Gil McGowan Suspends Alberta NDP Leadership Bid, Citing $60,000 Entry Fee

Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, suspended his campaign for Alberta NDP leadership due to financial constraints. Four candidates remain in the contest, with voting scheduled to take place from June 3 to June 22.

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Nitish Verma
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Gil McGowan Suspends Alberta NDP Leadership Bid, Citing $60,000 Entry Fee

Gil McGowan Suspends Alberta NDP Leadership Bid, Citing $60,000 Entry Fee

Gil McGowan, the president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, announced on Monday that he is suspending his campaign to become the next leader of Alberta's NDP. The decision comes as McGowan faced financial constraints, unable to pay the final installment of the $60,000 entry fee required to continue in the race.

Why this matters: The suspension of McGowan's campaign highlights the challenges faced by candidates in accessing leadership positions, particularly those with limited financial resources. This could have implications for the diversity of candidates and the representation of different interests in political parties.

In an email, McGowan stated, "Paying the final instalment of the $60,000 entry fee — which was due last night at midnight — has proven too much for me." During a debate on Saturday, he had pleaded for donations, saying, "If I don't raise another $50,000 soon, I'm toast."

The Alberta NDP leadership race began in January after Rachel Notley announced her intention to step down as leader. The party's membership has since swelled to 85,144, a significant increase from the 16,224 members as of December 31, 2023. Former Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi's membership push has contributed to this growth.

With McGowan's suspension, four candidates remain in the contest: MLAs Kathleen Ganley, Sarah Hoffman, and Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse, as well as former Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. McGowan has yet to endorse another candidate in the race.

Amanda Freistadt, chief returning officer for the Alberta NDP, emphasized the historic nature of the leadership race, stating, "Voters from all walks of life and all regions of the province joined the Alberta NDP because they are excited to support our party in forming the next government."

McGowan, despite suspending his campaign, remains committed to the party's cause. "You can rest assured that I will continue to fight the UCP's unacceptable agenda both now and in the next election. I just won't be doing it as party leader," he said.

The Alberta NDP leadership contest is scheduled for June 2024. Ballots and voting information will be mailed to members via Canada Post at the end of May. Voting opens on June 3, and all ballots must be received by 12 p.m. on June 22. The party will announce the new leader in Calgary on the afternoon of June 22.

Key Takeaways

  • Gil McGowan suspends Alberta NDP leadership bid due to financial constraints.
  • McGowan unable to pay $60,000 entry fee, citing limited financial resources.
  • Four candidates remain in the contest: Ganley, Hoffman, Calahoo Stonehouse, and Nenshi.
  • Alberta NDP membership grows to 85,144, with voting set for June 3-22, 2024.
  • McGowan remains committed to the party's cause, but won't run as leader.