Is there a Liberal candidate in Souris-Moose Mountain? That depends on who you ask.
Lonny McKague, the Liberals’ riding president for Souris-Moose Mountain, told the World-Spectator that Steven Bebbington has been nominated as the party’s candidate on August 20.
Bebbington was contacted and arranged an interview with the World-Spectator for last Wednesday, August 26.
However, hours before the scheduled interview on Wednesday, Bebbington said he would no longer be available for the interview.
Asked for clarification, Bebbington failed to respond, and has not responded since then. His cell phone appears to have been switched off.
Early last week, the Liberal Party website listed Bebbington as the candidate in Souris-Moose Mountain, with a note that his biography would soon be added.
On Wednesday, all references to Bebbington on the Liberal Party website were removed.
On Thursday, Liberal party headquarters in Ottawa said there is no party candidate in Souris-Mountain.
But Lonny McKague, the president of the local riding association, insisted that Bebbington is the party’s candidate.
The federal Liberal Party office for Saskatchewan didn’t respond to repeated requests to clarify whether Bebbington is or is not the Liberal candidate for Souris-Moose Mountain, and Bebbington couldn’t be reached.
The party’s media relations staff couldn’t answer Thursday or Friday whether Bebbington is or is not the candidate.
Bebbington lives in Earl Grey, a village north of Regina that is outside of the Souris-Moose Mountain boundaries.
Bebbington, who recently turned 26, has been an employee with the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region for eight years.
He is a member of dietary staff at Wascana Rehabilitation Centre and is a shop steward with the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3967.
Elections Canada has not received nomination papers for Bebbington, but papers can be filed up to Sept. 28 for the Oct. 19 election.
Bebbington’s only previous political experience is twice running in byelections for village council in Earl Gray, Saskatchewan, a village of 106 occupied households.
He was defeated both times.
The other candidates in Souris-Moose Mountain are Rocanville’s Bob Deptuck for the Green Party, Estevan chiropractor Dr. Robert Kitchen for the Conservative Party, and the New Democratic Party’s Vicky O’Dell. The election will be held on Monday, October 19.
As of Friday, the Liberals have candidates in 11 of the 14 Saskatchewan ridings. The Green Party has candidates in 10 of the 14 Saskatchewan ridings. The Conservatives and NDP both have full slates of candidates.