Alberta’s PC Party brass are getting ready to welcome a handful of new candidates Saturday as members across the province vote for their representatives in the next provincial election.
The number of potential MLA hopefuls has been whittled down since the party announced in January plans to have 35 candidates in place by Feb. 21.
“When we announced the 35, if you went back and looked at those it was pretty heavy on cabinet members. We actually expected a fair amount of those to end as acclamations,” said Kelley Charlebois, executive director of the party.
Just seven constituencies will be contested Saturday, a number Charlebois said is in line with what was expected, though he added even the acclaimed nominees have had their share of work in the past weeks.
“Until you know that you’re not being contested, frankly, you have to work very hard,” he said, adding members have been door-knocking and cold-calling in anticipation of the day they are acclaimed.
He said all that work will give the party a running start to their election campaigning, but refused to say when that election is expected.
“It is in a sense the start of the next campaign in some ways because as candidates win their nomination or become acclaimed, the next thing they’ve got to be thinking about is how do I now get ready for the election, whenever the election is going to be,” he said.
Two of the contests will take place in the province’s north — one in Spruce Grove-St. Albert and another in Bonnyville-Cold Lake. Charlebois said work is being done in other areas to prepare for an eventual election.
As far as what the new blood will bring to the party, he said there is a good mix of experience and new ideas, but it can be expected most to be aligned with party values.
“If you’re going to join a political party, you’re generally in agreement with what that political party stands for,” he said. “We’re seeing a few more women than typically we’ve seen in the past. We’re certainly seeing a few more younger people putting their name forward this time around.”
Meanwhile, the Wildrose has 12 races with a nomination period closing Friday and candidates expected to be decided in three weeks and 28 candidates already acclaimed. They also have one more period closing next Friday and they expect more to be added over time.
Contested PC nominations:
Bonnyville-Cold Lake – Craig Copeland and Dixie Dahlstedt
Calgary-Fish Creek – Richard Gotfried and Myles McDougall
Calgary-Mountain View – Mark Hlady, Lynn Moen and Jean-Sebastien Rioux
Calgary-North West – Blair Houston and Sandra Jansen
Medicine Hat – John Hamill, Jeff Lanigan and Blake Pedersen
Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre – Tammy Cote and Terry Engen
Spruce Grove-St. Albert – Neil Kortash, Rus Matichuk and Kathleen Range