Federal byelection called for Sturgeon River-Parkland

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Voters in Sturgeon River-Parkland riding are being asked to go to the polls twice within one week.

The byelection for the Sturgeon River–Parkland federal riding has been called to replace the former interim leader of the Conservative Party, Rona Ambrose, who resigned July 4.

Voters will head to the polls to replace Ambrose on Monday Oct. 23. The byelection will overlap with the Alberta municipal elections which happen Oct. 16.

St. Albert MP Michael Cooper said that the municipal election might overshadow the byelection.

“It’s not ideal. There will be some confusion,” Cooper said.

Cooper said that it is already difficult to get voters out for byelections and the municipal election might further put a damper on voter turnout.

So far several parties have selected their candidates for the race. The Christian Heritage Party nominated Ernest Chauvet. This is the second time Chauvet is running. He lost to Ambrose in the 2015 election.

The Christian Heritage Party is fiscally and socially conservative and is the only federal party that holds an anti-abortion stance.

The Liberal Party will be running acclaimed candidate Brian Gold in the race. Gold ran in the 2015 race in the Edmonton Griesbach riding and finished third with 10,387 votes, or 22 per cent of the total votes.

The NDP has selected Shawna Gawreluck, a medical laboratory technologist, to run in the byelection.

The Conservatives are selecting their candidate over the coming weekend and there are four nominees vying for the spot. Luke Inberg, Dane Lloyd, Jamie Mozeson and Rick Peterson are all in the race for the Conservative nomination.

The Sturgeon River-Parkland riding was created in 2011 by combining Edmonton-Spruce Grove, Westlock-St. Paul and Yellowhead. Each of the ridings have been Conservative strongholds with members being elected from the Conservative, Canadian Alliance, Reform and Progressive Conservative parties dating back to 1979.

In the last election Ambrose, the incumbent, won 70 per cent of the votes. Travis Dueck of the Liberal party earned 15 per cent, Guy Desforges netted 10 per cent for the NDP, Brendon Greene of the Green Party finished with 3 per cent and Chauvet finished last with 1 per cent.

Cooper said that although the area has been a traditionally strong conservative riding he will not be taking anything for granted in the race.

Cooper has endorsed Lloyd in the race but said that after the nomination he will stand behind whichever candidate the riding selects.

The Green Party could not be reached to confirm its candidate by press time.

 

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Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2016. She writes about municipal, provincial and federal politics; court and crime; general news and features.