As the provincial electorate wait for the writ to be dropped with baited breath, candidates in the Airdrie-Cochrane riding are ramping up and readying for a busy campaign season.
The UCP will host their major constituency association fundraiser at the Links of GlenEagles on Jan. 31. The event, which offers a $112.50 tax receipt to compensate for the $150 dinner and event price tag, is the third event held by Airdrie-Cochrane nominee Peter Guthrie – who said he has been "thrilled" by the turnouts at each event.
"We're trying to do an event every couple of weeks," said Guthrie, who filled Cochrane Coffee Traders last week with a late afternoon coffee event with a surprising turnout of around 60 people. This followed the constituency association's ugly sweater Christmas party – Guthrie's first event since his successful nomination – in mid-December, which packed Ducks on the Roof with some 180 bodies.
Guthrie feels the turnouts are indicative of a riding demanding change and he trying to ensure a blend of events are to come, in order to target all demographics.
"There's this repetition you hear all the time – jobs, opportunities, bureaucracy slowing down multiple sectors, and not just oil and gas, but health care, education," said Guthrie, adding that he has been connected with health care industry professionals and front line workers, learning about their dissatisfaction with the current government.
"We need to send a big message to the NDP and to Ottawa ... look, we mean business here and a change is coming."
NDP - Steve Durrell
Steve Durrell is on the brink of being acclaimed as the NDP candidate for the Airdrie-Cochrane riding, which will take place at the NDP constituency meeting on Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.
Hailing from Cochrane but residing in Strathmore, the young family man and father of three is passionate about labour relations. A strong advocate of unions and employee rights, Durrell is excited to sink his teeth into his new role.
"People are definitely starting to pay attention now – I really like it when people are politically engaged," said Durrell.
Top of mind from early door knocking is infrastructure and making sure the interchange project at highways 1A/22 is slated to begin this year, as well as concerns about education and burgeoning class sizes.
"Our current government is committed to ensuring (the interchange project) gets built."
He is also hearing a lot of talk about pipelines and positive feedback for the NDP's Keep Canada Working Campaign.
"Success in the Alberta economy is critical to success in the Canadian economy."
Alberta Party - on the verge of confirming candidate
What Mark Taylor, executive director of the Alberta feels is critical for voters is to have a logical third option that provides the balance missing between the NDP and the poll-favoured UCP.
"The Alberta Party is giving Albertans the voice they're looking for," said Taylor, adding that what he is hearing from voters is that they're unhappy with the NDP and unconvinced by the UCP.
With 60 ridings with confirmed candidates as of Monday (Jan. 21), the vetting process is coming to an end for the balance of the ridings and the party is committed to running a candidate in all 87 ridings.
It is anticipated the Airdrie-Cochrane candidate will be confirmed by next week. All that Taylor can confirm at present is that there is only one male candidate for this riding.
"Albertans are the most undecided they have ever been going into this election ... it's the responsibility of every party to reach out in every riding," said Taylor, himself a former Wildroser.
While polls point to majority support for the Jason Kenney-led UCP, Taylor said the Alberta Party is a serious contender and that Kenney has served to isolate large segments of the population – including many women and members of the LGBTQ community.
Learn more at unitedconservative.ca or to purchase tickets to the Jan. 31 fundraiser visit peterguthrie.ca.
Stay up on the NDP at albertandp.ca.
Keep up with the Alberta Party at albertaparty.ca.