This fall, St. Albertans have a chance to possibly choose an Alberta senator.
The Senate election will be held on Oct. 18, in conjunction with the municipal election. The election allows Albertans to vote for three of the 13 candidates to potentially fill the single open Alberta Senate seat.
Albertans may have a chance to choose who they would like to see in the Senate, but that doesn’t mean that person will get the job.
Senators are chosen by the Governor General based on recommendations from the prime minister, as per the Canadian Constitution.
Recommendations are given to the prime minister by the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments. The board was created in 2016 and is an independent and non-partisan body. The mandate of the board is to provide non-binding and merit-based recommendations.
There were originally two open Alberta Senate seats this year. However, much to the distress of Premier Jason Kenney, Sen. Karen Sorensen was chosen and appointed to the Senate on July 29, leaving only one seat.
In the past, Alberta has had four Senate elections and the individuals who were elected had their names put forward by the province for federal government consideration. Altogether, nine individuals were chosen in those elections and of those nine individuals, five were appointed to the Senate.
Candidates who will be on the ballot for the Senate election and their websites — if they have them — are listed below.
Erika Barootes is affiliated with the Conservative Party of Canada. She is president of the Conservative Party of Canada’s Electoral District Association. She is also vice-president at Enterprise Canada — a strategic communication and public affairs company.
Rick Bonnett is an independent candidate. He has been a mayor for the Town of Ponoka since 2013, but he is not running for a third term. He is also an owner of Ponoka Irrigation. Bonnet ran as a Liberal Party of Canada candidate in the 2004 federal election.
Pam Davidson is affiliated with the Conservative Party of Canada. She ran for a seat on the Conservative Party of Canada’s national council last spring and was endorsed by the anti-abortionist group Right Now and the National Firearms Council. Currently, she operates a small business on her farm near Red Deer.
Doug Horner is running for Senate as an independent. He is a partner at P3 Capital Partners Inc. and a partner and chair for the Canada Asia Synergy Group. Horner is a veteran in Alberta politics and has served as minister of Finance, Agriculture and Rural Development, and Advanced Education and Technology. He also served as deputy premier. He was an MLA for Spruce Grove-Sturgeon-St. Albert. After that riding dissolved, he was the MLA for the Spruce Grove-St. Albert riding.
Duncan Kinney is running as an independent. He is an executive director, editor, and host for Progress Alberta — an independent media organization. Kinney is running satirically on the platform that the Senate election is a scam, and is hoping to use this campaign to talk about “issues the premier doesn’t want on anyone’s mind,” according to his website.
Kelly Lorencz is affiliated with the People’s Party of Canada and ran as a candidate for the PPC in the Red Deer-Mountain View riding in the federal election this September. He also ran in the Calgary Nose Hill riding for the 2019 federal election. He is a Canadian military veteran and he also worked as a corrections officer for 12 years.
Mykhailo Martyniouk is affiliated with the Conservative Party of Canada. Martyniouk is the president of the Association of Canadian Ukrainian Free Trade Agreement. He immigrated to Canada 27 years ago from Ukraine, according to his Twitter.
Ann McCormack is affiliated with the People’s party of Canada. She ran as a federal election candidate in the Lakeland riding for the party. According to her social media account, she is a stay-at-home parent and a former pharmacist.
Jeff Nielsen is an independent candidate. He is president of J. E. Nielsen Farms Inc and former associate president of Western Barley Growers Association. He is a grain farmer and has worked as an advocate for agriculture in Canada.
Karina Pillay is an independent candidate. Pillay served three terms as the mayor for the Town of Slave Lake. She worked in the oil industry for 17 years and is a physician in Calgary.
Chad Jett Thunders Saunders is an independent candidate. According to his social media account, he is currently unemployed.
Sunil Sookram is an independent candidate. Sookram is a veteran of the Canadian military and currently works as an emergency medical doctor in Calgary. He recently finished a master’s degree in business administration.
Nadine R. Wellwood is affiliated with the People’s Party of Canada. She ran as a federal election candidate for the Banff-Airdrie riding in both the 2019 and 2021 elections.