Chestermere’s sitting MLA, Leela Aheer secured her nomination by acclimation to run as the United Conservative Party (UCP) candidate in the new Chestermere-Strathmore riding in the next provincial election.
Aheer, who was first elected under the Wildrose banner before that party and the Progressive Conservative Party united to form the UCP, is currently the deputy leader of the UCP and the caucus critic for both Children’s Services and the Status of Women.
Aheer’s road to the nomination was a bumpy one, although in the end no other candidate submitted their nomination papers to contest the constituency nomination.
A confrontation at the new constituency association’s founding meeting led to a court appearance as Aheer made and then withdrew an application for a restraining order against potential rival for the nomination David Campbell.
Although the application was withdrawn the two parties still ended up in court as Campbell is seeking an apology and to be reimbursed for his legal fees by Aheer.
The dispute between the two started at the founding meeting for the UCP constituency association in the new Chestermere-Strathmore riding on June 14.
Campbell said that he was confronted by Aheer as he and his family tried to enter the meeting wearing t-shirts promoting his nomination campaign.
That campaigning was something that Aheer and the party said were against the rules although Campbell said he had never been made aware of that.
“To my knowledge there is no UCP rule that says you cannot campaign or you cannot wear a t-shirt at a founding meeting,” said Campbell. “I’ve got nothing in writing to ever be able to show me that.”
Campbell went upstairs to speak with party officials about the t-shirts he and his family were wearing.
His discussion with party officials led to his ejection from the meeting and a confrontation with UCP official Kyle Braun.
“He said, ‘you can’t wear that shirt and you have to get out of here’,” said Campbell.
Campbell claims that Braun grabbed him and shoved him to get him to leave the meeting.
After the confrontation Campbell said he and his family left.
Campbell said that he believes that the court summons following that night events was an attempt to disrupt his nomination campaign.
He decided not to continue to seek the UCP nomination because he was concerned the party would take his $2000 entry fee and then disallow his candidacy.
Calls to both the UCP and Aheer for comment were not returned by press time.
However, Aheer did say in a press release announcing her nomination that she is, “humbled and grateful for the opportunity to stand as the United Conservative candidate in the new constituency of Chestermere-Strathmore.”