December 13th, 2017

Alberta Party releases rules for leadership race, changes date of contest


By The Canadian Press on December 4, 2017.

Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark goes door knocking while on the campaign trail in Edmonton, Alta., on Monday, April 27, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

CALGARY – The Alberta Party has extended its leadership race by almost three weeks to provide potential candidates with more time to build their campaigns and sell memberships.

A winner was supposed to be announced on Feb. 7, but that has been pushed back to Feb. 27.

The party says it made the change after receiving feedback from constituency associations and members.

There are no candidates so far to replace Greg Clark, who stepped down as leader in November.

Online voting is to be held from noon Feb. 25 to noon Feb. 27, with the winner to be announced later that day.

Each member will get one vote and will be asked to rank candidates preferentially.

The party has said the leadership race will mobilize people across the province and build momentum going into the next provincial election.

The party first entered the legislature in 2015 when Clark won a seat in Calgary. He was joined recently by NDP Calgary backbencher Karen McPherson when she crossed the floor.

The party wants to make itself the home for centrist voters who aren’t comfortable with the right-of-centre United Conservatives under Jason Kenney or Premier Rachel Notley’s New Democrats.

It is not fielding a candidate in a Calgary byelection on Dec. 14. That vote became necessary when United Conservative Dave Rodney stepped down to allow Kenney to run for a seat in the legislature.

The Alberta Party’s executive said it wanted to instead focus its time and resources on the leadership race, although it plans to field candidates in all 87 constituencies in the 2019 provincial vote.

The deadline for candidates to apply to enter the race is Jan. 15. They will be required to pay a total of $10,000 – $5,000 will be held as a refundable bond for good behaviour.

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