• Provincial election campaigns officially underway in Airdrie-East and Airdrie-Cochrane

    Locally, the ridings of Airdrie-East and Airdrie-Cochrane will both be two-horse races, as only candidates from the United Conservative Party and New Democratic Party are registered for each of the two constituencies.

    The race to determine which party will govern Alberta's legislature is officially underway, after the writ for the provincial election was dropped on Monday. 

    Alberta’s Chief Electoral Officer, Glen Resler, confirmed this morning that writs were issued on May 1 to administer elections across Alberta. Voters throughout the province will officially head to the polls on May 29.

    “We are excited to welcome Albertans back to the polls this month,” said Resler in a provincial press release. “Returning Officers have been appointed, and we are in the process of recruiting and training nearly 20,000 Election Officers to conduct voting in the 87 electoral divisions across the province.”

    Locally, the ridings of Airdrie-East and Airdrie-Cochrane appear to both be two-horse races, as only candidates from the United Conservative Party and New Democratic Party are declared for each of the two constituencies. According to Elections Alberta's website, candidates have until 2 p.m. on May 11 to submit their nomination papers to run in the election.

    In Airdrie-East, incumbent Angela Pitt will represent the UCP, while challenger Daniel Nelles will vie for votes on behalf of the NDP. 


    In Airdrie-Cochrane, incumbent UCP candidate Peter Guthrie will be seeking a second term in the legislature, while political newcomer and NDP candidate Shaun Fluker will look to turn the riding orange. 

    Voters in Airdrie will have a few early chances to hear what the four MLA hopefuls have to say at two upcoming events. On Sunday, May 7, the Airdrie Public Library is presenting 'Coffee with the Candidates' from 6 to 8 p.m. During that library meet-and-greet, candidates will have the opportunity to give a brief stump speech, after which voters will have a chance to mingle with those vying for their votes.

    A few days after that, an upcoming all-candidates forum in Airdrie will be held on May 9. Hosted by the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce, the forum will take place at the Bert Church LIVE Theatre from 6:30 p.m. onward.


    Marilyne Aalhus, the chamber's executive director, said the forum presents another early campaign opportunity for the candidates to inform voters who they are and what they and their parties stand for. She said all four candidates have RSVP'd to attend the event.

    "I think this is going to be a very interesting campaign," Aalhus predicted. "We know that we have some very engaged candidates that are going to contend for our ridings and we definitely want the public to have a better understanding and opportunity to hear from them directly. This type of forum really does give them a first-hand experience of getting to [listen to] these candidates and hear their answers to our questions."

    As a chamber-led forum, Aalhus admitted many of the questions for the candidates will be business-centric. She added past chamber president Nicky Nordick will moderate the proceedings.

    "We want our business community to have a voice, so they do turn to the chamber to have that ability," she said. 

    However, despite being a chamber-run initiative, Aalhus noted the City of Airdrie is collaborating with the chamber on running the forum.

    "We will also have municipal questions on how we hope our province will contribute back to Airdrie and how Airdrie needs proper representation for this riding," she said.

    According to Aalhus, the chamber is asking prospective attendees to register ahead of time via the chamber's website. The Bert Church LIVE Theatre has a seating capacity of 370.


    Scott Strasser

    About the Author: Scott Strasser