After a week of nomination races the Sturgeon River-Parkland byelection race is in full swing.
The Conservatives have nominated Dane Lloyd, a 26-year-old who served as parliamentary adviser to St. Albert MP Michael Cooper.
Lloyd beat out former conservative leadership candidate Rick Peterson, Rona Ambrose’s former constituency assistant Luke Inberg and former public relations staff for Stephen Harper’s office, Jamie Mozeson.
The Sturgeon County resident has worked with MP Ed Fast on international trade and with former MP Jason Kenney on citizenship and immigration.
Lloyd said he is passionate about justice issues after working with Cooper, who was the Conservative justice critic. Lloyd wants to bring forward legislation that requires people convicted of murder to reveal the location of the victim’s remains before they are allowed parole, known as ‘no body no parole.’
If Lloyd wins the race he will be one of the youngest current members of parliament. Right now the youngest member is Pierre-Luc Dusseault of the NDP, who is also 26 years old.
The Trinity Western graduate is running against NDP candidate Shawna Gawreluck, Liberal candidate Brian Gold, Christian Heritage candidate Ernest Chauvet and Stephen Wutzke of the National Advancement Party of Canada.
Gawreluck, a resident of the area for 15 years, is running against Lloyd for the federal seat.
The medical laboratory technologist works in transfusion medicine and also owns a small business. Gawreluck also owns an outdoor construction company with her husband where she does payroll and other paperwork.
“That provides me the opportunity to really speak for small business in Sturgeon County because often our voices get lost in big business,” Gawreluck said.
Gawreluck is able to put her economics degree to good use as the chair of the Sturgeon County Economic Advisory Board. She also volunteers with Community Options, a non-profit that provides services like speech pathologists and rehab therapists for children.
The 43-year-old said one of the reasons she decided to run was because she comes from a military family and felt like the previous governments have been neglecting to take care of veterans. Graweluck also said that she is frustrated with the entitlement that the Conservative Party has in the riding.
Gawreluck said that the big issues that this riding is facing are maintaining good quality healthcare and ensuring seniors are not living in poverty. She also said that the federal infrastructure in the riding needs to be maintained and that needs to be a priority. She also plans on addressing the tax reform put forward by the Liberals that would have an impact on family farms.
“There are a lot of issues in this riding that aren’t being addressed because we have two big parties in Ottawa that are so big, screaming sound bites at each other,” Gawreluck said.
The mother of three is also disappointed that the Liberals did not deliver on electoral reform and that the previous Conservative government was not able to reform the senate.
Gawreluck was the only candidate who ran for the NDP seat and was acclaimed.
The Christian Heritage Party selected Chauvet after a nomination race between him and Parkland County native Kevin Schulthies.
Chauvet, who lives in Legal, has a background in teaching and farming and he is also very active in the Francophone community. He is the coordinator for the murals in Legal and Morinville. The father of six and grandfather of 17 also volunteers with the Kids Cottage, which is a crisis centre for kids in Edmonton.
The 66-year-old said that he decided to run because he is concerned with moral issues. The Christian Heritage Party is a pro-life party and said that women are victims when they get abortions. He is also against a carbon tax because he feels like it is a tax grab and wants to see the budgets balanced.
Chauvet said that he also wants to see more of a focus on preventative medicine with the current medical system collaborating with naturopathic medicine and focusing more on the role of diet in a person’s overall health.
The Legal resident said that the biggest issues facing the region are job creation and carbon tax.
This is Chauvet’s second time running under the banner. He finished in last place, with 690 votes, during the most recent election.
Although Chauvet may not win the seat in the riding, he said that he considers it a win that constituents will be able to cast a vote for a party that reflects their values.
“Every person who is free to vote according to their values – that is a win,” Chauvet said.
He also said that by running he is bringing awareness to issues that the larger parties do not address.
“You hope that the people who are elected can take some of those ideas and bring them forward within the larger party,” Chauvet said.
The Sturgeon River-Parkland riding was created in 2011 by combining Edmonton-Spruce Grove, Westlock-St. Paul and Yellowhead. Each of those ridings have been Conservative strongholds with members being elected from the Conservative, Canadian Alliance, Reform and Progressive Conservative parties dating back to 1979.
During the last election incumbent Conservative MP Rona Ambrose earned 70 per cent of the vote.
Ambrose officially vacated her seat on July 4 and she is now working for the Wilson Center, a Washington-based think-tank and is on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new advisory council on the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The election will be held on Oct. 23.