Alberta's United Conservative Party has announced an important date and rules for its leadership contest.
UCP voters will be able to cast their ballot at five pollings stations across the province on Oct. 6. As well, mail-in ballots will be sent out Sept. 2 and must be returned by Oct. 3.
Candidates must submit a $150,000 entrance fee, which can be paid in stages, a $25,000 refundable compliance deposit, and a nomination petition with at least 1,000 signatures from party members. That list must include 200 from each of the party's regions.
According to UCP president Cynthia Moore, the party is ensuring the contest is "revenue neutral so that the Party doesn't require funds from our 2023 campaign to finance the race." A University of Calgary political science professor claims this high amount may shorten the list of name that ends up on the ballot in October.
"Can Todd Loewen or Leela Aheer necessarily raise $150,000 for the entrance fee? And then raise enough to run a competitive campaign?" asked Lisa Young.
"This is for the highest office in the province, not just leader of the opposition," David Price, chair of the UCP election committee, told CTV News Edmonton. "The person elected needs to demonstrate they are ready to go from Day 1."
Some people have been somewhat critical. Todd Loewen stated, "We don't want the rules to give the appearance of elitism in the party."
Young says she "look[s] at the $150,000 fee as almost outsourcing party fundraising to the leadership candidates to some extent."