A hot, dry, and windy spring has sparked dangerous wildfires across Alberta.
More than 25,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in communities including Brazeau County, Drayton Valley, Edson, Entwistle, Evansburg, and the County of Grande Prairie. In rural areas, this not only means that people need to get out quick but they also need to arrange the speedy transport of livestock caught in the paths of the fires.
Alberta’s provincial election is probably the last thing on the minds of most people impacted by these natural disasters, but the wildfires will certainly play a defining role in the second week of Alberta’s provincial election campaign.
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.
There are four nomination votes scheduled to take place this week:
December 8 – West Yellowhead NDP
Fred Kreiner and Lavone Olson are seeking the Alberta NDP nomination. 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 North Central Francophone Education Region. Olson was Yellowhead County Councillor from 2007 to 2013 and 2017 to 2021 and is a a member of the Metis Nation of Alberta and the Mountain Metis Association of Grande Cache.
Kreiner is also the son of Helmut Kreiner, who served as Mayor of Whitecourt from 1986 to 1992. His mother, Gertrude Kreiner, was a public school trustee in Whitecourt.
The winner of this nomination vote will face United Conservative Party MLA Martin Long, who has already been nominated to run for re-election under his party’s banner.
December 9 & 10 – Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock UCP
UCP MLA Glenn van Dijken faces a nomination challenge from 24-year old Westlock County Councillor Isaac Skuban. van Dijken was first elected as a Wildrose Party candidate in 2015 and was re-elected under the UCP banner in 2019.
December 10, 11 & 12 – Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul UCP
UCP MLA David Hanson faces a nomination challenge from MLA Scott Cyr and former MD of Bonnyville reeve Greg Sawchuk. Hanson and Cyr were both first elected as Wildrose MLAs in 2015 and joined the UCP in 2017, but when their ridings were merged before the 2019 election, Cyr dropped his plans to run for a second consecutive term and Hanson was re-elected.
Lakeland Connect hosted an all candidate forum with the three candidates last week.
The NDP have nominated Caitlyn Blake in the east central Alberta riding,
December 11 – Edmonton-South UCP
Past candidate Tunde Obasan and accountant Karen Stix are seeking the UCP nomination. Obasan ran for UCP in the riding in 2019, placing second, and for the federal Conservatives in Edmonton-Strathcona in 2021. Stix is a professional accountant who runs her own accounting company and is an instructor with the Edmonton Nordic Ski Club. She is also the past president of the UCP association in the neighbouring Edmonton-Whitemud riding.
Incumbent MLA Thomas Dang was elected under the NDP banner in 2015 and 2019 but left the NDP Caucus in December 2021 after the RCMP searched his house in an investigation related to the breaching of an Alberta Health online database. Dang is now an Independent MLA and is not running for re-election.
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Former teacher and Executive Staff Officer with Calgary Public Teachers Dan Nelles was nominated as the NDP candidate for Airdrie-East.
Conservationist and author Kevin Van Tighem is expected to be nominated as the NDP candidate in Livingstone-Macleod on November 23.
Rajesh Angral is the third candidate to enter the NDP nomination race in Calgary-North. Angral joins Hassan Bokhari and Moses Mariam in contesting the nomination at a December 17 vote.
The Fitzhugh, the Jasper Local and the Whitecourt Star have coverage of the NDP contest in West Yellowhead where Fred Kreiner and former Yellowhead County Councillor Lavone Olson are seeking the nomination on December 8.
Former mayoral candidate Angela Wood and ministerial press secretary Melissa Crane are seeking the UCP nomination in St. Albert on November 26.
The UCP has scheduled a December 11 nomination meeting in Edmonton-South. Past candidate Tunde Obasan and accountant Karen Stix are seeking the nomination at a December 11 vote.
The Bonnyville Nouvelle has coverage of the UCP nomination in Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul, where MLA David Hanson, former MLA Scott Cyr, and former MD of Bonnyville Reeve Greg Sawchuk are running for the nomination. A vote will be held on December 10, 11 and 12.
The Medicine Hat News interviews James Finkbeiner about his announced entry into the UCP nomination contest in Cypress-Medicine Hat.
Steven Maffioli has been nominated as the Green Party candidate in Calgary-Glenmore
Upcoming nomination meetings
Here are the scheduled upcoming nominations:
November 23 – Livingstone-Macleod NDP
November 26 – St. Albert UCP
December 2 & 3 – Drayton Valley-Devon UCP
December 3 – Calgary-Elbow UCP
December 4 – Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo UCP
December 8 – West Yellowhead NDP
December 9 & 10 – Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock UCP
December 10, 11, 12 – Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul UCP
Today’s by-election in Brooks-Medicine Hat will determine if Premier Danielle Smith will have a seat in the Alberta Legislature, but ahead of that vote here are the latest candidate nomination updates.
Wellwood has a long history of posts on social media in which she has compared vaccine passports to Nazi Germany, promoted ivermectin as a cure for COVID-19, and spread the conspiracy theory that U.S. President Joe Biden stole the 2020 election from former president Donald Trump.
“I think her focus is not where the people of Livingstone-Macleod are focused,” Mr. Reid said in an interview when asked if he would support Ms. Wellwood. “What she has been posting and what she’s been speaking to is not addressing the broad concerns of most of the residents of this riding.”
Ms. Wellwood said she did not have time to respond to questions on Thursday.
Wellwood blamed the “party elite” in a statement saying she would appeal her disqualification.
Her appeal will be a first test of the new UCP board, which is now about half controlled by supporters of the Take Back Alberta PAC slate, which swept the elections at the recent UCP AGM. Supporters of that PAC have called for the reopening of nominations in Cardston-Sikiska and Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre, where challengers to the incumbent MLAs were disqualified earlier this year for making controversial statements on social media.
Former Wildrose MLA challenges Hanson
Former Wildrose MLA Scott Cyr joins former MD of Bonnyville Reeve Greg Sawchuck in challenging MLA David Hanson for the UCP nomination in Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul.
Cyr was first elected in 2015 and did not run for re-election in 2019 after his Bonnyville-Cold Lake and Hanson’s Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills ridings were merged in the electoral boundaries redistribution. Cyr endorsed Hanson in 2018.
Fred Kreiner of Jasper and Lavone Olson of Brule are running for the NDP nomination in West Yellowhead. Olson was Yellowhead County Councillor from 2007 to 2013 and 2017 to 2021. A December 8 nomination vote has been scheduled.
Kanwarjit Singh Sandhuannounced plans to seek the UCP nomination in Edmonton-Meadows at an event at the Sultan Banquet Hall. The southeast Edmonton riding is currently represented by NDP MLA Jasvir Deol.
The UCP has opened nominations in a handful of ridings, including Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock, where UCP MLA Glenn Van Dijkenfaces a challenge from 24-year old Westlock County Councillor Isaac Skuban.
Jacob Stacey has been nominated as the Liberal Party candidate in Sherwood Park. He previously announced his candidacy in Strathcona-Sherwood Park.
Jeremy Appell has some coverage and raises some questions about Marilyn North Peigan’s departure as the NDP candidate in Calgary-Klein, a key swing-riding in the next election.
And it looks like a UCP candidate who came close to winning in the last election probably won’t be running again in the next election. Former UCP candidate Karri Flatla, who ran for the party in Lethbridge-West in 2019, levelled some pretty harsh criticism at Smith on her Facebook page.