Here are the candidates appointed by Premier Danielle Smith through her powers allowed by the UCP constitution:
Edmonton-South: Joseph Angeles is a lawyer who previously ran for the UCP nomination in Edmonton-West Henday. He replaces Tunde Obasan, who withdrew his candidacy last week.
Lethbridge-West: Cheryl Seaborn is a Registered Nurse and former president of the UCP association in the riding. She replaces Torry Tanner who won the UCP nomination last month butresigned shortly after when a video surfaced of her claiming young children were being to exposed pornography in schools and teachers were hiding their students’ gender reassignments from parents.
Grande Prairie-Wapiti: Endorsed by the local UCP constituency board of directors, Ron Wiebe will succeed Travis Toews as the UCP candidate in the riding.
And the acclamation:
Edmonton-Glenora: Melissa Crane is a ministerial press secretary and ran for the UCP nomination in St. Albert in December 2022.
That leaves the UCP one short of a full slate. The UCP nomination in Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood closes on April 13. Lieberson Pang is seeking the nomination.
NDP sets nomination dates
The Alberta NDP have candidates nominated in 78 of 87 ridings and plan to hold nomination meetings to nominate the remainder of the slate before the election is called.
Vegreville Town Councillor Taneen Rudyk is acclaimed in Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville and the NDP have scheduled nomination meetings in Maskwacis-Wetaskwin on April 22 (Samson Cree Band Councillor Katherine Swampy is the only approved candidate at the moment) and Grande Prairie on April 30.
UPDATE: Former Grande Prairie city councillor Kevin McLean is running for the NDP nomination in that riding. McLean served on city council from 2010 to 2017 and placed second in the 2022 municipal by-election. He ran for the Liberal Party in the former Grande Prairie-Smoky riding in the 2012 and 2015 provincial elections and in St. Albert in the 2019 election.
The ridings without nominated NDP candidates or scheduled nomination meetings are Cardston-Siksika, Drayton Valley-Devon, Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche, Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, Grande Prairie-Wapiti, Highwood and Taber-Warner.
Other nomination news
Jason McKee is running for the Green Party in Calgary-West.
Alberta Party leader Barry Morishita confirmed today in an email to supporters that he will run in the Brooks-Medicine Hat riding in the next election.
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“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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Slava Cravcenco defeated Joseph Angeles to win the UCP nomination in Edmonton-West Henday. Cravcenco had previously run for the UCP nomination in Edmonton-South West against cabinet minister Kaycee Madu. Cravcenco is the owner of a window and door restoration company and a former champion Moldovan table tennis player. Incumbent NDP MLA Jon Carson is not seeking re-election and the NDP have nominated lawyer Brooks Arcand-Paul.
Don Golden has withdrawn from the UCP nomination contest in Grande Prairie.
Amanpreet Singh Gill defeated Sonya Virk to win the UCP nomination vote in Calgary-Bhullar-McCall. Gill owns an excavation company and is the former president of the Dashmesh Culture Centre. The north east Calgary riding is currently represented by NDP MLA Irfan Sabir.
Former Calgary Catholic School District Trustee Pamela Rath has been nominated United Conservative Party candidate in Calgary-Mountain View. Rath served as a trustee from 2017 until her resignation in December 2022 for “personal and family matters.”
Rath’s resignation came a few months after she was censured by her trustee colleagues after being found to be in violation of the board’s code of conduct, though the nature of her alleged misconduct was never made public.
The riding has been represented by Alberta NDP MLA Kathleen Ganley since 2019 and was previously represented by Liberal MLA David Swann from 2004 to 2019.
Hogg defeated retired teacher Tim Gruber and private college founder David Martin. She has served as a trustee with the Prairie Rose Public School since 2013 and previously served as President of the Public School Boards’ Association of Alberta.
And way up north, Scott Sinclair defeated three other candidates to win the UCP nomination in Lesser Slave Lake.I’m told that Sinclair beat second place finisher Martine Carifelle by three votes. Sinclair will face Registered Nurse and former NDP MLA Danielle Larivee in the election.
Grande Prairie UCP race draws a crowd
Three more candidates – Larry Gibson, Don Golden and Tayyab Parvez – have joined the UCP nomination contest to replace retiring MLA Tracy Allard..
Gibson is an energy and utilities consultant and former chair of the Grande Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce. Golden is a realtor and former Catholic school board trustee. And Parvez is an engineer and the nephew of Calgary-North MLA Muhammad Yaseen. Nolan Dyck announced his candidacy last week.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Travis Toews is expected to announce soon whether or not he will run for re-election in the neighbouring Grande Prairie-Wapiti. Toews was first elected as MLA in 2019 and placed second to Danielle Smith in the 2022 UCP leadership race.
More nomination updates
Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock: Pastor-turned-horizontal directional driller Landen Tischerwas nominated as the NDP candidate in this sprawling riding north of Edmonton.
Calgary-Bow: Paul Godard has been nominated as the Alberta Party candidate. Godard ran for the Alberta Party in the riding in 2019.
Calgary-Edgemont:Allen Schultz has been nominated as the Alberta Party candidate.
Calgary-Foothills:Shaoli Wang has been nominated as the Alberta Party candidate. Wang previously ran for mayor in 2021 and as an Independent candidate in Calgary-Rocky Ridge in the 2019 federal election.
Camrose: Bob Blayone has announced he will run for the Independence Party of Alberta nomination in this central Alberta riding. Baylone acts as a spokesperson for the Independence Party and previously ran for town council in Peace River in 2021.
Central Peace-Notley: Lynn Lekisch is the Alberta Party candidate in this northwest Alberta riding. Lekisch ran for the NDP nomination in the riding in July 2022 but was defeated by Megan Ciurysek.
Edmonton-Castle Downs: Patrick Stewart has been nominated as the Alberta Party candidate.
Edmonton-Decore: Lawyer Brent Tyson has been nominated as the Alberta Party candidate.
Edmonton-Meadows: Amritpal Matharu defeated Kanwarjit Singh Sandhu to win the UCP nomination. Matharu is a shop manager at TJs Auto and Brakes & Tires and General Secretary of Gurdwara Millwoods.
Edmonton-West Henday: Joseph Angeles and Slava Cravcenco are on the ballot at the UCP nomination meeting on March 2.
Leduc-Beaumont: Al Luthra is no longer seeking the nomination. Heather Feldbusch, Nam Kular, Brandon Lunty, Dawn Miller, Dave Quest, and Karen Richert will be on the ballot when UCP members in the riding vote to choose a candidate on March 18.
Livingston-Macleod – Nanton town councillor Kevin Todd has been nominated as the Alberta Party candidate. Todd had previously been seeking the UCP nomination but had a change of heart before the candidate entry deadline and choose to run for the Alberta Party instead.
Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills- Past Independence Party leadership candidate Katherine Kowalchuk is running for that party’s nomination in this central Alberta riding. Kowalchuk is connected to the COVID-skeptical Lawyers 4 Truth group and was briefly nominated as a Liberal Party candidate in Calgary-Signal Hill ahead of the 2015 federal election.
Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre: Fred Schwieger is running for the Independence Party of Alberta. A nomination vote is scheduled for March 18, 19 and 20.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Always a fan favourite, for the third year in a row Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood MLA Janis Irwin has been voted the Best Alberta MLA. For the first time, Irwin was voted Best Opposition MLA, knocking her leader Rachel Notley out of the spot for the first time since 2019.
Irwin is a passionate voice in the Legislature and one of the hardest working constituency MLAs in the province.
On any given day, she can be spotted around her north east Edmonton constituency out volunteering with a community group, attending a cultural event, or just meeting with constituents. Sure this is what a lot of MLAs do, but Irwin balances her community work and politics with level of humility and humour that you don’t always see in a politician – and she’s been able to successfully translate it into a huge social media following on Instagram and Twitter. (Oh, I can’t forget to mention Oregano).
Best Alberta Cabinet Minister
Well-liked and respected among her colleagues, Minister of Trade, Immigration and Multiculturalism Rajan Sawhney was new to politics when she was first elected in 2019 but quickly distinguished herself as a strong performer in a largely rookie cabinet.
The Calgary-North East MLA leaned on her years of business experience to launch an outsider campaign for the United Conservative Party leadership in 2022, but it wasn’t enough to break through in a campaign that was defined by the front-runner, Danielle Smith.
Up and Coming MLA to Watch
Edmonton-Whitemud NDP MLA Rakhi Pancholi continues to distinguish herself as a smart and well-spoken member of the opposition.
This is Pancholi’s third year winning in this category, demonstrating that a lot of people are interested in watching her political trajectory and probably won’t stop until she either becomes a cabinet minister after next year’s election or goes on to lead her party at some point in the future.
Candidate to Watch in 2023
First Nations lawyer and Edmonton-West Henday NDP candidate Brooks Arcand-Paul was voted the Candidate to Watch in 2023. The University of Ottawa law graduate is the in-house legal counsel for the Alexander First Nation, located just north of Edmonton. As part of the NDP’s slate of new candidates, he’s running in the west Edmonton riding being vacated by retiring two-term NDP MLA Jon Carson.
Biggest issue of 2022
The crisis in the health care system was overwhelmingly voted the biggest political issue of 2022 in Alberta, and there shouldn’t be any confusion why.
The lingering effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and the dramatic impact of respiratory illnesses on children’s hospitals in Calgary and Edmonton have made national headlines. Shortages of nurses and doctors have created a staffing crisis in hospitals and health centres in every corner of Alberta.
The current crisis guarantees that health care will be one of the top issues on the minds of Albertans heading into the 2023 election.
Biggest political play of 2022
It was almost Shakespearean. Jason Kenney losing the leadership of the UCP – the party he nurtured from its birth – was voted the biggest political play of 2022. Kenney pulled together the Wildrose and Progressive Conservatives parties (which won the 2017 award in this category) with the goal of defeating the NDP in 2019 but it wasn’t long after his big electoral success that his party started to turn on him.
Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to everyone who voted in this year’s survey. There is a lot of negativity in politics, so I started the annual Best of Alberta Politics survey back in 2017 as a way to give followers of provincial politics a chance to recognize and reward some of the best people involved in Alberta politics.
With thousands of submissions made to the sixth annual Best of Alberta Politics 2022 survey, your choices have been sorted and you can now vote for the top 3 choices in each category. Voting is open until Dec. 22, 2022 at 8:00 pm and the winners will be announced shortly after at daveberta.ca. Thank you to everyone who voted.
Tunde Obasan defeated Karen Stix to win the UCP nomination in Edmonton-South. This will be Obasan’s second time running as a UCP candidate in the riding. He placed second with 43.1 per cent of the vote in 2019. In 2021, he was the federal Conservative candidate in Edmonton-Strathcona, where he finished second with 25.3 per cent of the vote. Obasan will face NDP candidate Rhiannon Hoyle in the next election.
The UCP nomination vote in Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul, where MLA David Hanson faces a challenge from former MLA Scott Cyr and former county reeve Greg Sawchuk, concludes on December 12 and only a handful of other nomination votes are scheduled to happen before the new year:
The UCP has hired Steve Outhouse as the party’s campaign manager for the next provincial election.
The Ontario-based political staffer and campaigner was deputy chief of staff to former Conservative Party of Canada leader Erin O’Toole, and was campaign manager on Leslyn Lewis’ campaign for the federal Conservative leadership in 2022.
This announcement comes a week after the UCP hired another Ontario political organizer, Pierçon Knezic, as the party’s Director of Election Readiness.
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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.
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.
Lawyer Andrew Stewarthas 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.
A few quick Alberta election candidate nomination updates:
United Conservative Party MLA Kaycee Madu fended off a nomination challenge from Slava Cravcenco in Edmonton-South West. According to a source the vote was 275 to 228 in Madu’s favour. He was the only UCP MLA elected inside Edmonton city limits in 2019.
Brooks Arcand-Paul was nominated as the NDP candidate in Edmonton-West Henday.
The NDP have scheduled a nomination meeting in Calgary-Cross on July 25, 2022. Denis Ram and Gurinder Gill are running for the nomination.
The United Conservative Party leadership race is taking the spotlight but Alberta’s political parties are chugging along with candidate nominations ahead of a provincial election that is scheduled for next May but could happen anytime after the new UCP leader is chosen.
Second-term MLA Lorne Dach was nominated as the NDP candidate in Edmonton-McClung, the riding he has represented since 2015. “I will make sure that my community continues to have a champion in the legislature,” Dach said in a statement. “Alberta’s NDP has spent our time as Official Opposition listening to Albertans and what they need to build their future’s here. I am so happy for the opportunity to keep working for Edmonton-McClung, to ensure they have access to quality public healthcare, good paying jobs, and can afford the roof over their head.”
Candidate nominations are now open in four UCP held ridings: Banff-Kananaskis (MLA Miranda Rosin), Calgary-Hays (MLA Ric McIver), Calgary-North (MLA Mohammad Yaseen), and Innisfail-Sylvan Lake (MLA Devin Dreeshen).
The incumbents and challengers
UCP MLA Kaycee Madu will face a nomination challenge from Slava Cravcenco in Edmonton-South West on June 29. This is the first time in this election cycle that the UCP have allowed an incumbent to be challenged in a nomination vote. Madu currently serves as Minister of Labour and was removed from his previous role as Minister of Justice and Solicitor General after it was made public that he phoned Edmonton police chief Dale McFee after getting a districted driving ticket. Madu was first elected in 2019 with 44 per cent of the vote.
MLA Chris Nielsen is facing a challenge for the NDP nomination in Edmonton-Decore from Africa Centre executive director Sharif Haji. Nielsen was first elected in 2015. A nomination vote is being held on June 24 and 25.
The UCP has opened nominations in Edmonton-Decore. Sayid Ahmed is seeking the nomination. Ahmed is a manager in the provincial department of health and Vice President of Policy for the Alberta Advisory Board of the Conservative Black Congress of Canada. Nomination applications are due June 21, 2022.
NDP members in Edmonton-South West will choose from a pack of four candidates contesting the nomination on June 18. Business instructor and past UCP nomination candidate Ben Acquaye, behavioral specialist Chand Gul, medical clinic executive director Ali Kamal, and three-term public school trustee Nathan Ip are seeking the NDP nomination.
Brooks-Medicine Hat NDP members will nominate retired teacher and Medicine Hat Police Commission member Gwendoline Dirk at a meeting on June 23.
Edmonton-West Henday NDP members are expected to nominate lawyer Brooks Arcand-Paul at a meeting on June 29.
Edmonton-EllerslieNDP MLA Rod Loyolaannounced on Facebook that he is planning to run for his party’ nomination, and re-election. Loyola was first elected in 2015 and was re-elected in 2019 with 50.9 per cent of the vote. He placed third in the race for the NDP leadership in 2014.
Loyola is facing a challenge from Manpreet Singh Tiwana and psychologists association president Judi Malone.
Lovely re-election bid in Camrose
United Conservative Party MLA Jackie Lovely has announced her plans to seek her party’s nomination to run for re-election. Lovely was first elected in Camrose in 2019 and previously ran as the Wildrose Party candidate in Edmonton-Ellerslie in 2012 and 2015.
She is facing a nomination challenge from Beaver County Reeve Kevin Smook, who ran in the last election as an Alberta Party candidate.
A date for the nomination meeting hasn’t been announced.
The NDP have nominated business owner and former diplomat Richard Bruneau in Camrose.
Madu faces challenger in Edmonton-South West
The deadline to enter the UCP nomination races in Calgary-Glenmore, Calgary-West and Edmonton-South West is today.
Acclamations are expected for Whitney Issik in Calgary-Glenmore and Mike Ellis in Calgary-West, but UCP MLA Kaycee Madu could face a challenge in Edmonton-South West.
Slava Cravcenco is challenging Madu for the nomination in Edmonton-South West.
Cravcenco is a former champion table tennis player who competed with the Moldavian Table Tennis National team and in 2013 became Canada’s champion as an Ontario Table Tennis Association team member.
He moved to Canada from Moldova in 2010 and now works as CEO of Window Mart Inc, a window and door renovation company.
The NDP are holding a nomination meeting in Edmonton-South West on June 18, 2022. College instructor Ben Acquaye, behavioral specialist Chand Gul, Shifa Medical Clinic executive director Mohammad Ali Kamal, and three-term public school trustee Nathan Ip are seeking the NDP nomination.
Lori Sigurdson secures NDP nomination in Edmonton-Riverview
Edmonton-Riverview NDP MLA Lori Sigurdson was nominated as the NDP candidate in her riding at a meeting tonight.
“I am so incredibly thankful that Edmonton-Riverview has put their faith in me to continue representing and advocating for a community that is so important to me,” Sigurdson said in a statement released after her nomination.
“Folks in my community, and across the province, have been struggling due to the policy choices of the UCP. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue working for my community, and for a brighter future that includes all Albertans.”
Sigurdson was first elected in 2015 and was re-elected in 2019 with 55.9 per cent of the vote. She served as Minister of Labour from 2015 to 2016 and Minister of Seniors and Housing from 2016 to 2019.
More candidate nomination news:
Edmonton-McClung NDP MLA Lorne Dach will be nominated on June 8.
Strathcona County Councillor and former school principal Bill Tonita is expected to be nominated as the NDP candidate in Strathcona-Sherwood Park at a June 9 meeting.
The NDP have scheduled a nomination meeting in Edmonton-West Henday on June 29, 2022. Lawyer Brooks Arcand-Paul is running for the nomination to succeed two-term MLA Jon Carson, who announced last month that he will not run for re-election.
Arcand-Paul launched his candidacy in the west Edmonton riding the day after two-term MLA Jon Carson announced he would not run for re-election.
“Albertans deserve leaders who care about people, Arcand-Paul said in a statement.
“The NDP have a proven record that they really care about all people. The last few years have presented our communities with unprecedented challenges, and the UCP government has failed us at every turn. It’s time for government to work for all Albertans, rather than against them. From rising insurance and utility rates, cuts to education and healthcare, we cannot afford another UCP term. ”
Arcand-Paul is the in-house legal counsel for the Alexander First Nation, located about a 25-minute drive northwest of Edmonton, and Vice President of the Indigenous Bar Association.
His launch event included endorsements from Edmonton-Griesbach MP Blake Desjarlais, former Edmonton-Strathcona MP Linda Duncan and Edmonton-Rutherford NDP nomination candidate Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse.
The date for a nomination meeting has not yet been announced.
The battle for Calgary heating up
The NDP need to sweep Alberta’s largest city if they want to win the next election, and vulnerable Calgary United Conservative Party MLAs know it. Rachel Notley has been spending a lot of time in Calgary and NDP MLAs have been spending nearly every spare minute knocking on doors in the city.
A group of UCP MLAs were spotted door-knocking in Calgary-Klein to support first-term UCP MLA Jeremy Nixon, who is facing a strong challenge from NDP candidate Marilyn North Peigan.
Calgary-Currie MLA Nicholas Milliken, Calgary-Edgemont MLA Prasad Panda, Calgary-Beddington MLA Josephine Pon, and Calgary-East MLA Peter Singh were on the doors this weekend with Nixon and party volunteers.
The NDP held a similar door-knocking blitz in the riding with MLAs and dozens of volunteers earlier in the year.
Meanwhile, Edmonton-Whitemud NDP MLA Rakhi Pancholi was recently doorknocking with NDP candidate Julia Hayter in Calgary-Edgemont, and Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood MLA Janis Irwin was busy campaigning with Rosman Valencia in Calgary-East.
And Notley wasin Calgary for Druh Farrell’s nomination meeting in Calgary-Bow and to join Calgary-Falconridge candidate Parmeet Singh Boparai and Calgary-Bhullar-McCall MLA Irfan Sabir at Nagar Kirtan celebrations.
NDP MLA Jon Carson announced today that he will not be seeking re-election in Edmonton-West Henday in the next election.
“Serving the people of Edmonton-West Henday has no doubt been the privilege of a lifetime,” Carson said in a statement posted on social media. “From our small campaign team huddled around the kitchen table in 2015 to the 2019 that was too close to call on election night… I know that our success was never my own, but always because of our strong team dedicated to creating a better future for Alberta families.”
Carson has represented west Edmonton since 2015 when he was elected as MLA for Edmonton-Meadowlark.
An Electrician by trade, he was one of 9 NDP MLAs under 30 years old elected in Notley Wave of 2015.
Carson was re-elected in 2019 in the newly redrawn Edmonton-West Henday riding in what was the closest race in Edmonton of that election. He finished 518 votes ahead of United Conservative Party candidate Nicole Williams, a former lobbyist who has spent the past 3 years as Chief of Staff to Education Minister Adriana LaGrange.
Carson is the second NDP MLA to announce they are not running for re-election. Edmonton-Rutherford MLA Richard Feehanannounced last month that he would not seek re-election.
The area, which includes parts of the former Edmonton-Calder and Edmonton-Meadowlark ridings, has swung between the NDP, Liberals and Progressive Conservatives over the past 40 years. Notable former MLAs include Liberals Grant Mitchell, Karen Leibovici, Progressive Conservative turned Liberal Raj Sherman, and NDP MLA David Eggen (who now represents Edmonton-North West).
Druh Farrell nominated in Calgary-Bow
Druh Farrell has been nominated as the NDP candidate in Calgary-Bow. Farrell served on city council for 20 years before retiring from municipal politics last October.
She was a leading progressive voice in Calgary’s municipal debates during her time as Councillor, making her a frequent target of right-wing commentators and political action committees.
Farrell’s nomination has caused some tension with some local NDP organizers, including former president Krista Li, who have complained the party was too heavy handed in allowing the former city councilor to run.
The riding is currently represented by UCP MLA and Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides, who was elected in 2019 with 55 per cent of the vote, unseating NDP MLA Deborah Drever, who placed second with 34 per cent.
There’s an NDP race in Central Peace-Notley
There appears to be a contested NDP nomination in the northern rural Central Peace-Notley riding. Megan Ciurysek, a Research Officer at Northern Alberta Development Council, is challenging Fairview resident and Enviro Projects owner Lynn Lekisch.
The riding is currently represented by Independent MLA Todd Loewen, who was kicked out of the UCP Caucus for calling on Premier Jason Kenney to resign. He was elected in 2019 with 75 per cent of the vote.
The riding is not named after Rachel Notley, but after her father. Grant Notley represented Spirit River-Fairview, covering much of the region, in the Alberta Legislature from 1971 to 1984.
It is fairly quiet on the UCP nomination front, with the party largely focused on Kenney’s leadership review. There are a few updates though:
Former Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith is busy campaigning for the UCP nomination in Livingstone-Macleod, including a recent meeting with the Citizens Supportive of Crowsnest Coal group. Smith is challenging first-term UCP MLA Roger Reid.
In his first piece for CBC, Jason Markusoff breakdowns which ridings current UCP members live in. Unsurprisingly, the three ridings with the most members eligible to vote in the leadership review are Cardston-Siksika and Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre, where nomination challengers Jodie Gateman and Tim Hoven were disqualified, and Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche, where former Wildrose leader Brian Jean just won a by-election. All three are actively campaigning against Kenney in the review.
Photo: Mark Smith, UCP MLA for Drayton Valley-Devon (source: Facebook)
A private members’ bill introduced by Drayton Valley-Devon MLA Mark Smith would, if passed, create a law to allow Albertans to trigger a by-election in a riding where 40 per cent of registered voters have signed a petition recalling their MLA.
This is the second time Smith has introduced a private members’ bill calling for what is known as MLA recall. The first recall bill introduced by Smith, then a Wildrose Party MLA, was defeated in second reading in April 2016. His latest attempt, Bill 204: Election Recall Act, passed second reading today and stands a strong chance of passing third reading and becoming law.
MLA Recall is nothing new in Alberta. Bill 204 marks the eighth time since 1993 that Alberta MLAs have debated recall in the Legislature, and Alberta even briefly had an MLA recall law in the 1930s.
An law passed in 1936 by the newly elected Social Credit government of Premier William Aberhart required 66.6 percent of voters to sign a petition to trigger a recall by-election. The law was repealed by the government in 1937 when a recall campaign in Aberhart’s Okotoks-High River was gaining momentum and expected to trigger a by-election.
Smith’s bill would create a threshold of 40 per cent of eligible voters needed to trigger a recall by-election, which is significantly higher than previous versions of the bill, including one introduced in 2015 by Chestermere-Rockyview Wildrose MLA Leela Aheer that set the bar at a low 20 per cent of eligible voters.
Mark Smith’s bill has a number of concerning weaknesses
Removing a democratically-elected MLA from office through recall is a very serious action, and one that should be done only in certain serious circumstances.
Bill 204 places limits on when recall can take place, starting 18 months following a provincial election, but it does not place limits why it can be triggered.
A custodial prison sentence of a year or less—longer sentences automatically disqualify MPs without need for a petition;
Suspension from the House of least 10 sitting days or 14 calendar days, following a report by the Committee on Standards;
A conviction for providing false or misleading expenses claims.
If there is going to be a recall law in Alberta, it should be fair and should only be allowed to be triggered under certain circumstances, otherwise it could be used to punish MLAs who make unpopular decisions or break from their party on high-profile political issues.
Because Bill 204 appears to be silent on how political parties and third-party political groups, widely known as political action committees, can engage in the recall process, it seems possible that they could play a role in collecting petition signatures through coordinated campaigns.
Bill 204 does not appear to address the role of political parties in funding, supporting, or organizing recall petitions, meaning that the UCP, New Democratic Party, or another political party might be able to actively support a recall campaign against its political opponents.
While political parties and third-party political groups would still be required to report their financial disclosures, it is not clear how their activities or interference during the recall process would be monitored.
It is not far-fetched to believe that third-party groups, of both conservative and progressive persuasions, could start collecting signatures to trigger recall elections in ridings where MLAs were elected by narrow margins in 2019, like NDP MLAs Shannon Phillips in Lethbridge-West and Jon Carson in Edmonton-West Henday or UCP MLAs Nicholas Milliken in Calgary-Currie and Kaycee Madu in Edmonton-South West.
Empower MLAs rather than punish them
Being a backbench MLA in a government caucus is not a glamorous job. They are told where to be and how to vote on most issues, and rarely have the opportunity to demonstrate meaningful independence without facing admonishment from the Caucus Whip.
In many ways, the Legislative Assembly has become subservient to the Premier’s Office, and serves as a body that exists to pass government legislation introduced by cabinet, rather than debate legislation introduced by individual MLAs. This is not unique to Alberta and it is a problem that plagues legislative bodies across Canada (and likely the world).
One way that individual MLAs could empower themselves would be to change the standing orders to allow MLAs who are not in cabinet an increased opportunity to introduce private members bills. Right now MLAs earn the ability to introduce private members bills through a lottery, meaning that some MLAs will never have the chance to introduce a law into the Legislature. And private members’ bills are only debated on Monday afternoons, severely limiting their ability to get attention and get passed into law.
Accountability of democratic officials is important, and that is why we have elections every four years. And as Albertans have demonstrated over the past two elections, they will not hesitate to dramatically unseat MLAs and governments.
It would be better for democracy in Alberta if we focused on ways to empower MLAs to better represent Albertans in the Legislative Assembly, rather than creating new ways to punish them.
UPDATE: Smith’s private members’ bill did not pass third reading and died on the Order Paper when the 2019/2020 session of the Alberta Legislature ended. It is expected a Government Bill on MLA Recall could be introduced in Spring 2021.