The federal Liberal Party is having serious issues finding a homegrown candidate.
In fact the situation is so critical – 10 days after the election was called on March 26 - senior party election organizers said “parachuting” a candidate to represent the party in the Red Deer riding, which includes Innisfail, is a possibility.
“I am hoping we don’t have to,” said Daryl Fridhandler, Liberal campaign manager for Southern Alberta. “I am leaving that up to the riding association. They have asked me not to parachute a candidate in.
“But I don’t have a Red Deer name at the moment,” he said, adding he hopes to have a candidate announced by mid-week. “We have to have a candidate in for the riding, and the last choice is to parachute one in.”
Fridhandler conceded the issue has been “frustrating”, adding the ideal situation would have been to have a candidate in place a month ago.
However, he said there has been a “limited pool” of Liberal candidates available in the Red Deer riding.
“The level of activity has been less than robust,” said Fridhandler. ‘The key thing is finding a person who is willing to put the time and effort in.”
In 2008, Garfield Marks was the Liberal candidate. He finished a distant fourth behind the Green Party, NDP and Conservative Party.
Candidates have until April 11 to file nomination papers with Elections Canada.
Fridhandler said anyone interested in being a Liberal candidate in the Red Deer riding can email him at email@example.com or Bill Weiswasser, president of the Red Deer Riding Association, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meanwhile, candidates for the Conservative Party, NDP and Green Party are already in full swing on the election trail in the Red Deer riding.
Stuart Somerville is the NDP candidate, Ashkan Hamzehi is running for the Green Party and incumbent Conservative Earl Dreeshen is running for his second term in the House of Commons.
Dreeshen said he had not noticed that the Liberals were having problems fielding a candidate. He said his team has been too busy on the campaign trail to pay much attention.
“I’m sure they will have one,’ said Dreeshen, adding it was important that there is a full slate of candidates for voters to choose from. “We will just have to wait and see.”
Meanwhile, Dreeshen said his campaign moving along successfully. His election headquarters is opening this Friday in Red Deer at the Legion building near Bower Mall.
“A lot of people are already picking up signs and we have lots of volunteers.”