Skip to content

NDP leadership race: Hoffman doesn't want to see a polarized Alberta

Sarah Hoffman, MLA for Edmonton-Glenora, made a campaign stop in Southern Alberta.
Sarah Hoffman speaks with community members at The Market in Diamond Valley on March 28.

The race to become the next leader of the Alberta NDP is making it clear that rural constituencies are crucial.

Sarah Hoffman, MLA for Edmonton-Glenora, made a campaign stop in the Highwood riding last week. She came to The Market in Diamond Valley on March 28 to speak with community members about her vision for the party and the province.

Hoffman served as deputy premier and minister of health in Rachel Notley's government from 2015 to 2019, and subsequently held the titles of Alberta NDP deputy leader, assistant whip and municipal affairs critic for Edmonton and Calgary.

"I am a winner, but the reason why I'm a winner is because we keep growing the team," said Hoffman. "And we did show up big time for Calgary. We showed up for Calgary when I was in charge of health. We finally put an end to the games that were being played around the cancer hospital. We committed to a location.

"We spent some money and that cancer hospital is built. It needs to be staffed though. So Sarah Hoffman, premier, would take care of that."

Hoffman, whose campaign focus is on health, climate and housing, emphasized that environmental issues are of the utmost importance to her.

"Day one, I will repeal Danielle Smith's ban on wind and solar as well," said Hoffman, "and instead of punishing people for having EVs by charging them an extra 200 bucks a year on the registration, we'll actually have rebates for people."

Hoffman, who grew up in the small northern Alberta hamlet of Kinuso, said being from a rural community gives her a unique perspective with which to tackle rural issues.

"We will invest in making sure that we have a rural transportation model," she said. "When I was a kid growing up, I rode the Greyhound into the city a couple of times a year. I get that there isn't a business case for that, but we have to connect rural and urban communities. We can't leave people stranded on islands having to rely on their neighbours to get them around. That's not OK."

Hoffman was in Diamond Valley as part of the Highwood NDP constituency association's 'Meet the Candidates' series. The constituency association's event earlier in March featured Rakhi Pancholi, who has since dropped out of the race and joined the campaign of former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi.

When asked for her thoughts on that, Hoffman said, "I've never felt better about my campaign. I know that some people saw the numbers of new members a week and a half ago and were scared by it. I know I sold a lot of those numbers. I'm quite inspired by it.

"I was at the Rural Municipalities Association, all county councillors and mayors, and I sold a ton of memberships in those groups, in groups where we didn't do well when I was in government in 2015 and (20)16. One of the reasons why, some of the people said, as you keep showing up, you keep coming, you listen, you remember, and you're not afraid to be in groups that the NDP hasn't traditionally felt super comfortable in."

Hoffman acknowledged that, even with the party's increasing popularity in many ridings, the road to victory in the 2027 provincial election won't be an easy one. 

"The leader can't do it on their own," said Hoffman. "The leader needs to show up in rural settings just like this one and do it consistently. When we showed up for Calgary, we know that we won the popular vote, we won the majority of seats. It's a simple formula and it worked. We need to do it for the rest of Alberta too.

"I'm not OK with a polarized Alberta. I want an Alberta where everyone sees themselves as being first and being bigger and better than themselves, and one of the ways we can do that is by electing me as the leader and giving me a mandate to keep showing up and doing the work with all of you."

Hoffman is up against MLAs Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse and Kathleen Ganley, Alberta Federation of Labour leader Gil McGowan and Nenshi. The results of the leadership race will be announced in Calgary on June 22. 


Amir Said

About the Author: Amir Said

Amir Said is a reporter and photographer with the Western Wheel.
Read more


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks