Alberta Politics

George Chahal running for Liberals in Calgary-Skyview, Rick Peterson out of the race in Edmonton-Strathcona

Calgary City Councillor George Chahal announced this week that he is withdrawing his bid for re-election in the October municipal elections in order to run as the federal Liberal Party candidate in Calgary-Skyview. Chahal, who was first elected to city council in 2017, will face Conservative Party Member of Parliament Jag Sahota, New Democratic Party candidate Gurinder Singh Gill, and People’s Party candidate Harry Dhillon.

The northeast Calgary district was represented by Liberal MP Darshan Kang from 2015 until he left the Liberal caucus in 2017 following allegations of sexual harassment. The former two-term Liberal MLA sat as an Independent until his term was complete and did not seek re-election in 2019.

Rick Peterson out of Conservative race in Edmonton-Strathcona

RIck Peterson Edmonton-Strathcona
RIck Peterson is no longer in the race for the Conservative Party of Canada nomination in Edmonton-Strathcona. (Photo source: Facebook)

It appears as though former Conservative Party leadership candidate Rick Peterson is no longer seeking his party’s nomination in Edmonton-Strathcona. While neither Peterson nor the party have made any official public statement, Conservative Party sources say that he was disqualified from the race by the central party.

It now appears likely that his opponent, Tunde Obsan, the only other candidate in the race, will be acclaimed as the Conservative Party candidate in Edmonton-Strathcona. Obasan was the 2019 United Conservative Party candidate in Edmonton-South and is an audit manager with the provincial Department of Alberta Treasury Board and Finance.

Edmonton-Strathcona is currently represented by NDP MP Heather McPherson.

Don Iveson running in Edmonton-Centre?

Don Iveson
Don Iveson

Rumours continue to circulate that Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson could seek the federal Liberal nomination in Edmonton-Centre. Rumours about Iveson jumping into federal politics have been around for years, but his decision to not seek re-election as mayor and the proximity to an impending federal election has given new fuel to the speculation.

Iveson was first elected to City Council in 2007 and has served as Mayor since 2013. He is currently the chairperson of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Big City Mayors’ Caucus.

Former Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault, who represented the district from 2015 to 2019, has already announced his intentions to seek his party’s nomination.

Other nominations

The NDP have nominated Shawn Gray in Edmonton Riverbend.

Austin Mullins is now running for the Green Party nomination in Calgary-Centre. Mills had previously announced his intentions to seek the party’s nomination in Banff-Airdire, where he ran in 2019.

The right-wing People’s Party have nominated Dennis Trepanier in Battle River-Crowfoot, Edward Gao in Calgary-Confederation, Jonathan Hagel in Calgary-Midnapore, Kyle Scott in Calgary-Nose Hill, Michael Knoll in Calgary-Shepard, Brent Kinzel in Edmonton-West, Brigitte Yolande Maria Cecelia in St. Albert-Edmonton, and Murray MacKinnon in Sturgeon River-Parkland.

The party has also nominated two time Wildrose Party candidate Darryl Boisson in Peace River-Westlock and is expected to nominate Ben Whyte in Calgary-Rocky Ridge at a meeting on July 29.

The separatist Maverick Party has nominated Orrin Bliss in Bow River, Annelise Freeman in Calgary-Heritage, Josh Wylie in Foothills, and Physical Education and Social Studies teacher Todd Muir in Yellowhead.

I am building a list of candidates seeking party nominations to run as candidates in Alberta in the next federal election. If you have any additions to the list, please email me at Thank you.

Alberta Politics

Ward system plebiscite faces Red Deer voters

New York Ward System
A map of New York’s ancient ward system.

Yesterday, I travelled to Red Deer to participate in a panel discussion with Mount Royal University professor Duane Bratt and former councillor Larry Pimm about an upcoming plebiscite on whether to adopt a ward system or to remain with an at-large system of electing the city’s eight councillors.

With a population of 90,564, according to the 2011 census, Red Deer has grown considerably over the past decade (the 2001 census showed 67,707 residents in the city).

With this population growth in mind, Red Deerians  should consider the important issue of representation and whether they will be better represented having one or more councillors representing their specific area of the city in a ward system.

Another question for Red Deerians to consider is whether their city has grown so large that it may become inaccessible for candidates to run in a city-wide election campaign. Facing nearly 100,000 residents, many candidates may not have access to the resources – money and volunteers – to run a large city-wide campaign.

Currently, four large municipalities in Alberta – Strathcona County (including Sherwood Park),  Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (including Fort McMurray) and the cities of Calgary and Edmonton – elect councillors through a ward system. Other cities, like Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Airdrie and St. Albert, currently elect their city councillors through an at-large system.

Red Deer is not the only Canadian city having this debate. In Oshawa, residents have presented a petition to their city council in favour of moving to a ward system, which the city abandoned in favour of an at-large system in 2010. In Sudbury, there is a debate whether to abandon the ward system and return to the at-large system. Even Vancouver, with more than 600,000 residents, there is still debate about whether should keep its at-large system.

It has been forty-five years since Edmontonians decided to abandon the at-large system in favour of wards. With a population of more than 370,000 in 1968, Edmontonians voted in favour of moving to a ward system and, in 1971, the city was divided into four wards where voters could choose three-candidates as councillors. In 1980, Edmonton was divided into six wards each represented by two councillors and, in 2010, the city moved to a system of twelve wards each represented by one councillor.

Regardless of the decision made by Red Deer voters in this year’s plebiscite, with a fast-expanding population and projections showing large growth ahead, representation may continue to be an issue in the future.

Hotly contested mayoral election

With the retirement of three-term mayor Morris Flewwelling, a hotly contested race to replace the mayor has emerged. Two incumbent councillors, Cindy Jefferies and Tara Veer, have been joined by candidates Chad Mason, William Horn and Dennis Trepanier in the race for mayor.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Red Deer First says the slate has no official connections with the Wildrose Party and the right-wing Manning Centre. “Manning Centre called us and asked if we would be interested in hooking up with them. We said no thank you, that’s not what we are into doing. We’ve never had any association beyond the phone call,” candidate Darren Young told the Red Deer Advocate.