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Federal byelection for Calgary Heritage set for July 24

There will be a federal byelection in the riding of Calgary Heritage next month.

In an online statement Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that there will be a byelection for the riding of Calgary Heritage on July 24.

The south Calgary riding, which at one point was held by former prime minister Stephen Harper, has been vacant since January.

Conservative Bob Benzen, a first-time MP who was elected to represent the riding in 2017, announced in October of 2022 that he would resign and return to private life, saying in a tweet that “it was never my intention to become a career politician.”

Shuvaloy Majumdar, a long-time Conservative staffer won the party’s nomination in March and is set to run as the Conservative Party of Canada candidate for the riding.

The federal Liberal Party candidate, Elliot Weinstein, is the owner and president of The Beach YYC, an indoor beach recreation facility in Alberta.

He was previously a project manager at Golder Associates, a global environmental consulting firm. Weinstein managed projects in their global IT department.

A flyer depicting a political candidate
Elliot Weinstein is the federal Liberal Party candidate for Calgary Heritage. (Submitted by Michelle Robinson)

Ottawa vows to protect vote from foreign interference

In an announcement Sunday, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said measures previously introduced to protect four other byelections from potential foreign interference will also be applied to the Calgary Heritage electoral district next month.

Byelections are scheduled Monday in Notre-Dame-de-Grace–Westmount, Oxford, Portage–Lisgar and Winnipeg South Centre.

Ottawa said the Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections (SITE) Task Force will closely monitor and assess foreign interference threats during the byelection period.

“The measures we are putting in place today are a continuation of the work we have done since 2015 to ensure the strength and resilience of our democracy,” LeBlanc said in a statement.

“Any attack, or attempted attack, on our democracy is unacceptable. We will continue to be vigilant and nimble in responding to the threat posed by foreign interference.”

A man wearing a suit talks in front of a Canadian flag.
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc speaks during a news conference following the resignation of David Johnston, Independent Special Rapporteur on Foreign Interference, on June 10 in Ottawa. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Citing unnamed national security sources, the Globe and Mail and Global News have reported on a range of influence and interference operations coming from Beijing, particularly during the 2019 and 2021 elections.

They include attempts to intimidate and influence members of Parliament, funding political candidates and operating so-called “police stations” across Canada to intimidate dissidents.’

In response to the allegations, the federal government appointed former governor general David Johnston as a special rapporteur in March to look into allegations that China tried to meddle in the past two federal elections.

In May, Johnston recommended against calling a public inquiry into foreign interference in Canadian politics. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at the time that the government will follow that recommendation.

On June 9, Johnston announced he was resigning from that role, saying in a letter sent to Trudeau that his role has become too muddled in political controversy for him to continue.

Conservative candidate was Harper adviser

In a video posted to his Facebook page, Majumdar highlighted his policy views, saying that “it’s time to unlock clean Canadian natural resources and Calgary’s energy ingenuity.”

He also said he wants to send a message to the Liberal government that “we’ve had enough of woke censorship that seeks to take away our right to freedom of speech and conscience.”

According to his website, Majumdar currently works with Harper’s international consulting firm. He was also the foreign policy adviser to both Harper and former Conservative foreign minister John Baird.

A portrait photo of a man.
Shuvaloy Majumdar is the Conservative Party of Canada’s nominee for the Calgary Heritage riding. (Shuvaloy Majumdar/Facebook)

CBC has reached out to the federal NDP regarding their candidate but did not immediately hear back. 

Election Canada said voters in Calgary Heritage can vote:

  • At their assigned polling station on advance polling days or election day. 
  • Advance polling days: Friday, July 14, Saturday, July 15, Sunday, July 16, and Monday, July 17
  • Election day: Monday, July 24. 
  • At their Elections Canada office, anytime between now and Tuesday, July 18, 6 p.m. 
  • By special ballot: by applying before Tuesday, July 18, 6 p.m. (local time) and returning their special ballot. 
  • By mail (deadlines apply) or in person at their Elections Canada office before polls close on election day.

Elections Canada says it will open an office in Calgary Heritage soon. The latest call comes as voters cast ballots Monday in four other byelections across the country.

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