Two federal candidates were put forth by the NDP Monday evening following a nomination meeting held at the Red Deer Public Library.
In the Red Deer-Lacombe riding Doug Hart was chosen over Katherine Swampy and the Red Deer-Mountain View vote saw Paul Harris being chosen as the party’s candidate edging out Dianne Macaulay.
Hart, who has lived in Central Alberta his entire life, spent the last 40 years of his career working as a nurse, teacher and community college administrator. He currently works as a casual nurse in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing and Addictions at the Red Deer Regional Hospital, following time spent as both the vice academic chair and acting president at Grande Prairie Regional College.
He holds diplomas in psychiatric nursing, an under graduate degree in nursing from the University of Calgary, a masters degree in education administration from the University of Alberta and a masters degree in science in health promotion studies.
While addressing the room of NDP members, Hart stated no matter how different he and those other members may be, they likely had at least one thing in common.
“We want to put an end to 10 years of Stephen Harper’s rule,” said Hart who previously ran in three provincial elections under the NDP bid. “Stephen Harper has shown contempt for democracy, he has eroded sovereignty, and is deconstructing Canada.
“All you have to do is look at Bill C-51 and the impact it has on personal rights and freedoms.”
Hart will be running against Liberal Party candidate Rev. Jeff Rock – a minister with Gaetz Memorial United Church who was nominated by his party in January.
Hart and Rock will also be running against the Conservative Party candidate Blaine Calkins – a University of Alberta Bachelor of Science graduate who served in a number of local political positions over the last 30 years including serving as a town councilor for Lacombe for a time, as well as the MP for Wetaskawin.
Harris, chosen candidate for the NDP nomination in the Red Deer – Mountain View riding is a local business owner, City councilor, and was described by other members during the meeting as an influential community leader.
Harris was elected to Red Deer City Council in 2010 and has owned Sunworks since 1995. During his time on council he has also been an active member of the Red Deer & District Community Foundation, sat as a chair of the Cultural Development Association of Red Deer, as well as serving as president of the Downtown Business Association. He has also been a member of the Mayor’s Task Force to End Homelessness.
“I was really just focused on tonight and today and getting to this point,” said Harris following the announcement he was to be the riding’s NDP candidate. “The next 56 days are going to be very busy – we’re going to be in every community in our riding and really get people out to vote in Red Deer,” he said.
“We’ve got to make sure everyone is participating and make sure everyone is engaged in democracy on a local and national level.”
Harris added it’s nice to have the support of the party and a team of committed individuals behind him and Hart during the federal election.
Harris will be running against the current MP for the riding, Conservative MP Earl Dreeshen. He will also be running against Green Party candidate Mason Sisson and Libertarian candidate James Walper.
The election is set for Oct.19th. Harper dropped the write on Aug. 2nd and at 11 weeks, the campaign has been described as the longest in modern Canadian history. As a result of the 2012 federal electoral redistribution, the number of electoral districts was increased to 338, with additional seats based on population assigned to Alberta (6), British Columbia (6), Ontario (15), and Quebec (3).