Above from left: Maureen Kubinec, PC; Tristan Turner, NDP; Glenn van Dijken, Wildrose are the three candidates for Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock.
by Colin Smith
Morinvillians will join other Albertans at the polls May 5, following yesterday’s election call by Premier Jim Prentice.
Voters in the electoral district of Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock will choose from among three candidates seeking to represent them in the Alberta Legislature.
The current member for the district, Progressive Conservative Maureen Kubinec, is being challenged by Tristan Turner for the New Democratic Party and Wildrose candidate Glenn van Dijken.
In line with the province’s electoral law, which provides for elections at fixed dates ever four years, the next one wasn’t due before Mar. 1, 2016.
However, the legislation allows for an early election call under extraordinary circumstances. Premier Prentice justified it on the basis that the government needs a new mandate following his Mar. 26 budget.
Put forward as a major economic course change, the budget increased provincial taxes and fees in the wake of a $5-billion shortfall largely attributed to a drop in energy revenues.
The election call follows a turbulent period in Alberta politics that saw the resignation of Premier Alison Redford and her eventual replacement at the helm of the ruling Progressive Conservatives by Prentice.
Subsequently, 11 Wildrose Party MLAs including leader Danielle Smith left their party to join the PC caucus. A number of those MLAs, Smith among them, were defeated when they sought the Conservative nomination in their districts.
As with PCs, different leaders will be taking the other parties with seats in the Legislature into this election. Rachel Notley was chosen to replace retiring NDP leader Brian Mason, while Brian Jean was elected leader of the Wildrose at its Mar. 28 convention. Following the resignation of Liberal leader Raj Sherman, Dr. David Swann is acting as the party’s interim leader.
On Tuesday, May 5, Albertans will be voting for representatives in the province’s 87 electoral districts.
While many election candidates have been nominated, nominations remain open until 2 p.m. on Friday, Apr. 17.
Advance polls will be run from Wednesday, April 29 to Saturday, May 2 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Electors may also be able to vote by special ballot.
Canadian citizens who have lived in Alberta since November 4, 2014 and are at least 18 years of age or older on Election Day are eligible to vote.
To be added to the list of electors, an eligible person with a driver’s licence or Alberta ID card, may register on-line using Voterlink on the Elections Alberta until Tuesday, April 21.
For more information see www.elections.ab.ca or call 1-877-422-8683 toll-free.
In the 2012 election, Maureen Kubinec received 7,447 votes, 44.72 per cent of the total, to win in Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock. The late Link Byfield, Wildrose candidate, received 7,106 votes, 42.76 per cent; NDP candidate Bryan Young, 983, 5.9 per cent; Liberal Leslie Penny, 929, 5.58 per cent; and Lisa Grant for Evergreen, 188, 1.13 per cent of the vote.
No candidates for the Liberals or Green (formerly Evergreen) parties have been nominate in the district for this election. There is also no candidate for the Alberta Party lead by Greg Clark.