Disorganization and lack of support – financial and otherwise – from the party caused the only local federal Liberal nomination contestant to yank himself from the race.
Randy Williams – an artist, IT specialist, former educator and the only Liberal to put his name forward for candidacy in the riding of St. Albert-Edmonton – formally requested a refund of his $1,000 nomination fee on June 27.
Williams told the Gazette that the federal Liberals’ failure to review his application in a timely fashion, combined with a “lack of party funding, insufficient volunteers, a resigning riding president stating his intention to vote for the NDP” led to his decision to withdraw his application.
“When I observed the St. Albert-Edmonton riding was in a self-destruct mode, … that it appeared to lack essential funding (for signage, an office, promised training) and volunteer support to run a successful campaign, I contacted the Liberal Party of Canada to formally request my refund,” wrote Williams in an email.
During the riding association’s June 25 annual general meeting, a vote was called for a new president, executive vice-president, treasurer and secretary.
While former-secretary Bob Russell handed in his resignation due to an increased workload as a newly elected city councillor, president Barry Barclay expressed his intention to step down due to ideological differences over Bill C-51 – Canada’s new anti-terror legislation, which the Liberal party supported.
“My grandfather fought in the First World War; my father in the second. They both risked their lives for certain principles of democracy and that’s the only reason we’re in this room,” Barclay told his members during the annual general meeting.
But given the upheaval of the riding’s executive board only four months prior to the federal election and unwillingness from members to take on those roles, he decided to stay on as president so that someone could “fill out the paperwork” for the next candidate.
“It’s a matter of motivation and morale. It’s hard to get people motivated that we can actually win,” Barclay said.
The riding association lost its volunteer co-ordinator, leaving Williams without much support and a president he did not believe in.
“He’s not the president as far as I’m concerned,” said Williams in an interview with the Gazette.
Financially, Williams was told that the riding association had enough in the bank to kick off his campaign, but the rest would be up to him.
The St. Albert-Edmonton NDP has called a nomination meeting for Aug. 15. The details have yet to be released.
There is at least one confirmed nomination contestant. Darlene Malayko is a transit operator and union activist, who has lived in St. Albert for the past 20 years.
AlbertaPolitics blogger and journalist, David Climenhaga has also put his name forward for the nomination race, but is still awaiting the go-ahead from the party’s screening committee.
Recent reports indicate that the federal election could be called within the next few weeks. While this does not affect the election date, which remains Oct. 19, it would affect the length of the campaign period.