New ridings, political shift add spice to upcoming federal election

The seeking, vetting and choosing of federal election candidates is well underway in Central Alberta.

The seeking, vetting and choosing of federal election candidates is well underway in Central Alberta.

Voters can expect to see the stumping begin in earnest for the Oct. 19 election soon after they are back from summer vacations.

This election is already promising to come with some added spice because of several factors.

All of the five electoral boundaries that cover Central Alberta have been redrawn and all but one of the ridings will have a new name come the election.

The current ridings of Red Deer, Crowfoot, Wetaskiwin, Wildrose and Yellowhead will be known as Red Deer-Lacombe, Red Deer-Mountain View, Battle River-Crowfoot, Edmonton-Wetaskiwin and Yellowhead.

The relatively unknown Libertarian Party of Canada will field at least one Central Alberta candidate. Among other things, the party’s more controversial platforms include repealing the Canada Health Act and leaving health care entirely in the hands of the province and territories; allowing provinces to choose private health care; legalizing sex work and cannabis; and removing “the prohibitions and legislative obstacles for the ownership of guns by peaceful citizens for the purposes of recreation, self-defence and hunting.”

And last but not least, the federal New Democratic Party is seeing renewed interest in local nominations following the successful election of the provincial NDPs on May 5.

The Central Alberta federal election candidates who have been nominated so far include:

Red Deer-Lacombe: Conservative Blaine Calkins (incumbent); Jeff Rock, Liberals.

Red Deer-Mountain View: Conservative Earl Dreeshen (incumbent); Evan Bedford, Green; James Walper, Libertarian.

Battle River-Crowfoot: Conservative Kevin Sorenson (incumbent); Gary Kelly, Green.

Edmonton-Wetaskiwin: Mike Lake, Conservative; Joy Hudon, Green; Jacqueline Biollo, Liberal.

Yellowhead: Jim Eglinski, Conservative; Cory Lystang, Libertarian; Ryan Maguhn, Liberal.

Nomination dates have still to be set by the various parties.

Stephen Merredew, president of the Red Deer-Mountain View NDP constituency association, said on Tuesday that a lot of interest has been generated in the party since the provincial election and he is expecting there will be a nomination vote for both Red Deer ridings.

Already two people have declared their intention to seek a local NDP nomination. Local public school board trustee Dianne Macaulay is seeking the nomination for Red Deer-Mountain View.

Katharine Swampy, from Maskwacis, has just graduated with a bachelor of arts with a major in economics and a minor in political science from the University of Alberta. She ran unsuccessfully in the provincial election as the NDP candidate for Drayton Valley-Devon.

Merredew said no less than eight people have approached him, interested in the NDP nomination for Red Deer-Mountain View since the provincial election. Potential candidates have to be vetted by the party first, he said.

In the spring, the party had no candidates yet federally, although the party had approached some people, Merredew said.

They are giving people time to sell memberships and while no date has been set for the NDP nominations locally, they are looking at late July, he said.

In Alberta alone, he said there have been more than 100 people wanting to seek an NDP nomination. A handful are already finalized but most aren’t. There are 34 federal ridings in Alberta.

NDP nominations in both Red Deer ridings will most likely be contested, he said.

barr@bprda.wpengine.com