The Stettler Legion Hall could be crammed to capacity this Friday, November 18 as the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party holds a leadership debate for area constituents.
Drumheller-Stettler PC Association president Mark Nikota says three of the four declared candidates have confirmed so far and he's hoping to have them all there for speeches, followed by questions and answers and, finally, a chance to meet one-on-one with the candidates.
"It's rebuilding, rebirth, I hate to overuse that term grassroots, but it's all about the members having their say in the direction of the party," he told 99.5 Drum FM. "It's starting from scratch because, let's face it, there was nothing left after the last election."
Nikota referred to the 2015 General Election when the NDP swept to a majority government with 53 seats, while the Conservatives, who had had a majority, dropped to just 10 seats.
"Lots of people are talking right now, and at the Policy Convention in Red Deer a couple weeks ago, the talk is it's got to be from the bottom up and it's got to be principles based," he added. "It can't be about gaining power because that's why we lost it in the first place."
"It's a wiser party, but it's younger," he continued. "The one thing I noticed in Red Deer is the amount of youth and other people that were showing an interest in where things are going, so it's not your grandfather's party anymore."
The four announced candidates are former Member of Parliament Jason Kenney, Richard Starke, who was a minister in the last two Tory governments, Calgary lawyer Byron Nelson and St. Alberta MLA Steven Khan.
Friday's candidates forum is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion in downtown Stettler.