NDP MLAs Jansen, Cortes-Vargas announce they're not running again

Two NDP MLAs announced Monday that they won’t be running for reelection this spring: Strathcona-Sherwood Park MLA Estefania Cortes-Vargas and Infrastructure Minister Sandra Jansen.

Sandra Jansen joined the NDP after leaving the Progressive Conservatives in 2016

Calgary-North West MLA Sandra Jansen (left) was appointed Alberta's new minister of infrastructure by Premier Rachel Notley in October 2017. (CBC )

Two NDP MLAs announced Monday that they won't be running for re-election this spring: Strathcona-Sherwood Park MLA Estefania Cortes-Vargas and Infrastructure Minister Sandra Jansen.

Jansen registered as the NDP candidate for Calgary-North West last August. She did not give a reason for why she decided to withdraw her candidacy. She also deleted her Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

"After much consideration and discussion with my family, I've decided not to seek re-election," Jansen wrote in a statement sent to the media via the NDP caucus.

"Let me say, this is not an easy decision.  But after many years in public life, it is the right decision for me and my family."

Jansen said her decision to join the NDP "was one of the best decisions of my career."

Cortes-Vargas was among the class of rookie NDP MLAs elected in 2015, one of the three first openly LGBTQ MLAs in the Alberta legislature and served as the party's whip.

"I will not be seeking re-election to pursue further professional development opportunities," Cortes-Vargas said in a Facebook post.

Estefania Cortes-Vargas, the former NDP MLA for Strathcona-Sherwood Park, is the new executive director of the Pride Centre of Edmonton. (Alberta NDP caucus)

Cortes-Vargas is endorsing Crown prosecutor Moira Vane, who is running for the NDP nomination in her place.

A former broadcaster, Jansen was elected as a Progressive Conservative in 2012 and 2015. Jansen dropped out the PC leadership in the fall of 2016, claiming harassment by volunteers of another campaign.

Ten days later, she joined the NDP caucus. In October 2017, she was sworn in as minister of infrastructure.

9 NDP MLAs not running

Nine NDP MLAs have announced they aren't running again. In addition to Cortes-Vargas and Jansen, Speaker and Medicine Hat MLA Bob Wanner, Transportation Minister and Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood MLA Brian Mason, Edmonton-Whitemud MLA Bob Turner, Calgary-Acadia MLA Brandy Payne, Calgary-Northern Hills MLA Jamie Kleinsteuber and Calgary-Hawkwood MLA Michael Connolly are not running. Stephanie McLean resigned her seat in Calgary-Varsity earlier this month. 

Another six NDP MLAs have yet to file with Elections Alberta: Red Deer-North MLA Kim Schreiner, Spruce Grove-St. Albert MLA Trevor Horne, West Yellowhead MLA Eric Rosendahl, Calgary-Glenmore MLA Anam Kazim, Peace River MLA Debbie Jabbour and Edmonton-Mill Creek MLA Denise Woollard. 

Horne's riding was eliminated in the latest redrawing of election boundaries. He ran for the nomination in St. Albert but was defeated by his caucus colleague Marie Renaud.

According to the province's fixed-date election legislation, the next election must be held sometime between March 1 and May 31, 2019.

Last week, a spokesperson for Premier Rachel Notley confirmed the legislature will open for a spring session on March 18 with a speech from the throne. If the government sticks to that plan, the election would be held in mid-April at the earliest.