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          Alberta Politics

          The UCP field is set. Diving into the leadership race on the Cross Border Interviews Podst.

          The United Conservative Party leadership race is heating up!

          I joined Chris Brown on the Cross Border Interviews Podst this week to dive into the UCP leadership race and what the ndidates and mpaigns are up to.

          Is Danielle Smith really the front-runner?

          Does establishment-favourite Travis Toews need to tch up?

          Why is Brian Jean running such a sleepy mpaign?

          Will Rajan Sawhney or Rebec Schulz break through the noise?

          What are Leela Aheer and Todd Loewen doing?

          Did Raj Sherman really think they would let him on the ballot?

          We break it all down.

          Download and subscribe to the Cross Border Interviews Podst on Apple and Spotify, or watch the interview on YouTube below.

          Alberta Politics

          Danielle Smith is making sure Alberta doesn’t have a boring politil summer

          Popular opinion would have that summer is a quiet and boring time in politics, but not so in Alberta.

          I n’t remember there was a boring politil summer in Alberta?

          Last year was the Best Summer Ever disaster and the summer before that was the first COVID summer. Before that was the Summer of Repeal. And so on.

          This summer, the most unexpected politil comeback might be happening before our eyes.

          In almost every aspect, former Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith is defining what the United Conservative Party leadership race is about.

          Following her “Alberta First” mpaign slogan, Smith declared plans to introduce an Alberta Sovereignty Act to let Alberta MLAs vote on which federal laws they want the province to follow.

          The other ndidates responded.

          Even Finance Minister Jason Nixon, a staunch Jason Kenney-loyalist, stepped in to pooh-pooh Smith’s idea (Nixon was nominated as Wildrose ndidate back when Smith was still party leader).

          Her mpaign chair, Rob Anderson, is founder of the Free Alberta Strategy and was one of two Progressive Conservative MLAs to cross the floor to Smith’s Wildrose in 2010 (he later crossed the floor back to the PCs with Smith in 2014).

          Smith declared Alberta will never ever have a lockdown again (we never *really* had a lockdown).

          The other ndidates responded.

          She made wild statements about any ncer before Stage 4?is a result of poor personal choices.

          Everyone responded.

          Postmedia columnist Don Braid wrote that her “dabbles in quackery” are sometimes almost funny but “this one is dangerous.”

          When Smith hosted a popular radio talk show she promoted hydroxychloroquine as a cure to COVID-19. She even touted ivermectin as a treatment. Now she wants to appoint chief medil officers of alternative medicine.

          Quackery is putting it politely.

          It’s the realm of internet pseudoscience.

          As my friend David Climenhaga opined, it is the Donald Trump strategy of saying outrageous stuff that appeals to the base voters and damn the consequences.

          And it might be working.

          Smith has now nabbed 4 MLA endorsements.

          Airdrie-Cochrane’s Peter Guthrie, lgary-Falconridge’s Devinder Toor, Lethbridge-East’s Nathan Neudorf, and Lesser Slave Lake’s Pat Rehn, who dropped his endorsement of establishment favourite Travis Toews to support Smith.

          But it’s not exactly the crème de la crème of the UCP ucus.

          Toor was fined $15,000 by Elections Alberta for breaking politil finance laws in 2018 and 2019, and was allegedly part of group who bullied and harassed a food truck owner in northeast lgary.

          Rehn was briefly expelled from the UCP ucus in 2021 after taking a hot holiday to Mexico while most Albertans respected the government’s own COVID-19 travel advice and stayed home, and lol municipal leaders lled on him to resign after spending more time in Texas than his own riding.

          Kenney said Rehn would not be allowed to run for the UCP nomination in the next election but he was quietly allowed to rejoin the UCP ucus last summer. But now Kenney is on his way out.

          Some might say I’m playing into the Smith-comeback narrative by writing this article, but she’s the only ndidate saying anything interesting – even if it’s quackery.

          She’s drawing crowds and appears to be hitting the right notes with a motivated segment of the UCP base, which says a lot about who the membership of the UCP is today.

          This isn’t your father’s Progressive Conservative Party, folks.

          The other ndidates in the UCP race better get their acts together, beuse the membership sales deadline is on August 12.

          That’s just 16 days away.

          The final 7

          Smith might be getting the most attention but she’s not the only ndidate in the race. Leela Aheer, Brian Jean, Todd Loewen, Rajan Sawhney, Rebec Schulz and Travis Toews also made the cut. Bill Rock dropped out to endorse Jon Horsman, who dropped out, and, as expected, Raj Sherman was not allowed to run (his old job as Liberal Party leader is open though).

          More separatist drama

          Danielle Smith Paul Hinman Daveberta Wildrose United Conservative PartyPaul Hinman and Danielle Smith in 2010. (source: Dave Cournoyer)

          If there’s one thing we n depend on Alberta’s cottage industry of fringe right-wing separatist parties to deliver, it’s drama.

          It looks like Paul Hinman has been ousted as leader of the Wildrose Independence Party. The ouster comes shortly after the Independence Party of Alberta announced that merger talks with WIP broke off.

          Hinman has been replaced by Jeevan Mangat, who ran for the Wildrose Party in lgary-Fort in 2012 and 2015.

          The WIP was created in 2020 through the merger of the Wexit group and the Freedom Conservative Party (which was previously known as the Alberta First Party, the Separation Party of Alberta and the Western Freedom Party). The party has struggled with fundraising and Hinman placed a distant third in the recent Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche by-election.

          Before his time as WIP leader, Hinman served as a Wildrose MLA from 2004 to 2008 and 2009 to 2012, and as leader of the Wildrose Alliance Party immediately before Danielle Smith was chosen as leader in 2009.

          Meanwhile, the IPA is still looking for a new leader. Past federal Liberal ndidate Katherine Kowalchuk is the only ndidate in the race, so far.

          Alberta Politics

          Gurinder Gill wins NDP vote in lgary-Cross, Devin Dreeshen wins UCP nomination in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake

          Gurinder Gill defeated Denis Ram to win the Alberta NDP nomination in lgary-Cross.

          “I want to ensure that the residents of lgary-Cross have fair representation in the next election,” Gill said in a statement following his nomination win. “The decisions made by our current government have used harm to those in my community, and to Albertans. We’re ready for a change, and that change is coming with Alberta’s NDP. “

          Gill is an accountant and road test driver examiner and volunteers with the Dashmesh Culture Centre. He was the federal NDP ndidate in lgary-Skyview in 2019 and 2021.

          The north east lgary riding is currently represented by United Conservative Party MLA Mickey Amery and was represented by NDP MLA and Culture and Tourism Minister Rirdo Miranda from 2015 to 2019. The riding was previously held by Progressive Conservative MLA Yvonne Fritz from 1993 to 2015.

          Dreeshen wins by a hair in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake

          Devin Dreeshen was the winner of last week’s UCP nomination vote in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake but it was a close race.

          According to former Clearwater County reeve Tim Hoven, Dreeshen only defeated pharmacy-owner and Danielle Smith supporter Onsy Tawadrous by 8 votes. That’s a close race.

          Dreeshen was first elected in a 2018 by-election and served as Minister of Agriculture and Forestry from 2019 until 2021, when he resigned amid allegations of drinking on the job.

          Dang out in Edmonton-South

          Independent MLA Thomas Dang announced he has withdrawn his request to rejoin the NDP ucus and will not run for re-election in Edmonton-South.

          The second-term MLA left the NDP ucus last December when the RCMP executed a search warrant of his house. It was soon after revealed that Dang had hacked Alberta Health’s COVID-19 vaccine records website. No criminal charges were laid but he has been charged with an Health Information Act breach and could face up to $200,000 in fines.

          Dang was first elected in Edmonton-South West 2015, defeating Progressive Conservative MLA Matt Jeneroux (now the Conservative MP for Edmonton-Riverbend) and was re-elected in the redrawn Edmonton-South in 2019. At 20 years old in 2015, he was the youngest person ever elected to the Alberta Legislature.

          Past city council ndidate and former Alberta Party president Rhiannon Hoyle launched her mpaign for the NDP nomination in Edmonton-South last week.

          And the UCP have opened nominations in lgary-Adia, the riding currently held by Justice Minister Tyler Shandro. Shandro served as Minister of Health from 2019 to 2022 and led the government’s controversial and disjointed response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ndidate entry deadline is August 5.

          The NDP have nominated Registered Nurse Diana Batten in lgary-Adia.

          I am?tracking ndidates and building a list of people running for nominations?to run in Alberta’s next provincial election. If you know of someone running, please post a comment below or email me at david.cournoyer@gmail.com. Thank you!

          (I am launching a Substack. Sign up at ?Daveberta Substack)

          Alberta Politics

          Megan Ciurysek wins NDP nomination in Central Peace-Notley, results of UCP vote in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake not yet released

          Grimshaw-resident Megan Ciurysek defeated Lynn Lekisch to secure the Alberta NDP nomination in Central Peace-Notley. Ciurysek is an analyst with the Government of Alberta. Ciurysek was raised on a grain farm near Berwyn, and earned a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Politil Science and a Minor in Fine Arts from the University of Alberta, and a Master of Arts in Politil Science from York University.

          The United Conservative Party has not yet released the results of the July 19 and 20 nomination vote in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, where MLA Devin Dreeshen faced a nomination challenge from pharmacy owner Onsy Tawadrous.

          Some more ndidate nomination updates:

          • Rhiannon Hoyle is running for the NDP nomination in Edmonton-South. Hoyle is the past president of the Alberta Party and the former president of the Heritage Point Community League, which includes the Rutherford and MacEwan neighbourhoods. She ran for city council in Ward Ipiihkoohkanipiaohtsi in 2021, narrowly losing to Jennifer Rice. The riding is currently represented by Independent MLA Thomas Dang, who’s involvement in a hacking sndal is making it look increasingly unlikely he will be allowed to run under the NDP banner in the next election.
          • As first reported on this website, former city councillor Jon Dziadyk was acclaimed as the UCP ndidate in Edmonton-stle Downs. The urban planner served on city council from 2017 to 2021, when he was unseated by Karen Principe (who was the 2019 UCP ndidate in the neighbouring Edmonton-Decore). The riding is currently represented by NDP MLA Nicole Goehring.
          • Teacher Michael Lisboa is the third ndidate to enter the NDP nomination race in lgary-North West. Lesley MacKinnon and Shiraz Mir?have already declared their ndidacies in the riding currently represented by UCP MLA Sonya Savage.
          • Gurinder Gill and Denis Ram are running for the NDP nomination in lgary-Cross on July 25.
          • The NDP have scheduled a nomination meeting in Edmonton-Gold Bar for September 17. Two-term MLA Marlin Schmidt is seeking re-election. Schmidt served as Minister of Advanced Edution from 2016 to 2019.
          • The UCP have set an August 2 deadline for ndidates to run for the nomination in West Yellowhead. UCP MLA Martin Long has represented the sprawling west central rural riding since 2019.

          I am?tracking ndidates and building a list of people running for nominations?to run in Alberta’s next provincial election. If you know of someone running, please post a comment below or email me at david.cournoyer@gmail.com. Thank you!

          (And I am launching a Substack this summer. Sign up at ?Daveberta Substack).

          Alberta Politics

          Nomination Updates: UCP races in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, mrose, and first NDP race in Central Peace-Notley since 1984

          ndidate nominations appear to have slowed down a bit over the summer, but four hotly contest votes are coming up.

          Dreeshen challenged in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake

          Pharmacy owner Onsy Tawadrous will challenge United Conservative Party MLA Devin Dreeshen in a July 20 nomination vote in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake.

          Tawadrous ran for town council in the 2021 Sylvan Lake municipal elections. UCP leadership ndidate Danielle Smith thanked Tawadrous on Twitter for organizing a 300-person event for her mpaign in Sylvan Lake on June 28.

          Dreeshen was first elected in a 2018 by-election to replace Don MacIntyre, who resigned after he was charged?with sexual assault and sexual interference.

          Dreeshen served as Minister of Agriculture and Forestry from 2019 until his resignation in 2021 after facing allegations of excessive drinking in the Legislature by a former ministerial chief of staff. He is the son of five-term Conservative MP Earl Dreeshen.

          Sylvan Lake town councillor Kjeryn Dakin announced her ndidacy in June but was disqualified by the party when it was revealed she also held memberships in the NDP and Alberta Party.

          First NDP race in Central Peace-Notley since 1984?

          Environmental scientist, registered agrologist Lynn Lekisch and Northern Alberta Development Council analyst Megan Ciurysek are seeking the Alberta NDP nomination in Central Peace-Notley. A vote is scheduled for July 20, 2022.

          December 8, 1984 was the last time the NDP held a contested nomination in this riding, well technilly in its predecessor riding of Spirit River-Fairview.

          At a 400-person meeting, School principal Jim Gurnett defeated Fairview school board chairperson Betty Marthur, farmer Dave Ross and college instructor Bill Stephenson to win the nomination to replace the current riding’s namesake, Grant Notley, who died in a plane crash in 1984.

          NDP nomination ndidates in Spirit River-Fairview (Daily Herald Tribune, Nov. 23, 1984)NDP nomination ndidates in Spirit River-Fairview (Daily Herald Tribune, Nov. 23, 1984)

          According to a nadian Press report from Dec. 10, 1984, many delegates at the nomination meeting credited a rousing speech Gurnett delivered for his victory in which he attacked the Tories as “Robin Hoods in reverse.”

          “We don’t need a government that increases taxes for ordinary people and then gives it back to the oil companies,” Gurnett said.

          Gurnett won the February 1985 by-election for the NDP in a close three-way race that saw the Progressive Conservative and Western nada Concept ndidates as runners-up, but he was narrowly defeated by PC ndidate Glen Clegg in the 1986 general election.

          The Tories would dominate the riding for the next 29 years, with the exception of near-wins for the Liberals in 1993 and the Alberta Alliance in 2004, until New Democrat Marg McCuaig Boyd won in the 2015 Orange Wave.

          Current UCP leadership ndidate Todd Loewen unseated McCuaig Boyd in 2019 after the Dunvegan-Central Peace-Notley riding was merged with the Grande Prairie-Smoky riding to form the current Central Peace-Notley riding.

          NDP race in lgary-Cross

          Gurinder Gill and Denis Ram are seeking the NDP nomination in lgary-Cross at a July 25 ndidate selection meeting.

          Gill is a two-time federal NDP ndidate in lgary-Skyview, improving the party’s standing in the north east lgary riding from 8 per cent in 2015 to 16 per cent in 2021.

          Ram is a student-at-law and founder and executive director of the Complete Complaints Foundation. He is also a former intern editorial writer for The Hill Times in Ottawa.

          The riding is currently represented by UCP MLA Mickey Amery and was held by NDP MLA Rirdo Miranda from 2015 to 2019.

          County Reeve challenging UCP MLA in mrose

          Jackie Lovely MLA mrose UCPJackie Lovely

          UCP MLA Jackie Lovely will face Beaver County Reeve Kevin Smook in a nomination vote in the mrose riding on August 4, 5 and 6, 2022.

          Lovely was first elected in 2019 after defeating four other ndidates to secure the UCP nomination in 2018 and went on to win the 2019 election with 65 per cent of the vote. She previously ran as the Wildrose Party ndidate in Edmonton-Ellerslie in 2012 and 2015.?

          Smook was the Alberta Party ndidate in the riding in 2019.

          And here is some more nomination news:

          I am?tracking ndidates and building a list of people running for nominations?to run in Alberta’s next provincial election. If you know of someone running, please post a comment below or email me at david.cournoyer@gmail.com. Thank you!

          (And I am launching a Substack this summer. Sign up at ?Daveberta Substack.)

          Alberta Politics

          lgary Stampeding: It looks like Danielle Smith is making a big comeback in the UCP leadership race

          There’s not much of anything that is constant in Alberta politics these days, maybe except for the lgary Stampede.

          At least in some non-pandemic years, it’s the Northern Star of Alberta politics. It’s the must attend event for politil aspirants of all stripes, from Prime Ministers to aspiring future Premiers.

          The Stampede is back in full force this year, with last year’s disastrous “Best Summer Ever” disaster unfortunately an almost distant memory, even though its a big reason why we are where we are today in Alberta politics.

          And for anyone watching the Stampede, even this writer from his perch in Edmonton, the race to replace Jason Kenney as Premier and leader of the United Conservative Party was on display as urbanites of all stripes dusted off their cowboys hats and plaid shirts for the week of panke breakfasts and beer tents.

          The big talk of the town this week is Danielle Smith’s unexpectedly strong comeback in the UCP leadership race.

          Jim Prentice Danielle Smith Alberta Wildrose Merger PCFormer Wildrose leader Danielle Smith and Premier Jim Prentice on December 17, 2014.

          Most politil watchers will remember her downfall after a treacherous floor-crossing nearly destroyed the Wildrose Party and helped created the conditions for Rachel Notley to lead her NDP to sweep the province in 2015. (Real politil nerds will remember her time on the disastrous lgary Board of Edution from 1998 to 1999, but that’s for another column).

          But what we politicos may have missed is that a lot of Albertans, including the thousands who have signed up to support her and are showing up to her mpaign events in droves, remember her from her more recent role as the host of a popular talk radio show.

          Smith has always been a talented politil communitor, despite some high-profile flameouts.

          She knows how to talk to conservatives, and it just happens there are a lot of those in Alberta.

          Danielle Smith United Conservative Party leadership event AirdrieDanielle Smith speaking to a crowd at a mpaign event in Airdrie (source: Twitter)

          It’s not clear how many UCP MLAs support her separatist-leaning “Alberta First” mpaign or her dipping into COVID conspiracy theories, but she has nabbed at least one endorsement from the governing ucus – Airdrie-Cochrane MLA Peter Guthrie.

          Smith hasn’t held a seat in the Legislature sine 2015 but she’s challenging MLA Roger Reid for the UCP nomination in Livingstone-Macleod. And recently she said she would reopen nomination contests?some party activists believe were unfairly stacked in favour of Kenney loyalists, a move that is unlikely to endear her to most current UCP MLAs.

          Her comeback would be the politil story of the year, and while Premier Danielle Smith is far from a sure thing, she is certainly driving the narrative of the UCP leadership mpaign. She’s tapped into a motivated group of Alberta conservatives unhappy with the status-quo.

          Those are probably the people Kenney referred to as “lunatics.”

          And they might just be the mainstream of the UCP right now.

          Even the perceived frontrunner is responding to Smith.

          Travis Toews (source: Twitter)Travis Toews (source: Twitter)

          Establishment favourite Travis Toews followed Smith’s lead with a milquetoast “Enough is Enough” social media meme opposing COVID-19 vaccinations. It’s not clear what message he was trying to telegraph.

          It was the kind of vague response you would expect from a frontrunner mpaign, wanting to respond and not offend but failing at both.

          Toews also released a list of autonomist policies that read like they were copied and pasted from 2020’s Fair Deal Panel report.

          Smith and Toews aren’t alone.

          Brian Jean is hitting the same notes, though he’s running a sleepier than expected mpaign. Still, Fort McMurray’s Golden Boy shouldn’t be underestimated.

          Independent MLA Todd Loewen is also hitting the same notes on separatist and anti-COVID health measures but his chances of winning appear much less likely than the others in this pack.

          Rachel Notley and St. Albert MLA Marie Renaud at the lgary Stampede.Rachel Notley and St. Albert MLA Marie Renaud at the lgary Stampede. (source: Twitter)

          Smith’s extreme positions are probably leaving Rachel Notley’s NDP salivating at the opportunity to run against an extremist right-wing UCP that would leave a lot of Albertans alienated.

          Two months ago, Notley’s victory in Alberta’s next election looked like a sure bet, but Kenney’s resignation announcement gave his party a bump in the polls and now it’s a race.

          Notley and her MLAs have basilly demped to lgary for the summer, showing up at every event and taking every chance to door knock with their growing slate of lol ndidates that includes former city councillor Druh Farrell in lgary-Bow, energy analyst Samir Kayande in lgary-Elbow, sustainable energy expert Nagwan Al-Guneid in lgary-Glenmore. nadian Forces veteran Marilyn North Peigan in lgary-Klein, and physician Luanne Metz in lgary-Varsity.

          It’s probably the closest thing lgary has seen to a Progressive Conservative slate since 2015 but the NDP still have a lot of hard work ahead of them to convince lgarians to vote for them en masse in 2023.

          But the UCP leadership ndidate the NDP might fear the most so far hasn’t been playing the same rds as Smith, Toews, Jean and Loewen.

          Rebec Schulz United Conservative Party leadership ndidateRebec Schulz (source: Twitter)

          Rebec Schulz is one ndidate to watch.

          The first-term MLA from lgary-Shaw and former children’s service minister had already nabbed an endorsement from Rona Ambrose but the former interim Conservative Party leader is now chairing her mpaign.

          Schulz also released an endorsement from former Saskatchewan binet minister and nadian Association of Petroleum Producers president Tim McMillan, who joined former Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall in supporting her.

          Schulz and her husband were politil staffers in Wall’s government before moving to lgary seven years ago and her husband worked for McMillan as VP Communitions of PP.

          It’s hard to tell where her politics are. Schulz seems more moderate than the rest of the pack, which isn’t saying much, but how much more moderate is not clear.

          Along with her politil establishment connections, Schulz might become a pretty appealing ndidate if there are enough UCP members left who don’t want to fight the next election on COVID conspiracy theories and Alberta separatism.

          At the very least, there might actually be enough Saskatchewan expats alone living in Alberta to win a leadership race.

          And I would be remise if I failed to mention the other ndidates who are also busy yahooing their way through the Stampede.

          Rajan Sawhney is running an outsiders mpaign, leaning on her years of business experience. She is also a ndidate to watch.

          Leela Aheer appears to be running for the leadership of a completely different party, but that hasn’t saved her from dirty tricks. Someone bought LeelaAheer. and is pointing it to an old Daveberta article about the nasty nomination contest she faced in 2018 (I don’t own the domain name, I swear).

          Raj Sherman showed up at the Stampede with a del-clad pickup truck and his mpaign has been making robo-lls, despite being told he won’t be allowed to be on the ballot.

          Former bank executive Jon Horsman is running.

          And, to no one’s surprise, Village of Amisk Mayor Bill Rock dropped out, citing the high $175,000 ndidate entry fee.

          It’s a dog’s breakfast, and really could be anyone’s race to win.

          There’s strategy at play, for sure, but as one experienced mpaign strategist said to me last week, when it comes to leadership mpaigns, a lot more depends on dumb luck than people think.

          The UCP has announced it plans to hold Official Leadership debates in Medicine Hat on July 27 and Edmonton on August 30.

          Alberta Politics

          Lawyer Andrea James running for UCP nomination in lgary-Elbow, former County Councillor Mara Nesbitt challenging MLA Michaela Frey in Brooks-Medicine Hat

          Lawyer Andrea James is running for the United Conservative Party nomination in lgary-Elbow.

          James holds law degrees from the University of lgary, the University of Houston, and a master’s degree in Tax Law from the Osgoode School of Law at York University. She is a founder and principal of Jamesco LLP, a boutique corporate and tax law firm.

          Current UCP MLA Doug Schweitzer has announced he will not seek re-election. The NDP nominated energy analyst Samir Kayande and the Alberta Party named lawyer Kerry Cundal as its ndidate. Before Schweitzer’s election in 2019, the riding was represented by Alberta Party MLA Greg Clark.

          Former County Councillor challenging MLA Michaela Frey in Brooks-Medicine Hat

          Mara Nesbitt is planning to challenge MLA Michaela Frey for the UCP nomination in Brooks-Medicine Hat.

          Nesbitt is a former County of Newell councillor, constituency assistant for a former MLA Lyle Oberg and is a member of the UCP board of directors in the southeast Alberta riding. Nesbitt was defeated by Arno Doerksen in a bid for the Progressive Conservative Party nomination in Strathmore-Brooks in 2008.

          The NDP nominated retired teacher Gwendoline Dirk and the Alberta Party nominated its leader and former Brooks mayor Barry Morishita.

          Prasad Panda nominated in lgary-Egmont

          Prasad Panda secured the UCP nomination in lgary-Egmont. The newly appointed Transportation Minister first entered binet in 2019 and was first elected as a Wildrose MLA in the lgary-Foothills by-election held after former premier Jim Prentice resigned on election night in 2015. He was re-elected in the redrawn lgary-Egmont in 2019.

          Panda previous ran as the Wildrose Party ndidate in lgary-Northern Hills in 2012 and 2015.

          The NDP nominated Julia Hayter as its ndidate.

          Horsman and Sherman jump into UCP leadership race

          There are two more ndidates declaring their plans to enter the UCP leadership race: former Alberta Treasury Branches Vice President Jon Horsman and former PC MLA and Liberal Party leader Raj Sherman.

          I am?tracking ndidates and building a list of people running for nominations?to run in Alberta’s next provincial election. If you know of someone running, please post a comment below or email me at david.cournoyer@gmail.com. Thank you!

          (And I am launching a Substack this summer. Sign up at ?Daveberta Substack.)

          Note: I’ll be taking a break over the next week and a but to enjoy the beginning of summer. Happy nada Day and happy July. It was a long winter but we made it, folks!?

          Alberta Politics

          Kaycee Madu survives nomination challenge from Slava Cravcenco in Edmonton-South West

          A few quick Alberta election ndidate nomination updates:

          United Conservative Party MLA Kaycee Madu fended off a nomination challenge from Slava Cravcenco in Edmonton-South West. According to a source the vote was 275 to 228 in Madu’s favour. He was the only UCP MLA elected inside Edmonton city limits in 2019.

          Brooks Arnd-Paul was nominated as the NDP ndidate in Edmonton-West Henday.

          The NDP have scheduled a nomination meeting in lgary-Cross on July 25, 2022. Denis Ram and Gurinder Gill are running for the nomination.

          I am?tracking ndidates and building a list of people running for nominations?to run in Alberta’s next provincial election. If you know of someone running, please post a comment below or email me at david.cournoyer@gmail.com. Thank you!

          (And I am launching a Substack this summer. Sign up at ?Daveberta Substack.)

          Alberta Politics

          Former City Councillor Jon Dziadyk considering a run for the UCP nomination in Edmonton-stle Downs

          Former Edmonton City Councillor Jon Dziadyk is considering a run for the United Conservative Party nomination in Edmonton-stle Downs.

          Jon Dziadyk Edmonton-stle Downs United Conservative Party nomination UCPAn observant reader shared a flyer promoting Jon Dziadyk’s nomination ndidacy that was circulated at a recent event in Edmonton.

          When reached for comment, Dziadyk said he has not yet filled out any nomination papers with the UCP and provided the following statement:

          “It is important for the different regions of Alberta to be well represented in government, and that includes Edmonton (woefully under-represented in the current government and, as a former city councillor, I see how that is not in Edmonton’s best interests).

          I live in Edmonton-stle Downs and hope that this riding is competitive to bring the best ideas forward. I do not want stle Downs to be taken for granted and so I am engaging with folks who are dissatisfied with both the NDP and past actions of the UCP. No party should consider any seat as safe and strong lol ndidates n have direct influence on government policy/opposition priorities and that conversation has already started.

          I hope that all parties put their best foot forward to have a direct and honest debate with the constituents on current matters and aspirations. I am willing to help the UCP in various roles and am currently in conversation with supports about if seeking the nomination is the best way in which I n contribute. No paperwork has been filed.”

          A planner and naval reserve officer, Dziadyk was first elected to city council in 2017 in an upset win over incumbent Dave Loken in Ward 3, but four years later was defeated by Karen Principe in the redrawn and renamed Ward tastawiyiniwak. Principe was the UCP ndidate in Edmonton-Decore in 2019.

          He endorsed Mike Nickel in the 2021 mayoral election.

          Dziadyk positioned himself as a champion of the north end during his time on city council, helping found the annual Top of the City soccer tournament and the “North End Hub” Facebook page.

          But he attracted controversy early in his term when it beme public that he planned to use $44,000 from his ward budget to pay his tuition for an Executive MBA program at the University of Alberta. After initially defending the expense, he apologized and promised to reimburse the city for the $11,000 he had already expensed for his tuition.

          The north Edmonton riding has been represented by Alberta NDP MLA Nicole Goehring since 2015. She was re-elected in 2019 with 45 per cent of the vote.?

          Alberta Politics

          Sharif Haji defeats MLA Chris Nielsen in Edmonton-Decore NDP race, UCP choose Sayid Ahmed in same north Edmonton riding

          Sharif Haji defeated MLA Chris Nielsen to win the Alberta NDP nomination in Edmonton-Decore.

          “As a immigrant, as a black person, as a Muslim person, and as someone who has spent years working in community building, I hope to empower voices that have not always been heard in the halls of power,” said Haji. “I believe that we n all be uplifted through our collective efforts and that government has a responsibility to address the needs of all Albertans.”

          Haji is the executive director of the Afri Centre and previously worked as for the provincial government’s departments of Health and Seniors and Housing. He has a master’s degree in public health from the University of Alberta.

          Edmonton-Decore MLA Chris Nielsen (center) at a demonstration with members of United Nurses of AlbertaEdmonton-Decore MLA Chris Nielsen (center) at a demonstration with members of United Nurses of Alberta

          Nielsen has represented the north Edmonton riding since 2015 and is the first incumbent MLA to lost their party’s nomination during this election cycle.

          And also in Edmonton-Decore, Sayid Ahmed has been acclaimed as the United Conservative Party ndidate. Ahmed is a manager in the provincial Department of Health and Vice President of Policy for the Alberta Advisory Board of the Conservative Black Congress of nada.

          Sayid Ahmed and UCP MLA Jordan Walker

          The Edmonton-Decore riding is named after former Edmonton mayor and Liberal MLA Laurence Decore, who represented the north end riding of Edmonton-Glengarry from 1989 to 1997. The riding was renamed in his honour ahead of the 2004 election.

          MLA Decore’s successors included Liberal MLAs Bill Bonner (1997-2004) and Bill Bonko (2004-2008), Progressive Conservative MLA Janice Sarich (2008-2015), and Nielsen (2015-present).?

          NDP nominate retired teacher in Brooks-Medicine Hat

          Gwendoline Dirk?was nominated as the NDP ndidate in Brooks-Medicine Hat. The retired school teacher currently serves on the Medicine Hat Police Commission.

          “All of the communities in this area face unique challenges, and that n change from town to town and even from farm to farm,” Dirk said. “We need folks in the legislature that are listening and collaborating with these communities to address the challenges they face, and I am confident I n be that voice on Rachel Notley’s team.”

          mrose UCP open nominations

          Jackie Lovely MLA mrose UCPJackie Lovely

          The UCP have opened nominations in mrose, where first term MLA Jackie Lovely is facing a challenge from Beaver County Reeve Kevin Smook. Lovely was elected in mrose in 2019 after running as the Wildrose Party ndidate in Edmonton-Ellerslie in 2012 and 2015. Smook ran as the Alberta Party ndidate in mrose in 2019.

          The UCP have also set June 29 as the date of the nomination meeting in Edmonton-South West. Labour Minister Kaycee Madu is being challenged by window and door restoration company owner and former champion Moldovan table tennis Slava Cravcenco.

          And in the neighbouring riding to the north, Edmonton-West Henday, the NDP are expected to acclaim lawyer Brooks Arnd-Paul as their ndidate at a June 29 nomination meeting.

          On the doors

          NDP leader Rachel Notley and Edmonton-North West MLA David Eggen were spotted doorknocking with ndidate Diana Batten in lgary-Adia.

          Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood MLA Janis Irwin and St. Albert MLA Marie Renaud joined Lethbridge-West Shannon Phillips at Lethbridge pride celebrations this weekend.

          UCP leadership ndidate Travis Toews was doorknocking with MLA Josephine Pon in lgary-Beddington.

          Toews mpaign did not respond to questions from the media about his stance on womens’ access to abortion services following the repeal of Roe v. Wade in the United States.

          Anti-abortion activist MP Arnold Viersen, celebrated the decision by the US Supreme Court last week. Viersen has reportedly endorsed?Toews in the UCP leadership race.

          I am?tracking ndidates and building a list of people running for nominations?to run in Alberta’s next provincial election. If you know of someone running, please post a comment below or email me at david.cournoyer@gmail.com. Thank you!

          (And, I know I’ve said this before but feel free to sign up for the?Daveberta Substack.)

          Alberta Politics

          A Mile a Minute: Michelle Rempel Garner out, Raj Sherman in (kind of), and UCP leadership ndidates debate Alberta autonomy

          Alberta politics moves at a mile a minute.

          Days after getting a waiver from the United Conservative Party to join the leadership race beuse she didn’t meet the 6 month membership requirement, lgary Member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner announced she will not join the UCP leadership race.

          Rempel Garner’s announcement comes less than 24-hours after Patrick Brown‘s mpaign manager quit to allegedly work on her mpaign and a poll put her at the top of the pack among UCP supporters.

          But it wasn’t to be.

          In a long statement posted on her newly launched Substack, Rempel Garner says the UCP is too much of a hot mess for her to lead.

          “…there have also been squabbles that have erupted in the pages of national media, public meltdowns, nearly missed physil fights, coups, smear jobs, leaked recordings and confidential emails, lack of consensus on critil issues, ucus turfings, people harassed to the point where they resign roles, and hours long meetings where members have been subjected to hours of public stigation,” Rempel wrote.

          Rachel Notley Alberta NDP PremierRachel Notley (source: Facebook)

          It was a brutal critique of Alberta’s main conservative party.

          She’s not wrong.

          Affable lgary-Fish Creek UCP MLA Richard Gotfried agrees.

          But while her criticisms are stingingly on point Rempel Garner doesn’t offer solutions to how to fix the UCP.

          In fact, she basilly reaffirms what NDP leader Rachel Notley has been saying for months: the UCP is too ught up in their own internal fights to do what’s right for Albertans.

          The UCP wanted Rempel Garner but the White Knight from lgary-Oklahoma will not be riding into this breach.

          And the ndidate the party didn’t want is in, well, kind of.

          Raj Sherman Liberal Party leader Election 2012Raj Sherman (source: Dave Cournoyer)

          Edmonton emergency room doctor Raj Sherman says he’s running for the leadership despite the party denying him the same waiver granted to Rempel Garner.

          Sherman is one of the most eccentric people in Alberta politics.

          He was elected as a Progressive Conservative MLA in 2008, was pushed out in 2010, and won the leadership of the Liberal Party in 2011.?Narrowly re-elected in his Edmonton-Meadowlark seat in 2012, he left the party before the 2015 election.

          He’s mostly stayed out of politics since then but in 2020 he spoke out about COVID-19 and last year he gave $4,000 to the Alberta Party.

          It’s no wonder the UCP doesn’t want him in the race.

          Sherman is persistent if anything, so he says he’s going to keep mpaigning anyway.

          Back in 2012, Sherman’s Liberals lost Official Opposition status in 2012 to Danielle Smith‘s Wildrose Party.

          Now Smith is making waves as a ndidate in this leadership race.

          She wants Alberta to ignore federal laws she doesn’t like.?She lls it the Alberta Sovereignty Act.

          She also promises to never again “lockdown” Alberta.

          Never mind that we ?never really had a lockdown during the pandemic, but her message plays well with an extremely motivated and well-organized group of conservative activists who oppose everything from face-masks to mandatory vaccinations.

          Ten years ago it might have been described as a bozo-eruption.

          But not today.

          Anything goes in Alberta politics, or at least in the UCP, so it would seem.

          Meanwhile, the perceived frontrunner and establishment favourite, former finance minister Travis Toews, is running a safe and low-energy mpaign.

          The most controversial issue he has tackled is opposing health safety labels on beef packaging.

          Toews’ mpaign held a rally just outside of Edmonton at the River Cree sino on the Enoch First Nation a few days ago.?Watching the live-stream it looked like a big crowd but there were still enough chairs for everyone.

          It was nothing like the massive barnburner put on by Pierre Poilievre‘s mpaign a few months ago to which all future politil rallies at River Cree will be compared to.

          Maybe safe and steady is the right strategy for Toews.

          It didn’t work for Jim Dinning or Gary Mar?but the old PC Party was a very different politil beast than today’s UCP.

          Not that Toews is immune from controversy.

          His mpaign co-chair?Grande Prairie-Mackenzie MP Chris Warkentin?was part of a group of Conservatives who welcomed anti-vaccine activists to Ottawa this week.

          The same poll that had Rempel Garner in the lead showed the top two issues on Albertans minds are the cost of living and health re.

          It’s not hard to see why.

          The price of everything has been skyrocketing, hospitals across Alberta are temporarily closing or diverting patients beuse of a nursing shortage crisis, and EMS is stretched past its limits.

          So what did UCP leadership ndidates gather online tonight to discuss?

          Alberta autonomy.

          Yeah, that’s right.

          Former PC-turned-Wildrose-turned PC MLA Rob Anderson’s Free Alberta Strategy group hosted the first online ndidates panel of the UCP leadership race.

          It’s too bad Rempel Garner wasn’t there tonight.

          She was the champion of the manifesto known as The Buffalo Declaration, named after Frederick Haultain‘s?never formed mega-Province of Buffalo – a century old bad idea that has recently reached mythil status in some conservative circles.

          Rempel Garner and 3 other Alberta MPs described?the Buffalo Manifesto as a final attempt to make Alberta an equal partner in Confederation. They said without it a referendum on Alberta’s independence is an inevitability.

          [Insert eye-roll emoji here]

          Sometimes it seems like the faster Alberta politics moves the more it stays the same.

          Michelle Rempel Garner isn’t the only person starting a Substack – sign?up for the?Daveberta Substack.

          Alberta Politics

          The race for UCP leader on the Cross Border Politics Podst

          As the United Conservative Party leadership race begins to take shape, I joined Chris Brown on his Cross Border Interviews Podst to talk about the race, the declared and prospective ndidates, and what impact it will have on Alberta politics.

          Cross Border Interviews with Chris Brown · Episode 393 – The Race For The UCP Leadership

          It appears that the UCP will allow lgary MP Michelle Rempel Garner to enter the leadership race, if she chooses, even though she has not had a current party membership for the full past six months as required (there is no doubt she is a committed Conservative partisan).

          A similar request for an exemption by former Liberal Party leader Raj Sherman was denied.

          Kenney’s retaker binet shuffle

          Outgoing Premier Jason Kenney announced a binet shuffle to fill in the spots left by ministers leaving to run in the race to replace him.

          Changes to the retaker binet, which will be in place until a new Premier takes office after the October 6 UCP leadership vote, include:

          • Minister of Environment and Parks and Acting President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance Jason Nixon becomes President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance.
          • Associate Minister of Status of Women Whitney Issik becomes Minister of Environment and Parks.
          • lgary-South East MLA Matt Jones becomes Minister of Children’s Services.
          • Minister of Infrastructure Prasad Panda becomes Minister of Transportation.
          • lgary-Currie MLA Nicholas Milliken becomes Minister of Infrastructure.
          • Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville MLA Jackie Armstrong Homeniuk becomes the Associate Minister of Status of Women.
          • Deputy Government Whip Brad Rutherford becomes Chief Government Whip and Minister without Portfolio.

          Unsurprisingly, everyone on the list is considered a loyalist, and a few, notably Issik, Milliken, and Rutherford, are considered vulnerable to strong NDP challenges in the next election.

          Issik, Jones and Armstrong Homeniuk have publicly endorsed former finance minister Travis Toews for the UCP leadership, who is widely considered the establishment favourite in the race.

          Alberta Politics

          Nathan Ip wins Edmonton-South West NDP nomination vote, Kjeryn Dakin challenging UCP MLA Devin Dreeshen in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake

          Edmonton public school board trustee Nathan Ip defeated business instructor Ben Acquaye, behavioral specialist Chand Gul, and?medil clinic executive director Ali Kamal to win the NDP nomination in Edmonton-South West.

          “We are in dire need for new schools in the growing areas of Edmonton-South West,” said Ip. “Edmonton-South West is one of the fastest growing communities in Alberta with one of the youngest populations and they deserve a representative that will stand up for them.”

          Ip was first elected to the school board in 2013 and currently serves as its vice-chair.

          His ndidacy was endorsed by former city councillor Michael Phair, former MLAs Bob Turner and Jim Gurnett, and former Alberta Party president Rhiannon Hoyle.

          Edmonton-South West is the only riding in Edmonton city limits represented by a UCP MLA, current Labour Minister Kaycee Madu, who was removed from his position as Justice Minister after it beme public that he personally phoned Edmonton’s police chief after getting a distracted driving ticket.

          Madu faces a nomination challenge from Slava Cravcenco at a June 29 ndidate selection meeting.

          Sylvan Lake town councillor challenges Dreeshen for UCP nomination

          Sylvan Lake town councillor Kjeryn Dakin is challenging MLA Devin Dreeshen for the UCP nomination in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake.?

          Dakin is owner of the Bukwildz restaurant in Sylvan Lake and was first elected to town council in 2021.

          Dreeshen was first elected in a 2018 by-election and served as Minister of Agriculture & Forestry from 2019 until 2021 when he resigned after a lawsuit by a former politil staffer alleged a culture of sexual harassment, defamation, and drinking at the Legislature.

          He is son of Conservative MP Earl Dreeshen, who has represented the Red Deer-Mountain View riding since 2008.

          The younger Dreeshan was re-elected in 2019 with 74.5 per cent of the vote.

          City lawyer wins NDP nomination in Red Deer-South

          Michelle Baer (source: Michelle Baer on Twitter)

          City solicitor Michelle Baer defeated former MLA Barb Miller and labour council president Kyle Johnston to win the NDP nomination in Red Deer-South.

          “Red Deer is the third largest city in the province, yet is often stuck between being considered a ‘big city’ or a rural area,” Baer said. “Red Deer deserves a strong voice in government to represent the distinctive issues this area faces. I’m excited for the chance to do the hard work Red Deer needs and deserves.”

          Red Deer-South is currently represented by UCP MLA Jason Stephan, a vol critic of outgoing Premier Jason Kenney, who was first elected in 2019 with 60.3 per cent of the vote.?

          Thomas Dang wants back in

          Edmonton-South MLA Thomas Dang (source: Facebook)Edmonton-South MLA Thomas Dang (source: Facebook)

          Edmonton-South MLA Thomas Dang wants to rejoin the NDP ucus after being told that no criminal charges will be pressed against him after he breached an Alberta Health website. Dang left the NDP ucus in December 2021 after the RCMP executed a search warrant of his house and he has been sitting as an Independent MLA ever since.

          Dang was first elected in 2015 in Edmonton-South West and ran for re-election when the electoral boundaries changed as Edmonton-South was created.?

          On the doors

          Sayid Ahmed and Jordan Walker (source: Sayid Ahmed on Instagram)

          Meanwhile, on the mpaign trail, NDP leader Rachel Notley was spotted at events with lgary-Bow ndidate Druh Farrell, lgary-Glenmore ndidate Nagwan Al-Guneid, and lgary-North East ndidate Gurinder Brar this past weekend. Edmonton-Rutherford MLA Richard Feehan was also spotted on the doors with Al-Guneid.

          Sherwood Park UCP MLA Jordan Walker was on the doors with UCP nomination ndidate Sayid Ahmed in Edmonton-Decore last weekend. The UCP have opened nominations in the north Edmonton riding.?

          Former NDP volunteers speak out

          Notley recently responded to criticism from former NDP volunteers that party staff have been heavy-handed with ndidate nominations and have treated volunteers poorly. Notley has promised an investigation.?

          There is no excuse for staff treating volunteers poorly, but in every party there is almost always some level of tension between the central party and lol constituency associations when it comes to ndidate recruitment and nominations.

          Constituency associations will have their lol favorites, including long-time volunteers, while the central party will be trying to build a province-wide slate of ndidates who could potentially become binet ministers and ridings in which to place those high-profile ndidates.

          When there is a lot of interest in nominations, like there is now with the NDP, tension and conflicting plans of the lol and provincial efforts n sometimes flare.

          Parties generally find a way to balance this out, but from time to time conflict bubbles out into public, as we saw recently when 15 former constituency presidents signed a letter raising concerns about the nomination process.

          The NDP need to deal with this issue quickly and decisively or risk it dogging them into the upcoming election.

          The other parties

          • Wildrose Independence Party leader Paul Hinman has been touring the province, recently making stops at party events in Drumheller, Morningside, Drayton Valley, Leduc, Springbrook, Red Deer and lgary.
          • The Green Party has formally opened applitions for ndidates for the next election. Green Party leader Jordan Wilkie has already announced his plans to run as a ndidate in Banff-Kananaskis . Party holding an election readiness town hall on July 17 in Edmonton.?
          • Lawyer Katherine Kowalchuk is running for the leadership of the separatist Independence Party of Alberta. Kowalchuk was briefly nominated as the Liberal ndidate in lgary-Signal Hill ahead of the 2015 federal election.

          I am?tracking ndidates and building a list of people running for nominations?to run in Alberta’s next provincial election. If you know of someone running, please post a comment below or email me at david.cournoyer@gmail.com. Thank you!

          (And, I know I’ve said this before but feel free to sign up for the?Daveberta Substack.)

          Alberta Politics

          ndidate nomination races heat up as UCP leadership race takes the spotlight

          The United Conservative Party leadership race is taking the spotlight but Alberta’s politil parties are chugging along with ndidate nominations ahead of a provincial election that is scheduled for next May but could happen anytime after the new UCP leader is chosen.

          As of today, the Alberta NDP has nominated 31 ndidates, the UCP has nominated 23, and two Alberta Party ndidates have been nominated.

          Here are the latest updates:

          The incumbents

          • Second-term MLA Lorne Dach was nominated as the NDP ndidate in Edmonton-McClung, the riding he has represented since 2015. “I will make sure that my community continues to have a champion in the legislature,” Dach said in a statement. “Alberta’s NDP has spent our time as Official Opposition listening to Albertans and what they need to build their future’s here. I am so happy for the opportunity to keep working for Edmonton-McClung, to ensure they have access to quality public healthre, good paying jobs, and n afford the roof over their head.”
          • Whitney Issik UCP lgary-Glenmore MLA ndidateWhitney Issik

            UCP MLA Mike Ellis was nominated in lgary-West and UCP MLA Whitney Issik was nominated in lgary-Glenmore.

          • ndidate nominations are now open in four UCP held ridings: Banff-Kananaskis (MLA Miranda Rosin), lgary-Hays (MLA Ric McIver), lgary-North (MLA Mohammad Yaseen), and Innisfail-Sylvan Lake (MLA Devin Dreeshen).

          The incumbents and challengers

          • UCP MLA Kaycee Madu will face a nomination challenge from Slava Cravcenco in Edmonton-South West on June 29. This is the first time in this election cycle that the UCP have allowed an incumbent to be challenged in a nomination vote. Madu currently serves as Minister of Labour and was removed from his previous role as Minister of Justice and Solicitor General after it was made public that he phoned Edmonton police chief Dale McFee after getting a districted driving ticket. Madu was first elected in 2019 with 44 per cent of the vote.
          • Sharif Haji Edmonton-Decore NDP nomination ndidateSharif Haji (source: Dave Cournoyer)

            MLA Chris Nielsen is facing a challenge for the NDP nomination in Edmonton-Decore from Afri Centre executive director Sharif Haji. Nielsen was first elected in 2015. A nomination vote is being held on June 24 and 25.?

          The challengers

          I am?tracking ndidates and building a list of people running for nominations?to run in Alberta’s next provincial election. If you know of someone running, please post a comment below or email me at david.cournoyer@gmail.com. Thank you!

          (And, I know I’ve said this before but feel free to sign up for the?Daveberta Substack.)

          Alberta Politics

          Race to replace Jason Kenney takes shape – Rajan Sawhney and Rebec Schulz join the fray. Will Michelle Rempel Garner and Raj Sherman be next?

          Hey there politics fans!

          The United Conservative Party released its leadership race rule book!

          UCP members will choose a replacement for Premier Jason Kenney?on October 6, 2022.

          It will cost $150,000 to enter the race, plus an extra $25,000 good behaviour deposit.

          Low rollers need not apply.

          It’s not just a race to replace Kenney.

          It’s a race to save the UCP from defeat against Rachel Notley‘s resurgent Alberta NDP.

          And the race is starting to take shape.

          The cowboy hat wearing former Finance Minister from Beaverlodge, Travis Toews, launched his mpaign last week with endorsements from 23 UCP MLAs, including Energy Minister Sonya Savage and Justice Minister Tyler Shandro.

          Savage and Grande Prairie-Mackenzie MP Chris Warkentin are co-chairing his mpaign.

          Toews is seen as the establishment favourite, which isn’t always a blessing.

          Just ask Jim Dinning and Gary Mar.

          Former Transportation Minister Rajan Sawhney launched her mpaign yesterday with a whistle-stop tour down the QEII, starting with media events in Edmonton, Penhold and Airdrie before ending at a +700-person rally in north east lgary.

          It was a strong kick-off.

          Sawhney’s mpaign is being run by well-known politil strategist and conservative thinker Ken Boessenkool, who worked as an advisor to former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former BC Premier Christy Clark.

          Her former chief of staff (and former Daveberta Podst co-host) Ryan Hastman is her deputy mpaign manager.

          Angela Pitt MLA Airdrie-East UCPAngela Pitt (source: Facebook)

          Airdrie-East MLA Angela Pitt is Sawhney’s mpaign chair.

          It’s an odd fit for a leadership ndidate who appears to be trying to position herself as a politil moderate (no word if South Tyrol-like autonomy for Alberta will be in her platform).

          Pitt endorsed Brian Jean for the UCP leadership 2017, and even have him credit for her entry into politics.

          This time she’s backing Sawhney.

          Jean is launching his mpaign at a hotel in west Edmonton tomorrow.?

          Autonomy for Albertans is Jean’s slogan, not Anatomy for Albertans, as this writer first thought he read.

          The former Wildrose Party leader launched his second politil comeback in last year’s Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche by-election with the singular purpose of defeating Kenney in the leadership review and run to replace him.

          He’s met half his goal so far.

          Another former Wildrose leader, Danielle Smith is also trying for her second politil comeback after a short and disastrous stint on the lgary Board of Edution in the late 1990s and as Wildrose Party leader from 2009 until she infamously abandoned her party to join Jim Prentice’s Progressive Conservatives in 2014.

          For many conservatives, especially those of the Wildrose-variety, it is a betrayal that will live in infamy.

          The leadership is only one-half of Smith’s comeback attempt.?

          She’s also challenging MLA Roger Reid for the UCP nomination in Livingstone-Macleod, which appears far from a safe-bet.

          Rebec Schulz United Conservative Party leadership ndidateRebec Schulz (source: Facebook)

          First-term south lgary MLA Rebec Schulz stepped down as Children’s Services Minister to jump into the race.

          Schulz wants to take on what she describes as “the boys club.”

          She has the backing of lgary City Councillor Dan McLean, Health Minister Jason Copping, UCP MLAs Michaela Frey and Jeremy Nixon, MPs Laila Goodridge and Stephanie Kusie, former federal Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose and former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall.?

          The Wall endorsement might seem odd, but he endorsed Schulz in her bid to win the hotly contested lgary-Shaw UCP nomination race back in 2018.

          The Saskatchewan native was a spokesperson in Wall’s government before moving to Alberta in the mid-2010s, and her husband, Cole Schulz, was a ministerial chief of staff in Regina (he’s now the Vice President, Communitions for the nadian Association of Petroleum Producers in lgary).

          UCP MLA Leela Aheer, who was ousted from binet for lling on Kenney to resign, is in and wants to “defeat the machines.”

          “I think Albertans will defeat the machines. They understand what the machine is. They’re frustrated with the machine,” she told reporters.

          She’s also facing a strong nomination challenge in her Chestermere-Strathmore riding.

          Northern Alberta UCP MLA-in-exile Todd Loewen also jumped into the race, as did Village of Amisk Mayor Bill Rock, another former Wildrose Party ndidate.

          But one of the big potential contenders, lgary Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner, is playing coy.?

          Maybe she’ll run. Maybe she won’t.

          Her text message reply to Press Gallery Dean Don Braid was “hahahaha!”

          Raj Sherman MLARaj Sherman

          And the hot gossip in politil circles today is that erratic former Liberal Party leader Raj Sherman is thinking about joining the fray.?

          Sherman was first elected as a PC MLA in 2008 but was driven out of that party and scooped up the Liberal leadership in 2011. He left politics in 2015 and returned to being full-time ER doctor.?

          He also donated $4,000 to the Alberta Party last year.

          So it’s a scramble. It’s a dog’s breakfast.

          And there could be more.

          We’ll know soon enough.

          July 20 is the deadline for ndidates to pay up if they want to stay in the race.

          The high-entry fee will quickly weed out ndidates who n’t raise enough money.

          August 12 is the deadline to buy a membership.

          No time for the two-minute Tories who wreaked havoc against the establishment ndidates in the old PC Party leadership races.

          The party is also organizing debates and attendance by all ndidates is mandatory.

          Stragglers will risk be fined or disqualified, or both.

          It’s no Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, but it’s bound to be entertaining to watch.

          Liberal Party seeks new leader

          The Alberta Liberal Party also announced that it will be holding their own leadership vote and choosing a new leader on September 25, 2022.

          Former party leader David Khan stepped down in November 2020 after failing to win a seat in the 2019 election, marking the first time since before 1986 that the provincial Liberals not represented in the Legislature.

          Party stalwart John Roggeveen has filled the spot as interim leader since March 2021.

          The race has no ndidates as of yet. The second place finisher from the 2017 leadership race, Kerry Cundal, is running for the Alberta Party in lgary-Elbow.

          And don’t forget to sign up for my Substack at daveberta.substack.com.