Derek Fildebrandt, Leader of the Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta (FCP) is vying for his own seat in the Alberta Legislature. Whether any FPC MLA’s are elected at all remains to be seen, but the party’s best bet is largely seen to be the Fildebrandt's home riding, Chestermere–Strathmore.
As Leader of the Freedom Conservatives, Derek is the only party leader running on a platform to scrap beer taxes and introduce a student-friendly plan to make university student unions voluntary, bringing them in line with the Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Chestermere–Strathmore will be one of the ridings The Rebel will be watching closely on our live election night coverage. A split urban and rural riding, with two incumbent MLAs vying for the new seat. Fildebrandt swung by The Rebel’s “Stop Notley” sign pickup in Chestermere, the only MLA in the province to do so, where we took the opportunity to interview him about the FPC and his election prospects.
Fildebrandt’s United Conservative Party opposition candidate is Leela Aheer. Aheer was elected by a small margin in the 2015 election, just over 200 votes separated her from her Conservative opponent, Bruce McAllister. Since 2015, the Wildrose-turned-UCP MLA has voted alongside the NDP caucus more times than any UCP legislator, according to Fildebrandt.
One of the greatest criticisms of the United Conservative Party was focused on their nomination meetings. Allegations of ballot stuffing and partisan disqualifications were rife. Aheer’s nomination was no exception. According to the UCP, five individuals sought nomination packages for the new riding of Chestermere–Strathmore. UCP hopefuls claimed to have been manhandled by party officials at meetings, and board president Ronda Klemmensen told the Calgary Herald that the nomination was a “travesty”. Nevertheless, Leela Aheer won the nomination by acclamation. Somehow, each and every one of Aheer’s opponents either bowed out, or were barred from running in the first place.
This week, a total 696,000 ballots were cast in advanced polls. If Chestermere–Strathmore is as tight of a race as Chestermere–Rockyview was in 2015, we may not know the results until advanced ballots are counted the following day.