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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( the more I follow alberta politics , the more I realise there is never any good news for the ndp . one of there few new and high profile candidates in Calgary has suddenly dropped out of the race , this follows news from a couple weeks ago that 2 more mla's were also not running )

Citing health concerns, former councillor Pincott says he won’t run for NDP in next election

Sammy Hudes
Updated: December 31, 2018

Former city councillor Brian Pincott says he has decided not to run as an NDP candidate in the next provincial election. Postmedia Archives

A former Calgary council who was pencilled in as an NDP candidate in the upcoming provincial election has announced he will no longer be running.

Brian Pincott was confirmed to run for the party in the riding of Calgary-Acadia during a nomination meeting in late October.

He said Tuesday on his Facebook page that he no longer had the confidence he’d be be able to give the 100 per cent of himself needed to serve in public office.

Pincott cited mental health concerns for his decision to step away.

“As I look ahead to the coming election campaign of 2019, I no longer have the confidence that I can give the 100% of me that will be needed. Many think that this will be the nastiest, most bitter campaign in Alberta history, and I don’t disagree,” he wrote.

“I am no longer confident that I can be the candidate nor the MLA people deserve. The last several months have already been a very hard struggle with encroaching depression. As such, I have decided to step down as the NDP Candidate for Calgary-Acadia.”

Pincott spoke publicly about his struggles with depression for the first time in September 2017. He said after spending four years “struggling through the darkest and longest period I had ever experienced, I was at a point where I could share a bit of what the journey was like for me.”

“Following that bout, I was intent on developing strategies that would allow me to recognize when I was sliding earlier, and hopefully intervene earlier, before hitting rock bottom,” Pincott stated.

“This summer, I saw the signs. I reached out to my support network, and my doctor and I began working together again, adjusting medication etc. The work that we did in the summer gave me the confidence to be able to make the decision to put my name forward to be the NDP Candidate for Calgary-Acadia.”

In 2017, Pincott announced he would not run in the Calgary municipal election after a decade on city council, representing Ward 11. During his time on council, Pincott was an advocate for mental health, affordable housing and the arts.

The seat in Calgary-Acadia is currently held by Brandy Payne, the associate health minister, who said in March she wouldn’t be seeking re-election to spend more time with her family.

Pincott was first elected to council in 2007 with about one-third support after longtime alderman Barry Erskine unexpectedly retired, and Pincott held onto his Ward 11 seat following tight races in 2010 and 2013.

During his decade on council, Pincott worked on hot-button issues in his ward, including a methadone clinic that moved into Braeside and the southwest bus rapid transit project.

Pincott urged Albertans to “throw aside the divisiveness and invective, and enter into a conversation” with one another.

“That conversation needs to be founded in empathy, with a strong desire for understanding,” he stated. “Listen to the fears and concerns that run below the invective and hate. Let’s find a way to share hope, joy, and love with each other. We can’t wait for someone else to do it. We must start with ourselves and then demand it of our leaders.

I wish everyone all the best for 2019. As for me, I will continue to try to do my best.”


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( in the spirit of more bad news for the ndp , a Calgary mla has resigned suddenly , although she didn't plan to run in the 2019 election anyways , its still a blow to the ndp for her to leave before the election is even called )

'I want to make sure I have a clean slate': NDP MLA Stephanie McLean resigns

CP, The Canadian Press
Updated: January 4, 2019

Former Alberta cabinet minister Stephanie McLean has resigned months after announcing she wouldn’t seek re-election this spring.

Premier Rachel Notley posted Wednesday night on Facebook that she had received the notice from the Calgary-Varsity MLA.

McLean, who was formerly minister for the status of women and Service Alberta, announced in May that she would not seek re-election, saying she planned to pursue her law practice instead.

Notley’s Facebook post did not mention the reason for McLean’s departure four months before the provincial election.

In November, McLean, a first-term member, told Postmedia that she was on leave.

“I have notified the Speaker’s office. My leave is not politically motivated,” she said at the time.

McLean said the decision to leave now is tied to her considering an offer to return to family law.

“I want to make sure I have a clean slate going into my next opportunities,” she told The Canadian Press.

McLean says she has made peace with her place in provincial history as the first legislature member to have a baby while in office.

“(It’s) a bit odd,” she said. “I always wanted to do politics at some point in my life, since I was a kid, and never thought the thing I would be remembered for was having a child.

“It’s a bit of a mixed feeling because it’s not something that required my brain to accomplish, and yet it is my most memorable accomplishment.”

The Speaker’s office confirmed McLean resigned as of Wednesday, and that she had submitted notice of her absence in advance of the fall sitting.

The Legislative Assembly Act states MLA pay will be docked for each day in excess of 10 sitting days during a session that the member did not attend, unless the absence is due to illness or injury, bereavement, or public or official business. The Speaker’s office said if no provision is provided for an MLA’s absence, the member is docked $100 per day.

The reason for McLean’s leave was not disclosed. Postmedia requests for comment were not returned Thursday.

Before joining the legislature, McLean had started a small business, practising law and later partnered to create GTM LLP, where she practised family and criminal law.

McLean made headlines in February 2016 when she gave birth to son Patrick. It forced the legislature to revise rules to accommodate new working mothers.

The rules had to be changed to allow Patrick to join his mom on the front bench of the chamber. McLean’s husband, Shane, had to be nearby to help, but couldn’t get a legislature security pass because he was not a government member. Those rules have also been changed.

“The changes that came about as a result in the legislature . . . make having my very private life become very public worth it,” said McLean. “The stories that I’ve heard from women has really made it worth it.”

McLean joined cabinet in February 2016 but was shuffled out last June after she announced she would not be running in the next election.

Four Calgary NDP MLAs have announced they won’t seek re-election this year. In addition to McLean, Calgary-Acadia MLA Brandy Payne, Calgary-Northern Hills MLA Jamie Kleinsteuber and Calgary-Hawkwood MLA Michael Connolly have said they won’t run in the election this spring.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( even though Notley is an incumbent premier with every advantage one could have , she goes into the election as the underdog ? cause she is trailing in the polls ?

I'm not sure I buy into the idea an incumbent premier who's party holds every single seat in the city of Edmonton goes into the election as the underdog ?

if she is the underdog its only cause the ndp does not normally win in alberta not because of the actual reality in the alberta legislature )

Notley undeterred by polls as Alberta braces for election

By Graham Thomson. Published on Jan 2, 2019 6:07pm

'Based on Jason Kenney's record, there will be others willing to do some dirty work on his behalf.'

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley (Twitter photo)

According to the Chinese calendar, 2019 will be the Year of the Pig.

In Alberta, New Democrats are hoping it will be the Year of the Underdog.

That’s because 2019 will be the Year of the Election.

The provincial election — to be held sometime between March 1 and May 31 — promises to be much more than just a contest between the governing New Democrats and the opposition United Conservative Party.

This could very well be a battle that changes the political culture of the province.

It is a culture in which one party tends to dominate the legislature for decades at a time.

In 1935, the Social Credit won a majority government and clung to power for 36 years until being replaced by the Progressive Conservatives, who won 12 consecutive elections to govern Alberta for almost 44 years — a Canadian record.

In other provinces, politics is a pendulum swinging from one side of the political spectrum to the other. In Alberta, the arm tends to get stuck, usually on the right.

In 2015, the arm swung to the NDP for the first time, giving the conservatives whiplash, and giving New Democrats hope that maybe they were starting a new decades-long political dynasty.

If only…

If only the price of oil hadn’t collapsed in 2015, sending Alberta into a recession.

If only Jason Kenney hadn’t united conservatives under the aptly named United Conservative Party.

If only Premier Rachel Notley had been able to shepherd the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project to pump more of Alberta’s landlocked oil onto the world market and pump more royalty revenue into the government treasury.

New Democrats continue to live in hope they can pull the 2019 election out of the fire. The provincial economy is improving, and Alberta may well lead the country in growth this year.

Notley herself is relatively popular. But only relative to her party, that is.

The NDP is ahead in its home ground of Edmonton, but is lagging behind in Calgary and is so far behind in rural Alberta, you’d need a bloodhound to find it.

Members of the UCP, on the other hand, are so sure of victory, it’s a wonder they haven’t already set a date for Kenney’s coronation.

For them, the election will right a wrong committed by voters in 2015 — and set the stage for another long-running conservative government in Alberta.

Kenney is trying to keep a lid on his party’s confidence, to prevent it from boiling over into the old-style Progressive Conservative arrogance.

In a year-end interview with CBC, he also said he wanted a “respectful, policy-based debate in the upcoming Alberta election.”

And no doubt, based on Kenney’s record, that is exactly what he intends to do: put forward a respectful debate publicly.

But also based on his record, there will be others willing to do some dirty work on his behalf.

In the Progressive Conservative leadership race of 2016-17, Kenney’s opponents found themselves under vicious attack from right-wing trolls and groups. One leadership candidate, MLA Sandra Jansen, was so fed up, she quit the race and eventually crossed the floor to the NDP.

In the 2017 UCP leadership race, candidate Brian Jean, former leader of the Wildrose party, also found himself under attack from right-wing groups, as well as from another candidate in the race, Jeff Callaway, who joined the contest at the last minute and quit before it was over.

The suspicious dynamics of that race are now under investigation by Alberta’s election commissioner after several UCP members complained that Callaway’s anti-Jean candidacy was little more than a proxy for Kenney, and possibly funded by Kenney supporters.

Callaway has denied the allegation, but the whiff of scandal has given renewed hope to the NDP that the bloom is coming off the Kenney rose.

Notley wants the upcoming campaign to focus on her positive vision for the future, versus what she calls Kenney’s “false populism” aimed at “tearing everything down.”

She’s well aware she’s trailing behind.

“I have not been in any campaign where I didn’t start out as the underdog, and it typically worked out well,” said Notley. “I’m not at all uncomfortable being the underdog in the campaign.”

Notley is hoping 2019 will be a repeat of 2015 — the Year of the Political Miracle.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

something about the timing of Stephanie Mclean's sudden resignation seems off . it seems odd for an mla to just quit all of a sudden , when she could of stayed on as mla for a few months longer , unless she had wanted to quit sooner but had been told not to as it would of triggered a by election in a vulnerable Calgary riding

but by quitting now there is no risk of a by election , the seat just sits vacant for a couple months until the actual election is called . but had she quit back in May , when she first announced her plans to not seek another term , there might of been a by election in her riding

whats also odd is she hasn't even been in the legislature for some time , on an unexplained leave since November . it gives off the impression she hasn't done much since May when she announced plans to give . certainly has the looks and feel of an mla who stayed on just long enough to avoid a by election , but had wanted to quit all along

I had always wondered how the ndp had managed to make it thru an entire term without having to face even 1 by election in a riding that had voted ndp in 2015. well the UCP ( pc's and wildrose ) had to defend 5 seats thru the same period and they had a much smaller caucus

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alberta's UCP has the most confirmed election candidates so far, although experts say it doesn't matter

NDP says it's taking time to thoroughly vet candidates and will have full slate ready for election

Drew Anderson · CBC News · Posted: Jan 08, 2019 3:30 PM MT | Last Updated: January 8

There's still no election date, but at this point, Jason Kenney's UCP leads in terms of the number of confirmed candidates, while Rachel Notley's governing NDP sits in third spot after the Alberta Party led by Stephen Mandel. (CBC)


At some point before May 31, Albertans will head to the polls — and at this stage of the game, the United Conservative Party is way out ahead in terms of confirmed candidates.

But that might not matter.

As of Jan. 8, the UCP led by Jason Kenney had 79 candidates in place for the 87 electoral districts, followed by the Alberta Party (led by Stephen Mandel) with 52 and Rachel Notley's governing NDP with 32.

The Alberta Liberal Party, led by David Khan, and the Green Party of Alberta, led by Cheryle Chagnon-Greyeyes, each have seven candidates in place. The Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta, led by Derek Fildebrandt, has one.

"There are lots of indicators of election preparedness. This might be one of them, but I'm not sure it's the most important one," said Melanee Thomas, a political scientist at the University of Calgary.

"I mean, I would normally look at whether or not a party has the ability to spend to the limit. And I think all of the parties, like both the UCP and the NDP, clearly have this because we've got pretty good restrictions on how much parties can spend now."

Under Alberta's fixed-election-date legislation, voters must go to the polls between March 1 and May 31, with a 28-day campaign once the writ is dropped. When the fall sitting of the legislature wrapped on Dec. 7, Notley fuelled speculation about an early election call by refusing to commit herself to holding a spring sitting of the legislature — one that typically begins in February.

Possible reasons for delay

It's not unusual for a party to be short of confirmed candidates, particularly before the election writ is dropped, but Thomas says there could be some factors contributing to the NDP being behind.

She lists an NDP commitment to having more diversity, particularly more women, as candidates; a media narrative that paints the UCP as the predetermined winners; and what she says is a perception from some on the right side of the political spectrum in Alberta that they are entitled to be in power, versus a left wing perception that they are not.

Thomas, who focuses on gender in much of her research, says it takes more time to recruit diversity and that studies show women, in particular, are more likely to come forward the longer a nomination is open.

Currently, 15 of the 32 NDP candidates are women, while the UCP has 24 women out of its field of 79.

Roari Richardson, the provincial secretary of the NDP, said he's not sure there's a connection between the length of nominations and the desire for gender parity.

He does, however, say that is a goal within the party.

Contested nominations

Thomas also says the image of preparedness demonstrated by a nearly full slate for the UCP could backfire.

"The other thing I would say is that there's a potential risk associated with having all your candidates in place because they are known, and giving comment on things in the media, the possibility for the bozo moments goes up," she said.

Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt says the numbers don't necessarily speak to issues within the NDP, which he says has "been busy governing."

"The question comes down to election timing," he said. "I think if we were halfway through, you know, if the election was in two weeks, I think that would obviously be a problem. But there's still several months ahead."

Bratt said it was important for the UCP to get its nominations wrapped up early because it had more seats to fill, because it's a brand new party and because it was having contested nominations.

There's also a demand for those nominations because they're viewed as a sure path to a seat in the government, according to Bratt.

More candidates than ridings

Erika Barootes, president of the UCP, said there were more than 300 individuals who expressed interest in running for the party.

"Because we have so many contested nominations as opposed to appointments or acclamations that many of the other parties are seeing, we needed to start early in order to roll them out," she said. "Obviously we can't do them all at once."

She said it was important to be organized because the UCP doesn't get to determine when the writ will drop.

And as for the possibility of those "bozo" eruptions Thomas mentioned? Barootes said it was more important to have candidates out there and prepared, despite the risk of going off message.

Richardson says the NDP is taking a different view, ensuring it thoroughly vets those who will run under its banner. He says, like the UCP, the NDP has more would-be candidates than places for them to run.


He also couldn't resist going after the UCP and some of the controversies that have plagued its contested nomination process.

"They've raced ahead and in many cases they nominated people who clearly don't represent the values of the province, never mind the values of their own party, and it's cause them quite a bit of internal angst," he said.

The NDP has 22 nomination meetings listed on its website between now and Feb. 7. The UCP has two open contests listed on its site.

Richardson, with the NDP, says a total of 57 nominations have either occurred or are planned and there's another "15 or so that are almost about to be announced."​


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand why there was no early election call;

If the Governing party has only 32 of 87 candidates confirmed, even if they are resided to losing, there is no way you could drop the writ for a January / February / March election having more than half the ridings empty of candidates.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cosmostein wrote:
I understand why there was no early election call;

If the Governing party has only 32 of 87 candidates confirmed, even if they are resided to losing, there is no way you could drop the writ for a January / February / March election having more than half the ridings empty of candidates.

I guess that might explain why , although a lot of the ridings without ndp candidates don't really matter to the ndp . they know there is no possible way they'd win any of the rural UCP seats this election so it doesn't really matter who they nominate in them

(which might explain why the ndp is so obessed with wanting to reduce the number of rural ridings in Alberta and Saskatchewan , in alberta they already got rid of 3 rural ridings during redistribution ( which would of all easily went UCP ) and the ndp wants to do the same in Saskatchewan , with claims the rural areas are over represented )

the only ridings that matter to the ndp are the 54 or so ndp ridings which are mostly urban , really isn't many if any pick up chances this year , for them I'd imagine its just about trying to hold as much of what they have now as possible

looking thru Wikipedia a lot of there 32 nominated candidates are in existing ndp seats

the UCP on the other hand in theory has a lot more target ridings , nearly all the ridings with maybe the exception of a few core downtown ndp seats in Edmonton that would never vote conservative

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keith Gerein: NDP may regret being the tortoise as the provincial election race draws near

Keith Gerein
Updated: January 12, 2019

Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party have 79 approved nominees to run in 87 ridings in the next provincial election while Rachel Notley's NDP have only 36 out of 87 on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. Bill Graveland / The Canadian Press, file

In as little as three weeks, the NDP will begin to wage its first-ever election campaign as the defending champions of Alberta politics.

Instead of attacking the government in charge, Rachel Notley’s team will be in the unfamiliar position of defending its record, touting its accomplishments, and re-hyping a vision of the province grounded in four years of established policy.

Given the enthusiasm Notley and her supporters showed at the NDP’s convention last fall, you’d expect the party would be the proverbial bull in the chute, rarin’ to be unleashed for what is sure to be the fight of its political life.

While the rhetoric is sure ready to go, it’s less obvious that the party is prepared on a practical level.

You certainly wouldn’t know it from the NDP’s list of approved candidates to date.

As of Friday, the party website listed 36 officially endorsed candidates. That’s 36 out of 87 ridings.

For comparison, the United Conservative Party’s website shows 79 approved candidates, while the Alberta Party’s list sits at 53.

Even more concerning for the NDP is that the vast majority of its candidates approved so far are incumbent MLAs, who are already well known in their communities.

That means the party has yet to OK most of its rookies, the unknown political neophytes who theoretically need as much pre-election time as possible to meet and greet voters.

Similarly worth noting is that the NDP has spots filled in just eight of 26 ridings in Calgary, where the party must equal or surpass the 15 seats it won last time to have any chance of hanging onto power.

With an election that could be called as early as Feb. 1, you’d expect the governing party to be a little further ahead at this point.

The fact they aren’t is as good an indication as any that Notley will avoid a quick election call and instead drop the writ later in the spring.

It’s also led to speculation the party is struggling to recruit good people.

That’s a legitimate question, yet the party’s provincial secretary, Roari Richardson, insists there is no worry.

A mass of nomination contests have been scheduled for later in January and early February, he said, adding that the party is also making efforts to produce an election slate that is 50 per cent women.

The main reason more candidates haven’t been selected yet, Richardson said, is because of the party’s insistence on conducting comprehensive vetting of anyone hoping to fly the orange flag.

“I’ll be honest, in many cases our (constituency) associations have phoned me with a little bit of impatience saying they want this stuff to move faster,” he said. “But it’s important we are thorough. When I look at the nomination contests that have taken place with the UCP in particular, there has been quite a lot of internal chaos.”

In other words, it’s better to be the tortoise than the hare, because slow and steady wins the race. Or something like that.

Richardson has a valid point.

The UCP nomination process has produced an unhealthy number of controversies, some involving nomination hopefuls who were revealed to have dangerous views, and others involving complaints over the process itself.

That said, any comparison between the parties on this score has to take into account that the majority of the NDP’s nomination contests have been uncontested, whereas the UCP’s races have typically had multiple competitors.

In effect, the UCP has had far more names to vet.

Whether that extra volume is the reason for the controversies that have dogged the UCP, or whether the party attracts more extreme personalities generally, is a matter of debate.

I suspect it’s a bit of both.

Besides its candidate list, another potential area of concern for the NDP is its ground game.

Back in 2015, NDP supporters from around the country came to Alberta to help with the campaign. But given Notley’s fractured relationship with her federal NDP counterparts, she may not be able to count on similar assistance this time.

Richardson also dismisses this worry. Volunteers will show up again but, regardless, the party is in need of less support due to better finances and stronger constituency associations, he said.

Ultimately, it’s questionable how much the speed of nomination contests or extra fundraising is going to matter to the NDP’s re-election hopes.

Whether they admit it or not, the party’s strategy is going to rest heavily on its belief that Notley is the most likable, charismatic leader of the bunch.

Charisma does tend to win elections. But it’s hard to imagine that will be enough to counter the ongoing economic concerns and the fact the NDP will be facing a no-holds-barred Jason Kenney election machine that hasn’t yet lost a campaign.

In the end, the NDP may wish it had given itself more of a head start.

Because choosing to be the tortoise in this sort of race is an awfully dangerous gamble.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

UCP launches 'Alberta Strong and Free' campaign ads

Ads feature women, people of colour, running as candidates

Michelle Bellefontaine · CBC News · Posted: Jan 14, 2019 11:45 AM MT | Last Updated: 2 hours ago

UCP Leader Jason Kenney and former interim federal Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose appear with UCP president Erika Barootes and other nomination candidates in this scene from a new campaign ad launched Monday. (UCP)

The United Conservative Party launched its first television ads of the 2019 provincial election campaign Monday, with a strong emphasis on female candidates and a slogan borrowed from the provincial motto, Alberta Strong and Free.

The two 30-second television ads were launched on social media and will start appearing on television Monday. The first ad features testimonials from female UCP candidates Eva Kiryakos, who's running in Calgary-South East and Tanya Fir, who's carrying the party banner in Calgary-Peigan.

"Jason Kenney inspired me to join the United Conservative team," Fir says in the ad. "He has a clear sense of direction that our province needs right now."

One scene shows Kenney and former interim federal Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose smiling with a group of women, including UCP president Erika Barootes and candidates who ran for nominations.

"Together, let's renew the Alberta advantage and build an Alberta that's strong and free," a smiling Kenney says in the ad's closing seconds.

The second ad titled "Taking Alberta Forward" features more female candidates. In addition to Kiryakos, who makes another appearance, the spot includes Caylan Ford from Calgary-Mountain View, Sonya Savage from Calgary-North West, Rajan Sawhney from Calgary-North East and Lily Le from Edmonton-Centre.

Kacyee Madu, a lawyer originally from Nigeria and the UCP candidate in Edmonton-South West, also appears.

Travis Toews, the candidate in G rande Prairie-Wapiti, is the only white male in the ad besides Kenney.

The message delivered by the candidates is that the party reflects the diversity of the province and, Toews says in one ad, is "compassionate to those who need our help."

Jared Wesley, an associate professor of political science at the University of Alberta, studies branding in politics.

He says no other Alberta political party has ever used "strong and free" as a campaign slogan, even though the themes feature strongly in the province's political culture.

'Fairly safe choice'

"My own research we found that most successful premiers in Alberta history have played on that notion of Alberta being free — free from, in particular, external influences coming from central Canada and in particular, the Liberal Party when they were in power in Ottawa," Wesley says.

Wesley acknowledges some people may think the slogan is hokey, but that can be an advantage.

"There has to be a certain level of familiarity there that makes it hokey, and I think at this point it seems like a fairly safe choice by the Conservatives," he says.

The UCP says the slogan was one of 20 considered by the party. "Strong and free" emerged as the overwhelming favourite after it was tested on focus groups.

Nicole Williams, the UCP candidate in Edmonton-West Henday, said she thinks the message resonates across the province, including in suburban Edmonton.

"It represents a strong voice of our province within a united Canada and a place where people are free to pursue their aspirations and live their values," Williams said. "I think it's something that's reflected in communities and by people across the province."

The party launched the ads Monday. A party spokesman declined to say how much the UCP is spending but says the ad buy was "significant" and will target certain demographics in the province.

Premier Rachel Notley is expected to call the election between March 1 and May 30, the period in Alberta`s fixed-date election legislation.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( the ndp has decided to cling onto power for a little longer and now has a throne speech scheduled for March 18 meaning an election would not be until April at earliest )

January 15, 2019 4:45 pm Updated: January 15, 2019 6:39 pm

Election speculation swirls as Alberta NDP announces throne speech for March 18

Heide Pearson By Heide Pearson
Online Journalist Global News

Could Alberta be heading to the polls in mid-April? Speculation is swirling as the province announced Tuesday that the legislature will sit on March 18 for an NDP throne speech.

By law, the 2019 provincial election has to be held between March 1 and May 31.

Pollster and political commentator Janet Brown said the government has a few options when it comes to Premier Rachel Notley‘s March throne speech, the first being to hold the speech and immediately call an election.

In that case, the election would happen four weeks later.

Another option on the table would be to hold the throne speech, have a short spring session and then call the election, Brown said.

The third option, as Brown sees it, would be that the government has the throne speech, a spring session where they pass a budget and then calls the election.

“Running on a budget is a risky strategy,” Brown said. “If you look at recent history, Jim Prentice dropped a budget and then lost the election. Alison Redford dropped a budget and then almost lost the election. But if you look at [Ralph] Klein years, Klein was sort of more famous for doing a throne speech and not doing a budget.”

According to NDP deputy director of communications Shannon Greer, it’s not known yet whether the throne speech will mean a budget, adding that “all options [are] still on the table.”

Brown said that passing a budget before calling an election might be difficult for the NDP, as people will want to “dissect” the document, calling the government to account for some of its decisions.

“Also, given the current state of the economy it’s probably not going to be a good news budget,” she said. “I think a lot of people think there’d be a risk in dropping a budget.”

However, Brown said if the NDP doesn’t drop a budget, they lose their position to call for the Opposition United Conservative Party to drop a “counter budget” heading into the election.

Brown said she’s leaning toward the possibility of a writ drop to accompany the throne speech, meaning the election would happen on or around April 15.

“I don’t think the election would go much later than that,” she said.

Brown added she’s heard a lot of rhetoric around how important it will be for the NDP to engage young people and post-secondary students as campaigning becomes ever more a priority. Considering students are still on campus and in classes in mid-March, Brown said that could also be a catalyst for holding the election then rather than in May when students are back in their home ridings.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( although the UCP seems to be plagued with various minor disagreements , this mla leaving sounds like sour grapes as he had already lost the UCP nomination in his riding and wasn't going to be running for the party in the election anyways )

UPDATED: Drumheller-Stettler MLA leaves UCP party

Sits as Independent
Lisa Joy/
Jan. 15, 2019 8:30 a.m./

Drumheller – Stettler MLA Rick Strankman is leaving the UCP party and sitting as an Independent.

MLA Strankman slammed what he called the “hyper-partisan self-centred politics at play in Alberta” as a reason.

“Sitting as an independent removes me from the current undemocratic atmosphere that is being fostered,” he said in a release.

MLA Strankman was elected in 2012 and again in 2015 in the Drumheller-Stettler riding.

He said since the Wildrose and PC parties amalgamated “it is becoming increasingly clear to me that this is not including the grassroots principles of strong conservative Albertan values.”

Strankman, in a phone interview, said he will continue to work effectively.

“I want the constituents to know and be crystal clear their representation will stay absolutely the same and now I can focus directly on that without any party distractions.”

After Strankman’s announcement, UCP Leader Jason Kenney tweeted that it was disappointing.

Jason Kenney

Strankman said there are economic development opportunities in the riding that should be developed such as repairing roads towards the Saskatchewan border.

“They are in dismal need of repair. If (Alberta and Saskatchewan roads upgraded) there would be a marvellous economic opportunity between Saskatoon and Red Deer.”

The right has united under the UCP banner but MLA Strankman says “the even greater challenge is to stay together.”

He added these are trying economic time for Albertans.

“There is a lot of frustration in the province right now with the economy and negativity over the lack of production of oil and shipping thereof to create wealth.”

In addition, MLA Strankman said he disagrees with UCP Leader Jason Kenney singularly developing the UCP platform.

“I think that should have been left to the members, the Albertans to bring forward.”

READ MORE: UCP Drumheller – Stettler candidate Todd Pawsey disqualified. UCP members say in-fighting is handing next election to the NDP

MLA Strankman said he hasn’t decided whether or not he will run as an Independent in the next provincial election in 2019.

“I haven’t given that any consideration at this time. I think it’s more important to put my focus on the constituency and my direct representation to the constituents will be no different than under the UCP banner. My office, my staff will stay the same in that regard.”

Last September MLA Strankman lost the UCP nomination in Drumheller-Stettler to Nate Horner.

Former Tory MLA Ian Donovan left his UCP board in January citing “corruption and backroom deals” as a reason.

Calgary-Greenway MLA Prab Gill left the UCP in December and sits as an Independent. He called the UCP’s nominations “crooked and racist.”


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

January 16, 2019 7:05 pm Updated: January 17, 2019 12:21 am

UCP constituency office vandalized, MLA blames Alberta NDP messaging

By Dean Bennett The Canadian Press

UPDATE: Shortly after 10 p.m., on Jan. 16, 2019, the RCMP said charges are pending against a 34-year-old man in connection with the vandalism reported at a UCP office at about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night. The suspect has been released and is scheduled to appear in court next month. His name has not been released since charges have yet to be officially laid.

An Alberta United Conservative member is cleaning up after rocks were thrown through the windows of his constituency office in an act he says was partly to blame on inflamed NDP rhetoric.

Dave Hanson says sometime Tuesday night large rocks shattered the windows of his office in St. Paul, northeast of Edmonton.

No one was in the office and nobody was hurt.

Hanson says the office later received an email from a person claiming responsibility and apologizing.

A file photo of Dave Hanson, the MLA for Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills.

He says the person said the vandalism occurred after reading an NDP tweet saying Hanson’s party plans to give $700 million in tax breaks to rich people and in doing so would cut all supports for the severely disabled.

The United Conservatives say neither is true, and Hanson says the rock-throwing is a sobering reminder that angry rhetoric and fearmongering can lead to extreme actions.

“With regard to the incident at my constituency office, to be clear, I believe individuals are responsible for their own actions and do not mean to imply that the individual responsible for this vandalism is working on behalf of any party, nor that the NDP is responsible for this act,” Hanson said in a statement.

“That said, with an election expected soon, this incident should be a reminder for responsibility.

“Fearmongering and peddling false claims for political gain can cause undue distress when programs and services people depend on are being used as a political ploy.”

The rock-thrower said he was referencing a tweet from Social Services Minister Irfan Sabir.

The $700-million number cited is tied to a proposition that the UCP will reintroduce a flat tax on income should the party form government.

Premier Rachel Notley’s government eliminated the tax when the NDP took over in 2015 and replaced it with a system that sees high-end earners pay more.

UCP members voted at a policy convention last May to bring back the flat tax.

Party leader Jason Kenney has not committed to a return to the flat tax, although he has said there will be tax changes in the election platform — including an end to the province’s carbon tax.

With a provincial election to be called this spring, Notley’s New Democrats have ramped up criticism over Kenney’s promise to restrain spending.

Kenney has said Alberta can return to balanced budgets with modest spending restraint coupled with economic growth.

The NDP, however, says the UCP would bring in deep cuts that would hurt services and decimate the front lines in key areas such as health care.

Watch below: (From Jan. 14, 2019) The United Nurses of Alberta said that if the UCP take office, staffing could be an issue at the Calgary Cancer Centre. The UCP responded by saying the facility will be fully staffed. Michael King reports.

“We condemn all forms of violence and vandalism,” said Greer.

“There is a clear way for Mr. Kenney and the UCP to dispute that they’re planning to cut health care, and that is to commit to not cutting health care.”

Notley and other NDP members have already repeatedly used a statement from Hanson to back up their arguments.

Last September, at a candidates forum for the UCP nomination in Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul, Hanson was quoted telling audience members: “How are we going to get our province back on course? I’m sorry to tell you but it’s going to hurt. Will it affect you? It absolutely will.”

Hanson won the nomination.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( in desperation the ndp/liberals have now made bizarre claims that Kenney somehow broke living expense rules when he was in MP in Ottawa )

United Conservatives leader Jason Kenney disputes expense allegations while MP

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, January 21, 2019 6:47PM EST

EDMONTON -- Alberta United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney and his staff are firing back at a lawyer who is questioning Kenney's residential expense claims from his time as a cabinet minister in Ottawa.

Kenney's spokesman Matt Wolf says Kyle Morrow's suggestions are not true and he can't point to any rule Kenney is supposed to have contravened regarding having homes in two cities.

"Mr. Morrow has no case to be made," Wolf said in an interview Monday. "He hasn't shown any rule that's been broken."

Wolf called it an attack from a former provincial Liberal candidate meant to undermine Kenney as a provincial election approaches this spring.

"Mr. Morrow has certainly proven nothing other than injecting innuendo and sleazy partisan smears," he said.

Morrow, an Ottawa-based lawyer, has been sharply critical of Kenney in previous Twitter posts, particularly accusing him of working against or failing to support LGBTQ issues.

In recent days, Morrow has posted travel and expense documents on his Twitter feed and questioned why Kenney, while working as an MP, listed a Calgary home as his primary residence from 2013 to 2015 when flight records suggest he spent little time there.

"Jason Kenney was collecting around $900/month in secondary residence subsidies at the same time he was listing his address in Calgary as a senior's retirement home. Those subsidies were contingent on him permanently residing in Calgary," Morrow posted.

Morrow could not be reached for comment Monday.

Kenney has said he rented out part of his mother's home in a retirement village at the time to be near her and to help her out when he could.

House of Commons rules say that time spent living in a home is only one of many conditions to be considered for an MP to qualify to have a residence in a second city.

The rules state that as long as MPs have ties to an area -- such as paying taxes or having a driver's licence from there -- they qualify for the second residence.

Wolf said Kenney met those conditions in Calgary.

"If you look at the House of Commons rules, it makes it very clear that Jason checks multiple boxes to qualify for his Calgary residence as his primary residence," he said.

"He's been a Calgarian for over 20 years, either owning, co-owning or renting his primary home in Calgary. He pays his taxes in Calgary, he votes in Calgary, his driver's licence and health card are from Alberta."

Kenney has also said the Calgary housing expenses came out of his own pocket while he received about $10,000 a year allowance to subsidize his place in Ottawa.

Kenney, in a weekend Facebook post, said the allegations are false.

"Yes it is true that my work as a senior cabinet minister in Stephen Harper's government also meant I spent a large amount of time outside of Calgary.

"As a member of Parliament I was afforded the same living allowance that all MPs get for accommodation in Ottawa."

In his Twitter posts, Morrow also accused Kenney of lying to Elections Canada in 2013 by listing his home that had been sold by his mother the year prior.

Wolf said that would have been filed by a volunteer or someone else on Kenney's campaign and was likely to have been an honest mistake. He noted other filings at the same time gave Kenney's correct address.

Premier Rachel Notley's NDP waded in on Monday by alleging Kenney broke election rules in 2016 when he contributed $399 to Ontario's Progressive Conservative party while not being eligible to do so because he was living in Alberta.

"For somebody to have spent 20 years in Ottawa, claim that you're an Alberta resident, donate to an Ontario political party … and then say, 'Trust me to govern your province,' I think there are a lot of questions," deputy premier Sarah Hoffman said at the legislature.

Wolf said the $399 was a registration fee, not a donation, when Kenney attended the 2016 Ontario PC general meeting in Ottawa.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( another reason the ndp does not want an early election , could be money , the UCP has way more of it )

UCP donations nearly double NDP’s in 2018 as Alberta election approaches

By The Canadian Press — Jan 23 2019

CALGARY — Documents show Alberta's Opposition United Conservative Party raised more money in the fourth quarter of last year than the governing New Democrats did in all of 2018.

New figures from Elections Alberta say the UCP brought in more than $3.9 million from October to December, with a third coming from individual contributions of $250 and under.

"We see this as a sign of growing momentum for the party," UCP spokesman Matt Solberg said Wednesday. "This certainly helps prepare us well for the election, but there's a lot left to do."

The UCP, helmed by former federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney, raised nearly $6.7 million for the whole year.

The Wildrose and Progressive Conservatives merged in 2017 to form the UCP. Solberg said on top of donations, the party also raised $1.4 million through new memberships last year.

The NDP reported a 2018 total of $3.4 million and a fourth quarter amount of $1.5 million.

Roari Richardson, provincial secretary for the Alberta NDP, said the party beat its internal fundraising goals and the most recent quarter and year were both its best ever.

"It's a very good sign for us that our donations continue to rise. We're on an upward trend," he said. "It's a very good sign for us that donors are returning after 2015. When our candidates and our teams are out on the ground, the feedback has been tremendously positive."

By law, an election must be held in March, April or May of this year.

That means Premier Rachel Notley can drop the writ to start a four-week campaign as early as the beginning of February.

Last year the Alberta Party raised more than $594,000 and the Alberta Liberals raised $196,000. The Freedom Conservative Party, founded by former UCP member Derek Fildebrandt last summer, raised nearly $40,000 in the third and fourth quarters.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( an Ontario Liberal MP has decided to wade into the alberta election and non existent scandal around Kenney's housing claims from when he was an mp . I can rarely recall the government ever looking into the housing claims of a former MP , sounds weird to begin with )

Formal investigation into Jason Kenney's housing claims requested by Ontario Liberal MP

'I was fully compliant with all the rules,' says UCP leader Jason Kenney

Sarah Rieger · CBC News · Posted: Jan 24, 2019 2:00 PM MT | Last Updated: an hour ago

An Ontario MP has requested an investigation into Jason Kenney's residence expenses while he was an MP for Calgary-Midnapore. (CBC)


A Liberal MP in Ontario has formally requested an investigation into Jason Kenney's secondary residence expenses while he was an MP.

Recent allegations against the United Conservative Party leader have raised questions about whether he made a false housing claim and collected undeserved subsidies. Kenney disputes those accusations.

Jennifer O'Connell, MP for Pickering-Uxbridge and parliamentary secretary to the minister of finance, laid out her concerns in a letter she penned to the Speaker of the House of Commons in his capacity as the Chair of the Board of Internal Economy — the body that governs the financial and administrative matters of the House.

"The allegation that Mr. Kenney declared his primary residence to be the basement of his mother's home at an assisted living facility in Calgary, Alberta, and that Mr. Kenney was very rarely travelling to Calgary from his home in Ottawa raises grave concerns about whether Mr. Kenney's arrangement breached the rules," she wrote.

'Raises grave concerns'

The UCP leader was accused of claiming his primary residence was in Calgary while living in and collecting secondary residence subsidies in Ottawa.

"The secondary residence allowance exists so that Members of Parliament can both fulfill their Parliamentary responsibilities as legislators in the House of Commons, and remain present in their constituencies to help and support the Canadians they represent. However, it is important that this allowance be used fairly and properly," O'Connell's letter goes on.

House of Commons expenditure reports show Kenney collected secondary residence subsidies in Ottawa between 2012-15 of about $10,000 each year as an MP for Calgary Midnapore.

Kenney has said he would welcome an investigation into his spending.

"I was fully compliant with all the rules. That was confirmed for me by my pay and benefits advisor with House of Commons administration," he said. "I'm absolutely certain they'll find there is nothing inappropriate."

He wrote on Twitter that the accusation comes from a Liberal government that would prefer to see the NDP rather than the UCP win in the next election.

O'Connell said she's concerned by claims that Kenney was not actually living at the retirement home, though he was receiving money for having a second residence in Ottawa.

"If you're not living where you say you live, then you wouldn't be entitled to those things," she said.

"I think it's just best to have an independent investigation go through and verify the facts."

Lawyer and political activist Kyle Morrow, who once ran for the Alberta Liberals in 2012, also requested an investigation, after first raising the allegation against Kenney on social media. He said he's faced harassment and a death threat since making the accusation.

House of Commons rules state that a member's primary residence must fit one or more of a set of criteria, which include:
•The primary residence is occupied by the member more often than any other residence.
•The primary residence is where the member most frequently resides on weekends and holidays.
•The primary residence is the one declared on the member's income tax return and is located in the province where the member votes and pays income tax.
•The primary residence is in the province or territory where the member has public health coverage, and where the member's driver's licence is issued and vehicle registered.

The rules state that, in a situation where both residences could qualify as a primary residence, MPs should consult Financial Management Operations for advice.

The Board of Internal Economy told CBC News it does not comment on matters concerning individual MPs, current or former. When a request for an investigation is received, the board reviews matters as required, it said.

Political scientist Lori Williams has told CBC News that, while it doesn't look like Kenney technically took advantage of taxpayers, the optics of the situation could cause problems heading into the upcoming spring election.

'Albertans want to know': Notley

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley took a jab at the allegation during a speech to Edmonton's Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.

"I don't think we Edmontonians say it enough, but we all know it to be true — we are so lucky to live here. In fact, it's my primary residence," she said, to laughs and some gasps from the crowd.

Notley also addressed the call for investigation in a scrum following the event.

"I think that all Albertans want to know that when their public servants take advantage of taxpayer-supported benefits, they're doing it for the purposes and the principles that were behind the provision of those taxpayer benefits, [and] they're not, you know, swimming through loopholes," she said.

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Is Alberta headed for an early provincial election ?

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