Aheer was vague about whether she would run as an Independent or for another party, but it became increasingly clear that she would have a very difficult time winning the UCP nomination in her riding.
The second-term MLA placed last in the recent UCP leadership race and is facing a strong nomination challenge from Chantelle De Jonge. The former MP constituency assistant has stressed her conservative political credentials in contrast to Aheer’s more moderate conservative positions on social issues like abortion and public health restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
De Jonge’s recent endorsement from Bruce McAllister, who Aheer unseated as MLA in 2015 and now serves as Premier Danielle Smith‘s executive director at the McDougall Centre, sent a pretty clear message that there isn’t room for Aheer in the UCP.
McAllister is only one of the former Wildrose Party MLAs who crossed the floor with Smith to the Progressive Conservatives in 2014 to reemerge in the new Premier’s orbit.
Former Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson is Smith’s Transition Team Chair and Executive Director of the Premier’s Office, and former Strathmore-Brooks MLA Jason Hale was appointed last week as the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation.
New NDP candidates
The Alberta NDP have nominated Caitlyn Blake in Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul, lawyer Andrew Stewart in Calgary-Hays, and teacher Liana Paiva in Peace River. The NDP now have 63 candidates nominated to run in the next election.
UCP nominees emerge
Since Smith won the party leadership, the party has opened up nominations in a handful of ridings. The deadline to enter nominations in Drayton Valley-Devon, Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, Livingstone-Macleod, St. Albert and Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright is October 31, and in Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock, Airdrie-Cochrane, Airdrie-East, Calgary-Varsity, Edmonton-South and Taber-Warner is November 7, and Calgary-Elbow is November 10.
A number of prospective UCP nominees have recently announced their plans to run:
Martine Carifelle is seeking the UCP nomination in Lesser Slave Lake. She is incumbent UCP MLA Pat Rehn‘s former constituency manager. Rehn has not publicly announced if he is running for re-election.
- Tunde Obasan is running for the UCP nomination in Edmonton-South. He was the party’s candidate in the riding in 2019 and ran for the federal Conservatives in Edmonton-Strathcona in 2021. Saad Siddiq and Karen Stix are also seeking the nomination.
- Angela Wood is seeking the UCP nomination in St. Albert. Wood placed second in the St. Albert mayoral election in 2021.
The other parties
- The Green Party has nominated Zak Abdi in Edmonton-City Centre, Chitra Bakshi in Edmonton-Mill Woods and Carl McKay in Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock.
- Interim party leader John Roggeveen announced in an email to Alberta Liberal Party supporters they has opened up applications for people to run under the party’s banner in the next election.
Total nominated candidates
The NDP have now nominated candidates in 63 of Alberta’s 87 ridings. The UCP have candidates named in 36 ridings and the Green Party has 18 candidates. The Alberta Party has nominated 3 candidates.
Here are the scheduled upcoming nominations:
- November 8 – Calgary-Peigan NDP
- November 8 – Calgary-South East NDP
- November 16 – Calgary-West NDP
- November 20 – Airdrie-East NDP
- November 23 – Livingstone-Macleod NDP
I am maintaining a list of candidates running for party nominations, so if you are seeking a nomination and would like you name added to the list please let me know. Thanks!
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In my latest column on Substack I write about the old PC Party’s survival instinct, and I ask if Danielle Smith’s UCP inherited it and if Notley’s NDP will play it safe or be bold in 2023.