Morinville – Candidates looking to fill the shoes left behind by retiring Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Ken Kowalski will get their chance to win over Morinville voters Monday night at an All Candidates Forum organized by The Morinville News and moderated by the Morinville Toastmasters club. The forum will take place at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre from 7 – 10 p.m.
All five Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock candidates have confirmed their attendance at the forum. Moderated by long-time Toastmasters member Peter Kossowan, the format will begin with each candidate speaking for five minutes on their campaign and platform. A break will then be held to provide attendees the opportunity to write their questions down should they prefer their question read on their behalf. Questions will be taken from the floor and from submitted cards. The evening will close with a three-minute closing statement from each candidate, followed by a half hour during which attendees may speak to the candidates one on one.
The 2008 general election saw then incumbent Kowalski facing four would-be challengers: Liberal Leslie Penny, NDP Rod Olsted, Alberta Green Dan Evans, and Carl Haugen running for the Social Credit. Kowalski, of course, took the election with more than 70 per cent of the voters. His closest rival, Leslie Penny, took 15.25 per cent of the vote.
Four years later and Penny is the only familiar face to Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock voters, once again running for the Liberal Party. Kowalski, who stepped down when the writ was dropped, is replaced by Maureen Kubinec, a Westlock County Councillor who received her constituency associations nod prior to the election. Although a player in the 2008 election, the Wildrose Party had no candidate in the last race. This time around they have former journalist and senator in waiting Link Byfield to run in the area. Byfield ran in 2008 for the party in the Whitecourt-Ste. Anne constituency. Running for the NDP is Trudy Grebenstein, and for the recently formed EverGreens is Morinville resident Lisa Grant.
Doors will open at the Morinville community Cultural Centre at 6:30 p.m. The All Candidates Forum will start at 7 p.m. sharp.