Joan Crockatt wins close race in Calgary-Centre.

Three-Calgary-Centre-1
Joan Crockatt, Harvey Locke, Chris Turner

It was an exciting race for the history books!

Conservative Joan Crockatt has narrowly defeated her opponents to win the federal by-election in Calgary-Centre. At 10:30pm with 241 of 263 polls reporting, Ms. Crockatt’s 9,479 (37%) votes placed her comfortably ahead of Liberal Harvey Locke‘s 8,181 (32%) and Green Chris Turner‘s 6,455 (25%).

Mr. Crockatt’s less than inspirational campaign and internal division within conservative ranks gave both the Greens and Liberals the belief that they might have a once in a generation opportunity to break the Tory Party’s forty-year hold on the city. A number of polls showing a close race, which turned out to be fairly accurate, also boosted the spirits of the two opposition parties.

The Conservatives did win this by-election, but Ms. Crockatt’s narrow margin of victory is noteworthy. In the 2011 election, former Conservative MP Lee Richardson was re-elected with more than 20,000 votes ahead of the second place Liberal challenger.

Both the Liberals and the Greens should be proud of their results tonight.

The Liberals mounted a strong traditional campaign and focused their national spotlight on the riding, including visits from a dozen Liberal MPs. Some Liberal Party supporters will blame vote-splitting for their defeat in the by-election, but comments from Ottawa MP David McGuinty and leadership candidate Justin Trudeau derailed their message during the final week of the campaign.

Mr. Turner’s campaign mounted the strongest challenge that the Green Party ever has in Alberta. The urban sustainability advocate’s unconventionally and energetic campaign attracted legions of supporters and volunteers, many whom had never been involved in federal politics before.

This by-election provides some interesting lessons for the moderate and progressive opposition parties looking to defeat the Tories in the next general election. First, not all parties opposed to the Conservatives stand for identical ideas or policies. Second, no opposition party is entitled to opposition votes. Votes must be earned. And third, not all opposition parties are equally appealing to Conservative voters looking for an alternative. As has been pointed out by some political pundits, the Green Party attracted large swaths of disenchanted Conservative voters in Calgary-Centre.

The Conservatives are still the dominant political force in Calgary, but this by-election sends a message that they can no longer take the entire city for granted. Signalled by the election of Naheed Nenshi as Mayor in 2010, a new base of moderate and progressive voters in the city’s urban core are not afraid of flexing their electoral muscle and are not reluctant to look at other options on the federal level.

24 thoughts on “Joan Crockatt wins close race in Calgary-Centre.”

  1. Congratulations to Ms. Crockatt, not that I’m aware of any issue on which I agree with her. Congratulations also to Forum Polling which predicted the outcome of this race quite well.

    It is true, as Dave says of Calgary, that “a new base of moderate and progressive voters in the city’s urban core are not against looking at other options on the federal level.” At least, that’s true, during a byelection when national issues and who will form a government are not in play. But even still, a house divided–that of “moderate and progressive voters”–is a poor match for a house united–that of neo-liberals. Mr. Harper, whose policies I loathe, has nothing to fear from his divided opponents and can safely ignore everything that they have to say and win another majority in 2015. That is unless they can indeed figure out how to work together and provide some sort of united front for more interventionist, compassionate government.

  2. The real story in Calgary Centre is that the Clark Red Tories who also made the core of the Redford team abandoned a principled Conservative candidate.

    Lee Richardson was a red who took over from Joe Clark and so were his board and supporters and the machine in Calgary Centre. They all left for greener pastures. The Liberal vote really didn’t go anywhere and pretty much maintained what they had when Julia Turnbull tried to mount a serious campaign.

    True Conservatism won tonight

  3. Alvin, I doubt that’ll happen so long as each party is simply looking out for themselves — and wholly unable to see that they have more in common with their progressive opponents, than any of them do with their Conservative ones.

  4. So the pigs won’t be flying after all, the liberal didn’t win like you all predicted, so sad, what with all the high power help, Paul Martin, Justin, NEP it’s called NEP folks, unlike eastern liberals, Albertans still have the ability to remember things.

  5. My dad lost his job and my parents lost their house due to the NEP. The early 80’s were some hard times. We’ll never forgive and never forget.

  6. Never forgives, never forgets, never learns new tricks, never tires of old bones.

    There are so many good reasons to disparage the Liberals that don’t involve having to hear (again) about how hard it used to be when Alberta pissed away its first oil boom.

    What? You don’t think that all those hugely inflated oil salaries and overtime wages didn’t have an inflationary effect on housing prices? No such thing as too much of a good thing, right? Must have been those easterner’s and their NEP that convinced my dad to take a floating rate mortgage based on his oil patch job in an oil city in the middle of an oil boom. We all know that oil booms never end.

    Suck it up. Take responsibility for your own decisions. Get a conservative approach to your life and move out of your parents house in the past.

  7. Joan Crockatt didn’t show up to debate and voters didn’t show up to the polls (30% turnout). I don’t know how comfortable I’d be living in a riding where less than ten thousand people wanted their MP in Parliament.

  8. Seriously? The NEP? I was there.

    Calgary was caught in an awful housing bubble in the mid eights. They happen, esp. when mortgage rates are in the mid teens. (Thanks Ronald Reagan!) Crude was around 12 $ a barrel, while the industry was depending on it being at least 20 $.

    My heart goes out to your parents. But folks holding big mortgages in Calgary were doomed to go under water, NEP or no NEP.

  9. Jesus. Let’s not read too much into a by-election. They tend to be protest votes in Alberta (I think the provincial PCs have lost more than half of the by-elections held since 1971) anyway. Once Crockatt proves that she’s not the debbil, the wayward sheep will come back to the fold and she’ll smoke whomever in the 2015 general.

  10. Bob: “Once Crockatt proves that she’s not the debbil…”

    This presumes she is not the debbil. Did you hear her on CBC this morning? CBC had to crawl through a thorn bush to get her on the air. Once on the air she went into heavy message track mode: Door knocking. IT’S ALL ABOUT DOOR KNOCKING. We knocked on 10,000 doors… And then after a few minutes she abruptly hung up just as host David Grey got out a good question. I believe it went, “How are you going to work with Mayor Nenshi? Joan? Hello Joan? I think we’ve lost our connection.”

  11. Avoiding the CBC and/or Nenshi seems more like a case of rampaging common sense to me. Neither of them represents her base, nor the majority of Calgary voters. And clearly, knocking on doors worked. If Elections Canada counted tweets, Turner would be the MP. If they counted visits from useless Liberal MPs, Locke would be MP. Fortunately, they count people who show up, and door knocking is the best way to connect one on one with voters and get them to show up.

  12. Bob: Neither CBC or Nenshi represents the majority of Calgary voters?

    CBC is the most-listened-to station in the city and Mayor Nenshi is the most popular major city mayor in Canada.

    The Liberals door-knocked as much or more than Crockatt with 100’s of volunteers and multiple visits in many areas. And when we were out there, we ran into door-knocking Greens more often than Torys. Every campaigne door knocks. When Joan claims she was door knocking, it’s her excuse for skipping debates. Dropping 20 points in the polls is strange definition of success. Well, at least Rob Anders has competition.

  13. CrescentHeightsGuy – CBC had a 10.4 per cent share in the last ratings period, one tenth of one per cent higher than QR77. 89.6 per cent of radio listeners don’t listen to the CBC, ergo, the majority of Calgarians DON’T listen to the CBC. Nenshi got 39.6% of the vote in 2010. 60.4 per cent of voters vote for Nenshi, ergo, the majority of voters DIDN’T vote for Nenshi. So, my assertion looks to be right. Aren’t facts awesome?!?! As for your assertion that you knocked more doors than Crockatt, how do you know?

  14. sorry, 60.4 per cent of voters didn’t vote for Nenshi – I get so excited proving people wrong, I type too fast ;-)

  15. In other words, everyone elected in Calgary is a loser, every radio station sucks eggs and the citizens who vote for these people and the non-voters are Satan themselves.

    I assume that’s the point you brain surgeons are trying to make.

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