Tag Archives: 2015 federal election

How Young Voters are accessing information about elections, from the National Youth Voter Survey

Young people don’t vote,” is a common refrain heard in Canadian politics and until recently, low voter turnout by younger voters supported that claim. The recently released National Youth Voter Survey conducted by Elections Canada following the 2015 federal elections suggests that things may have changed.

According to Elections Canada data, turnout among voters aged 18 to 24 in Alberta jumped from 33.7 percent in the 2011 federal election to 59.5 percent in the October 2015 vote. Turnout among voters aged 24 to 34 jumped from 37.8 in 2011 to 58.2 percent in 2015.

The survey also asked young Canadian voters about their main sources of information about the election, which revealed some interesting numbers.

A significant percentage identified social media as their main information source:

  • 18-22 year olds: 22 percent
  • 23-29 year olds: 19 percent
  • 30-34 year olds: 15 percent
  • 35+ years old: 7 percent

Media websites, blogs and other online sources were also a significant source of information:

  • 18-22 year olds: 18 percent
  • 23-29 year olds: 28 percent
  • 30-34 year olds: 22 percent
  • 35+ years old: 19 percent

Television was less of a notable source of information among younger voters:

  • 18-22 year olds: 16 percent
  • 23-29 year olds: 17 percent
  • 30-34 year olds: 26 percent
  • 35+ years old: 37 percent

A much, much lower percentage identified newspapers and magazines as their main source of information:

  • 18-22 year olds: 4 percent
  • 23-29 year olds: 6 percent
  • 30-34 year olds: 7 percent
  • 35+ years old: 16 percent

While there is little doubt that the mainstream media has had a decline in readership over the past decade, I suspect that newspaper websites and links to mainstream media websites would have also been included in the social networking and website categories of this survey.


Voter turnout in Alberta increased in nearly every category in the 2015 election compared to the 2011 election:

  • 18-24 voter turnout rose from 33.7 percent in 2011 to 59.5 percent in 2015.
  • 24-34 voter turnout rose from 37.8 percent in 2011 to 58.2 percent in 2015.
  • 35-44 voter turnout rose from 48.8 percent in 2011 to 61.5 percent in 2015.
  • 45-54 voter turnout rose from 59.8 percent in 2011 to 65.5 percent in 2015.
  • 65-74 voter turnout rose from 72.2 percent in 2011 to 76.5 percent in 2015.
  • 75+ voter turnout was in 66.6 percent in 2011 and 66.6 percent in 2015.

A full description of the methodology used to conduct the National Youth Voter Survey can be found on the Elections Canada website.

Incoming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a rally in Edmonton in the summer of 2014.

What do the federal election results mean for Edmonton and Alberta?

With the excitement of the 2015 federal election one week behind us, now is a good time to take a look at how the results of the election could impact Edmonton and Alberta. The reality of a majority Liberal government in Ottawa will make Conservative Albertans uneasy, but there is little reason to believe this new government will lead to doom and gloom for our province.

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of participating in a panel discussion about the election results with Edmonton Journal editor-in-chief Margo Goodhand and University of Alberta professor Steve Patten at a Institute of Public Administration of Canada event at Government House. With this discussion still fresh in my mind, here is a look at some of the ways last week’s federal election results could impact Edmonton and Alberta.

Liberal growth in Conservative Alberta
Conservative Party candidates earned 59 percent of the vote and elected candidates in 29 of Alberta’s 34 federal ridings. The Liberals broke a nearly five decade long drought in Calgary with the election of Kent Hehr in Calgary-Centre and Darshan Kang in Calgary-Skyview. In Edmonton, two Liberals were elected in bellwether ridings – Randy Boissonnault in Edmonton-Centre and Amarjeet Sohi in Edmonton-Mill Woods. Since 1984, these two Edmonton ridings have elected MPs belonging to the party in government. (Note: the election results in Edmonton-Mill Woods will face a judicial recount).

The “Class of 2015”
There was a significant turnover in Alberta’s representation in Ottawa, with 18 of 34 Members of Parliament from our province being elected for the first time, including seven first-time MPs representing Edmonton ridings. This ‘class of 2015’ includes four Liberals and fourteen Conservatives.

Alberta in Cabinet
It is expected that Alberta will have representation in the federal cabinet but it is not clear how large that representation will be. In my opinion, it would be a grave mistake for incoming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to not appoint a cabinet minister from both Edmonton and Calgary. The third and fifth largest municipalities in Canada should have representation at the highest levels in Ottawa. These large urban centres also represent an area of future electoral growth for the federal Liberal Party. In Calgary, the Liberals earned a surprising 30 percent of the vote and in Edmonton they earned 23 percent. The new cabinet will be sworn-in on Nov. 4, 2015.

Federal-Provincial Relations
We have already witnessed a change in tone that could signal a significant improvement in the federal government’s relationship with the provinces. In the first week after the election, Mr. Trudeau invited provincial premiers to join Canada’s delegation to the important COP21 Climate Change Conference in Paris in November. Mr. Trudeau has also indicated his intention to negotiate a new health accord with the provinces.

Alberta-Ottawa Relations
The relationship between Ottawa and Edmonton would have been sour had Stephen Harper’s Conservatives been re-elected. After attacking Alberta’s NDP government numerous times during the campaign, it is unlikely that Mr. Harper and Premier Rachel Notley would have been able to develop the kind of productive working relationship that would benefit Albertans.

Even though she appeared on stage with NDP leader Tom Mulcair in the final days of the election campaign, Ms. Notley has indicated that she was willing to work with whoever became the next Prime Minister. If she and Mr. Trudeau can develop a good working relationship, Canadians may see progress on issues like pipeline expansion in the next four years. Although Mr. Harper was a vocal supporter of Canada’s oil and gas industry, he failed to secure the construction of new pipeline projects during his decade as Prime Minister.

A Municipal Agenda
The Liberals promised increased investment in public infrastructure and increased funding for municipal public transit projects. During his three-terms on city council, Mr. Sohi has been an vocal advocate for expanded Light-Rail Transit funding in southeast Edmonton. Mayor Don Iveson has been critical of the Conservative government’s lack of commitment to LRT funding in the past.

Commitment to defence funding
The Liberal platform committed to “maintain current National Defence spending levels, including current planned increases” which should at least be positive news for Edmontonians who work at CFB Edmonton.

The last First-Past-the-Post election
Mr. Trudeau promised that this federal election would be Canada’s last using the antiquated ‘first past the post’ electoral system. This would likely mean an end to Conservative overrepresentation of Alberta in Ottawa. Any system, whether it be proportional representation, single transferable vote or mixed member proportional representation, could allow voters choices to be better reflected in their representation in Ottawa. This would likely mean an end the system which allows 59 percent of voters to be represented by 81 percent of the Members of Parliament from Alberta.

Conservative Leadership
With Mr. Harper’s resignation as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, that party will be thrust into a contest to select a new leader. While that party may seek to choose a new leader from another region of Canada, it is expected that Conservative MPs from Alberta will be candidates in that race. Already, there is speculation that Calgary-Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel and Calgary-Midnapore MP Jason Kenney are interested in seeking the leadership.

Liberals and NDP in the West
Western Canada is no longer a monolith of the Conservative Party support. With British Columbia and Manitoba electing more Liberal MPs than Conservative MPs, Alberta and Saskatchewan are now the only provinces where Conservatives outnumber other parties. While the Conservatives remain strong in the rural west, that party has lost ground to the Liberals and NDP in the western urban centres of Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg. Twenty of the NDP’s 44 MPs and 29 of the 184 Liberal MPs were elected in ridings west of Ontario.

Trudeau wave bad news for Notley?
Conservative critics have already predicted that the rise of the federal Liberals in Alberta spells bad news for Ms. Notley’s provincial NDP. I suspect that the results of this federal election will have little impact on the level of NDP support in the next provincial election. It has been clear for some time that Mr. Mulcair is unpopular in Alberta. His noticeable absence from the province during the spring election campaign and low support for the federal NDP in four by-elections since 2011 suggests that Mr. Mulcair’s unpopularity has little impact on Ms. Notley’s political fortunes.

Attention Albertans: Get out and vote. Here’s how.

After surviving ten weeks of advertising, promises, spin and gaffs from political candidates and party leaders, the time to vote for your federal election candidate is fast approaching.

Advance polls are open on October 9, 10, 11 and 12 in federal electoral districts across Canada. If you are unable to cast a ballot on Election Day on Monday, October 19, you can vote in the advance polls from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at a voting station near you. If you are not sure where your voting station is located or what federal riding you live in, visit the Elections Canada website and use the postal code search tool to find out.

Elections Canada accepts a wide range of identification in order to vote.

On October 19, voting stations in Alberta will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

According to the Canada Elections Act, everyone who is eligible to vote in a federal election must be allowed three consecutive hours to cast their vote on election day. If your hours of work do not allow for three consecutive hours to vote, your employer must give you time off.

If are still unsure who the candidates in your riding are, I have Federal Election 2015 running in this election with links to websites and social media accounts.

According to Elections Canada, the largest electoral districts in Alberta are Red Deer-Lacombe with a population of 113,693, Calgary-Confederation with a population of 111,785 and Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan with a population of 111,541. The least populated electoral district in Alberta is Yellowhead with a population of 98,855.

A total of 1,395,885 Albertans participated in the 2011 federal election. This estimated 52 percent voter turnout was the second lowest of any Canadian province but an increase of 2.9 percent from the 2008 federal election, according to Elections Canada reports. Voter turnout across Canada in 2011 was 14,720,580 (61.4 percent of the total number of electors on the voters list).

Historically, the largest voter turnout was 79.4 percent, which occurred during the 1958 election.

Voter turnout dipped in the 2000s, with a measly 58.8 percent of Canadians casting ballots in 2008 and 60.9 percent in 2004. Let’s not let that happen again.

Be sure to cast your ballots in the Advance Polls or on Election Day!

Jim Hillyer MP Lethbridge Medicine Hat

Rookie and retiring Conservatives criticize “no show” Southern Alberta MP

Candidates running for office usually reserve their harshest criticism for their political opponents, but in southern Alberta a rookie Conservative candidate and retiring Member of Parliament are turning on one Conservative MP running for re-election.

Rachael Harder Conservative MP

Rachael Harder

Local media reported that Conservative candidate Rachael Harder lambasted former Lethbridge Conservative MP Jim Hillyer at a forum hosted by the local Chamber of Commerce, claiming that the city endured “four years of non-representation” and “have suffered for the last four years” with her Conservative predecessor as their Member of Parliament.

But Mr. Hillyer is still running for re-election in the neighbouring riding of Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner. Due to a change in electoral district boundaries, Mr. Hillyer’s hometown of Raymond is now in the new riding.

Mr. Hillyer shot back at Ms. Harder, telling a local radio station that she is also facing some of the criticisms she levelled against him. “They’re saying the same things she said about me. She’s not attending forums, she’s not listening, she’s not there,” Mr. Hillyer told CJCY radio.

Retiring Medicine Hat Conservative MP LeVar Payne, who Mr. Hillyer is running to replace in his new riding, also shared some harsh words about his colleague on Twitter, referred to him as “no show Hillyer,” in reference to claims he skipped to many public debates during the 2011 federal election.

Mr. Payne had previously announced in 2014 that he would not endorse Mr. Hillyer in his bid to become MP for the new riding.

Mr. Hillyer was first elected to parliament in 2011 and when the electoral boundaries were redrawn in 2014 he initially announced he would run against Mr. Payne for the Conservative nomination in the new Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner riding. After what was likely a stern directive from his Ottawa bosses not to challenge a fellow MP, he then announced that he would run for re-election in Lethbridge.

Almost immediately after Mr. Payne announced that he would retire, Mr. Hillyer then jumped back into the nomination race in the Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner riding.

The controversial Mr. Hillyer faced public criticism when he expressed his extreme views on gay rights and women’s reproductive rights while debating his opponents for the Conservative nomination in September 2014. Both he and Ms. Harder have been endorsed by the Campaign Life Coalition in this election.

Despite the public tension between the two Conservatives, it is likely that both Mr. Hillyer and Ms. Harder be elected to the House of Commons, which could make for an awkward working relationship in Ottawa.


 

2015 Election in Lethbridge and Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner

In this election, Mr. Hillyer faces New Democrat Erin Weir, Liberal Glen Allen, Green Brent Smith and Independent candidate John Turner. Ms. Harder is facing New Democrat Cheryl Meheden, Liberal Michael Pyne, Green Kas MacMillian, Christian Heritage candidate Geoffrey Capp, and Rhino Party candidate Solly Krygier-Paine.

Transposing the results from the 2011 election into the boundaries of the new Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner riding gives the Conservatives 25,659 votes (68.7 percent), New Democrats 5,578 votes (14.9 percent), Liberals 4,165 votes (11.1 percent) and the Greens 1,658 (4.4 percent).

Transposing the results from the 2011 election into the boundaries of the redrawn Lethbridge riding gives the Conservatives 21,617 votes (52.5 percent), New Democrats 12,329 votes (29.9 percent), Liberals 3,759 votes (9.13 percent) and the Greens 1,845 (4.4 percent).