Candidates running for the vacant seat in the electoral division of Calgary-Lougheed faced each other at a debate on Sunday afternoon.

The candidate forum got underway at 2:00 p.m. at the Braeside Community Hall and was an opportunity for contenders to put forward their platforms and talk to members of the community.

The seat was vacated by Dave Rodney on November 1, 2017 and a provincial byelection will be held on Thursday to determine who will replace him.

Rodney served in the position for 13 years and stepped down to create an opening for UCP leader, Jason Kenney.

There are seven candidates vying for the seat in Calgary-Lougheed including:

  • Larry Heather, Independent
  • Jason Kenney, United Conservative Party
  • David Khan, Liberal Party
  • Wayne Leslie, Independent
  • Lauren Thorsteinson, Reform Party
  • Romy Tittel, Green Party
  • Phillip van der Merwe, NDP

Five of the seven candidates were in attendance for the debate on Sunday.

The candidates started with opening remarks and then went head-to head to discuss the issues.

“I believe we need a strong opposition to hold the current government to account. To focus on reigniting our economy, on job creation, on stopping these scheduled tax increases, on fighting for Alberta’s interests in the federation and ensuring that we get a fair deal,” said Jason Kenney.

“I came into politics as a leap of faith and a desire to have our political system work differently. I want to work for all of you and I want to work with all of us,” said Romy Tittel.

“I strongly believe and maintain that there’s a growing belief in Alberta and it exists from all four corners of Alberta, and that is very simple, that you as electors no longer have a voice in Alberta, once your ballot is cast you no longer have a voice, there is no political accountability in any of these political parties,” said Wayne Leslie.

“This government is the first I have seen listen to experts and take real action to improve our healthcare system. Improvements I see benefiting my patients every day,” said Phillip van der Merwe. “We’ve seen a lot of positive change in Calgary in the last two years.”

“We need real, comprehensive tax reform to attract businesses and investment and create those jobs that we all need to feed our families,” said David Khan. “We need to move Alberta forward.”

Lori Williams, Policy Studies Associate Professor at Mount Royal University says it is an impressive turnout for a byelection.

“It is quite unusual, particularly since it’s a party leader for the contender, for government, that’s running. But it looks to me like a lot of these parties are actually trying to get a little bit more attention to their cause, their concern. The fact there are three right-wing candidates contesting against Jason Kenney suggests that they’re trying to send a message that the United Conservative Party in some ways is not conservative enough for them and then, of course, we’re seeing a bit of jockeying at the center with a former Alberta Party member, running for the NDP and we’re seeing three party leaders in this race so to see this kind of profile and number of candidates is quiet unusual,” she said.

For more on the Calgary-Lougheed Byelection, click HERE.

Electoral division of Calgary-Lougheed