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Candidates battle for conservative stronghold in provincial byelection

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With the Progressive Conservatives on the defense after a turbulent year, the provincial byelection just might be the last thing they want to deal with.

Six candidates are vying for the Calgary-Glenmore provincial seat Sept. 24. The space has been vacant since deputy premier Ron Stevens resigned to accept a position on the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench.

Current Ward 13 Alderman Diane Colley-Urquhart is the PC candidate. Her main contenders include psychiatrist Dr. Avalon Roberts representing the Liberals and Paul Hinman, interim leader of the Wildrose Alliance. Health care, the economic downturn and the rising deficit are major concerns for Calgary-Glenmore residents.

Hinman said "everyone is very concerned" about health care and wants to reduce "discretionary expenses" to control the deficit.

Roberts indicated that the government has shirked its responsibility in health care and public education, and believes that recent budget cuts and poor planning by the PCs are to blame.

"I think this government has completely lost track of what's going on," said Roberts.

While many see this as a test for Premier Ed Stelmach, Len Skowronski, Social Credit leader and candidate said there wouldn't be much change even if another party wins.

Other candidates include Eric Carpendale for Alberta's NDP and Antoni Grochowski, running as an independent. Colley-Urquhart was unavailable for comment.

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