What’s a By-election and why are we having one?!

Calgary-Foothills will be having a by-election at some point before the end of November.  A previous post by My Political Consultant Marc Power, What Happened to Jim Prentice? blog May 10Anne Wilson, 2015, explains the political disaster that consumed the PCs.  On May 5, Premier Jim Prentice won in Calgary-Foothills, and in his speech that night immediately resigned the seat.  A by-election is an election held to fill a political office that has become vacant between general elections.

Foothills still does not have representation after a previous by-election and a general election!   This blog will outline some of the rules around by-elections, and nominations for candidates for the by-election.

When is it held? The Premier, Rachel Notley, will decide when the by-election will be, but by law the election must be before the end of November.  The exact date has not yet been announced, however it has to take place within 6 months of the new Government having been sworn in (the Executive Council was sworn in on May 24/15 and the rest of the MLAs were sworn in on June 1/15).  The premier decides when to hold the by-election, which is after an election period of likely 28 days.

Who may vote in a by-election? Only the voters in Calgary-Foothills are the eligible voters in this by-election.

How much does a by-election cost? Sadly, the estimate for a by-election is $250,000.  There’s an interesting story of the mayor of Penticton voluntarily paying for the cost of a by-election when he decided to run provincially, but there is no law to make Mr. Prentice pay for the by-election.  http://www.calgarysun.com/2015/05/13/alberta-taxpayers-cant-afford-another-costly-byelection-in-calgary-foothills-and-they-shouldnt-have-to.

The nomination for the NDP will likely be contested.  Now that the NDP is in government, the days of acclaimed nominations are over! Interestingly, there are some specific rules that will affect the potential candidates in the nomination contest.

Nomination Financing: It’s still the wild wild West when it comes to donations in a nomination contest, or as My Political Consultant says: rules, what rules?! A donor may donate any amount to a potential candidate in a nomination contest.  Elections Alberta has no reporting or accounting criteria for those donations.  This no-limit donation in a nomination is one of the rules that should be examined to see if it’s in the best interests of Albertans to have this kind of financing loop-hole.

Who may vote in a nomination contest?: Only those members  of the political party in that constituency are eligible to vote in a party’s nomination contest.

A by-election is necessary in Foothills, true, but after door-knocking in Foothill recently, I can say that Foothills doesn’t necessarily want a by-election!

Guest Blog by Anne Wilson, potential NDP candidate for Calgary-Foothills

Read More