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Constituency associations gear up for federal election

Candidate search already underway for Liberals, Tories

By: Victoria Paterson

  |  Posted: Saturday, Apr 12, 2014 06:00 am

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With a federal election expected in fall 2015, local electoral district associations are gearing up to select their party’s candidates for this riding.

The next federal election will also see a shift to the riding’s boundaries, as well as a name swap – Edmonton-St. Albert will become St. Albert-Edmonton.

With MP Brent Rathgeber departing the Conservative caucus to sit as an independent last June, it leaves the local Tories with the need to nominate a new candidate to run under the blue banner while Rathgeber plans to run as an independent.

“We have a couple of people who have indicated they are going to run,” said Darren Bieganek, the president of the St. Albert-Edmonton Conservative party electoral district association.

No nomination date has been set, but Ryan Hastman and Michael Cooper both announced their intentions to run for the spot last fall, while others are rumoured to be interested as well.

Bieganek said a candidate nominating committee was recently struck and will begin moving through their pre-nomination event checklist shortly, including canvassing the community to see if anyone else is interested in running.

The Tories have their annual general meeting coming up May 10 at the St. Albert Inn.

The federal Liberals’ local electoral district association had their meeting February 12 to address the change in constituency.

“I was really encouraged, we had a nice turnout,” said Barry Barclay, who is the Liberal riding association president.

They have four members of the executive and are looking for more.

Barclay, a former university professor, feels keenly about getting young people engaged in the process. They’d also like to see some women take a shot at the Liberal nomination.

“We have a mission statement from Ottawa that we would like to encourage women to run,” Barclay said.

They have some people considering running to be the red standard-bearer in 2015, though no one has made it official yet. Barclay said they have until October to have their nomination meeting but would like to have it this summer so the candidate and the organization can start introducing themselves to the community.

The Green Party’s electoral district association has folded for the time being, said Drew Fenwick, an organizer with the federal Green Party.

He said via email that they will be reorganizing in preparation for the 2015 campaign.

The federal NDP riding association is looking to host its annual general meeting in late May or early June, said Andrew Traynor, the electoral district president.

Traynor said after the AGM they will begin an official candidate search, though they have some potential names in mind already.

“The 2015 election’s going to be very interesting with Rathgeber running as an independent and we think that the New Democratic Party would be a viable option for St. Albert,” Traynor said.


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