Categories
Alberta Politics

He’s back, again! Former Liberal leader and aspiring UCP leadership candidate Raj Sherman running for UCP nomination in Edmonton-Whitemud

Despite being rejected as a candidate for the United Conservative Party leadership last year, former Liberal Party leader Dr. Raj Sherman is running for the UCP nomination in Edmonton-Whitemud.

Running on a leadership platform to fix the health care system, Sherman requested an exemption to run in the race for not being a party member for 6 months.

While the UCP Leadership Election Committee granted a waiver for prospective leadership candidate Michelle Rempel Garner, Sherman’s application was rejected by the UCP. But that didn’t stop him from continuing to act like an approved candidate all the way up until the final entry deadline.

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

Jason Heistad Innisfail-Sylvan Lake NDP candidate nomination
Jason Heistad (source: AUPE)

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.

UCP MLA Pat Rehn not running for re-election

Pat Rehn and Jason Kenney during the 2019 election.
Pat Rehn and then-UCP leader Jason Kenney during the 2019 election.

Lesser Slave Lake UCP MLA Pat Rehn is not running for re-election. It’s not a surprise but a confirmation of what a lot of people thought would happen.

Danielle Larivee NDP Lesser Slave Lake
Danielle Larivee

The one-term MLA was ejected from the UCP Caucus in January 2021 after taking a trip to Mexico in defiance of his own government’s COVID-19 travel recommendations.

Local municipal officials also called on Rehn to resign for being invisible in the riding and allegedly spending more time focusing on his business interests in Texas than on being MLA for Lesser Slave Lake.

Rehn was allowed to rejoin the UCP Caucus in July 2021 and he endorsed Danielle Smith in the party’s 2022 leadership race.

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.

More nomination updates

With just over four months until the next provincial election, the Alberta NDP have nominated candidates in 69 of Alberta’s 87 ridings. The UCP have candidates named in 52 ridings and the Green Party has 25 candidates. The Alberta Party has nominated 3 candidates and the Liberal Party has one.

Here are more of the latest nomination updates from across Alberta:

United Conservative Party
Alberta NDP
  • Calgary-Klein: Mattie McMillan, Angela McIntyre and Lizette Tejada are running for the NDP nomination in Calgary-Klein on February 15.
  • 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.
Alberta Party

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.


Subscribe to the Daveberta Substack

Daveberta Dave CournoyerSubscribe to the Daveberta Substack and get my regular Alberta politics column, like my recent columns about the Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, delivered straight into your email inbox.

I have some fun and exciting news to share about the Substack coming soon, so don’t miss out.

Categories
Alberta Politics

Nomination Updates: NDP selects Joan Chand’oiseau in Calgary-West and Dan Nelles in Airdrie-East, Don Whalen declares for UCP in Livingstone-Macleod

With less than six months until the next election is called, the Alberta NDP have nominated candidates in 66 of Alberta’s 87 ridings. The United Conservative Party have candidates named in 37 ridings and the Green Party has 19 candidates. The Alberta Party has nominated 3 candidates and the Liberal Party has one.

Here are the latest updates.

NDP

  • Joan Chand'ouiseau NDP candidate Calgary-West
    Joan Chand’ouiseau (source: Joan Chand’ouiseau / Twitter)

    Joan Chand’oiseau was nominated as the Alberta NDP candidate in Calgary-West.

  • 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.

UCP

  • Don Whalen Livingstone-Macleod UCP Nomination
    Don Whalen (source: Don Whalen / Facebook)

    Don Whalen announced on Facebook that he plans to seek the UCP nomination in Livingstone-Macleod following MLA Roger Reid‘s withdraw and Nadine Wellwood‘s disqualification. He is the former Pastor of the Victory Church of Claresholm.

  • 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.

Green Party

  • 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
  • December 11 – Edmonton-South UCP
  • December 17 – Calgary-North NDP

I am building 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!

Subscribe to the Daveberta Substack and get my bi-weekly Alberta politics column, like last week’s column about Dr. Deena Hinshaw, delivered straight into your email inbox.

Categories
Alberta Politics

Western Standard’s James Finkbeiner running for UCP nomination in Cypress-Medicine Hat

James Finkbeiner announced on social media that he is seeking the United Conservative Party nomination in Cypress-Medicine Hat.
Finkbeiner was until recently the Vice-President of Operations for the Western Standard, right-wing news website run by former UCP MLA and Canadian Taxpayers Federation spokesperson Derek Fildebrandt. Before joining the Western Standard, Finkbeiner was general manager of an oilfield services company.
Drew Barnes Wildrose MLA Cypress Medicine Hat
Drew Barnes (source: Dave Cournoyer)

Incumbent Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes was kicked out of the UCP Caucus in 2021 after becoming one of former Premier Jason Kenney’s loudest critics inside the party. He hasn’t ruled out rejoining the UCP but he is also seriously considering running for re-election as an Independent candidate.

Barnes was first elected in 2012 as a member of Danielle Smith’s Wildrose Party and did not cross the floor in 2014. He was re-elected as a Wildrose candidate in 2015 and under the UCP banner in 2019.
Despite serving as official opposition finance critic before the UCP formed government in 2019, Barnes was left out of Kenney’s and Smith’s cabinets. He has publicly advocated for the creation of the Ministry of Autonomy, which he would like to lead.

Rowswell acclaimed in Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright

Garth Rowswell Vermilion Lloydminster Wainwright United Conservative Party Election Alberta
Garth Rowswell

UCP MLA Garth Rowswell was acclaimed as his party’s candidate in Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright.

A financial advisor, Rowswell was first elected in 2019 after winning a hotly contested nomination race in 2018.
The NDP have nominated Dawn Flaata in the east central Alberta riding.

Other nomination updates

  • The UCP have scheduled a nomination vote in Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock on December 9 and 10. Second-term MLA Glenn van Dijken is being challenged by 24-year old Westlock County Councillor Isaac Skuban.
  • Globe and Mail journalist Carrie Tait reports that incumbent MLA Roger Reid will not reenter the UCP nomination contest in Livingstone-Macleod even after Nadine Wellwood’s disqualification was upheld. The vacancy has sparked speculation that Premier Smith, who lives in the riding, may run for re-election there in 2023. 

Total nominated candidates

The NDP have nominated candidates in 64 of Alberta’s 87 ridings. The UCP have candidates named in 37 ridings and the Green Party has 18 candidates. The Alberta Party has nominated 3 candidates and the Liberal Party has one.

Here are the scheduled upcoming nominations:

  • November 16 – Calgary-West NDP
  • November 20 – Airdrie-East NDP
  • 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 17 – Calgary-North NDP

I am building 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!

Subscribe to the Daveberta Substack and get my bi-weekly Alberta politics column delivered straight into your email inbox.

Categories
Alberta Politics

Keith Plowman challenging UCP MLA Tany Yao in Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, Hassan Bokhari joins Calgary-North NDP nomination race

Keith Plowman is challenging MLA Tany Yao for the United Conservative Party nomination in Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo. A nomination meeting has been scheduled for December 4.

“The last major announcement that we had with provincial money in Fort McMurray was Willow Square and that was with the NDP government,” Plowman told Fort McMurray Today. “I’m concerned that, with the amount of money and oil royalties that go out of Fort McMurray to the rest of the province, it’s a little disappointing that we don’t have more of that money coming back to Fort McMurray.”

Plowman is the President of the Fort McMurray Construction Association and was a candidate for Athabasca County Council in October 2021.

He is a director of the Athabasca Chamber of Commerce and his biography on that organization’s website says he “moved to Athabasca in 2010” and resides “on a small farm in the Forfar area.”

Yao was first elected as a Wildrose Party candidate in 2015 and was re-elected under the UCP banner in 2019 with 71 per cent of the vote.

Bokhari second candidate to enter Calgary-North NDP race

Hassan Bokhari NDP Calgary-North Nomination Candidate
Hassan Bokhari (source: Hassan Bokhari/Facebook)

Real estate agent Hassan Bokhari is the second candidate to enter the Alberta NDP nomination in Calgary-North.

Bokhari joins Moses Mariam in the nomination contest. A nomination meeting is scheduled for December 17.

The riding is currently represented by UCP MLA Muhammad Yaseen.

The NDP also added two new members to their slate of candidates last week: Justin Huseby in Calgary-South East and Denis Ram in Calgary-Peigan.

Wellwood disqualification upheld

Danielle Smith and Nadine Wellwood United Conservative Party Take Back Alberta
Premier Danielle Smith and Nadine Wellwood at the Take Back Alberta hospitality suite at the UCP AGM (source: Nadine Wellwood/Twitter)

The UCP has upheld the disqualification of Nadine Wellwood as a nomination candidate in Livingstone-Macleod.

As reported by the CBC, Wellwood had advocated for debunked COVID-19 treatments like ivermectin and compared vaccine passports to policies enacted by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime.

Wellwood claimed to have sold 800 UCP memberships in the southwest Alberta riding and was the only candidate in the race after MLA Roger Reid withdrew the day after the entry deadline.

Third candidate joins Calgary-Elbow UCP race

Lawyer Chris Davis joins Jon Horsman and Andrea James in the UCP nomination contest in Calgary-Elbow.

Davis was a candidate for Calgary City Council in 2017 and ran for the party’s nomination in the riding in 2018 and was defeated by Doug Schweitzer.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Davis has worked as Senior Manager of Legal Services for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo since 2020.

Schweitzer resigned as MLA on August 31, 2022 and because Premier Danielle Smith refused to call a concurrent by-election when she ran in Brooks-Medicine Hat the riding’s seat in the Legislature will remain vacant until the May 2023 election.

A nomination vote is being held on December 3.

Other nomination updates

  • Joan Chand’oiseau is expected to be nominated as the NDP candidate in Calgary-West at a nomination meeting on November 16.
  • The UCP have opened nominations in Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin. The riding is currently represented by UCP MLA Rick Wilson.

Seen on the doors

Karen Shaw Rachel Notley Morinville-St. Albert NDP candidate
Karen Shaw with Rachel Notley and a campaign volunteer canvassing in Morinville on November 12 (source: Rachel Notley/Twitter)

NDP leader Rachel Notley and MLAs Marie Renaud and Lorne Dach joined local candidate Karen Shaw and volunteers for an afternoon of door-knocking in Morinville-St. Albert this past weekend.

Shaw is a former four-term Sturgeon County Councillor. The NDP see the riding north of Edmonton as a must-win in the next election. The riding is currently represented by UCP MLA Dale Nally.

Total nominated candidates

The NDP have nominated candidates in 64 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 and the Liberal Party has one.

Here are the scheduled upcoming nominations:

  • November 16 – Calgary-West NDP
  • November 20 – Airdrie-East NDP
  • 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 17 – Calgary-North NDP

I am building 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!

(Subscribe to the Daveberta Substack and get my bi-weekly Alberta politics column delivered straight into your email inbox)

Categories
Alberta Politics

Nomination Drama! Nadine Wellwood disqualified in Livingstone-Macleod, former Wildrose MLA Scott Cyr launches a UCP comeback

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.

Drama in Livingstone-Macleod 

Livingstone-Macleod MLA Roger Reid and Premier Danielle Smith United Conservative Party nomination
Roger Reid and Danielle Smith (source: Roger Reid/Instagram)

Days after he withdrew from the United Conservative Party’s nomination contest in Livingstone-Macleod, MLA Roger Reid told Globe & Mail reporter Carrie Tait that he would not vote for Nadine Wellwood if she succeeds him as the UCP candidate. Now, Wellwood’s controversial nomination has been rejected by the party.

Here’s what Reid told the Globe & Mail:

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.

Nadine Wellwood Livingstone-Macleod UCP Nomination Disqualification Statement
A statement from Nadine Wellwood’s campaign.

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

Scott Cyr UCP Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul Nomination Candidate MLA
Scott Cyr (source: Scott Cyr/Facebook)

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.

He was openly critical of UCP MLA’s caught up in the Aloha-gate scandal in December 2021, telling CTV that the vacations were a “slap in the face” for his family and the average Albertan.”

The UCP has now opened nominations in Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul, as well as Central Peace-Notley, Chestermere-Strathmore, Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview, and Edmonton-Mill Woods.

Other nomination updates:

  • NDP members are expected to nominate Justin Huseby in Calgary-South East and Denis Ram in Calgary-Peigan tonight.
  • MLA Jason Stephan publicly announced he will be seeking the UCP nomination for re-election in Red Deer-South. He is being challenged by Adele Poratto, who ran against Stephan for the nomination in 2019 and also ran for the Progressive Conservative nomination in 2008.
  • 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 Sandhu announced 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 Dijken faces 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.

A screenshot from Karri Flatla's Facebook page criticizing Premier Danielle Smith.
A screenshot from Karri Flatla’s Facebook page criticizing Premier Danielle Smith.

Total nominated candidates

The NDP have nominated candidates in 62 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 and the Liberal Party has one.

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
  • November 26 – St. Albert UCP
  • December 2 & 3 – Drayton Valley-Devon UCP
  • December 8 – West Yellowhead 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!

(Subscribe to the Daveberta Substack and get my bi-weekly Alberta politics column delivered straight into your email inbox)

Categories
Alberta Politics

MLA Roger Reid drops out of Livingstone-Macleod UCP nomination race, Nadine Wellwood could be acclaimed as candidate

The big nomination news this week is MLA Roger Reid‘s announcement that he has dropped out of the United Conservative Party nomination contest in Livingstone-Macleod.

Reid was first elected in 2019 and was undeterred from running for the nomination again even when it looked like he would face new party leader Danielle Smith in the contest. But then Reid suddenly dropped out on the morning after the October 31 candidate entry deadline.

Statement from our MLA Roger Reid:
November 1, 2022
After much personal wrestling and conversations with family and friends I have decided to withdraw my name from the United Conservative Party nomination for Livingstone Macleod. While I hoped to serve a second term, I no longer feel it is possible for me to do so.
It has been a tremendous honour to represent the people of this riding as the MLA. I have discovered many amazing places so close to home and it has been my privilege to meet with constituents from High River to the Crowsnest over the last 4 years. I will continue to be focused on the needs of Livingstone Macleod through the end of my term.
The last couple of years have been particularly challenging for our province. Neither I, nor our government have been perfect, but I believe the work we have done has put Alberta back on track. We are stronger and in a better position to weather the current storms than we were four years ago.
There is still work to do. To move forward we must be a united movement to ensure a strong conservative government continues to lead the province. It is essential for our true prosperity.
As I end my term, I will ensure that the concerns and the needs of Livingstone Macleod are kept in front of our Premier and her cabinet until the next election is called.
Thank you for allowing me privilege of representing you.
In Service,
Roger W. Reid
MLA – Livingstone Macleod

Unless there is another surprise candidate in the race, it looks like Nadine Wellwood could be acclaimed as the UCP candidate in the rural southwest Alberta riding.

Danielle Smith and Nadine Wellwood United Conservative Party Take Back Alberta
Premier Danielle Smith and Nadine Wellwood at the Take Back Alberta hospitality suite at the UCP AGM (source: Nadine Wellwood/Twitter)

Wellwood was a candidate for the right-wing People’s Party of Canada in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections and the 2021 Senate nominee election. She is a prolific sharer of internet conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and globalist plots on her social media, and she also participated in the blockade at Coutts border crossing earlier this year.

The UCP has not announced if it has accepted Wellwood’s application to seek the UCP nomination in Livingstone-Macleod.

Well-known conservationist Kevin Van Tighem is expected to be chosen as the Alberta NDP candidate at a November 23 nomination meeting. Van Tighem is the former Superintendent of Banff National Park, author of Our Place: Changing the Nature of Alberta and Wild Roses Are Worth It: Reimagining the Alberta Advantage, and an outspoken opponent of open-pit coal mining on the Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountains.

NDP drop Calgary-Klein candidate

Marilyn North Peigan Alberta NDP Calgary-Klein nomination
Marilyn North Peigan

Marilyn North Peigan is no longer the NDP candidate in Calgary-Klein.

NDP provincial secretary Brandon Stevens issued a statement about her candidate status after North Peigan retweeted a video clip of City Councillor Dan McLean with an accompanying tweet alleging he was corrupt and that one of his family members was a corrupt board member for the Calgary Stampede.

Stevens also stated that while McLean’s actions in the original video circulating online are racist and unacceptable, the statements made by North Peigan towards his family and the Stampede are not appropriate and not reflective of the views of the Alberta NDP.

North Peigan defeated Heather Eddy and Mattie McMillan to win the NDP nomination in March 2022.

The Calgary-Klein riding is currently represented by UCP MLA Jeremy Nixon and is seen as a potential NDP pick up in the next election.

Other UCP nomination updates

  • Past city council candidate Lana Palmer is seeking the UCP nomination Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview.
  • Construction company owner Dave Guenter is running for UCP nomination in Calgary-Fish Creek. Incumbent UCP MLA Richard Gotfried is not running for re-election.
  • Premier Smith says it’s up to Drew Barnes to decide whether he wants to rejoin the UCP Caucus and seek the party’s nomination to run for re-election. Barnes was first elected as MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat in 2012 and was one of four Wildrose MLAs not to cross the floor with Smith in 2014. He was kicked out of the UCP Caucus in 2021 after becoming one of former Premier Jason Kenney‘s biggest internal critics.
  • Two-term MLA Ron Orr is not running for re-election and Jennifer Johnson and paramedic Dusty Myshrall have stepped forward to run for the UCP nomination in Lacombe-Ponoka. Johnson’s social media feed shows her recently attending events organized by the separatist Alberta Prosperity Project and COVID-19 skeptical Canadians For Truth group.

Brooks-Medicine Hat by-election

Advance voting in the Brooks-Medicine Hat by-election is open until Saturday, November 5. On Election Day, November 8, voting stations will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The five candidates contesting the by-election, UCP leader Danielle Smith, NDP leader Gwendoline Dirk, Alberta Party leader Barry Morishita, Wildrose Independence Party interim leader Jeevan Mangat, and Independence Party candidate Bob Blayone, participated in a forum organized by the Alberta Teachers’ Association Grasslands Local No. 34.

Total nominated candidates

The NDP have nominated candidates in 62 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!

(Subscribe to the Daveberta Substack and get my bi-weekly Alberta politics column delivered straight into your email inbox)

Categories
Alberta Politics

Former People’s Party candidate Nadine Wellwood seeks UCP nomination in Livingstone-Macleod, NDP names Calgary-Fish Creek and Lacombe-Ponoka candidates

Right-wing political activist Nadine Wellwood announced on social media that she plans to run for United Conservative Party nomination in the Livingstone-Macleod riding.

Wellwood was an outspoken opponent of COVID-19 public health measures and ran as a candidate for Maxime Bernier‘s right-wing populist People’s Party of Canada in Banff-Airdrie in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections. She also ran as a PPC candidate in Alberta’s Senate nominee election and placed ninth out of thirteen candidates in that race.

Wellwood has worked as a correspondent for the right-wing online news website the Western Standard. She was also a speaker at a 2021 Bowden rodeo held in defiance of the Alberta government’s public health measures and appears to have participated in the blockade at the Canada-US border crossing at Coutts.

The riding is currently represented by UCP MLA Roger Reid. Reid’s path to re-election appeared to open wider when Premier Danielle Smith announced she would not run in her home riding but instead contest a by-election in Brooks-Medicine Hat.

Conservationist and author Kevin Van Tighem announced his plans to seek the Alberta NDP nomination in the riding last week.

Wellwood’s announcement comes right after the Take Back Alberta slate of candidates swept the executive and board elections at last weekend’s UCP annual general meeting at the River Cree Casino on the Enoch Cree First Nation. The political action committee organized against Jason Kenney in the UCP leadership review, opposed COVID public health measures and expressed support for the Coutts blockade.

Recent candidate nominations

  • Teacher Dave Dale was nominated as the NDP candidate in Lacombe-Ponoka.
  • Tech start-up builder Rebecca Bounsall was nominated as the NDP candidate in Calgary-Fish Creek. She was the party’s candidate in 2019, when she earned 28 per cent of the vote.

The NDP have now nominated candidates in 60 of Alberta’s 87 ridings. The UCP have candidates named in 36 ridings and the Green Party has 15 candidates. The Alberta Party has nominated 3 candidates.

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!

Conventions! Cabinet!

I will have more to say about this past weekend’s NDP and UCP conventions, as well as Premier Smith’s first cabinet, on the Daveberta Substack later this week. Look for my next column to hit your email inboxes on Thursday. Sign up to not miss out.

Categories
Alberta Politics

It’s a dog’s breakfast! A guide to Alberta’s municipal elections, Senate Nominee election and referenda on Equalization and Daylight Saving Time 

Alberta’s municipal election is only 14 days away.

When you think of municipal elections, you might immediately think about roads, libraries, sidewalks, pools, traffic, playgrounds, potholes, public transit, bike lanes and snow removal. And while these are some of the more high-profile responsibilities of municipal governments, the amount of information being thrown at voters in this year’s election has muddied the water about what the ballot issues on October 18 might be.

Electing Mayors, Councillors and School Trustees

The primary function of municipal elections is for voters to elect their local municipal officials in their city, county, municipal district, town, or village. Voters also cast ballots for trustees to govern their Public, Catholic or Francophone school boards. (Here is a list of candidates running in Edmonton’s municipal election).

This year there are open mayoral races with no incumbent running for re-election in the cities of Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Red Deer and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which will mark a big turnover in municipal leadership in Alberta.

As if there weren’t already are a lot of challenges facing municipalities, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Alberta hard and municipal governments are bearing the brunt of many of those health, social and economic challenges.

Municipalities also face a hostile provincial government that has not hesitated to interfere in local issues, in some cases leaving Albertans with a choice between candidates who agree with the provincial government interference, candidates who want to keep their heads down in hopes for a change of provincial government in 2023, or candidates who will stand up for their communities and challenge the United Conservative Party government.

Senate Nominee Election

When you vote on Oct. 18 or in the advance polls you will probably be handed a few different ballots. One of them will ask you to choose up to three candidates in this year’s Senate Nominee Election.

Senate Nominee elections are a uniquely Alberta activity dating back to 1989. The elections are held to choose a list of names for the Premier to recommend to the Prime Minister for appointment to the Senate if vacancies occur.

There is currently one vacancy in Alberta’s 6-member Senate delegation and another vacancy is expected when Senator Doug Black retires on October 31, 2021.

Unfortunately for the candidates running in this election, they are not going to be appointed unless the Prime Minister is a member of the Conservative Party, the only major party that recognizes the elections as legitimate. The Liberal Party has created a new application process for Senate appointments, dismantling the old partisan patronage machine, and the NDP believe the Upper Chamber should be abolished.

One of the major flaws of the Senate Nominee election is that winning candidates who might eventually be appointed to the Senate never ever have to face re-election, so there is no opportunity for voters to hold these “elected” Senators accountable for their decisions. In fact, they can stay in the Senate until they turn 75-years old if they decide to.

Another major flaw is that a province-wide election in a province of 4.3 million people makes it impossible for the Senate candidates to meaningfully reach many voters. I doubt most Albertans could name a candidate running in year’s Senate Nominee election, but here they are:

Progress Alberta executive director Duncan Kinney is running on the “Fuck Kenney Vote Kinney” slogan and Chad Jett Thunders Saunders is running to turn the Senate into a “Thunderdome.”

Physicians Dr. Sunil Sookram. and Dr. Karina Pillay (also the former Mayor of Slave Lake), Ponoka Mayor Rick Bonnett, former Western Barley Growers Association President Jeff Nielsen, and former deputy premier and finance minister Doug Horner are running as Independent candidates are are the more serious candidates with real public service experience.

Then there are the three People’s Party endorsed candidates who filed their papers to run in the Senate Nominee election only hours before they were defeated as candidates in the Sept. 20 federal election – Nadine Wellwood, Kelly Lorencz, and Ann McCormack.

And finally there are the three UCP loyalists endorsed by the Conservative Party of Canada – lobbyist and former UCP President Erika Barootes, right-wing activist and failed municipal candidate Pam Davidson, and Ukrainian-Canadian trade association president Mikhailio Martyniouk.

The three UCP/Conservative Party candidates, who appear to have less comparable actual public service experience than many of the Independent candidates on the ballot, are still probably going to win. But like previous Senate Nominee elections, the turnout will be low and number of spoiled ballots will be high.

Alberta’s Senate Nominee election should be a serious affair, but it will probably end up being a joke or an afterthought for most Albertans who will have no idea who to vote for.

Plebiscites and Referendums

Depending where you live in Alberta you could also be handed one, two or three additional ballots to cast your vote for referendums and plebiscites, though there is a good chance you haven’t heard much about them during this election.

There are two province-wide referendums.

The first is Premier Jason Kenney’s referendum to remove the Equalization program from the Constitution. The results won’t actually remove Equalization from the Constitution, but Kenney has said it would put Alberta in a strong bargaining position to negotiate with the rest of Canada. This is unlikely.

Even if the Equalization formula was removed from the Constitution, Albertans wouldn’t actually notice any change. We would still pay federal taxes the same as we do now, but the federal government would not be obligated to distribute funds collected through federal taxes to the provinces through an Equalization formula as currently required by the Constitution.

The Equalization referendum is all about the politics of grievance and saving Jason Kenney’s leadership of the UCP. A yes vote won’t accomplish much and a no vote will probably hurt Kenney’s chance of remaining in the Premier’s Office for much longer (Kenney’s approval rating has dropped to 22 per cent according to a recent poll from ThinkHQ).

The other province-wide referendum will ask Albertans whether they want to permanently remain on Daylight Saving Time rather than having to switch between DST and Mountain Standard Time twice each year. While the annual time-change is widely unpopular, it is unclear why the UCP cabinet chose to ask Albertans if they want to make DST permanent rather being able to choose between DST and MST.

In this referendum, a no vote is a vote to continue the annual time change and a yes vote is a vote for darker mornings and lighter evenings in the winter. If I understand correctly, it could also mean that from March to November each year Alberta’s timezone will be two hours ahead of the times observed in much of British Columbia. The result of the vote on this question is binding on the provincial government.

And if you live in Calgary, you have a chance to vote to rejoin the 21st century and put fluoride back into your public water. Good luck with that, Calgary.

Endorsements

At least in Edmonton, candidate endorsements have become a mini-story.

This year’s city council election has seen a string of high-profile endorsements of city council candidates from Mayor Don Iveson, mayoral candidate Mike Nickel and some individual NDP MLAs across the city. While it is not unheard of for incumbent City Councillors to endorse candidates in a municipal election, the number of endorsements in this year’s election is significantly higher than usual.

List of candiayes incumbent City Councillors have endorsed in this municipal elections.
List of candidates incumbent Edmonton City Councillors have endorsed in this municipal elections.

Just like City Councillor endorsements, it is not unheard of for MLAs to endorse candidates, but this year the number of MLAs endorsing municipal candidates is higher.

The decision by some NDP MLAs to endorse candidates has flustered some political watchers who for some reason believe municipal politics should exist in a vacuum outside of provincial and federal politics, the endorsements appear to be a choice made by individual MLAs rather than a decision made by the party.

And in at least one case, NDP MLAs have endorsed different candidates. In Ward tastawiyiniwak, for example, the NDP endorsements appear to be split, with Edmonton-City Centre MLA David Shepherd endorsing Ahmed Knowmadic Ali and Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview NDP MLA Deron Bilous endorsing Cody Bondarchuk.

List of City Council candidates who Edmonton MLAs have endorsed in this election.
List of City Council candidates who Edmonton MLAs have endorsed in this election.

While there was an attempt a year ago to create a single-slate of progressive candidates in Edmonton’s city council election in response to expectations that the UCP would organize a slate, the organizing effort appears to have failed because there were too many progressive candidates wanting to run for city council to make a single-slate feasible.

While it has certainly made Edmonton’s political establishment uncomfortable, it is positive to see progressive groups organizing to support candidates. With traditional low turnout, low interest and high-incumbent re-election, municipal politics in Edmonton could use a bit of disruption.

Election Finance law changes are the real story

Changes to Alberta’s municipal election finance laws introduced by UCP cabinet Ministers Kaycee Madu and Doug Schweitzer in June 2020 allow for much less transparency and accountability showing who is spending money to influence candidates and votes.

The new rules make it legal for wealthy people to donate up to $5,000 each to as many candidates as they want in any municipal or school board election across the province, effectively removing the cap on individual donations. While municipal political donors do not receive the generous tax credits they get from provincial or federal donations, there are wealthy Albertans with the ability to financially influence candidates across the board.

The UCP also removed the requirement for candidates to disclose their list of donors ahead of Election Day, which would have allowed voters to see who is financially supporting candidates before they go to the ballot booth. Many candidates will already do this on their own but many won’t because they are not required to by law.

The new rules introduced by the UCP also allow Third Party Advertisers, colloquially known as political action committees, to spend up to $500,000 on advertising during the referendums, up from the previous $150,000 limit. Third Party Advertisers that spend less than $350,000 on advertising during a referendum are not required to file financial statements with Elections Alberta, which means those groups don’t have to publicly disclose their donor lists.

There are currently four registered Third Party Advertisers registered with Elections Alberta that are advertising during the Referendum. Alberta Proud (who’s contact person is former Wildrose Party press secretary Vitor Marciano), Equalization Fairness Alberta (run by former UCP ministerial chief of staff Dr. Bill Bewick), Society of Albertans Against Equalization (run by Canadian Taxpayers Federation director Franco Terrazzano), and Vote Yes To End Equalization Inc.

One Third Party Advertiser registered to participate in Calgary’s municipal election is being investigated by Elections Alberta for allegedly sending out campaign signs for Calgary mayoral candidate Jeff Davison.

And that is a quick guide to the dog’s breakfast that is Alberta’s 2021 municipal elections. Make sure to vote on Oct. 18 or in the advance polls starting today.

Good luck, Alberta.

Categories
Alberta Politics

Jason Kenney is in big trouble and a minor cabinet swap isn’t going to solve his problems

Twenty-nine more Albertans died of COVID-19 yesterday and nearly 1,000 Albertans are in hospital because of the virus, including more than 220 people in intensive care units.

Premier Jason Kenney is in big trouble and a minor cabinet swap isn’t going to solve his problems.

Kenney swapped Health Minister Tyler Shandro with Labour and Immigration Minister Jason Copping in an apparent hope that this might salvage his leadership amid growing calls for his resignation.

Shandro has been a lightning rod as Health Minister, but that was by design. Every decision he made had Kenney’s stamp of approval. He was doing as he was told.

Swapping Shandro for Copping in the middle of the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is more about politics than good governance.

The blow to Kenney’s leadership after the failure of his Open for Summer plan that led to a deadlier fourth wave of COVID-19 in Alberta is not going to be fixed with a cabinet shuffle. 

Kenney’s plummeting popularity probably helped cost Erin O’Toole his chance of becoming Prime Minister in 2021. And the Premier almost certainly contributed to a sharp decline in Conservative support in Alberta that cost his federal cousins four seats in the province.

A few months ago it was almost unimaginable that the Conservatives would actually lose seats in Alberta in this federal election. But the NDP picked up an additional seat and the Liberals might have won two. 

But Kenney’s political woes are not all recent.

Since becoming Premier he has mastered the ability to anger the maximum number of Albertans possible at any given time.

His party’s financial health has also been hit hard. There have been three straight financial quarters in a row when Kenney’s UCP fell short of Rachel Notley’s NDP in fundraising. The Alberta NDP has been in the lead in every public poll since November 2020.

Calls for a leadership review are growing from UCP constituency associations and party executives like vice-president Joel Mullen. Even former deputy leader Leela Aheer has publicly questioned why he hasn’t stepped down. And the right-wing Western Standard website has reported on a rumour that country music star and two time Conservative candidate George Canyon might run for the party presidency on the platform of forcing a vote on Kenney’s leadership.

The UCP Caucus is holding a mandatory in-person meeting tomorrow, where, I imagine the growing number of disgruntled MLAs will have a lot to say about their leader’s future.

UCP waited until after the election to ask for federal help

Transportation Minister Ric McIver, who is in charge of Alberta’s Emergency Management Office, waited until the day after the federal election to send a letter to federal minister Bill Blair requesting help from the Ottawa to deal with the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UCP government waited until after Sept. 20 to request help because they didn’t want to embarrass the federal Conservatives during the election. Let that sink in.

The government’s plea for help from the federal government and other provinces will almost certainly undermine Kenney’s argument that Alberta is being treated unfairly by the rest of Canada, a key part of the reason for a province-wide referendum in October to ask for the equalization formula to be removed from the Constitution.

New Senate Nominee candidates

The nomination deadline passed at 12:00 pm yesterday for candidates to enter the Senate Nominee Election, which is being held in conjunction with two province-wide referendums and municipal elections on October 18, 2021.

Recent People’s Party of Canada candidates Ann McCormack, Kelly Lorencz, and Nadine Wellwood filed their papers to run as Senate Nominee candidates before the polls closed in the federal election in which they were defeated.

Also recently joining the Senate Nominee Election are Town of Ponoka Mayor Richard Bonnett, who ran for the Liberal Party in the 2004 federal election, and former Slave Lake Mayor and physician Karina Pillay.

Brian Jean’s favourite hobby is trolling Jason Kenney on the internet

With a provincial by-election expected to be called in Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche in the next five months, Kenney’s arch-enemy, former Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean, is musing online that he might run as a candidate. Jean asked for feedback from his followers on Facebook about whether he should run in the by-election in the area he represented as an MLA from 2015 to 2018.

Since leaving elected office in 2019, Jean has flirted with Alberta separatism and recently publicly mused about running for the leadership of the Alberta Party, which he did not. He has also called on Kenney to resign as leader of the UCP.

The by-election will be held to replace former UCP MLA Laila Goodridge, who was elected as the Conservative MP for Fort McMurray-Cold Lake in the Sept. 20 federal election.

Categories
Alberta Politics

Alberta is a pretty boring place to spend a federal election

Alberta is a pretty boring place to spend a federal election. Even as the polls shift nationally, there is a good chance the seat total could be the same as the 2019 election: 33 Conservative and one NDP.

It’s a quiet campaign.

Unlike the 2019 election, when Albertans were still riled up from that year’s April provincial election and federal campaign issues like pipelines and the carbon tax, this year feels sleepy. The majority of Albertans will surely cast their ballots again on September for the Conservative Party, but it might not be with the same level of enthusiasm and gusto as the last election.

But, if there is a chance that any seats could switch parties, here are a few of the ridings where it might happen:

Edmonton-Griesbach

Blake Desjarlais

Probably one of the only centres of electoral excitement in Alberta is where Conservative candidate Kerry Diotte is seeking re-election for his third-term against New Democrat Blake Desjarlais.

The NDP are hoping they can elect a second MP from Alberta and are putting that hope into Desjarlais’ campaign. Party leader Jagmeet Singh has visited the riding twice in the past month, spending an entire day campaigning in the district during the first week of the election, and pouring volunteer, financial and online advertising resources into the local campaign.

If the NDP are going to pick up a second seat in Alberta in this election, this is it. 

Even NDP MLAs, who shunned the federal party in 2019, have been campaigning with Desjarlais in his bid to unseat Diotte. Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood MLA Janis Irwin, Edmonton-Glenora MLA Sarah Hoffman, Edmonton-Rutherford MLA Richard Feehan, Edmonton-South MLA Thomas Dang, Edmonton-North West MLA David Eggen, and Edmonton-West Henday MLA Jon Carson have been spotted on the campaign trail in Edmonton-Griesbach. 

Full list of candidates in Edmonton-Griesbach:

  • Communist: Alex Boykowich
  • Conservative: Kerry Diotte
  • Green: Heather Lau
  • Liberal: Habiba Mohamud
  • Libertarian: Morgan Watson
  • Marxist-Leninist: Mary Joyce
  • NDP: Blake Desjarlais
  • People’s Party: Thomas Matty

Edmonton-Centre

Randy-Boissonnault Edmonton Centre Liberals
Randy Boissonnault

Conservative James Cumming and Liberal Randy Boissonnault are facing each other for the third time since 2015. Boissonnault won the first time they face each other in 2015 and Cumming unseated him in 2019. 

NDP candidate Heather MacKenzie, a former public school board trustee and past municipal candidate, is hoping to dislodge the Liberals as the main alternative to the Conservatives.

NDP vote has held firm over the past three elections, suggesting that Boissonnault’s win in 2015 and defeat in 2019 was more about voters switching between the Conservatives and Liberals than a split between the Liberals and NDP.

Toronto Liberal MP Chrystia Freeland stopped in the district at the beginning of the campaign to support Boissonnault’s bid for re-election.

Full list of candidates in Edmonton-Centre:

  • Conservative: James Cumming
  • Liberal: Randy Boissonnault
  • Libertarian: Valerie Keefe
  • Marxist-Leninist: Merryn Edwards
  • NDP: Heather Mackenzie
  • People’s Party: Brock Crocker

Edmonton-Mill Woods

Edmonton City Councillor Ben Henderson is running for the Liberal Party in Edmonton-Mill Woods
Edmonton City Councillor Ben Henderson is running for the Liberal Party in Edmonton-Mill Woods

Conservative Tim Uppal’s main challenger is city councillor Ben Henderson, who hopped south from his long-held municipal ward to run in his federal district.

While Uppal served as an MP for many terms, this is his first time running for re-election in Edmonton-Mill Woods. He was the MP for Edmonton-Sherwood Park from 2008 to 2015. 

The district was represented by Liberal MP Amarjeet Sohi from 2015 to 2019. Sohi is running for Mayor of Edmonton. 

Full list of candidates in Edmonton-Mill Woods:

  • Communist: Naomi Rankin
  • Conservative: Tim Uppal
  • Liberal: Ben Henderson
  • NDP: Nigel Logan
  • People’s Party: Paul McCormack

Calgary-Centre

Sabrina Grover Liberal Calgary-Centre
Sabrina Grover

It’s a long-shot but if the Liberals are able to salvage their national campaign in the next two weeks they could be in a position to pick up this district that Liberal Kent Hehr won in 2015. In this election Liberal Sabrina Grover is challenging first-term Conservative Greg McLean.

Full list of candidates in Calgary-Centre:

  • Christian Heritage Party: David Pawlowski
  • Conservative: Greg McLean
  • Green: Austin Mullins
  • Liberal: Sabrina Grover
  • NDP: Juan Estevez Moreno

Calgary-Skyview

Justin Trudeau and George Chahal (source: Twitter)

Conservative Jag Sahota is facing a challenge from city councillor George Chahal who is running for the Liberals in this northeast Calgary district. Chahal has been endorsed by Mayor Naheed Nenshi, and a handful of city councillors including mayoral election hopefuls Jyoti Gondek and Jeff Davison.

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau’s plane touched down just long enough for him to appear at a rally in support of Chahal during the first week of the election.

Former MLA Darshan Kang was elected as the Liberal MP in 2015 but left the Liberal caucus after allegations of sexual harassment.

Full list of candidates in Calgary-Skyview:

  • Centrist Party: Nadeem Rana
  • Conservative: Jag Sahota
  • Green: Janna So
  • Independent: Lee Aquart
  • Liberal: George Chahal
  • Marxist-Leninist: Daniel Blanchard
  • NDP: Gurinder Singh Gill
  • People’s Party: Harry Dhillon

Banff-Airdire

Conservative candidate Blake Richards will probably safely coast to re-election on September 20, but the cast of conservative characters in this district make it interesting. Richards faces former Ontario Conseravtive MP Derek Sloan, who has relocated to Alberta in order to hold rallies for anti-mask and COVID conspiracy theorists, Maverick Party candidate and rodeo competitor Tariq Elnaga, People’s Party candidate Nadine Wellwood, and Independent separatist candidate Ron Voss. 

Full list of candidates in Banff-Airdire:

  • Conservative: Blake Richards
  • Green: Aidan Blum
  • Independent: Caroline O’Driscoll
  • Independent: Derek Sloan
  • Independent: Ron Voss
  • Liberal: David Gamble
  • Maverick: Tariq Elnaga
  • NDP: Sarah Zagoda
  • People’s Party: Nadine Wellwood

The smaller right-wing parties

It has yet to be seen what kind of impact two smaller right-wing parties will have in Alberta in this election.

People’s Party leader Maxime Bernier is in Alberta this week holding a series of rallies and it seems like the right-wing populist party is gaining support among disenchanted conservatives and anti-vaxxer crowds.

Wildrose Independence Party leader Paul Hinman has been spotted at People’s Party events and Bernier also met with Cypress-Medicine Hat Drew Barnes, who currently sits as an Independent MLA after being ejected from the United Conservative Party caucus earlier in the summer. It also appears as though outgoing Fort McMurray-Cold Lake Conservative MP David Yurdiga endorsed the local People’s Party candidate in a post on his personal Facebook account.

The separatist Maverick Party is only running candidates in districts they have determined are not likely to elect a Liberal or NDP MP, which is most of Alberta, but limiting themselves to running in Conservative strongholds has probably eliminated their chances of being relevant in this election.

Former talk radio host Dave Rutherford has been joining Maverick Party interim leader Jay Hill at candidate events across the province.