Rachel Notley accused of disrespect in setting date for Calgary-Greenway byelection

Alberta's opposition parties say Premier Rachel Notley needs to show more respect for the democratic process when it comes to calling a byelection for Calgary-Greenway.

Premier expected to announce byelection date of March 22 to replace Manmeet Bhullar

Other parties are critical of the timing of a byelection for Calgary-Greenway expected to be called for March 22. (CBC)

Alberta's opposition parties say Premier Rachel Notley needs to show more respect for the democratic process when it comes to calling a byelection for Calgary-Greenway.

Notley is expected to announce Tuesday a byelection that would send voters in that constituency to the polls March 22.

The NDP named its candidate on the weekend and opposition parties are set to nominate theirs over the next two weeks.

Tory MLA Manmeet Bhullar was killed in a highway accident last November. (Dean Bennett/Canadian Press)

Jeremy Nixon, executive director for the Wildrose Party, confirmed they will move their nomination up from March 5 to this Friday, although logistics have not been finalized.

The byelection is to elect a member of the legislature to replace Progressive Conservative Manmeet Bhullar, who was killed in a highway crash last November.

Jason Nixon, the Wildrose critic on democracy and accountability, said Notley is offside with the byelection call.

Disrespectful, says Wildrose

"Let's be clear. The opposition parties avoided rushing into our nomination process this time out of respect for our colleague Manmeet Bhullar's family," said Jason Nixon.

"For the premier to play gotcha games with this particular byelection is beneath her."

He said it is particularly disrespectful toward the PCs, given the death of one of their members.

Progressive Conservative MLAs gathered around a flag and roses set on MLA Manmeet Bhullar's desk during a tribute after his death. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press )

The Progressive Conservatives are set to nominate their candidate on Saturday. Troy Wason, the PC party's executive director, said the Calgary-Greenway board is to decide if it will stick with that date.

Wason agreed with Nixon.

"I think they [the NDs] may have jumped the gun," said Wason.

'By no means a surprise'

"I think they could have given at least the Wildrose time to finish [their nomination]. They have until May [to hold the byelection]."

Notley's spokesperson Cheryl Oates said the government has been careful to consider the byelection's timing and has been in contact with Bhullar's family.

"All parties have had months to prepare for this, whether or not they knew the exact date the byelection would be called," said Oates. "This is by no means a surprise byelection."

The NDP have nominated former radio host Roop Rai. The Greens have already nominated Thana Boonlert as their candidate.

The Liberals are slated to pick a candidate on Feb. 29. So far, there is no Alberta Party candidate.


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