June 14, 2018 5:04 pm

Alberta calls two July byelections to replace departed United Conservatives

The Alberta legislature on Saturday, June 9, 2018.

Emily Mertz, Global News
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Alberta voters in two constituencies will be heading to the polls next month.

Premier Rachel Notley has called byelections for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake and Fort McMurray-Conklin for July 12.

The seats became vacant earlier this year following resignations by two members of the United Conservative Party.

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Don MacIntyre from Innisfail-Sylvan Lake stepped down in early February when he was charged with sex assault and sexual interference.

READ MORE: No trial for former Alberta MLA Don MacIntyre in sexual assault case

In Fort McMurray-Conklin, voters will pick a replacement for former Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean who left in March after his unsuccessful bid to head the United Conservatives.

While the starting gun has just gone off, many of the candidates are already at the starting line.

In Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, the United Conservatives have nominated area farmer and businessman Devin Dreeshen, while the NDP have named school teacher Nicole Mooney. Abigail Douglass is the candidate for the Alberta Party.

MacIntyre won the constituency handily in 2015 with almost 43 per cent of the vote. The closest challenger was Progressive Conservative Kerry Towle with 28 per cent.

The Liberals do not have a candidate yet.

READ MORE: Fort McMurray MLA Brian Jean leaving politics

In Fort McMurray-Conklin, Laila Goodridge has been picked to represent the United Conservatives. She has worked in the oil and gas sector and has served as a political adviser in Alberta and in Ottawa.

She ran for the Wildrose Party in the 2015 election and placed third in Grande Prairie-Wapiti. She will go up against the NDP’s Jane Stroud, a councillor for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. The Liberals and Alberta party do not have candidates yet.

Jean steamrolled his competitors in the 2015 election, taking almost 44 per cent of the vote.

The outcomes of the byelections won’t affect the balance of power in the legislature. The NDP holds 54 seats compared with 25 for the UCP and three for the Alberta Party. There are two Independents and David Swann is the lone Liberal.

The winners will have to do it all over again in less than a year. The next provincial election is set for the spring of 2019.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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