It’s not what people usually call me when I meet them for the first time, but it’s what a longtime daveberta.ca reader said when I met them for the first time a few weeks ago.
But I guess it’s true.
I started tracking the names of people running for nominations to become party candidates in elections 16 years ago and have since done it for every provincial and federal election in Alberta and municipal election in Edmonton. By my count that’s 15 elections.
The first-term MLA from north east Calgary was first elected in 2019 and served in cabinet since, currently as Minister of Trade, Immigration and Multiculturalism.
Sawhney placed sixth out of seven candidates in the 2022 UCP leadership race and was a sharp critic of Danielle Smith during that campaign. She was facing a strong nomination challenge when she announced her plans not to run for re-election in Calgary-North East.
On the same day Sawhney was appointed in Calgary-North West, UCP members in her Calgary-North East riding voted to choose her successor. Inderjit Grewal defeated Harjit Soroya in a vote by more than 1,800 members in the north east Calgary riding.
Grewal will face NDP candidate Gurinder Brar. The Liberal Party has nominated Prince Mugisha.
Both ridings are expected to be competitive in the next election.
Candidates are expected to be appointed in Lethbridge-West to replace Torry Tanner and Grande Prairie-Wapiti to succeed Travis Toews. The UCP board of directors in Grande Prairie-Wapiti unanimously passed a motion last week to support Ron Wiebe’s appointment as the candidate.
Tunde Obasan drops out of Edmonton-South race
The UCP is also expected to appoint a candidate to replace Tunde Obasan, who withdrew his name as the UCP candidate in Edmonton-South over the weekend.
Obasan previously ran in the riding in 2019 and was the federal Conservative candidate in Edmonton-Stratchona in the 2021 election. Obasan’s campaign was one of few in Edmonton that the UCP appeared to be focusing local resources in ahead of the election campaign.
“The abrupt resignation of my opponent in Edmonton-South is yet more chaos from the UCP. It follows another UCP resignation in Lethbridge-West, and the parachuting of Rajan Sawhney into Calgary-North West after she bailed out of a competitive nomination race in the riding she already represents,” Hoyle said in a statement released by the NDP.
“I’m focused on offering the people of Edmonton-South a stable, competent and caring government led by Rachel Notley,” Hoyle said.
The former Brooks mayor became leader of the seatless party in 2021 and had his electoral prospects tested early when his own MLA, Michaela Frey, resigned in late 2022 to allow Premier Smith to run in a by-election. Morishita placed a disappointing third place in that by-election, earning only 16.5 per cent of the vote.
It’s unclear what riding Morishita could pick that would be friendlier than Brooks-Medicine Hat, where he is already well-known and respected. Smith deciding to make the riding her own certainly created a tough situation for the aspiring MLA.
Pawlowski loyalists retake control of Independence Party
Pawlowski’s opponents on the previous party board claimed the street preacher was spending too much time preaching religious teachings and opposition to already lifted COVID-19 mitigation measures and not focusing enough time promoting the party’s separatists policy positions.
The party has nominated at least seven candidates to run in the next election, though it remains unclear at the moment which candidates are loyal to Pawlowski and which are opposed.
Toor’s first term as a UCP backbencher was not short of controversy.
In June 2020, CBC reported that the owners of two popular food trucks claimed they were being bullied and harassed by residents who didn’t want them there, including Toor.
He was hit with a $15,000 fine from Elections Alberta in July 2021 for violating five sections of the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act. And in September 2021, Alberta Health Services issued a closure order for a Gleichen hotel owned by Toor.
Toor was one of only a handful of UCP MLAs to support Danielle Smith in her bid to win the party’s leadership and he was rewarded in October 2022 with an appointment as Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism.
This is a riding the NDP believe they can flip. It is on my list to watch.
Four in Livingstone-Macleod UCP race, former candidate now running for Alberta Party
It looked like there might be six or seven candidates in the race but when the nomination papers were handed in, there were only four candidates contesting the ‘do-over‘ UCP nomination Livingstone-Macleod.
This was an extremely difficult decision to make, and I didn’t make it lightly. However, after being involved more closely with the party, I found that some of my values, morals and ethics were just not aligning as much as they used to.
Constituency office manager Lizette Tejada defeated four other candidates to win the NDP nomination in this hotly contested Calgary riding. This was the party’s second time holding a nomination contest in the riding. Brady Adkins, Angela McIntyre, Mattie McMillan and Laurie O’Neil were the other candidates in the race.
All quiet in Grande Prairie-Wapiti
What’s one of the big questions being asked in Alberta political circles this week?
The rancher-accountant and UCP leadership race runner-up has been silent on his plans for the next election and the party has not released any news about nominating a candidate in his Grande Prairie-Wapiti riding.
Will Toews bow out of provincial politics after tabling the spring budget? We’ll find out soon.
Calgary-Bhullar-McCall: Sonya Virk joins Amanpreet Singh Gill in the UCP nomination race in this north east Calgary riding. Virk is a former member of the Alberta Party provincial board. A vote is scheduled for March 5.
Edmonton-Glenora: Shannon Berry and Amit Batra are seeking the UCP nomination. Batra previously ran as a Liberal candidate in Edmonton-Calder in 2015, was active in Wexit Alberta and, until recently, served as a director of the Wildrose Independence Party.
Edmonton-McClung: Daniel Heikkinen defeated Terry Vankka to win the UCP nomination. Heikkinen was a candidate for Edmonton City Council in October 2021.
Edmonton-Manning: Alberto Mazzocca and Jaspreet Saggu are seeking the UCP nomination. A nomination vote is scheduled for February 22, 2023.
Lethbridge-West: Rick Dempsey and Torry Tanner are seeking the UCP nomination. Dempsey ran for the nomination in 2018. Tanner was named in an unsuccessful lawsuit against former Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw challenging Alberta’s COVID-19 public health restrictions. A nomination vote is scheduled for March 14.
Lesser Slave Lake: Martine Carifelle, Jerrad Cunningham, Scott Sinclair, and Silas Yellowknee are seeking the UCP nomination. A vote is being held on February 25 and 26.
Calgary-Lougheed: Venkat Ravulaparthi and Kim Wagner are seeking the NDP nomination. A nomination vote is scheduled for March 14.
Drumheller-Stettler: Pharmacist Juliet Franklin was nominated as the NDP candidate. This was the only riding where the NDP candidate placed 4th in the 2019 election.
Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre: Fisheries biologist Vance Buchwald was nominated as the NDP candidate.
Julian Schulz has been nominated as the Green Party candidate in Edmonton-Glenora. Two of the party’s nominated candidates have withdrawn their candidacies: Brandy Kinkead in Calgary-Edgemont and Lucas Bevan in Sherwood Park.
Arcand-Paul launched his candidacy in the west Edmonton riding the day after two-term MLA Jon Carson announced he would not run for re-election.
“Albertans deserve leaders who care about people, Arcand-Paul said in a statement.
“The NDP have a proven record that they really care about all people. The last few years have presented our communities with unprecedented challenges, and the UCP government has failed us at every turn. It’s time for government to work for all Albertans, rather than against them. From rising insurance and utility rates, cuts to education and healthcare, we cannot afford another UCP term. ”
Arcand-Paul is the in-house legal counsel for the Alexander First Nation, located about a 25-minute drive northwest of Edmonton, and Vice President of the Indigenous Bar Association.
His launch event included endorsements from Edmonton-Griesbach MP Blake Desjarlais, former Edmonton-Strathcona MP Linda Duncan and Edmonton-Rutherford NDP nomination candidate Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse.
The date for a nomination meeting has not yet been announced.
The battle for Calgary heating up
The NDP need to sweep Alberta’s largest city if they want to win the next election, and vulnerable Calgary United Conservative Party MLAs know it. Rachel Notley has been spending a lot of time in Calgary and NDP MLAs have been spending nearly every spare minute knocking on doors in the city.
A group of UCP MLAs were spotted door-knocking in Calgary-Klein to support first-term UCP MLA Jeremy Nixon, who is facing a strong challenge from NDP candidate Marilyn North Peigan.
Calgary-Currie MLA Nicholas Milliken, Calgary-Edgemont MLA Prasad Panda, Calgary-Beddington MLA Josephine Pon, and Calgary-East MLA Peter Singh were on the doors this weekend with Nixon and party volunteers.
The NDP held a similar door-knocking blitz in the riding with MLAs and dozens of volunteers earlier in the year.
Meanwhile, Edmonton-Whitemud NDP MLA Rakhi Pancholi was recently doorknocking with NDP candidate Julia Hayter in Calgary-Edgemont, and Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood MLA Janis Irwin was busy campaigning with Rosman Valencia in Calgary-East.
And Notley wasin Calgary for Druh Farrell’s nomination meeting in Calgary-Bow and to join Calgary-Falconridge candidate Parmeet Singh Boparai and Calgary-Bhullar-McCall MLA Irfan Sabir at Nagar Kirtan celebrations.
The NDP have raised a stunning $4,060,290 since Jan. 1, 2021, dominating the governing UCP, which is trailing with $2,596,202 raised since the beginning of the year. It is pretty clear that the weak overall fundraising returns from the UCP have a result of Kenney’s plummeting personal approval ratings and the party’s dropping support in the polls.
The UCP’s bump in donations over the summer are likely a result of the party’s fundraising efforts in between the day when Kenney declared “Alberta open for the summer and open for good” and the start of the deadly fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the disclosures, $183,700 of the UCP’s total cash raised in the third quarter was from Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen‘s Innisfail-Sylvan Lake constituency association, likely generated at the annual horse derby fundraising event (Dreeshen has found himself at the centre of a sexual harassment and intoxication scandal). And $110,947 of the UCP’s total fundraising for the past quarter was raised by MLA Dan Williams constituency association in Peace River, likely at an August “town hall” fundraiser that featured Kenney and a number of cabinet ministers.
Here is what all of Alberta’s registered political parties raised in the third quarter of 2021:
Alberta NDP: $1,367,080.50
United Conservative Party: $1,235,482.45
Pro-Life Political Association: $92,560.92
Wildrose Independence: $53,839.92
Alberta Party: $31,617.41
Alberta Liberal Party: $13,930.54
Independence Party of Alberta: $1,740.00
Green Party: $1,314.00
Alberta Advantage Party: $300.00
The Communist Party and Reform Party did not report any funds raised in this quarter.
NDP nominate Hoffman and Boporai
The NDP have nominated two more candidates ahead of the expected 2023 provincial election. Sarah Hoffman was nominated in Edmonton-Glenora on Oct. 27 and Parmeet Singh Boparai in Calgary-Falconridge on Oct. 29.
Hoffman is the NDP deputy leader and was first elected as an MLA in 2015 after serving two terms on the Edmonton Public School Board.
Boparai finished a close second to UCP candidate DevinderToor – losing by 96 votes in 2019 in the closest race of the provincial election.
The NDP have scheduled nomination meetings in Calgary-Currie on Nov. 13, and Calgary-Buffalo on Nov. 15 and Lethbridge-East on Nov. 21.
Parmeet Singh Boparai is expected to be nominated as the Alberta NDP candidate in Calgary-Falconridge at an October 29 nomination meeting.
Boparai finished a close second to United Conservative Party candidate Devinder Toor – losing by 96 votes in 2019 in the closest race of the provincial election.
Toor was fined $15,000 by Elections Alberta in July 2021 for violating five sections of the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act during his UCP nomination campaign in 2018 and election campaign in 2019.
Calgary UCP MLA pushing for earlier leadership review
Calgary-Fish Creek UCP MLA Richard Gotfriedis encouraging more UCP constituency associations to vote in favour of holding a review of Premier Jason Kenney‘s leadership before March 1, bumping up an already scheduled April 2022 review. At least 16 UCP associations have passed a motion calling for the review and Gotfried tweeted that he hopes that number reaches 30.
Earlier this month, Kenney out-maneuvered his opponents in the UCP Caucus who were pushing for a vote of non-confidence in his leadership by agreeing to move another previously scheduled leadership review from fall 2022 to April 2022. Kenney’s supporters on the UCP Board of Directors had already avoided having to hold a fall 2021 leadership review by scheduling one for fall 2022.
Polls from Leger and Angus Reid Institute released this month both show Kenney with a dismal 22 per cent approval rating.
About two-thirds of Albertans live in and around the two major cities.
First elected as a Wildrose Party MLA in 2012, Barnes has been sitting as an Independent MLA since June when he and Central Peace-Notley MLA Todd Loewen were kicked out of the UCP Caucus. Barnes was a featured speaker at the recent “Free Alberta Strategy” campaign launch.
Elections Alberta has currently reserved 11 names for political parties that are ostensibly being organized right now. They are The Blue Collar Movement of Alberta, The Buffalo Party of Alberta, Alberta Statehood Party, Alberta National Party, Unlock Party of Alberta, Tax Revolt Party of Alberta, The Alberta Patriot Party, Alberta Unity Party, Common Sense Party of Alberta, Alberta Influence Party, Albertans First Independents Coalition Party.
Elections Alberta is reporting that it has issued $15,000 in fines against Calgary-FalconridgeUnited Conservative Party MLA Devinder Toor for violations of five sections of the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act. The violations are reported to have taken place during Toor’s campaign for the UCP nomination in 2018 and his campaign for election as the UCP candidate in 2019.
Section 31 of the EFCDA: Person other than CFO, accepting contributions.
Section 35(1)(a) of the EFCDA: Accepting a prohibited contribution from 2082146 Alberta Ltd. in the form of use of real property.
Section 41.4(1) of the EFCDA: Exceeding the Nomination Contest expense limit.
Section 46 of the EFCDA: Filed a false Nomination Contest Financial Statement with the Chief Electoral Officer.
Section 14(1) of the EFCDA: Fail to deposit contributions into the account on record with the Chief Electoral Officer.
Elections Alberta lists Toor’s offences during the 2019 election campaign as violations of:
Section 35(1)(a) of the EFCDA: Accepting a prohibited contribution from 2082146 Alberta Ltd. in the form of the use of real property.
Section 41.3(1)(a) of the EFCDA: Candidate exceeding expense limit.
Section 46 of the EFCDA: Filed a false Candidate Campaign Financial Statement with the Chief Electoral Officer.
Section 40(1)(a) of the EFCDA: Registered Candidate borrowing money from party other than a Financial Institution.
Section 14(1) of the EFCDA: Fail to deposit contributions into the account on record with the Chief Electoral Officer.
Also listed as having received administrative penalties from Elections Alberta was Toor’s’ chief financial officer, Sahib Bhakri, who was issued an $8,000 fine for violations of the EFCDA during the UCP nomination contest and $6,000 for violations during the 2019 election.
Also listed as Toor’s chief financial officer during the 2018 nomination race, Daljit (Sunny) Toor was issued a Letter of Reprimand from Elections Alberta for violating Section 30(1)(c.1) of the EFCDA by failing to vouch for expenses over $25.
2082146 Alberta Ltd. and current and former Directors (Abhi Toor, Balmeet Toor, Devinder Toor) was issued $4,500 in fines for violating Section 16(2) of the EFCDA by making prohibited contributions to Toor’s nomination and election campaigns.
The first law introduced by the NDP after they formed government in 2015 was to ban political donations from corporations and unions.
Toor defeated realtor Pete de Jong and past Wildrose Party candidate Jesse Minhas to secure the United Conservative Party nomination in Calgary-Falconridge in December 2018. Toor had previously ran as the Wildrose Party candidate in the 2016 by-election and 2015 general election in Calgary-Greenway.
The UCP nomination campaign in Calgary-Falconridge was not without controversy. Another past Wildrose candidate, Happy Mann, had his candidacy rejected by the UCP after he was alleged to have been involved in an incident where a local reporter was assaulted.
Toor faced NDP candidate Parmeet Singh in what ended up being the closest race in the 2019 election.
After a recount, Toor defeated Singh by a narrow 96 votes.
In June 2020, CBC reported that the owners of two popular food trucks operating next to a northeast Calgary park claimed they were being bullied and harassed by residents who don’t want them there, including Toor.
Date of Alberta’s 2019 election: April 16, 2019 Date of Alberta’s next election: Between March 1 and May 31, 2023 Total number of votes cast in the 2019 election: 1,894,985 Total number of votes cast in the 2015 election: 1,488,248 District with highest voter turnout: 80.2 per cent in Grande Prairie-Wapiti District with lowest voter turnout: 45.8 per cent in Calgary-East Total number of re-elected MLAs: 41 Total number of new MLAs: 46 MLAs in the Government Caucus: 63 MLAs in the Opposition: 24 Number of women in the Government Caucus: 15 out of 63 Number of women in the Opposition Caucus: 11 out of 24 Most votes for a candidate: 20,579 for UCP candidate Jason Nixon in Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre Highest percentage of votes for a candidate: 81.6 per cent for UCP candidate Jason Nixon in Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre Longest serving re-elected MLA: Rachel Notley, MLA for Edmonton-Strathcona has served 4061 days since she was first elected in the 2008 provincial election. Closest race: Calgary-Falconridge. UCP candidate Devinder Toor defeated NDP candidate Parmeet Singh Boparai by 96 votes. Youngest elected MLA: Miranda Rosin, 23-years old, in Banff-Kananaskis. Total vote for the United Conservative Party in 2019: 1,040,004 Total vote for the Wildrose Party and PC Party in 2015: 774,121 Total vote for the NDP in 2019: 619,147 Total vote for the NDP in 2015: 604,518 Total vote for the Alberta Party in 2019: 171,996 Total vote for the Alberta Party in 2015: 33,221 Total vote for the Liberal Party in 2019: 18,546 Total vote for the Liberal Party in 2015: 62,153