While the Progressive Conservative and Wildrose nomination rivers have risen quickly in Central Alberta, the other parties are paddling along in a much slower pace. So far.
Speculation continues that given Alberta’s slowing economy, Premier Jim Prentice is expected to call a snap provincial election soon after March 15 — the date he wants all PC nominations in Alberta’s 87 constituencies to be completed.
The deadline for all Wildrose nominations to be in is today. The Liberals have set March 1 as the nomination deadline.
There are seven constituencies in Central Alberta — Red Deer North, Red Deer South, Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, Lacombe-Ponoka, Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills, Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre and Drumheller-Stettler.
All of the constituencies have PC nomination dates and candidates, and all except one constituency could see a constituency membership vote if the candidates are all accepted. Red Deer South is the only constituency so far with just one person seeking the PC nomination.
Wildrose has either candidates chosen or nominations being sought in five of the seven Central Alberta constituencies.
The other parties for the most part have not named either confirmed candidates or nomination candidates.
The latest person to declare they want to be nominated is Norm Wiebe, who wants the Wildrose Party’s nod to run in Red Deer North. No one else has declared publicly they also want the nomination.
Wiebe, 50, is a financial planner in Red Deer, and has lived most of his life in the city aside from a few years in the military.
A longtime member of the party, and having worked on Red Deer North and South constituency associations, he decided to put his name forward with the possibility of an election looming.
He was very disappointed when 11 members of the Wildrose Party crossed the floor to the PCs late last year.
“It made the appearance of democracy shrivelling even more abundant … it started to really bother me. … I’ve been promoting certain ideas so I decided it’s time to put your money where your mouth is.”
Also in Red Deer North, Michael Dawe is still gathering input about whether to run in Red Deer North under a cross-partisan alliance of the Alberta, Liberal and Green parties.
He could run as an independent, endorsed by several parties, or under one party name, endorsed by other parties.
About 15 people in Alberta are talking about running as cross-endorsed candidates, Dawe said.
While he can have election literature that he is a cross-endorsed candidate, on the ballot he has to be named as representing one party or as an independent.
He said his preference, if he does run, is as independent, endorsed by several other parties.
But he also said there’s a lot of leg work to be done yet on the cross-endorsement and there needs to be a grassroots buy-in to the idea.
At the same time, he said that the biggest plurality of people he has talked to have said they are probably not even going to vote and are feeling totally disengaged.
Dawe also said that if he were elected, he would bind himself legally to being recalled by voters even though it’s not a requirement in Alberta.