MPs stake their claims to new Central Alberta ridings

The redrawn federal riding map has raised questions about who will run to represent which riding in Central Alberta. The most noticeable change for parliamentary constituencies will be the splitting of Red Deer into two federal ridings, with Ross Street and the Red Deer River cutting the city in two, creating the Red Deer-Wolf Creek and Red Deer-Mountain View ridings.

The redrawn federal riding map has raised questions about who will run to represent which riding in Central Alberta.

The most noticeable change for parliamentary constituencies will be the splitting of Red Deer into two federal ridings, with Ross Street and the Red Deer River cutting the city in two, creating the Red Deer-Wolf Creek and Red Deer-Mountain View ridings.

Red Deer-Wolf Creek takes up much of the existing Wetaskiwin riding, which is currently represented by Conservative MP Blaine Calkins, who lives in Lacombe.

The new riding includes Lacombe and Ponoka, but does not include the municipality of Wetaskiwin. To the west, it includes Bentley, Eckville and Sylvan Lake. To the east, it includes Alix.

Calkins said he would run in the newly-created Red Deer-Wolf Creek.

“I am proud of my Central Alberta roots, having lived and worked in communities such as Red Deer, Sylvan Lake, Blackfalds and Lacombe,” said Calkins. “It is a natural fit for me to continue to serve the hard-working taxpayers of Central Alberta in the newly created constituency.”

While Wetaskiwin won’t be in the new riding, until 2015 Calkins said he will continue to represent and work for the people of that municipality and area. The next federal election will take place in 2015.

The other new Red Deer riding, Red Deer-Mountain View, includes much of the old Red Deer riding, but grows southward to include Olds, Didsbury, Carstairs and Sundre.

Current Red Deer Conservative MP Earl Dreeshen was unavailable for comment on his intentions.

The founding meeting for the Conservative Party of Canada’s constituency association for the Red Deer-Mountain View riding is scheduled for Dec. 7 at 10 a.m.

Airdrie-based Conservative MP Blake Richards, who represents the Wild Rose riding, hasn’t made up his mind about his political future.

“I will announce a decision about where I intend to run sometime next year. In the meantime, I remain focused on representing the constituents of Wild Rose constituency to the best of my abilities.”

The old riding of Wild Rose, which includes Olds and Didsbury, will be broken into the new Yellowhead and Banff-Aidrie ridings.

In east Central Alberta, the old Crowfoot riding becomes Battle River-Crowfoot and includes Three Hills, Trochu and Stettler. Current MP Kevin Sorenson, also the minister of state for Finance, did not respond by deadline.

Rocky Mountain House will move from the Wetaskiwin riding to Yellowhead, which includes Jasper, Hinton, Edson, Caroline and Nordegg. Current Yellowhead MP Rob Merrifield, who was born in Whitecourt and has represented the riding since 2000, said he intends to run in the riding again.

Alberta stands to gain six ridings as a result of the redistricting, with both Edmonton and Calgary getting new ridings.

While Red Deer is now split into two urban-rural divided ridings, the cities of Lethbridge and Medicine Hat are contained in single ridings, although both have rural parts to their respective ridings.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

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