There are four days left until Election Day in Alberta.
Readers of the Daveberta will know I’ve been watching this Alberta election pretty closely and, while I’ve actually been watching all 87 ridings throughout the campaign, there are a few handfuls I’ve been keeping a close eye on.
Some of them will be close races and some will be won with landslides.
Here’s my list of 19 ridings I’ll be watching closely on Election Day.
Rebuking a decision by the United Conservative Party to disqualify candidate Zulkifl Mujahid, the board of directors of the UCP constituency association in Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo has voted to continue supporting him as their candidate. The motion was passed at a meeting on April 18.
Here’s the motion:
“Zulkifl Mujhid is the UCP Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo Constituency preferred candidate. He is democratically elected.”
The nomination vote followed another contentious annual general meeting that saw a slate of new candidates elected to the local constituency board of directors.
The UCP announced last week that it had disqualified Mujahid after court records revealed he is being sued for defamation by Sultan Zamman, the vice-president of fundraising for the riding’s constituency association. Zamman is seeking $250,000 in damages and a further $50,000 in special damages.
The UCP is expected to appoint a candidate to replace Mujahid before the election is officially called on May 1. But the board’s motion and the former UCP candidate’s continued posting on social media as if he is still a candidate could create some difficulty for whoever the is appointed candidate by the party.
There has been some speculation that the UCP could appoint Yao as the candidate. He is a long-time friend of the MLA from the neighbouring Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche riding, Brian Jean, and endorsed him in the 2022 UCP leadership race.
Yao appears to have spent most of the past week canvassing door-to-door with UCP MLAs running for re-election in Calgary ridings.
The election in this otherwise safe UCP riding in northern Alberta could also be made even more interesting by the entry of Wood Buffalo Municipal Councillor Funky Banjoko, who is running as an Independent candidate in the riding. Banjoko earned more votes than any other candidate running for municipal council in 2021.
Suncor laboratory technician and Unifor organizer Tanika Chaisson is expected to be nominated as the Alberta NDP candidate.
There are 37 days left until Alberta’s May 29 provincial election.
UPDATE: The UCP has appointed Tany Yao as the party’s candidate in Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo. With his appointment, the UCP once again have 87 candidates nominated to run in the next election (see the full list of candidates).
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The UCP announced today that Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo candidate Zulkifl Mujahid was disqualified after court records revealed he is being sued for defamation by Sultan Zamman, the vice-president of fundraising for the riding’s constituency association. Zamman is seeking $250,000 in damages and a further $50,000 in special damages.
Mujahid defeated two-term MLA Tany Yao and Fort McMurray Construction Association President Keith Plowman in the UCP nomination in December 2022.
The UCP is expected to appoint a candidate to replace Mujahid before the election is officially called on May 1.
Wood Buffalo municipal councillor Funky Banjoko is running as an Independent candidate in the northern Alberta riding. Suncor laboratory technician and Unifor organizer Tanika Chaisson is running for the NDP nomination.
More nomination updates
The Green Party has nominated Robin George in Edmonton-Riverview and Cameron Jefferies in St. Albert.
Chitra Bakshi has withdrawn as the Green Party candidate in Edmonton-Mill Woods.
Today, I met with Premier Smith to inform her that I will not be seeking the nomination and re-election for Calgary-North East. I will continue to serve as the MLA for Calgary-North East until the end of this mandate.
Serving as the MLA for this constituency and as a Minister of several portfolios, under both the Honourable Jason Kenney and Honourable Premier Smith, has been a tremendous honour and a great privilege. I thank both of these great leaders for the opportunities they have afforded me to serve in their Cabinets. I continue to be a strong supporter of Premier Smith and her leadership and I look forward to the United Conservative Party forming government again after May of this year.
I would like to thank my colleagues, my team, my supporters and most of all, my family for their unconditional and unwavering support over the past many years.
Finally, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to my constituents in Calgary-North East for placing their trust and faith in me as their MLA.
Sawhney was first elected to the Legislature in 2019 and has since served as Minister of Community & Social Services from 2019 to 2021 and Minister of Transportation from 2021 until 2022. She ran for the UCP leadership in 2022, finishing sixth on the first and second ballots. She was appointed Minister of Trade, Immigration and Multiculturalism in October 2022.
Despite Myshrall having endorsements from UCP Justice Minister Tyler Shandro, Highwood MLA R.J. Sigurdson and former Ponoka mayor Larry Henkelman, sources tell me that Johnson won with more than 70 per cent of the votes cast.
Wood Buffalo municipal councillor Funky Banjoko is running as an independent candidate in Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo. “Each of these parties all have their own good ideas. But right now, there’s so much division,” Banjoko told Fort McMurray Today. “I want to run as an independent for the benefit of residents of this region and not for ideologies or politics.”
Marketing company owner Nolan Dyckis running for UCP nomination in Grande Prairie. Dyck also serves as a the Connections Manager at the Peace River Bible Institute. Current UCP MLA Tracy Allard is not running for re-election.
Ali Haymour is running for the UCP nomination in Edmonton-North West. Haymour will be a familiar name to north Edmonton voters, having previously run for City Council in 2017 and 2021, and as the Alberta Party candidate in Edmonton-Decore in 2019 and the NDP candidate in Edmonton-Castle Downs in 2008 and 2012.
Also of note, Central Peace-Notley UCP MLA Todd Loewen is hosting a February 25 fundraiser for St. Albert UCP candidate Angela Wood at the Fox Creek Community Hall in his northern Alberta riding.
This kind of thing is not unheard of. Earlier this month, supporters in Edmonton hosted a fundraiser for Calgary-Glenmore NDP candidate Nagwan Al-Guneid.