Seven-term Calgary-Forest Lawn MP Deepak Ohbrai died on August 2, 2019 after a ‘brief and aggressive’ liver cancer. Obhrai was Alberta’s longest serving MP, having first been elected to the House of Commons in 1997 as a Reform Party candidate and re-elected under the Canadian Alliance banner in 2000, and as a Conservative in the 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, and 2015 elections.
Before entering federal politics, he was president of the India Canada Association of Calgary, ran for a City Council seat in a 1993 by-election and ran for the PC nomination in Calgary-Montrose in 1996.
He inserted himself into a contentious United Conservative Party nomination race in August 2018 when he held a press conference in his constituency office with a local radio and TV host who alleged he was threatened and then physically assaulted by a gang of men after publishing a Facebook post critical of a UCP nomination candidate.
Obhrai faced a brief nomination challenge from former Calgary-East PC MLA Moe Amery but he was eventually acclaimed as his party’s candidate in the October 2019 election. Amery’s son, Mickey, is now the UPC MLA for Calgary-Cross.
The Conservatives will need to select a new candidate to succeed Obhrai in the upcoming federal election.
Former Alberta MLA running for the federal Conservatives on Vancouver Island
Former Alberta MLA Alana DeLong has been nominated to run in the upcoming federal election for the Conservative Party in the Vancouver Island district of Cowichan-Malahat-Langford. She will face New Democratic Party MP Alistair MacGregor, who was first elected in 2015 and currently serves as his party’s critic for Agriculture and Agri-Food.
DeLong served as the Progressive Conservative MLA for Calgary-Bow from 2001 to 2015 and as Parliamentary Assistant for Seniors from 2011 to 2012. She briefly mounted a campaign for the leadership of the PC Party in 2006. She ran as a Liberal Party candidate in Nanaimo-North Cowichan in the 2017 BC election, where she placed second with 28 percent behind NDP MLA Doug Routley.
She travelled to Alberta during the 2019 provincial election to campaign for Calgary-Bow UCP candidate Demetrios Nicolaides.
DeLong is not the first former Alberta politician to try their hand at federal politics west of the Rockies.
Former provincial treasurer Stockwell Day is perhaps the most recognizable example of former Alberta politician jumping into federal politics in British Columbia, but he is not alone. Former Edmonton mayor Vincent Dantzer served as the MP for Okanagan-North from 1980 to 1988, former Slave Lake mayor Val Meredith served as MP for Surrey-White Rock-South Langley from 1993 to 2004, and Werner Schmidt, who led Alberta’s Social Credit Party from 1973 to 1975, later served as the MP for Okanagan-Centre and Kelowna from 1993 to 2006.
Perhaps the strangest case of an Alberta politician intruding in a British Columbia provincial election was in 1952, when Alberta MP Ernest George Hansell led the BC Social Credit Party to win its first of many elections.
Hansell was handpicked by Alberta Premier Ernest Manning to lead the BC wing of the Social Credit Party, but he did not become Premier of BC. Instead, the Social Credit MLAs elected to the BC Legislature chose W.A.C. Bennett, who would remain premier of that province until 1972. A similar political invasion of Saskatchewan 14 years earlier was unsuccessful.
Other nomination updates
Here are other updates to the list of candidates running for nominations ahead of the October 21, 2019 federal election:
- Todd Kathol was nominated as the Liberal candidate in Calgary-Rocky Ridge. Kathol previously ran for the Liberal nomination in Calgary-Confederation. He is a partner with Field Law.
- Jagdish Anand is seeking the Liberal nomination in Calgary-Skyview. Anand is an Ophthalmologist and Retina Surgeon with a practice in Sunridge Professional Centre and is also attached with Rockyview General Hospital. The district is currently represented by Independent MP Darshan Kang, who was elected as a Liberal in 2015 and left the governing caucus in 2017 following allegations of sexual harassment while he was an MLA.
- Katherine Swampy was nominated as the NDP candidate in Edmonton-Centre. Swampy is a councillor with the Samson Cree Nation, member of the board of directors for Peace Hills Trust, and previously ran for the NDP in the 2015 provincial and federal elections.
- Nigel Logan was nomination as the NDP candidate in Edmonton-Mill Woods. Logan previously ran for Edmonton City Council and has worked as a constituency assistant for Edmonton-Strathcona NDP MP Linda Duncan.
- Patrick Steuber has been nominated as the NDP candidate in Edmonton-West.
- Lito Velasco is seeking the Liberal nomination in Edmonton-Wetaskiwin. He is the editor of the Alberta Filipino Journal.
- Artist and motivational speaker Jesse Lipscombe is seeking the Liberal nomination in St. Albert- Edmonton. Lipscombe is well known for his work with the #MakeItAwkward campaign and is the grandson of Edmonton Eskimos star player Rollie Miles.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for additions or updates related to candidate nominations in Alberta and I will add them to the list. Thank you!