Created in 1993, Calgary-Varsity was represented by Tory Murray Smith until 2004 when the patronage gods blessed him with the position of Alberta’s Ambassador to the United States of America in Washington D.C.. Smith’s blessing included a $210,500 annual salary, a car, a posh Washington apartment and other benefits, and a $105,000 quitting bonus for leaving his job five months early (a sweetheart clause that was signed and sealed by Ed Stelmach when he was Alberta’s Intergovernmental Affairs Minister).
In 2004, with Smith’s departure, Alberta Liberal Harry Chase challenged Tory Mike Smyth and surprised many political watchers by defeating Smyth by over 700 votes. Chase (who also has one of the best names in Alberta politics) is a school teacher and former Friends of Medicare organizer. In 2004, Chase benefited from the apathetic Tory campaign and a strong get-out-the-vote campaign by the University of Calgary Students’ Union (the University of Calgary is in Varsity).
In 2008, Chase is facing off against Tory Jennifer Diakiw. Diakiw is a fundraiser for SAIT and the U of C and has a long history of involvement with the PC Party. Diakiw also describes herself like a lot of modern women would: “For 25 years, like a lot of modern women, she has juggled family, career and a deep commitment to the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta, and has thrived successfully in each.” (no word if Diakiw has previously served as a local returning officer). Chase and Diakiw are joined by Green Sean Maw, Wildrose Alliance candidate Brennan Ltyle, and New Democrat Tim Stock-Bateman.
Sean Maw is a Engineering Instructor at Mount Royal College and has previously served as the Research Director at Calgary’s Olympic Oval. He was also involved in the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics and is also working on projects for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Brennan Ltyle is a U of C Political Science graduate who is now working for Suncor Energy. Tim Stock-Bateman is the Director of Development for Corporate & Foundation Relations for the University of Calgary. Stock-Bateman also released a pretty clever campaign video on YouTube earlier in the campaign.
Between 2004 and 2006, Varsity grew by 10.46%, bringing over 2,700 new voters the constituency. The mix of the large university community and Calgary’s dissatisfaction with Tory leader Ed Stelmach, Varsity should be one of the safer Calgary Liberal constituencies in this election.
2008 Calgary-Varsity Candidates
Upcoming All-Candidates Debates
Tuesday, February 26, 12:00-1:30 pm
University of Calgary
MacEwan Student Centre
Wednesday, February 27, 7:00-9:00 pm
Dalhousie Community Centre
5432 Dalhart Rd. N.W.
Past-Election results in Calgary-Varsity
Harry Chase, Lib – 6,347
Michael Smyth, PC – 5,591
Ronald Beninger, AA – 765
Richard Larson, Grn – 761
Mark Gabruch, ND – 637
Leonard Skowronski, SC – 118
Voter Turnout: 54.2%
x Murray Smith, PC – 8,173
Carrol Jaques, Lib – 3,938
Susan Scott, ND – 1,309
Travis De Preez, Grn – 334
Voter Turnout: 59.4%
x Murray Smith, PC – 7,232
Carrol Jaques, Lib – 5,414
Mike Bressers, SC – 646
Dick Huysman, NDP – 640
Joel Ashworth, Grn – 132
Voter Turnout: 59.10%