You probably know I’m a first-timer in the provincial political sphere. Thankfully I’ve been around it enough for the past several years to have a good frame of reference for what goes on, but stepping up and running is a very different thing.  As I enter into this political process for the first time, I am learning so much more about our provincial system. My husband is learning about the provincial system. So is my sister, my parents, my…. suffice to say, a whole bunch of us are on this amazing learning curve together.

As we just received word that the nomination process for the constituency has begun, I thought now would be a good time to let those of you who aren’t familiar with the process in on how things happen.

In the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake constituency, the Alberta Party must decide who will represent them as a candidate in the next provincial election. To do that, we may be holding a candidate election – if we have more than one candidate (me) step forward for nomination – on July 10th. Only people who live in the constituency and have been Alberta Party members for ten days can vote in this.

Here’s how it works:

1) The Constituency Association (CA) appoints a Candidate Selection Committee (CSC). We like acronyms.

2) The CSC sets the dates for the whole nominations process and notifies all of the party members within the constituency. Which they’ve now done.

3) The nominations open. This happened yesterday, June 11th for us. Nomination forms were sent to all the members of our CA and anyone can choose to run if they get a minimum of ten signatures and submit that form by 5:00pm on the day nominations close, in our case June 25th.

4) When nominations close, the CSC reviews the nomination forms that are submitted to make sure they have gotten the requisite number of signatures etc. They then announce that we have a race, or that a candidate is acclaimed.

5) If there is a race, campaigning begins. The potential candidates will be connecting with all of the CA members to ask for their support on voting day. The CSC, meanwhile, interviews the candidates and then submits everything to the Alberta Party Board of Directors for final approval.

6) If the Party approves the nominees as eligible to stand, the CSC kicks it into high gear to get ready for voting day. Our voting day will be, as I said, July 10th.

Clear as mud? It’s actually pretty straight forward. The thing is that in order to vote, people have to be members in good standing for a minimum of ten days prior to the vote. That means my campaign team is busy trying to get as many people signed up with Alberta Party memberships before June 29th. That also means we are encouraging those who have signed up to make sure they support me on July 10th by heading out to their local polling station to cast their ballot to nominate me as the Alberta Party candidate in the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake riding.

The CSC plans to implement a rolling ballot box, to give everyone a chance to vote in our large area without having to travel too far. I’ll let you know (and certainly so will the CSC if you are a member in this CA) the times and places for voting as soon as they are arranged.

Once the voting for the candidate is completed, it is time to start preparing for the provincial campaign. At this point, many analysts and political watchers estimate that we may have a provincial election anytime between November 2011 and March 2012.  Of course we’ll start to work the very day after I am elected as the candidate, but when the provincial election is announced, we’ll have only about 36 days to get this done, and the campaign will roll out at full speed!

So if you live in this constituency, please consider obtaining a $10 membership in the Alberta Party, and of course I ask for your support. And certainly, if you are interested in helping out with either the nomination campaign or the provincial campaign, please drop me a line and we will find just the right (sweet) spot for you!

I’d be happy to connect with you to talk more about the party and my hopes and dreams for this area and Alberta. Pop me a line!