May 20th, 2024

Ganley says NDP leader debate needs to better reach mid-sized cities

By Collin Gallant on May 7, 2024.

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A leading candidate to become leader of the New Democrats is again calling for more regional debates during the current contest, including one in Medicine Hat.

Kathleen Ganley told the News recently that she is continuing to call for the party to focus on outreach in mid-sized cities like the Hat, Red Deer and Grande Prairie.

“This is a real opportunity to grow the party and it has been growing everywhere across the province,” Ganley said. “To help with that I think we should go as many places as possible to talk about our ideas.”

The first leadership debate was held in late April in Lethbridge and two more – in Calgary on May 11 and Edmonton on June 2 – are planned before the contest ends with voting on June 22.

That process will select a leader to replace Rachel Notley, who remains interim leader since announcing her resignation in January.

Joining Ganley in the race are fellow MLAs Sarah Hoffman and Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse, along with Alberta Federation of Labour head Gil McGowan and former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi.

In the 2023 general election, the NDP won 38 of 87 seats and earned about 780,000 votes – 44 per cent of the popular vote.

Comparisons specific to two Medicine Hat ridings are difficult as boundaries were redrawn ahead of 2019 election, but Ganley and the party have promoted strong performances among strictly urban voters in mid-sized cities.

“It’s significant,” said Ganley. “Our vote percentage outside of cities is up – I know it’s not at 50 per cent yet – but inside the city of Medicine Hat, we performed extremely well. We’re extremely competitive and it’s absolutely worthwhile for us to go (and debate) there.”

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