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Alberta NDP announces leadership race, candidates speculated

In light of Rachel Notley's announcement, the Alberta NDP has put forward the rules and timeline for its leadership race.
David Shepherd, MLA for Edmonton-Centre, is rumoured to be one of several candidates running in the Alberta NDP leadership race beginning next week.

The Alberta NDP will soon begin looking for a new leader, with the leadership race's rules and timeline finalized at a provincial council meeting in Red Deer last weekend.

The race will begin on Feb. 5 and voting will end on June 22. 

“We will announce the results at a special showcase on June 22, which will be a time for our party to gather to celebrate Rachel Notley’s legacy, and the renewed vision that will come with a new leader," said the leadership race's chief returning officer, Amanda Freistadt, in a press release.

Notley, who announced on Jan. 16 she is stepping down, will remain party leader until a winner is declared. 

Party members who are in good standing are eligible to vote. To ensure they are eligible, members should purchase or renew their party membership prior to April 22.

“The Alberta NDP is a party rooted in the values of social justice, equity and fairness,” said Freistadt. “When members join our party, they sign on to upholding those values and make a commitment to supporting our values.”

The leadership race's rules laid out key criteria for candidates.

“Our leadership race will have a spending limit of $500,000 per leadership contestant," said Freistadt. "Unlike the UCP, which required over $175,000 in fees and deposits from candidates, our leadership race will require fees that total $60,000.”

Leadership contenders must additionally have been Alberta NDP members in good standing for the last six months, or Aug. 5, 2023 at the latest. 

Wilson Southam, former president and founder of the Highwood NDP constituency association, weighed in on the imminent leadership race and potential candidates.

"I'm guessing half a dozen names and all of them are very experienced," said Southam. 

Southam specifically noted that he expects David Shepherd, MLA for Edmonton-Centre, to seek the leadership seat.

Shepherd has not yet commented on whether he will be running, although following the provincial council meeting in Red Deer he did state on Facebook: "I look forward to being an active part of this conversation."

Several other party members are rumoured to be entering the race, including Sarah Hoffman, MLA for Edmonton-Glenora, who resigned her positions as deputy leader, assistant whip and municipal affairs critic for Edmonton and Calgary immediately following the announcement of the leadership race rules.

"The leadership race that's coming up will be super exciting because it will be more competitive than any previous leadership race because of the popularity of the party," said Jessica Hallam, secretary of the Highwood NDP constituency association and Highwood NDP candidate during the 2023 provincial election.

Amir Said

About the Author: Amir Said

Amir Said is a reporter and photographer with the Western Wheel.
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