Laila Goodridge, MLA for Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche, is set to replace incumbent MP David Yurdiga as MP for Fort McMurray- Cold Lake in the upcoming September federal election.
Goodridge's three years as an MLA in the Alberta legislature have not been without controversy. Back this spring, amid the expulsion of indigenous people from a homeless camp during record-freezing weather as allegations of systemic racism flew, Goodridge remained non-reactive and allegedly did not provide access to provincial resources for those affected by the removal of the camp.
After TBT reached out to Goodridge (first without response), the MLA responded to demands for actionable steps be taken on racism and homelessness in the Indigenous community - with a response that the county had not yet asked her to step in.
I’ve been following this situation but so far have not been asked by the County to step in. I would encourage the county to work with our homeless residents along with our First Nations and Métis officials to find a solution here. I know the county is working to address the issue of homelessness through their Transitional Housing Task Force, and I look forward to seeing that plan come forward in the near future to help address homelessness in a more holistic and long-term way.
Such incidents have led to questioning about whether the rookie MLA is ready to step up to bat in the federal arena. Her tenure also proved controversial to some opposed to the lockdown, given her constituency association's backing of Premier Kenney's lockdown: “Recognizing the difficult decisions that have been made over the past year and must continue be made in the months ahead during this prolonged public health emergency, that the Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche UCP Constituency Association send a letter to Premier Kenney, his Cabinet, and the Provincial Board of the United Conservative Party, expressing their firm support of the Premier’s leadership in these challenging times.”
According to CBC, health issues were responsible for Yurdiga's desicion not to run for re-election. Although unavailable for comment, the following statement was released by Goodridge: "“With Canada’s Recovery Plan, we will secure jobs and the future for Fort McMurray. I am passionate about northern Alberta, and fighting for Albertans in Ottawa.”
Premier Jason Kenney congratulated Goodridge on Twitter, thanking her for her time serving as MLA. “Laila is a true champion for her city and was a relentless advocate for her constituents as an MLA on issues like health care, child care and economic growth,” he wrote.
A byelection for the provincial riding of Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche has yet to be scheduled. As of Monday, only one other candidate is registered: Jonathan Meyers of the western separatist Maverick Party.