By-Election Round-up: 11 days until the mini-election

There are now eleven days left until voters cast their ballots in four provincial by-elections on October 27.

Prentice a no-show in Calgary-Foothills

Jim Prentice Premier of Alberta Calgary Foothills by-election pumpkin

Jim Prentice (photo from @wmcbeath on Twitter)

He is the Premier of Alberta and he does not have a seat in the Legislature, but Jim Prentice skipped last night’s all-candidates forum in the Calgary-Foothills by-election. The event was organized by the Edgemont Community Association.

Noting the high-profile candidate’s absence, forum organizers placed a halloween pumpkin at Mr. Prentice’ empty spot at the table.

He has held almost daily media events since becoming Premier, but they have all taken place at planned and highly-controlled events. An all-candidates forum is an uncontrolled environment where Mr. Prentice would be forced to engage with his opponents, which could cause potential embarrassment to the new Premier.

The other candidates running in Calgary-Foothills are Jennifer Burgess (NDP), Polly Knowlton Cockett (Green Party),  Michelle Glavine (Alberta Party), Kathy Macdonald (Wildrose),  Robert Prcic (Liberal) and Dave Woody Phillips (Independent). Mr. Phillips was also absent from the forum.

Health care big issue in Edmonton-Whitemud

Donna Wilson Liberal Edmonton Whitemud By-Election

Donna Wilson

In an press conference designed to keep Health Minister Stephen Mandel in the news, Mr. Prentice joined his party’s Edmonton-Whitemud by-election candidate to make a vague announcement about the opening of more “continuing care” spaces.

The announcement provided no detail about how the province plans to address the shortage of long-term care beds, which provide a higher level of care to Albertans in need of longer-term medical assistance.

Despite a growing population, the number of long-term care beds across the province has actually decreased over the past decade.

Stephen Mandel Health Minister Alberta Edmonton Whitemud MLA

Stephen Mandel

Mr. Prentice used the press conference as an opportunity to repeatedly explain to reporters that Mr. Mandel is a “hands-on minister” (a description he used at least three times during the press conference).

Although the former mayor is widely expected to win the Whitemud by-election, Mr. Mandel has faced pressure from Liberal Dr. Donna Wilson and New Democrat Dr. Bob Turner to address the province’s lack of long-term care beds and to replace the aging and overcrowded Misericordia Hospital.

The other candidates running the Edmonton-Whitemud are Tim Grover (Wildrose), Rene Malenfant (Green Party), William Munsey (Alberta Party),

Moving targets in Calgary-Elbow

It’s not just about electing Dirks, it’s about beating Carter too,” a PC Party insider told me this week. Fighting to elect appointed Education Minister Gordon Dirks in the Calgary-Elbow by-election, the PCs are also gunning to defeat Alberta Party leader Greg Clark, whose campaign is being run by former Tory strategist Stephen Carter.

A sort of political mercenary, Mr. Carter was a key strategist in Alison Redford‘s 2011 leadership campaign and Naheed Nenshi‘s 2010 mayoral election.

While the Wildrose Party poses a threat to the Tories province-wide, recent moves suggest they recognize Mr. Clark as a threat in this by-election. For example, Mr. Dirks’ campaign trotted out an endorsement last week from former Alberta Party leadership candidate Randy Royer.

Drawing on the experience of Mr. Carter and a band of local political organizers, Mr. Clark’s supporters say his campaign is showing signs of momentum on the ground. Whether they can translate any momentum, real or perceived, into votes is an unanswered question.

Meanwhile, Mr. Dirks’ campaign manager Alan Hallman, apologized for referring to Wildrose Party candidate John Fletcher as the fictional TV Nazi “Colonel Klink” on Twitter. Mr. Fletcher is a retired Colonel of the Canadian Forces Reserves.

The other candidates in the Calgary-Elbow by-election are  Stephanie McLean (NDP) and Susan Wright (Liberal).

9 thoughts on “By-Election Round-up: 11 days until the mini-election

  1. Rene

    The 4 by-elections provide a unique opportunity for Alberta progressive candidates to demonstrate their winability.

    2016 the year of strategic voting for progressive Albertans. If parties won’t cooperate, voters will.

  2. Quigley

    Sigh Sigh Sigh….!

    Years and years of bad management and misspending and now Jim ‘No Show’ Prentice tells us he is “new management.” Sorry Jim. You and your ilk (or sheep?) have had 43 years to get it right and you have created more problems in healthcare and education than you can fix. I had great respect for Sir Peter Lougheed but you lost my vote, Alison and Jim. Time for you and your appointed cronies to spend some time on the opposition side.

  3. Foothills voter

    Did Prentice give a reason why he wouldn’t show up to debate? I’d understand if the debate was organized by a partisan group but this was a community association. I read that a former PC MLA was an organizer and wasn’t able to get a response from Prentice’s office.

    It is bad for democracy when the people who hold “higher-office” refuse to lower themselves to the level of us voters who just want to ask them some basic questions. I just wanted to ask Prentice some real questions but he didn’t show up.

    I was wavering about voting for Prentice on Oct. 27 and now I’ve decided to send Prentice a message by voting for Kathy Macdonald. She showed up when he didn’t.

  4. Paul

    Hey folks, Prentice is Premier seat or not and that means he doesn’t have to speak with or be in the same room as lowly opposition candidates and their supporters.

    Its written in the How to be a Progressive Conservative Premier for Dummies handbook.

  5. the ghost of premiers past

    DiamondJim is same as ghost of premiers past. Lets just photocopy and paste the same news headlines from the last 10 years. SAME. Voters need to decide if they want a broken record.

  6. TomG

    Assuming voter turnout (just under 20,000) remains the same, and about 40% is needed to secure Calgary-Elbow, then all Greg Clark needs is a 1500% increase on his vote total from 2012. I would characterize their campaign as “much bravado, little hope.”

  7. TomG

    For those predicting the final collapse of Alberta Liberal Party in 2016, consider this: the collapse could come in one week.

  8. Rural gal

    I too was unable to challenge Prentice on his health care bed announcements. So far I see continuing care beds announced- very few of which are long term- there is a difference. I am disappointed both he and Mandel seem to think that they are above the questions we as voters should be able to ask. He does NOT have a mandate. But he must have a dept of announcements! I am going to show prentice the door.


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