A quick Saturday morning candidate nomination update:
Suncor laboratory technician and Unifor organizer Tanika Chaisson is running for the Alberta NDP nomination in Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo.
Jessica Hallam is running for the NDP in Highwood. A nomination meeting is scheduled for April 29.
The right-wing Advantage Party of Alberta (previously known as the Alberta Advantage Party) has now nominated three candidates to run in the election:
Party leader Marilyn Burns is running in Lac St. Anne-Parkland Burns ran for the Alberta Alliance Party leadership in 2005 and as a candidate for the party in Stony Plain in 2004. She ran for the Advantage Party in Edmonton-South West in 2019 and in the 2022 Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche by-election.
Party President Carol Nordlund-Kinsey is running in Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre. She lives in Winfield.
Breton-resident Dale Withers is running in Drayton Valley-Devon. Withers served a Councillor in the Town of Mayerthorpe from 1989 to 1995.
I’ve added these names to the growing list of candidates running in the May 29 provincial election.
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Here are the most recent candidate nomination updates:
United Conservative Party
The UCP are actively nominating candidates across the province and by my count currently have nominations open in nine ridings. The governing party paused nominations during their leadership race in 2022 so they are playing catch up, quickly, ahead of the May 29 election day.
Calgary-Lougheed: Max DeGroat is the first person in the race to fill the vacancy left when former premier Jason Kenneyresigned as MLA for this southwest Calgary riding in November 2022. DeGroat is the former treasurer of the UCP and was Nicholas Milliken’s campaign manager in Calgary-Currie in 2019. He is a research associate with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and the former director of policy development for the Sustaining Alberta’s Energy Network, an organization formed by Kris Kinnear, who now works on special projects in Premier Danielle Smith’s office in Calgary.
De Groat is launching his campaign as a guest speaker at the Progressive Group for Independent Business luncheon on January 24. PGIB was founded by conservative activist and perennial election candidate Craig Chandler, who was recently caught up in a scandal with former justice minister Jonathan Denis.
Calgary-North East: Harjit Singh Saroya is running for the UCP nomination in the riding is currently represented by cabinet minister Rajan Sawhney. Saroya is the former chairman of the Dashmesh Culture Centre.
Cypress-Medicine Hat: Food truck owner and recent Medicine Hat city council candidate Justin Wright joins James Finkbeiner and Robin Kurpjuweit in the UCP nomination contest in this southeast Alberta riding.
Lacombe-Ponoka: Jennifer Johnson, Dusty Myrshrall, and Chris Ross will face off for the UCP nomination in a vote on February 17, 2023. Voting will take place in Ponoka in the morning and Lacombe in the afternoon of the nomination day.
Leduc-Beaumont:Heather Feldbusch and Brandon Lunty join former catholic school trustee Karen Richert in the UCP nomination contest. Feldbusch currently works for the Alberta Counsel lobbyists company and is a former UCP political staffer. She is also former trustee on the Leduc Public Library Board and is active with the federal Conservative association in Edmonton-Wetaskiwin. Lunty previously ran for the Wildrose Party in Calgary-South East in 2015 and ran for the UCP nomination in Camrose in 2018.
Parkland-Lac Ste. Anne: UCP MLA Shane Getson is running for his party’s nomination for re-election. Getson was first elected in 2019 and briefly served as the UCP Caucus’ Capital Region Caucus chairperson until he publicly accused people who accepted Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments of wanting to eat cheezies and watch cartoons instead of working. Getson also participated in the anti-COVID 19 restriction Freedom Convoy demonstrations in downtown Edmonton.
Red Deer-South: MLA Jason Stephan announced that he plans to run for re-election and is running for the UCP nomination in Red Deer-South. He’s being challenged by Adele Poratto. Poratto ran for the UCP nomination ahead of the 2019 election and for the Progressive Conservative nomination in 2008.
At this point, the NDP have already nominated candidates in most of the ridings that are considered competitive and within their reach to win in the next election. Now, the party is mostly nominating candidates in ridings that are a more a long shot for the NDP (translation: very conservative rural ridings), but the party does not appear to be parachuting urban candidates in like they might have in previous year. They are trying to recruit local candidates, even if their chances of winning in some of these rural ridings are slim to none.
Calgary-Lougheed: Venkat Akkiraj is running for the NDP nomination. According to Akkiraj’s LinkedIn profile, he has experience with the Ontario NDP as a local campaign organizer and communications director in provincial ridings in Toronto. He recently had an article published in AlbertaViews Magazine about electoral reform.
The Greens aren’t usually on the radar for most Albertans but they are putting in an effort to run candidates in the next election in both urban, rural and suburban ridings. The party has played a bit of musical chairs with some of their candidates switching ridings, like leader Jordan Wilkie switching from Banff-Kananaskis to Edmonton-Rutherford, and the latest switch listed below.
Jonathan Parks is now running for the Green Party in Calgary-Buffalo. He was previously nominated to run in the neighbouring Calgary-Currie but withdrew his candidacy in that riding earlier this month.
Alberta politics never takes a break, but sometimes I do. I was away last week having a great time facilitating a communications planning course at the Winter Labour School, an annual conference for working Albertans organized by the Alberta Federation of Labour and Canadian Labour Congress.
But now I’m back, and upon my return a growing mountain of candidate nomination news was awaiting me.
Here we go.
Probably the biggest news happened today: former Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith is jumping back into provincial politics by taking a run at the United Conservative Party nomination in Livingstone-Macleod, a riding currently represented by UCP MLA Roger Reid. She even says she could run for the party leadership if Jason Kenney loses the upcoming leadership review.
Smith has been around Alberta politics for a while, working for lobby groups including the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, writing newspaper columns, hosting television and radio shows, briefly serving as a school trustee in Calgary, and most notably, serving as the leader of the Wildrose Party from 2009 until 2014.
Crossing the floor secured Smith a spot in the governing PC Caucus but she was unable to secure the PC nomination in the Highwood riding she had represented since 2012, so she did not run for re-election in 2015.
Boundary changes ahead of the 2019 election moved her home town of High River into the Livingstone-Macleod riding.
– MLA Marie Renaud was nominated in St. Albert. Renaud was first elected in 2015 and serves as Official Opposition Community & Social Services, and Francophone Issues critic.
– Danielle Lariveewas nominated in Lesser Slave Lake. Larivee was the MLA for this riding from 2015 to 2019 and served as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Minister of Children’s Services. She is a Registered Nurse and currently serves as First Vice-President of United Nurses of Alberta.
– Oneil Carlier was nominated in Parkland-Lac Ste. Anne. Carlier was MLA for this riding from 2015 to 2019 and served as Minister of Agriculture and Forestry from 2015 to 2019.
The NDP recently held contested nomination votes in two ridings.
Sarah Elmeligi defeated Canmore town councillor Tanya Foubert, bank manager Gavin McCaffrey, and condo manager Mark Tkacz to become the NDP candidate in Banff-Kananaskis. Elmeligi is a professional biologist and conservation and land-use planner. She currently runs her own consulting company but from 2016 to 2019 she worked as a Parks Facility Planner with the Kananaskis Region and from 2009 to 2013 was a Senior Conservation Planner with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – Southern Alberta Chapter.
Marilyn North Peigan defeated Heather Eddy and Mattie McMillan to become the NDP candidate in Calgary-Klein. North Peigan is a member of the Blackfoot Confederacy and is a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, where she trained as a field medic with Toronto EMS and was stationed with Edmonton Field Ambulance. She is vice-chair of the Calgary Police Commission and was a candidate for city council in Calgary’s 2021 municipal elections.
Joining Ip at his campaign launch were former city councillor Michael Phair and former city council candidate and past Alberta Party president Rhiannon Hoyle. He is also endorsed by former NDP MLAs Bob Turner and Jim Gurnett, and Public School Boards Association of Alberta past president Patty Dittrick.
Also running for the NDP nomination in Edmonton-South West are Ben Acquaye, Chand Gul, and Mohammad Ali Masood Kamal. The riding is currently represented by UCP cabinet minister Kaycee Madu.
“Albertans deserve a compassionate government that will exercise positive and responsible leadership on energy and environmental policy”, Fluker said in a press release announcing his candidacy. “The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly revealed that the UCP has no ability to lead when it matters.”
Manpreet Singh Tiwana and Psychologists’ Association of Alberta President Judi Malone are seeking the NDP nomination in Edmonton-Ellerslie. Two-term NDP MLA Rod Loyola has not yet announced whether he plans to run for re-election.
Amanda Chapman is seeking the NDP nomination in Calgary-Beddington. Chapman is a communications consultant and former communications coordinator with AIDS Awareness Calgary. She ran for the NDP in the riding in 2019, finishing second with 35.7 per cent off the vote.
Now back to the governing UCP, who are twisting themselves into pretzels ahead of Kenney’s fast approaching leadership review (more on that very soon).
UCP nominations have been a lot quieter since the party disqualified challengers Jodie Gateman in Cardston-Siksika and Tim Hoven in Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre.
The following UCP MLAs have been acclaimed for their nominations: Josephine Pon in Calgary-Beddington, Peter Singh in Calgary-East, Prasad Panda in Calgary-Edgemont, Jeremy Nixon in Calgary-Klein, Rebecca Schulz in Calgary-Shaw, Matt Jones in Calgary-South East, Joseph Schow in Cardston-Siksika, Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk in Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville, Nathan Neudorf in Lethbridge-East, Dale Nally in Morinville-St. Albert, Nathan Cooper in Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills, Jason Nixon in Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre, and Nate Glubish in Strathcona-Sherwood Park.
This is a big change from nominations ahead of the last election, which saw many competitive UCP nominations and many, many NDP acclamations. So far this time it’s been the opposite.