Parties gear up with full slate of candidates

The New Democratic Party has a candidate running in all 87 provincial ridings, beating even the ruling Tory government to full slate status.

In Edmonton-Goldbar candidate Marlin Schmidt has been knocking on doors for over a year, with 500 sign locations picked out.

"We don't have a big budget, we don't take corporate donations. We have to rely on candidates engaging voters at the door, on the ground. It's more work, but it's more effective," said party secretary Brian Stokes. "The more doors we can knock on, the more voters we can speak to."

Last week, the Liberal Party had 55 candidates in place, with another 11 "in the hopper" being vetted.

"On election day, we will have all 87 constituencies filled," said Liberal leader Raj Sherman.

Robert Prcic is running for the Grits in Calgary - North West.

A 22-year-old university student from a farming background in Cochrane, he's literally head-and-shoulders over many other candidates. The former University of Calgary Dinosaur basketball center is 6'10" - and he believes he's the youngest candidate in the field this provincial election.

"The future is now, and I bring a common-sense approach, not one of saying something and then not getting it done," he said.

Then there's a little friendly family rivalry. If Liberal Norvel Horner's name rings a bell, it might be because the MLA candidate for Calgary-Currie's second cousin to PC Deputy Premier Doug Horner - and

the son of a former deputy agriculture minister.

The Alberta Party expected to have 30 candidates in place by the end of next week - part of their idea of "doing things a bit differently," said leader Glenn Taylor.

"We're only fielding candidates where they have a connection to the community. We're not just putting names on the ballot to pretend they're more than they are," he said.

His party looks for a track record of volunteerism and a profile in prospective candidates' communities, Taylor said.

The concentrations of Alberta Party candidates includes Calgary, with 10 or 11; Edmonton/St. Albert/Spruce Grove, 10; and the rest sprinkled around rural areas around Edmonton, Taylor said.

Calgary Sun, Mon Mar 19 2012

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