Right-wing Sun News tries to rescue Conservative fortunes in Calgary-Centre.

Justin Trudeau Harvey Locke
Justin Trudeau and Harvey Locke

Just when it seems like Conservative candidate Joan Crockatt was losing ground and a tight three-way contest in the Calgary-Centre by-election, right-wing cable channel Sun News swooped in with news that will stir up the anti-Liberal sentiments among Conservative voters in the riding. Boasting that it has discovered a “breaking exclusive,” the channel roasted Mr. Trudeau for comments made during an interview in late 2010:

“Canada isn’t doing well right now because it’s Albertans who control our community and socio-democratic agenda. It doesn’t work.”

There is no one who can get angry conservatives worked up in this province like a Trudeau.

Chris Turner Calgary-Centre Green By-election
Chris Turner

Mr. Trudeau is on a leadership tour through British Columbia and Alberta this week, having campaigned with Liberal by-election candidate Harvey Locke in Calgary-Centre and rallying a crowd of more than 400 party faithful in downtown Edmonton.

Following Liberal MP David McGuinty‘s comments earlier this week, the release of Sun News’ “breaking exclusive” of Mr. Trudeau’s two year-old anti-Alberta comments is miraculously well-timed for the Conservatives. It feels as if the Conservative campaign in Calgary-Centre got exactly what it was asking for.

Polling since August has shown Mr. Locke in second place and Green Chris Turner gaining momentum in Calgary-Centre.

Over the course of the campaign, Ms. Crockatt’s has opted to avoid numerous public all-candidate forums in favour of canvassing doors. Interestingly, the campaign found time in its busy schedule yesterday to stop by Sun News studios in Calgary to denounce Mr. Guinty’s comments on a talk show hosted by vicious right-winger Ezra Levant.

Ms. Crockatt’s sudden appearance on the right-wing talk show has everything to do with her campaign’s slip in the polls, which is seen by many to be a result of her campaign’s connections to the right-wing Wildrose Party.

Joan Crockatt Conservative Calgary-Centre By-Election
Joan Crockatt

It should be noted that the connections between Sun News, the federal Conservative Party, and the Wildrose Party are deep.

Sun News has been nothing short of a cheerleader for both the opposition Wildrose Party in Alberta and Conservatives in Ottawa. Even staff appear to be interchangeable. Candice Malcolm, the current Director of Research for Sun News is the former executive assistant to Wildrose leader Danielle Smith and spokesperson for Conservative politician Jason Kenney.

The strong connections between the federal Conservatives and the Wildrose Party is suspected to have driven away many moderate conservatives, who support Alison Redford‘s governing Progressive Conservatives and see the by-election campaign as too closely associated with the hard right-wing provincial party (including campaign manager, William McBeath, is also on staff with the Wildrose Party). These connections are believe to have contributed to near evaporation of the 40% margin of victory that former MP Lee Richardson earned in the 2011 election.

Threehundredeight.com analyst Eric Grenier has looked beyond the politics and has analyzed the numbers, and his a recent post, he suggests that more disenchanted Conservative voters are shifting to the Greens, rather than the Liberals.

This movement of Tories to the Greens in Calgary-Centre seems to be supported by Donal O’Beirne, the former president of the Conservative association in Calgary-North East, who has endorsed Mr. Turner, and the launch of a new Facebook Group, “Progressive Conservatives 4 Turner“, which sprung up this week.

One senior provincial Tory suggested to me this week that the Wildrose Party now “controls almost the entire federal Conservative Party in Alberta,” suggesting that the split between the provincial and federal Tory parties will be very difficult to mend.

If the Conservatives are not able to win the riding on the November 26 vote, or even if the results are close, the by-election should be a warning to the Ottawa Tories that their support of the Wildrose Party could cause moderate Albertans to park their votes elsewhere.

———————————-

A new poll was released by Return on Insight today. The poll shows Mr. Crockatt with 37% to 32% for Mr. Locke and 17% for Mr. Turner.

While I am naturally skeptical of all polls, I am immediately skeptical of this poll due to ROI owner Bruce Cameron‘s close connections to the Liberal campaign in Calgary-Centre (watch this video from October 21, 2012, where Mr. Locke talks about the work Mr. Cameron is doing for his campaign).

23 thoughts on “Right-wing Sun News tries to rescue Conservative fortunes in Calgary-Centre.”

  1. I do hope this opens the way for progressives to get behind Chris Turner. He has been the one to really shine at the debates, and his election would make things much more interesting in Ottawa. While the Sun likely held on to the Trudeau thing for awhile until they could pull it out of their arsenal at an opportune moment–and no doubt Crockatt is being closely managed by the Harper machine and groomed to be the perfect lap dog–Trudeau did bring it on himself. I for one am glad it came out as a follow up to his other ‘Quebec is superior’ gaffes. It will be a huge mistake for the Liberals to make him their leader. He is an immature, inexperienced hot head, and that’s putting it kindly. There are vastly more qualified real leaders in the party who have the balance and depth to lead them out of exile. On the other hand, if the Liberals are dumb enough to make him their leader, so much the better for Mulcair and the NDP.

  2. Annette, Sun Media did not have the Trudeau story for a while — it was leaked to them by the Conservatives, because the Conservatives are very worried about the Liberals defeating them in Calgary Centre. The fact that the Cons chose to release the video now and not closer to the leadership vote (or even a Prime Ministerial battle) means that their loss on Monday will be that much more embarassing.

    Also, Dave, Bruce Cameron has been crystal clear that the Libs are not paying him, and that he keeps his duties as a pollster separate from his personal political preferences (yes, he is a Liberal, as are many other people, some of whom are intelligent and accomplished, some of whom are not).

  3. This whole scenario underlines the warrior mentality that has come to pervade the federal and provincial political scenes in Canada, which has devolved into battle after battle over contentious, useless ground, and where anything goes as long as the battle is won. I sometimes wonder which country I’m in. Having lived for five years in the US, I sometimes feel a sense of partisan-driven déjà vu. Is this realy the type of governance we want? The one bright ray of hope in all this for me is Mr. Turner. His platform is mature and well thought out. He actually has the qualifications, knowledge and insight to do the job well. He has the respect of the energy industry and the energy critics, at a time when it is critical that these people work together. He doesn’t “shout.” He listens, and he encourages dialogue and solutions. Isn’t this what a group of citizens need in a representative?

  4. Hold your nose and vote Liberal, or the Cons win again.
    We went through this twice in SGI before the Greens finally got the upper hand.

  5. The latest poll makes it clear that despite running a cute and quirky campaign, the Greens have no chance of winning in Calgary Centre. If progressives really want to win, they must get behind Harvey Lock and the Liberal Party of Canada.

    A vote for Green/NDP is a vote for the Harpercons. It’s time their supporters faced facts.

  6. ROI conducted the poll on our own, not for any party. The fact that I know Harvey well should not invalidate the findings. I also know Joan Crockatt well, and I have met Chris Turner, an engaging and committed candidate.

    Let your readers draw their own judgement based on all facts. It’s not about what I think, it’s about what the voters in Calgary Centre think!

    http://return-on-insight.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/ROI-Media-Release-YYC-Centre-poll-Nov-22.pdf

  7. Yeah, Joan… appearing with Ezra Levant will show Calgary-Centerians you represent logic and wholesome debate.

  8. Yea, throw your vote away and vote liberal, vote for theft graft and all the other liberal fill our liberal bank account schemes, liberals are born with no memory abilities, dopes phoneys and thieves all of them. Self made Alberta success is hard for a liberal from the east to understand, most of the liberals have inherited and go on to inherit more, of taxpayers money, that is the truth, and Yes, I’m mean.

  9. Dave,
    Read your inerpretation, but I will have to repectfully disagree with your analysis. There are many factors in play for Calgary Centre byelection, but the Wildrose Party is not really one of them.
    First off by-elections are not the same as at election time. We have had time to evaluate the governing CPC and by-elections are used to send a message….much like the safe Calgary-Glenmore byelection where Paul Hinman was elected to “Send Ed a Message” I am sure if we look at the ratings for Harper in Calgary, there are many not happy with his handling right now.
    There has also been lot’s of emphasis placed in the by-election with all the parties dumping in loads of resources. The ground campaigns have been phenominal. All parties seemed to have taken a campaign 101 course and are actually working hard to get the vote. Joan has probably hurt her numbers by not being available to the media or forums. Ric McIver tried this in the Municipal elections and we all know how the frontrunner placed.
    Finally I also think that there are some good candidates running. Credit must be given where due, they have been working hard to earn their vote. In Alberta the Liberal party has been chastised since the NEP. So by your analysis the (CPC)Wildrose is a party people don’t like and the Liberals who are also disliked, respectfully are polling first and second.
    But then again, what the hell do I know. It’s a fun one!!

  10. @Bruce Cameron.

    There is a difference between knowing a candidate and working with him on his campaign, as Harvey stated you have. I questioned you after you went on CBC to talk about Calgary-Centre, and made no disclosure of this fact.
    An error margin of 5% would mean that statistically 23% and 32% could, within the margins of error, be tied. Your analysis seemed biased, calling it a 2 horse race…which just happened to be a Locke campaign talking point.
    It is fine if you work with a campaign, but you should disclose the information front and center with the poll numbers or your expert opinion so that viewers can take it into account.
    Here is the CBC clip if anyone wants to watch:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/story/2012/11/14/calgary-centre-bruce-cameron-byelection-polls.html

  11. It a choice that the good people of Calgary Center will make based on issues with pass and current actions at the forefront. Both the Liberal and Green candidates have excellent resumes and seem to genuinely care about the real issues. A vote for either of these candidates would go a long was to sending a message to Ottawa (and Harper) that they are not happy. The conservatives only seem to care about the voters at election time , after that they vote party line on everything. So , does Calgary want another back-bench-er who is told what to think , speak and vote , or do they want a representative that will honestly and with honor try to find viable solutions to the economic vows , environmental concerns , and social responsibility.

  12. So Crockatt manages to alienate pretty much every Red Tory in a centre-left riding and her response is to…Go on Ezra Levant’s show? Holy Amazeballs, who the fuck is behind that brilliant strategy?

    That’s almost as good as the time her supporters started picking fights with the most popular mayor in the country. Because I guess there’s a whole thwack of disenchanted anti-Nenshi Conservatives who live in Bankview. Oh. Oh…wait. No.

  13. I voted Conservative in the last three elections.

    This time I am voting for Chris Turner. He’s a smart choice and has a great group of people backing him up. He’s the only candidate with energy that gets me excited about federal politics in Calgary.

    I can’t bring myself to vote Liberal. McGuinty and Trudeau are evidence enough that the Liberal Party has little love for Alberta. I’ll reciprocate that feeling and vote Green.

  14. For me, CPC/WRP have become interchangeable. Ezra is their sock puppet. Appearing on his program is just preaching to the “lake of fire choir.” It’s a mighty small group (check Sun NN ratings) and getting smaller with each Sun obituary column.

  15. Given the current polling, Harper would like nothing better than a Monday result like this:

    -Harvey Locke 30%
    -Chris Turner 30%
    -Joan Crockatt 32%
    -Dan Meades 8%

    Get it together people, if Turner is polling lower heading into this weekend, and you don’t want another backbench lapdog, vote for Harvey.

  16. I don’t do Twitter. But if I did, I wish I would have tweeted this first:

    Alheli Picazo ‏@a_picazo

    I am *thisclose* to unfollowing everybody in #yyccentre. Fun fact: 1 needs to drop out or Crockatt will win. Check ur egos and figure it out

  17. Smart, sincere, thoughful Greens are going to vote for Harvey Locke. Those that don’t or won’t, are actually voting for Crockatt, or Trojan Horsed PC’s.

    Voting for Greens is a vote for Crockett. The only true sensible choice is Locke.

    The best vote is Locke, bar none. Real change is Welcome!

  18. Greens are just an astroturf spoiler vote splitting gimp machine. True positive political change will happen soon. Locke for MP.

  19. @Brent W, don’t kid yourself, the WR, Harperites and The PC’s don’t have a damn conservative bone in their body. THey don’t have the slightest idea of the meaning of the word conserve. Either they are corrupt pork barrel parasites, or they love giving socialized welfare to the uncompetitive fattened lazy corporatocracy of AB that only thrives because it can’t carry its burden of fair taxes (lowest in the world). True conservatives is conservation, and being truly competitive and efficient. Sadly, all conservatives whether its PEE Sees, Harperites or Wildrosers, are financially no parasitic on public dollars than union ND’s. The best balance is Liberals. They ARE NOT the ones who made deals with Fed Libs. It was the PEE sees’ that made the NEP deal with Feds. Cons. of any stripe in AB have abandoned their ideals and they know they must abandone their base and become more progressive to stay relevant. It won’t work. The rise of the Liberal juggernaut is going to unfold.

  20. Once Harper isn’t leader any longer – watch the CPC split right open. The party has lost its way in Alberta from paying too much attention to the Wildrose party.

  21. While the Greens question the ROI poll because of Bruce Cameron’s friendship with Locke, 308.com’s Eric Grenier has analyzed the raw poll data and says that the poll, which was by telephone, is accurate. It confirms the two recent Forum polls showing that Locke is the only real contender against Crockatt. Only magical thinking on the part of the Green and NDP parties –plus perhaps not wanting anyone to win unless it is their guy–and confusion among a minority of anti-Tory strategic voters about who is the strategic candidate stands in the way of Locke winning.

    But that’s a lot and my money would still be on Crockatt. Of course, if she wins, even by a slight amount, Harper will argue that all is tickety-boo and he doesn’t have to reconsider any of his policies. And of course he’ll be right, secure in the knowledge that his opponents to his left will continue to split their votes until well after he is ready to leave office with a permanently changed Canada as his legacy.

    The Tories are not the enemy that keeps more compassionate folks from forming a government. They represent an ideology and set of policies that we loathe. But they have every right to push it and their supporters are smart enough to stick it out in one party despite their disagreements. At the moment, it’s hard not to argue that the Right in Canada are more politically intelligent than the Left (or at least they understand math better).

    As Pogo said, “We have seen the enemy and it is us.”

  22. Pogo was speaking of liberals, not enough brown bags for you liberal people that has been you problem for decades, think of all the treasuries liberals could rob with more brown bags, Alfonsos all of you. Have there been any HRDC’s Adscams etc under Harper’s 6 years? Case closed.

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