daveberta.ca - Alberta politics blog: alberta candidate nomination update – september 2011 (part 2)

I have updated the list of declared and nominated candidates standing in the next provincial election.

Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater: At a nomination meeting scheduled for September 26, former Liberal caucus staffer turned NDP activist Mandy Melnyk will face Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3550 President Trudy Grebenstein for the NDP nomination.

Calgary-Bow: Former Alderman and mayoral candidate Joe Connelly has joined the Wildrose nomination contest. Also contesting the nomination are Tim Dyck and John Hilton-O’Brien.

Calgary-Buffalo: Mount Royal University Professor Lee Easton has withdrawn his name as the Alberta Party candidate in this constituency. Mr. Easton was a candidate for the Alberta Party leadership earlier this year.

Calgary-Currie: Businessman Norval Horner is seeking the Liberal nomination. Mr. Horner is a distant cousin to Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Doug Horner. The Liberals held this constituency until 2010, when two-term MLA Dave Taylor left to sit as an Independent. He later joined the Alberta Party and recently announced he would not be seeking re-election.

Calgary-East: Robin Luff was nominated as the NDP candidate at a joint-nomination meeting on September 5.

Calgary-Fort: Kirk Oates was nominated as the NDP candidate at a joint-nomination meeting on September 5. Mr. Oates was the federal NDP candidate in Calgary-Southeast in the 2011 federal election.

Calgary-Greenway: Al Brown was nominated as the NDP candidate at a joint-nomination meeting on September 5. Mr. Brown has run for the NDP on numerous occasions, including as their candidate in Calgary-East in the recent federal election.

Calgary-McCall: Collette Singh was nominated as the NDP candidate at a joint-nomination meeting on September 5. Ms. Singh was her party’s candidate in Calgary-Northeast in the recent federal election.

Calgary-Varsity: Cynthia Caldwell was nominated as the NDP candidate at a joint-nomination meeting on September 5.

Cardston-Taber-Warner: On September 17, businessman Doug Cooper and Village of Sterling Deputy Mayor Gary Bikman will contest the Wildrose nomination. Former nomination candidate David Wright withdrew his name from the contest and endorsed Mr. Bikman. The constituency was represented by Wildrose MLA Paul Hinman from 2004 until 2008 (Mr. Hinman now represents Calgary-Glenmore).

Drumheller-Stettler – What was originally shaping up to be a five person Wildrose nomination contest has dwindled down to a two person race. Still left in the contest are Rick Strankman and Doug Wade. The three other candidates, Dave France, Chris Warwick, and Patrick Turnbull, dropped out of the race when they did not meet the necessary qualifications required by their party.

Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview: Businessman Don Martin is seeking the Wildrose nomination.

Edmonton-Decore: Real Estate agent Ed Ammar is the nominated Liberal candidate in the constituency named for former Liberal Party leader Laurence Decore. Liberal MLAs Mr. Decore, Bill Bonner, and Bill Bonko represented the area from 1989 until 2008, when former School Board Trustee Janice Sarich captured it for the PCs.

Edmonton-Ellerslie: Community activist Chinwe Okelu is seeking the Alberta Party nomination. founder of Young and Associates, an Edmonton-based company that facilitates mediation and negotiations. He has run for City Council numerous times and his connections as a former Liberal Party supporter will create an interesting dynamic in this contest, in which former MLA Bharat Agnihotri is also running.

Edmonton-Glenora: Former NDP MLA Ray Martin is seeking his party’s nomination in this constituency. He was his party’s leader from 1984 until 1994, Mr. Martin was the MLA for Edmonton-Norwood from 1982 until 1993 and Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview from 2004 until 2008. He has also ran for federal office in 1997, 2000, 2008, and 2011.

Edmonton-Mill Creek: Mike Butler is seeking the Liberal nomination. Mr. Butler ran for the federal Liberals in Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont in the 2011 election and for the NDP in the same federal riding in the 2008 election. He also ran for the NDP in Edmonton-Rutherford in the 2008 provincial election.

Lethbridge-West: Activist and writer Shannon Phillips defeated James Moore to capture the NDP nomination on September 11. Ms. Phillips has received high-profile endorsements from Stephen Lewis and Naomi Klein.

St. Albert: Local businessman Tim Osborne was acclaimed as the Alberta Party candidate.

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics blog: alberta candidate nomination updates – july 2011.

Airdrie – Former City of Airdrie Mayor Linda Bruce told the Airdrie Echo that she has been approached to run for the Progressive Conservative nomination. Ms. Bruce served two-terms as Mayor before being unseated by Peter Brown in October 2010. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Creative Airdrie. The constituency is currently represented by Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson.

Banff-Cochrane: Former Rockyview School District Trustee Trudy Hauser was acclaimed as as Wildrose candidate, which is not sitting well among some Wildrose supporters in the constituency. The group, including interested candidate Paul Rugglestold the Cochrane Eagle that they felt the nomination selection was ‘closed-door process.’

Lee Easton Calgary Buffalo Alberta Party candidate

Lee Easton

Calgary-Buffalo: Mount Royal University Professor and recent Alberta Party leadership candidate Lee Easton is seeking his party’s nomination in this downtown Calgary riding. Seeking the Wildrose nomination is the former host of 770AMs Calgary Today Mike Blanchard.

Calgary-Klein: Jeremy Nixon defeated former separatist leader Cory Morgan for the Wildrose nomination.

Calgary-Mountain View: Outgoing Liberal Party leader David Swann was nominated as his party’s candidate. Dr. Swann was first elected to represent the constituency in 2004 and was handily re-elected in 2008.

Edmonton-Manning: Catholic School District Trustee Cindy Olsen was nominated as the NDP candidate.

Lethbridge-East: Kent Prestage was nominated as the Wildrose candidate. Mr. Prestage was the campaign manager for former Lethbridge MP Rick Casson and made an unsuccessful run for the Conservative Party nomination when Mr. Casson retired earlier this year.

Innisfail-Sylvan LakeKerry Towle defeated Rod English to become the Wildrose candidate. Penhold Town Councilllor Danielle Klooster has been acclaimed as the Alberta Party candidate.

Ken Lemke Stony Plain PC candidate Election

Ken Lemke

Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills: Carstairs-based accountant William Stevenson is the first candidate to enter the nomination contest to replace retiring PC MLA Richard Marz. The PC nomination contest is expected to attract a crowded field.

Stony Plain: Two candidates have stepped up to retiring PC MLA Fred Lindsay. Town of Stony Plain Mayor Ken Lemke was the first to enter the nomination contest to replace Mr. Lindsay, who has represented the constituency since 2004. Constituency Manager Lorna Wolodko entered this week. Arlin Biffert is the nominated Liberal candidate.

Wetaskiwin-Camrose: Camrose County Councillor Trevor Miller defeated Tim Essington and Orest Werezak to become the Wildrose candidate. Mr. Werezak was the Wildrose Alliance candidate in Battle River-Wainwright in 2004 election and was the Federal Liberal candidate Crowfoot in the 2000 federal election.

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics blog: recap: alberta party leadership convention.

Outgoing Alberta Party interim leader Sue Huff sang a tongue-in-cheek rendition of "Over the rainbow" to participants at the Alberta Party leadership convention at Edmonton's Shaw Conference Centre on May 28, 2011. Over 300 people attended the Alberta Party leadership convention.

Over 300 people attended the Alberta Party leadership convention.

The Alberta Party held their leadership convention on May 27 and 28 at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton and I attended as a member from the Edmonton-Centre constituency. Despite my reservations about the low-key leadership contest, I was impressed with the quality, organization, and positive energy of the event, which drew over 300 attendees from across the province.

Hinton Mayor Glenn Taylor was selected as leader of the Alberta Party on the first ballot at the May 28, 2011 leadership convention at Edmonton's Shaw Conference Centre.

Glenn Taylor was elected on the first ballot.

Hinton Mayor Glenn Taylor was elected leader by earning 55% support on the first ballot. Candidate Randy Royer placed second with 23%, Lee Easton placed third with 12%, and Tammy Maloney placed fourth with 8%. One thousand  two hundred voting members cast their leadership ballots over the telephone and the internet. Twelve hundred votes may not seem like a lot, but it is a significant number when you take into account that the Alberta Party only had around 40 members at the beginning of 2010.

Outgoing Alberta Party interim leader Sue Huff sang a tongue-in-cheek rendition of "Over the rainbow" to participants at the Alberta Party leadership convention at Edmonton's Shaw Conference Centre on May 28, 2011.

Outgoing Alberta Party interim leader Sue Huff sang a tongue-in-cheek rendition of "Over the Rainbow."

Mayor Taylor takes over the party leadership from acting-leader Sue Huff, who has stepped into the position after former leader Edwin Erickson resigned in November 2010. Ms. Huff is expected to be nominated as her party’s candidate in Edmonton-Glenora, an area she represented as a Public School Board Trustee until October 2010. During the convention, Ms. Huff wowed convention attendees with a tongue-in-cheek rendition of “Over the Rainbow,” a good-humoured response to critics of the Alberta Party’s focus on its new approach to policy development through the Big Listen process.

Campaign swag from the various Alberta Party leadership candidates at that party's leadership convention on May 28, 2011 at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton. Candidates were Glenn Taylor, Randy Royer, Lee Easton, and Tammy Maloney

Campaign swag from the Alberta Party leadership candidates

Aside from the announcement of the leadership vote, the May 28 program included updates on constituency organizing from Michael Walters and the party’s 60 constituency Presidents, and speeches from Calgary-Currie MLA Dave Taylor, Election Readiness Chair Chima Nkemdirim, and the announcement of the Alberta Party’s new Health Care policy brief. The policy was introduced to attendees by University of Alberta Public Health PhD student Elaine Hyshka and former U of A Hospital CEO Don Schurman. The policy brief puts a strong focus on primary care and long-term care elements of Alberta’s health care system.

A campaign fortune cookie from the campaign of Glenn Taylor, who won the Alberta Party leadership on May 28, 2011 at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton.

A campaign fortune cookie from Glenn Taylor's campaign.

On the evening of Friday May 27 the Alberta Party launched its new visual identity and held a Pecha Kucha-style Big Ideas Night, giving participants five minutes on stage to share their “big idea.” Speakers included Dennis Lenarduzzi,  Everett Smith, Danielle Klooster, Connie Jensen, Lisa Marie Fox, Glenn Taylor, Jesse Rowe, and Wade Ferguson. I missed the Big Ideas Night while volunteering at Homefest’s One Room concert that night, so I was glad to read that Mack Male had written about it on his blog.

Alberta Party MLA Dave Taylor and newly elected Alberta Party leader Glenn Taylor at the May 28, 2011 Alberta Party leadership convention at Edmonton's Shaw Conference Centre.

Calgary-Currie MLA Dave Taylor and newly elected leader Glenn Taylor.

Having attended countless political events organized by nearly every major political organizations in the province, I have become accustomed to spotting the “usual suspects” in these organizations. One of the measurements I use to judge the success of political organizations are the amount of people I do recognize when attending political events. This weekend, I was pleased to discover that I only recognized around 1/3 of the convention attendees, which I believe is promising news for the Alberta Party.

I have posted more photos from the Alberta Party leadership convention on Flickr.

David Climenhaga's Alberta Diary: This just in: New Alberta Party leader gives speech; old leader sings Over the Rainbow (really!)

Outgoing Acting Alberta Party Leader Sue Huff sings Somewhere, Over the Rainbow, I’m not making this up! Below: First ballot leadership vote victor Glenn Taylor.

I went to the Alberta Party convention this weekend. I ate the cookie (chocolate chip) and the sandwich (egg salad), but I didn’t drink the Kool-Aid. Not yet, anyway.Mostly, I’m afraid, the two-day leadership convention of the party that defines itself as being in the middle and pretty well everywhere else in the Alberta political spectrum reminded me a lot of going to church – which, as mentioned in a recent post at this location, is an important role in society that the NDP suddenly seems disinclined to provide.Pleasant, well-dressed, earnest people gave me a media pass and led me to a comfortable seat at the front of the congregation, which numbered about 250 this morning, which is pretty impressive, all things considered. Much better, at any rate, than the 150 or so who registered for the Alberta Liberal Party Convention in Calgary this weekend, of whom about 125 bothered to show up today. In fairness, the Liberal convention didn’t offer the end of a leadership race, which is always good for a little excitement.Anyway, nobody yelled at me for the skeptical things I’ve said about the Alberta Party in the past, and several politely noted that while they respectfully disagreed, they understood my caution.Like church, people talked about such concepts as “servant leadership,” leaving your correspondent thinking, uh-oh! Unlike church, no one asked me to stand up and introduce myself or to leave an offering, which was a mercy.There was what could have been an excruciating moment when the party’s outgoing acting leader, Sue Huff, marched up to the podium at Edmonton’s Shaw Conference Centre, slung a guitar around her neck and sang Over the Rainbow. Really! But, damn, she was pretty good, which kinda saved the moment!At any rate, it sure as heck beat hearing our mean-tempered prime minister pounding out unauthorized covers of old Beatles hits on an out-of-tune piano. Indeed, one sort of feels this should become a new tradition for departing political leaders, although it’s not clear what song Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach would pick. (Cryin’ Time? Ring of Fire?)And of course there was the traditional political convention moment when one of the four candidates, three-term Hinton Mayor Glenn Taylor, won the Internet, phone and in-person leadership vote in a first-ballot slam-dunk with better than 55 per cent of the 1,200 votes cast.Mr. Taylor seems like a fairly normal political type with a reasonably solid grasp of reality. He’s a former New Democrat as a matter of fact. We’ll just have to see if he manages to turn the Alberta Party into more of a political party, which is what will be required if it’s going to win any seats in the Legislature, than the rather ill-defined group promising to do politics in different ways than the art of the possible is practiced in this province today.Mr. Taylor had 665 votes. His nearest competitor, Calgary businessman Randy Royer, received 287, or 24 per cent. Lee Easton, an English professor at Calgary’s Mount Royal University, had 144, 12 per cent of the total, and Tammy Maloney, who was described as a social entrepreneur, had 8.6 per cent.That’s the news. The analysis tomorrow.This post also appears on rabble.ca.

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics blog: the alberta party chooses a leader – glenn taylor.

Congratulations to Hinton Mayor Glenn Taylor for being selected as the leader of the Alberta Party at this weekend’s convention in Edmonton. Mayor Taylor scored a first round victory with 55% of the vote.

Total Votes:
Lee Easton : 144 – 12.00%
Tammy Maloney: 104 – 8.67%
Randy Royer: 287 – 23.92%
Glenn Taylor: 665 – 55.42%

The convention has drawn over 300 attendees from across the province. Not a bad turnout for a political party that barely existed only a year ago.

Follow #abpleader on Twitter for Alberta Party convention related tweets.

Photos and commentary on this weekend’s convention coming soon.

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics blog: by design or by default, a low-key alberta party leadership race.

Alberta Party leadership candidates Tammy Maloney, Lee Easton, Randy Royer, and Glenn Taylor at MacEwan University.

Alberta Party leadership candidates Tammy Maloney, Lee Easton, Randy Royer, and Glenn Taylor at MacEwan University.

A small crowd of around 80 interested Edmontonians gathered to hear the candidates seeking the leadership of the Alberta Party this week at MacEwan University in downtown Edmonton. It is a low-key contest that will culminate this weekend at a leadership convention at Edmonton’s Shaw Conference Centre. The forum could be described as tame and respectful, and the absence of major policy differences between the candidates meant that the audience had an opportunity to observe the differing leadership styles of the candidates.

Tammy Maloney stressed her experience as a social entrepreneur, as a past director of the Clinton Foundation in Nigeria, and as connecter. Ms. Maloney has the biggest heart of the four candidates in this contest, and she is driven by it.

Alberta Party leadership candidates Tammy Maloney and Lee Easton

Tammy Maloney and Lee Easton

Lee Easton was the most articulate of the candidates. The Mount Royal University English Professor speaks in an articulate and perfunctory tone about the challenges facing our province and what needs to change. He has some of the same characteristics of what I like about former Liberal leader Kevin Taft, but in the same breath I wonder about his ability to promote the party in non-academic language. I wonder if he can successfully play the game of retail politics.

Alberta Party leadership candidate Randy Royer at MacEwan University.

Randy Royer

Randy Royer needs to work on his elevator pitch. His introduction focused on his experiences as a Liberal Party of Canada member in the 1980s and having dinner with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, where he told the audience he advocated against Ottawa’s policies that hurt Canada’s western provinces. Over the course of the evening, only one thing became clear to me: that he would not be getting my vote.

Alberta Party leadership candidate Glenn Taylor at MacEwan University

Glenn Taylor

Glenn Taylor appears to be the clear front-runner in this contest. Mayor Taylor is a retail politician and is the only candidate in this race with actual governing experience, having been elected three times as Mayor of Hinton. Over the past week Alberta Party activists like Chima Nkemdirim, Michael Brechtel, and Don Schurman have piled their endorsements behind Mayor Taylor. Experience has taught me to be cautious of candidates who receive too much support from party intelligentsia.

Mayor Taylor is also the only candidate in this contest not from Calgary, and if selected as leader would be expected to run as a candidate in the West Yellowhead constituency.

The candidates answered at least twenty questions from a panel and the audience. The most pointed question of the evening came from an audience member who asked about the challenge of articulating how the Alberta Party is developing its policy and the perception that it is just another populist political party.

The candidates struggled to answer this question.

The short answer is that the process is very focused on sharing ideas.

Alberta Party Logo

The Alberta Party's new logo.

The longer answer is that The Big Listen process, which is how the party has been developing its policy positions, starts with a series of small meetings (usually held over coffee or in a living room) where participants are encouraged to share their stories, hopes, and aspirations for Alberta. The information collected from these Big Listens is then discerned into themes by the meeting organizers and passed on to an issue-specific policy team that summarizes the collected feedback, does research, and develops policies. The members of the issue-specific policy committees are people with backgrounds in those fields, be it professional, educational, or voluntary. The policy recommendations are then put to the membership for approval. At a policy convention or by using online tools, members are able to view the policy goals, contribute their input, and provide support for the policy goals. It is very process focused and driven by values and principles that the party was founded upon.

The leadership forum reminded me why I dislike the personality politics of leadership races and the cult of personality that perennially envelops partisans. There are politicians that I like, and have put my support behind. I had the pleasure of working with Kevin Taft when he was leader of the Liberal Party and I have enjoyed volunteering for Councillor Don Iveson‘s campaigns at the municipal level in Edmonton. While all the candidates seem to be nice people, some who would also do a decent job as leader, there is no candidate in this contest that I am excited about.

For many Alberta Party members I have spoken with, the leadership question has been almost an afterthought, with members instead focused on building policy and constituency organizations across the province.

As was wisely pointed out in an editorial in this week’s final edition of SEE Magazine

“the PCs and Alberta Liberals are leader-dominated parties, where the party’s identity is closely associated with the leader. The Alberta Party won’t be going that route, either by design or by default.”

Whether by design or by default, the Alberta Party’s low-profile leadership contest is not as crowded as the PC leadership race or oddly casted as the Liberal leadership.

In a political environment where a party leader almost always overshadows their team as the centre of attention (walk down the street and ask a random person how many MLAs they can name), it will be interesting to see whether the Alberta Party can break the growing trend towards the cult of leadership personality. Perhaps that is why, in spite of my general frustration with political parties, I have remained a member of the Alberta Party.

With only 2000 memberships sold in this leadership contest, the Alberta Party has both proven how far it has gone in the past year and how much work still lies ahead for its members and, after this weekend, new leader.