
Red Deer-North: Krystal Kromm is the Alberta Party candidate. Ms. Kromm is the Vice-President of Red Deer’s Downtown Business Association.
Strathcona-Sherwood Park: Educational Assistant and Taekwondo Coach Estefania Cortes-Vargas is the NDP candidate.
Strathmore-Brooks: Einar Davison is the nominated Alberta Party candidate. Mr. Davison ran for the Liberal Party in the 1997 election in the Drumheller-Chinook constituency, where he earned 15% of the vote.
Whitecourt-Ste Anne: Gunn-area cattle farmer John Bos is the nominated Wildrose Party candidate.
I have added these updates to the list of nominees and nomination candidates planning to run in Alberta’s next general election. Please email david.cournoyer [at] gmail.com if there are additions to the list. Thank you.