Fort McMurray-Conklin, Innisfail-Sylvan Lake byelections called for July 12

Voters in Fort McMurray-Conklin and Innisfail-Sylvan Lake choose new MLAs on July 12 Elections Alberta announced Thursday.

NDP hasn’t won a byelection since taking power in 2015

The Fort McMurray-Conklin race will likely come down to a battle between UCP candidate Laila Goodridge (left) and NDP candidate Jane Stroud. (Facebook)

Voters in Fort McMurray-Conklin and Innisfail-Sylvan Lake choose new MLAs on July 12 , Elections Alberta announced Thursday.

Both contests will be a test for Notley, whose governing NDP hasn't won a byelection since it came to power in 2015. Both constituencies were previously held by UCP MLAs and are conservative strongholds.

The Alberta NDP and United Conservative Party have had their candidates in place for about a month.

The Alberta Liberals plan to have names on the ballot in both byelections. Candidates must be nominated by 2 p.m. on June 25. 

Randy Thorsteinson, leader of the Reform Party of Alberta, is running in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake.

Fort McMurray-Conklin

The constituency has been without an MLA since March 5 when former Wildrose Leader Brian Jean resigned.

Fort McMurray has almost consistently elected Social Credit, Progressive Conservative or Wildrose MLAs over the last 50 years, with only one exception.

Liberal Adam Germain held the Fort McMurray seat for four years until he was unseated by Progressive Conservative Guy Boutilier in 1997.

Although the riding is a conservative stronghold, the NDP has great hopes for its candidate Jane Stroud, a councillor for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

Fort McMurray-Conklin has 13,222 registered voters. Turnout in the 2015 election was 51.2 per cent. 

Laila Goodridge, UCP

Laila Goodridge, 30, beat three other candidates, including Wood Buffalo Coun. Phil Meagher, in a hotly contested battle for the UCP nomination.

Goodridge was a constituency assistant for former Calgary Conservative MP Joan Crockatt. She also worked as a disaster recovery specialist for Jean and Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Tany Yao.

Goodridge also spent five years working for Syncrude and North American Construction. Her most recent employment was in Edmonton as a legislative outreach assistant for the Wildrose and UCP.

Goodridge was born and raised in Fort McMurray and is fluent in French. She has a degree in political science from the University of Alberta.

Jane Stroud, NDP

Jane Stroud, 70,  is in her third term as a councillor for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, representing Anzac, Conklin, Janvier and Gregoire Lake Estates. She has lived in Anzac her whole life.

Prior to her election to council in 2010, she worked in accounts for the Métis local in Fort McMurray.

Stroud was named the NDP candidate in Fort McMurray-Conklin in May.

Sid Fayad, Alberta Party 

Sid Fayad, 31, was announced as the Alberta Party candidate shortly after the writ was issued Thursday. 

Fayad is an entrepreneur who runs a granite business in Fort McMurray. He moved to Alberta from Lebanon at the age of 2 and has lived in Fort McMurray since 2008. He appeared with friends on Dragon's Den in 2013 to pitch an invention for a tongue-mounted toothbrush. 

Brian Deheer, Green Party

Brian Deheer, 57, has been a member of the Green Party of Canada since 2009. He ran for the party in Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills in the 2015 provincial election. He finished fourth, behind the Wildrose, NDP and Progressive Conservative candidates.

Deheer is a music instructor who has lived in Lac La Biche since 1992. He has also lived in Calgary and St. Paul.

Innisfail-Sylvan Lake

Four candidates are officially in the race to fill the seat vacated by former UCP MLA Don MacIntyre on Feb. 5. MacIntyre resigned after he was charged with sexual assault and sexual interference.

The Alberta Liberals intend to run a candidate but have yet to announce a name.

The constituency has been represented by a Progressive Conservative or Wildrose MLA since it was created in 1993.

Innisfail-Sylvan Lake has 33,227 registered voters. Turnout for the 2015 provincial election was 55.4 per cent. 

Devin Dreeshen of the UCP and Nicole Mooney of the NDP are among four candidates running in the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake byelection. (UCP/NDP photos)

Devin Dreeshen, UCP

Devin Dreeshen, 30, was policy adviser to former federal Conservative agriculture minister Gerry Ritz.

Dreeshen has a consulting business which focuses on trade issues affecting agriculture. He farms near Pine Lake and is a director of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association.

He is the son of Red Deer-Mountain View Conservative MP Earl Dreeshen.

Dreeshen faced five other candidates in his successful nomination bin.

Nicole Mooney, NDP

Nicole Mooney, 36, teaches English at St. Joseph High School in Red Deer. She is also the communications officer for the Red Deer Catholic Local 80 of the Alberta Teachers' Association.

Mooney has lived in Sylvan Lake for 12 years. She has been the executive assistant for the Sylvan Lake and Area Serenity Pet Shelter Society and founded the Rocky Spray Park Council in Rocky Mountain House.

She grew up in Edmonton and has a master's degree in education from the University of Calgary.

Abigail Douglass, Alberta Party

Abigail Douglass, 23, is a former student president of the The King's University in Edmonton where she earned a bachelor of commerce degree. She now does public relations on a freelance basis after working for her alma mater after graduation.

Douglass was born in Russia. She was adopted by missionaries and raised in Penhold. She now lives in Sylvan Lake.

Randy Thorsteinson, Reform Party of Alberta

Randy Thorsteinson, 61, is a former leader of the Social Credit and Alberta Alliance parties. He is now the leader of the Reform Party of Alberta. He is the chief operating officer of Cascadia Motivation, a performance-improvement company headquartered in Red Deer.