From communists to separatists, meet the other Alberta parties in this year's election

We’ve heard plenty from the United Conservative Party and the New Democratic Party during this election. But there are 12 other political parties registered with Elections Alberta, all are running candidates. Here’s a rundown of who’s who and what they believe in.

Meet the 12 parties hoping to break through in the provincial election

A line up of people inside. There's a yellow sign that says "Polling Place."
People line up outside a polling station in downtown Edmonton during the 2019 Alberta election. (Elizabeth Hames/CBC)

We've heard plenty from the United Conservative Party and the New Democratic Party during this election.

But there are 12 other political parties registered with Elections Alberta, all are running candidates. Here's a rundown of who's who and what they believe in.

Un-unite the right

Seven parties pushing for various degrees of Alberta sovereignty are running candidates.

The Wildrose Loyalty Coalition has 16 candidates running to "send a message to Ottawa." It believes in less federal involvement, developing a new Constitution with "Supremacy of God" at its core and individual rights.

A white man in a tan suit with a blue shirt under it. He's standing outside and there is a television camera in front of him.
Paul Hinman is leader of the Wildrose Loyalty Coalition, running in the riding of Taber-Warner. (Paul Hinman)

Its leader, Paul Hinman, led three parties before this one: the Wildrose Independence, the Wildrose and the Alberta Alliance.

This time, he's running in the riding of Taber-Warner, an area he represented as an Alberta Alliance MLA from 2004 to 2008. He was also MLA for the Wildrose Alliance from 2009-2012, after he won a byelection in Calgary-Glenmore. He's also run, and lost, three other times.

Speaking of parties Hinman has been involved with, the Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta removed him as leader in 2022.

The party is still around, with two candidates. Its leader, Jeevan Mangat, is running in the riding of Innisfail-Sylvan Lake on a platform of Alberta separating from Canada.

On the topic of independence, The Independence Party of Alberta says it's "the only party with a straight path to independence." It wants to hold a referendum on Alberta's separation from the rest of Canada. It also wants to get rid of the party whip so MLAs have a free vote.

It has 14 candidates. Katherine Kowalchuk is one of them, running for the party in the central Alberta riding of Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills. A family lawyer, Kowalchuk told CBC News she co-founded a group called Lawyers 4 Truth during the pandemic and that experience motivated her to run for office.

"I felt that it was necessary to try my hand in politics, so I could become a lawmaker, as an MLA, rather than simply an advocate as a lawyer," Kowalchuk said.

A bearded preacher speaks into a microphone to his supporters. A Canadian flag is behind his head.
Preacher Artur Pawlowski formed a new party, Solidarity Movement of Alberta. He's running in the riding of Calgary-Elbow. (Ose Irete/CBC)

The Independence Party was led by Artur Pawlowski, a Calgary preacher who was recently found guilty of mischief for encouraging truckers to continue blocking the border crossing in Coutts, Alta., during a 2022 protest.

Pawlowski was ousted as leader of that party in March and founded another party, the Solidarity Movement of Alberta,  which is running 38 candidates. The party says it will "stop the movement to implement communism in Alberta." It also wants to ban photo radar.

The Buffalo Party of Alberta is another newly-formed party in this election. It wants a decentralized government, more local decision making and more independence from Ottawa. Andrew Jacobson is the only candidate. He's running in Edmonton-Strathcona.

Another one-candidate party is the Reform Party. Randy Thorsteinson is the sole candidate, running in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake. He's the former leader of the Alberta Alliance Party. He founded this Reform Party in 2016. His party is conservative, but not a separatist party, he told CBC News.

"I had been very involved with the Reform Party federally and I thought there needed to be change in Alberta," Thorsteinson said.

Rounding out the list of right-of-centre parties, the Advantage Party of Alberta is running four candidates, including leader Marilyn Burns. She's running in the riding of Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland, northwest of Edmonton. 

A woman with long blond hair, wearing a grey suit, sits at a table with papers in front of her. She is smiling.
Advantage Party of Alberta leader Marilyn Burns is running in the riding of Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland. (Alberta Advantage Party)

"We have a completely different vision for Alberta than either the NDP or the UCP," Burns said.

Burns said the party would hold a referendum on separation from Canada and would only separate with a clear mandate from Albertans. Before this, she was a founder of the Wildrose Party.

Hoping for votes in the centre and left

The Green Party of Alberta, the Alberta Party and the Alberta Liberal Party are fielding candidates in this election. The Greens have 41 candidates, the Alberta Party has 19 and the Alberta Liberals have 13.

Jordan Wilkie is leader of the Green Party of Alberta.
Green Party of Alberta leader Jordan Wilkie is running in the riding of Edmonton-Rutherford. (Sam Martin/CBC)

It will be a tough slog for any of these parties to break the two-party deadlock. The CBC's Michelle Bellefontaine explored those parties in depth in this analysis.

Also on the left, the Communist Party - Alberta. Long-time leader Naomi Rankin will run in Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood. She's run under the Communist banner in every provincial and federal election since 1982.

"The future is socialism," Rankin said. "Capitalism has run its course and there is nothing more it can do for us, except bring more insecurity, more climate catastrophe, more inequality and poverty and employment."

The party has two other candidates, one in Edmonton and one in Calgary.

Single-issue party

The Pro-Life Alberta Political Association is an single-issue party that uses its funds to run ads opposing abortion rights. The CBC's Jason Markusoff takes a look at the party. Its only candidate is Lucas Hernandez, running in Calgary-Mountain View. 

There are also 23 independent candidates, not running under a party banner.


Emily Senger is director of CBC's Radio Active in Edmonton. You can reach her at emily.senger@cbc.ca