Tag Archives: Rahim Jaffer

MP Linda Duncan and MLA Rachel Notley at Edmonton's Pride Parade.

Alberta’s lone-NDP MP Linda Duncan will not seek re-election in 2019

Photo: MP Linda Duncan and MLA Rachel Notley at Edmonton’s Pride Parade.

It was one of the worst kept secrets in Edmonton politics. 

Linda Duncan has announced that she will not seek re-election as the Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Strathcona when the next federal election is held in October 2019.

After a strong second place finish during her first run for elected office in 2006, Duncan unseated four-term Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer in the 2008 election. The race was so close, and the Conservative campaign was so confident that Jaffer delivered his election night victory speech before all the votes had been counted. Unfortunately for Jaffer, the final polls in the NDP-vote rich areas surrounding the University of Alberta were late to report and helped give Duncan a 463 margin victory that night.

That night she became the second ever NDP MP from Alberta, following in the footsteps of Ross Harvey, who served as the MP for Edmonton-East from 1988 to 1993.

Duncan’s rise into Alberta politics coincided with a resurgence for the NDP, first federally under Jack Layton’s leadership and later provincially under the leadership of now-Premier Rachel Notley.

Despite spirited campaigns in Edmonton-CentreEdmonton-Griesbach , and Edmonton-Manning in 2015, the federal NDP have been unable to extend their foothold in Alberta beyond Duncan’s district, leaving Edmonton-Strathcona as an anomaly in Canadian politics. And despite its NDP-roots and the presence of Notley as the MLA for the provincial district of the same name, it is not a sure thing that Duncan’s successor in 2019 will be a New Democrat.

The current political climate has created a challenging situation for anyone with ambitions to run under the federal NDP banner in Alberta. New federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s decision to oppose the expansion of the Trans-Mountain Pipeline and his public split with Notley will not endear him to many voters in this district.

Until recently, Duncan had avoided getting involved in the debate over the construction of the Trans-Mountain Pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby, but her successor will have a tougher time avoiding the subject. She only recently commented on the pipeline issue, saying that she it was ‘not the priority issue’ for voters in her district. As a life-long environmentalist and former environmental lawyer, her position came as no surprise.

Singh’s posturing and the dominance of the pipeline issue in the media and minds of many Albertans will certainly make it difficult, but not impossible, for the NDP to hold on to this seat in the next election. 

In selecting their candidate for the next election, AlbertaPolitics.ca author David Climenhaga offered some wise advice, “…the NDP should pick wisely – perhaps looking for someone who can appeal to Albertans more broadly outside the environs of the University of Alberta – because if the 2015 provincial election proves anything, it’s that change can happen in Alberta, and if you’re playing a long game, it probably will.”


Duncan is the seventh NDP MP to announced they will not run for re-election in 2019, including former leader Tom Mulcair in Outremont, David Christopherson in Hamilton Centre and Irene Mathyssen in London-Fanshawe. 

Duncan is the second Alberta MP to announced plans to retire in 2019. Yellowhead Conservative MP Jim Eglinski is not seeking re-election in 2019.

Red Deer-North Liberal and Green candidate Michael Dawe, disqualified Chestermere-Rockyview PC candidate Jamie Lall, acclaimed Chestermere-Rockyview PC candidate Bruce McAllister, and Fort McMurray-Conklin NDP candidate Ariana Mancini.

Alberta Pre-Election 2015: Thursday Candidate Nomination Update

Progressive Conservative activist Jamie Lall was unexpectedly disqualified for unknown reasons before his party’s April 1 nomination meeting in Chestermere-Rockyview, allowing Wildrose PC MLA Bruce McAllister to be acclaimed. After months of campaigning, Mr. Lall lashed out at his party and questioned why he was disqualified when an incumbent MLA who plead guilt to prostitution related charges was allowed to be nominated. Mr. Lall is also the President of the PC association in the neighbouring Calgary-McCall, a position he has not been disqualified from.

It’s like we’ve become House of Cards,” is how one PC Party member described this year’s round of PC nominations, which have been riddled with controversy. Bribery allegations led to the resignation of cabinet minister Naresh Bhardwaj as the candidate in Edmonton-Ellerslie and candidate disqualifications in Edmonton-Meadowlark and Edmonton-Decore, as well as disorganization in Bonnyville-Cold Lake have grabbed media attention.

According to the PC Party website, Jonathan Dai has been appointed as the party’s candidate in Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood in advance of the April 11 scheduled nomination meeting. Mr. Dai is the President of the Canada-China Council for Cooperation and Development and was the Liberal candidate in the 2000 federal election in Edmonton-Strathcona, where he placed 5,647 votes behind Canadian Alliance MP Rahim Jaffer. While attempting a rematch with Mr. Jaffer in 2004, he narrowly lost the Liberal nomination in Edmonton-Strathcona to Liberal MLA Debby Carlson. Highlands-Norwood is currently represented by NDP MLA Brian Mason.

The PCs are expected to appoint a candidate in Edmonton-Centre after it was unable to nominate a candidate before the March 28 nomination meeting. The PCs last elected an MLA in Edmonton-Centre in 1982.

Brian Jean Wildrose

Brian Jean

Wildrose Party

New Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean announced that he will run in Fort McMurray-Conklin, which was part of the federal constituency he represented in Ottawa from 2004 to 2014. Mr. Jean will face incumbent PC MLA Don Scott, the Minister of Advanced Education, and NDP candidate Ariana Mancini, a grade 1 teacher and Alberta Teachers’ Association activist. Mr. Scott narrowly defeated Wildrose candidate and former Wood Buffalo mayor Doug Faulkner by 470 votes in the 2012 election.

One of Mr. Jean’s first acts as leader was to dismiss Calgary-South East candidate Bill Jarvis, whose comments about “brown people” embarrassed the party on the night of its leadership announcement.

The Wildrose Party has now nominated at least 47 candidates, including recent nominees Angela Pitt in Airdire, Blaine Maller in Calgary Fish Creek, and Tany Yao in Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo. Former leader and MLA Paul Hinman withdrew from the nomination contest in Cardston-Taber-Warner, leaving three candidates still in the race – Larry Bates, Jon Hood and Grant Hunter.

New Democratic Party

The New Democratic Party has now nominated at least 75 candidates in constituencies across Alberta. The latest nominated candidates include Christina Gray in Edmonton-Mill Woods, Jon Carson in Edmonton-MeadowlarkEmily Shannon in Drumheller-Stettler, Patricia Norman in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, , Karen McPherson in Calgary-Northern Hills, William Pelech in Chestermere-Rockyview, and Lynn MacWilliam in Strathmore-Brooks.

Alberta Party

The Alberta Party has nominated 29 candidates, including recent nominees Jim Black in Medicine Hat and Rory Tarant in Grande Prairie-Wapiti.

Warren Kinsella Edmonton Liberal

Warren Kinsella

Liberal Party

The Liberal Party has nominated 24 candidates across the province. The latest nominated candidates include Ron Williams in Battle River-Wainwright, Todd Ross in Edmonton-Castle Downs, Bradley Whalen in Edmonton-Decore, Kevin McLean in Grande Prairie-Smoky and Helen McMenamin in Little Bow. Mr. McLean is a city councillor in Grande Prairie.

It appears that celebrity political strategist Warren Kinsella is headlining a $159.00 per ticket fundraiser for Edmonton-Meadowlark Liberal Dan Bildhauer and Edmonton-Manning Liberal Adam Mounzer on April 11 at the Courtyard Edmonton West hotel.

Green Party

The Green Party has nominated fifteen candidates and has recently nominated Josh Drozda in Leduc-Beaumont, Peter Meic in Calgary-Cross, Coral Bliss Taylor in Chestermere-Rockyview, and Sandra Wolf Lange in Edmonton-Riverview.

Following the lead of Edmonton Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman, Red Deer-North Liberal candidate Michael Dawe has also accepted the Green Party nomination in his constituency.

Communist Party

The Communist Party of Alberta plans to field two candidates in the upcoming election. Leader Naomi Rankin will represent her party in Edmonton-Mill Woods and Bonnie Devine will run in Calgary-East. Ms. Rankin has been leader of the Communist Party since 1992 and, according to her Wikipedia biography, has run in every provincial and federal election in Alberta since 1982.


I have added these updates to the list of nominees and nomination candidates planning to run in Alberta’s next general election. Please email david.cournoyer [at] gmail.com if there are additions to the list. Thank you.

Ron Liepert versus Rob Anders: the next PC-Wildrose proxy war?

Rob Anders

Rob Anders

Will former provincial cabinet minister Ron Liepert make the jump into federal politics?

With the launch of the TimeToDoBetter.ca website today, rumours began to spread that the former two-term Calgary-West Progressive Conservative MLA turned consultant could challenge ultra-conservative Rob Anders for the Conservative Party nomination in the new Calgary Signal Hill riding.

Alberta Finance Minister Ron Liepert

Ron Liepert

Mr. Liepert’s candidacy would surely spark another proxy-war between the supporters of the provincial PC and Wildrose parties first seen in last year’s Calgary-Centre by-election.

This would not be the first time these two men have publicly sparred. In 2009, Mr. Liepert accused Mr. Anders of campaigning against him in the 2008 provincial election. Many of Mr. Anders associates have joined Danielle Smith‘s Wildrose Party, including his close confident Andrew Constantinidis, who ran to replace Mr. Liepert in the 2012 provincial election.

While many of his supporters flocked to the new provincial party, some in the Wildrose establishment see Mr. Anders as a political liability whose ideology could challenge their attempt to rebrand as a moderate conservative alternative to the governing PCs.

In the conservative bloodbath that is sure to ensue if the rumours are true, I would expect nothing less than for Mr. Anders and conservative entertainer Ezra Levant to slice directly at Mr. Liepert’s jugular. They will be sure to remind their conservative base about Mr. Leipert’s record as the Health minister who created the centralized Alberta Health Services and the Finance minister who introduced deficit budgets and talked about increasing taxes.

Mr. Liepert’s ties to the provincial PC establishment date back to the Peter Lougheed era, when he worked at the Legislative Assembly and was appointed as a staff member at Alberta’s trade office in Los Angeles. He first ran for the PC Party in 1993, first in an unsuccessfully bid for the party nomination in Edmonton-Glenora and then as the PC candidate in  Edmonton-Highlands-Beverly (in the election he was defeated by his Liberal opponent, Alice Hanson). He was first elected to the Assembly in 2004 as the PC MLA for Calgary-West.

Alison Redford Alberta Election 2012 Conservative leader

Alison Redford

Mr. Leipert is no slouch. In provincial politics, he thrived off the cut and thrust of partisan conflict.  Whether he could win the Conservative Party nomination against Mr. Anders is yet to be seen.

There is no shortage of criticism of Mr. Anders. Perhaps the most hard-edged social conservative in Ottawa, he is well-known for being the sole parliamentarian to vote against granting former South African president Nelson Mandela an honorary Canadian citizenship. He also embarrassingly attacked two Canadian Forces veterans, who he described as “NDP hacks.” He used his podium at an official Government of Canada press conference to endorse right-wing conservative Ted Morton. And he recently suggested that former NDP leader Jack Layton‘s death was hastened by now-leader Thomas Mulcair.

Since he was first elected in 1997, Mr. Anders has been challenged by many high profile conservatives and easily defeated all of them in nomination battles.

At the age of 24, Mr. Anders, then a young Republican Party provocateur, returned to Canada to defeat nine other candidates to win his first Reform Party nomination in Calgary-West. His election coincided with the election of a group of young conservative Reformers, including Jason Kenney and Rahim Jaffer.

If he is challenged by Mr. Liepert in the upcoming nomination, it would not be the first time a high-profile politico who has attempted to end Mr. Anders career in Ottawa.

In 2004, future Progressive Conservative premier Alison Redford made her first jump into electoral politics with an unsuccessful nomination bid against Mr. Anders. Mr. Liepert was her campaign manager.

In 2000, he was unsuccessfully challenged by Calgary-Currie PC MLA Jocelyn Burgener (now a poet) and in 2009 he faced future Calgary-Varsity PC MLA Donna Kennedy-Glans. With the help of Mr. Levant, he nastily branded Ms. Kennedy-Glans as a “Liberal saboteur” and a “bizarre cross between a radical feminist and an apologist for a women-hating Arab dictatorship.”

Internal nomination contests are not the only area Mr. Anders has faced challengers. In the 1997 election, alderman and future mayor Dave Bronconnier led an unsuccessful campaign against him as the Liberal Party candidate. In the 2000 election, Mr. Anders defeated both former Calgary-North West Liberal MLA Frank Bruseker and PC candidate Jim Silye (a Reform Party MP for Calgary-Centre from 1993 to 1997). Wind energy entrepreneur Justin Thompson earned 29% as the Liberal candidate in the 2004 election, the highest of any of Mr. Anders challengers. And the 2006 and 2008 elections, former Calgary Board of Education trustee Jennifer Pollock carried the Liberal banner against Mr. Anders.

Despite these high-profile challengers from inside and outside his party, Mr. Anders has yet to face electoral defeat in the political arena.

alberta liberals register more than 27,000 eligible voters. no surprise that their leadeship contest is a largely urban affair.

2011 Map of Alberta Liberal Leadership Registered Supporters per constituency

Map of eligible voters in the September 10 Liberal leadership contest by constituency.

The Alberta Liberal Party announced yesterday that over 27,567 Albertans are eligible to vote in their party’s September 10 leadership contest. The eligible group of supporters include 3,690 paid members and 23,877 “registered supporters” who could participate by registering their name and contact information without a fee.

Following complaints from leadership candidate and Edmonton-Gold Bar MLA Hugh MacDonald that the list was filled with fake names, including a cat, a dead woman, and former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer, the Liberals have culled the list of obvious forgeries (which are to be expected in any leadership contest). Former Edmonton-Meadowlark Tory MLA Raj Sherman claims to have registered over 18,000 of the 27,000 eligible voters. Edmonton-Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman claims that her campaign submitted names for around 1,000. The two other candidates in the contest are Calgarians Bill Harvey and Bruce Payne.

Although the Liberal leadership contest has by far been overshadowed by the more glamorous Progressive Conservative leadership contest set for September 17 (in which over 150,000 Albertans are expected to participate), I am impressed that the Liberals have been able to collect the names of over 27,000 potential supporters. Regardless if these registered supporters actually vote in their leadership contest, their names are now entered into a database that will be useful for the Liberals in the next provincial election.

Not surprisingly, eligible voters in this contest are largely centered in the two main cities of Calgary and Edmonton, highlighting Liberal Party’s almost non-existent levels of support in rural Alberta. Even in a constituency like Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, with a population estimated to be more than 100,000, the Liberals only attracted 134 people to register to vote in their leadership contest.

Unlike traditional one-member-one-vote leadership selection structures, the Liberals have opted to use a weighted-preferential system in constituencies with large numbers of voters. The slightly confusing system is explained on the party’s leadership website:

Each constituency in Alberta is allocated up to 500 points, where each vote up to that number represents one point. Should more than 500 voters cast a ballot in a constituency, each vote in the constituency is applied a weighing formula.

As there are only 15 constituencies with more than 500 eligible voters, it is likely that this system may only be implemented in a handful of them. The only constituency to register more than 1,000 supporters was Edmonton-Whitemud.

Click here to view a breakdown of eligible voters by constituency (pdf)

here’s the rundown – federal election races to watch in edmonton.

In the land where federal election results are typically much ado about nothing, the election scheduled for May 2, 2011 is not much of an exception. As the Liberals and NDP fill ballots across the province with last minute paper candidates, with few exceptions Alberta remains safe electoral territory for the Conservative Party of Canada.

If any riding in Alberta changes hands in this federal election, it will be Edmonton-Strathcona. It is the only riding represented by an opposition Member of Parliament and Conservatives have made it their goal to unseat NDP MP Linda Duncan, who defeated Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer by a slim 463 votes in 2008. After campaigning for two years, the Conservatives hope that candidate Ryan Hastman is the one who can do the job.

As the NDP’s Environment Critic in Ottawa, Ms. Duncan has gone against the grain of other Alberta MP colleagues by criticizing the oil sands and its impact on the environment. In a campaign stop in Edmonton this weekend, NDP leader Jack Layton only briefly mentioned the environment, suggesting that he may have been avoiding the issue while in Alberta (he also did not take media questions while in the province).

The Green Party has nominated Environmental Economics and Policy student Andrew Fehr, who faces the challenge of convincing Green-leaning voters that actually voting for a Green Party is a better choice than a strategic vote for Ms. Duncan. The Liberals have not yet nominated a candidate and appear to be a non-factor in this contest.

Federal NDP candidates Lewis Cardinal, Linda Duncan, and Ray Martin.

The highly polarized geopolitics of this riding have the Conservatives drawing strong support from polls in the east and NDP drawing strong support from polls in the west. Both candidates will lean heavy on financial and organizational support from their national parties, making this riding too close to call.

The irony is that the NDP could increase their vote total across Edmonton at the same time they could lose the only riding they currently hold.

In Edmonton-Centre the real contest to watch is not to defeat door-knocking/hand-shaking/baby-kissing election-machine Conservative MP Laurie Hawn. The real contest is for second place. The Liberals hope their candidate Mary MacDonald can regain the support they lost in the last election and maintain their position as the de facto alternative to the Conservatives in this riding. The NDP are hoping that their candidate Lewis Cardinal can help build the kind of support needed to cut the Liberals down to third place. This is similar to the multi-election strategy that helped the NDP make gains in Strathcona.

The Liberals held this riding from 1993 until 2006 when Mr. Hawn defeated Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan. Mr Hawn’s vote share decreased in 2008 while his margin widened substantially as the Liberal vote collapsed. The Greens have nominated 2008 candidate David Parker and also running is Mikkel Paulson, leader of the Pirate Party of Canada.

Edmonton-East MP Peter Golding is what I would refer to as a wall-paper backbencher. Since he was first elected in 1997, Mr. Goldring seems to only pop into the media spotlight when taking up odd causes like exposing the “truth about Louis Riel” or joining the bizarre drive to get the obscure Caribbean Islands of Turks and Caicos to join Canada.

The NDP have steadily increased their support in this riding since the 2004 election and former MLA Ray Martin is hoping that this trend continues. Mr Martin is an NDP institution in northeast Edmonton, having been elected as an MLA from 1982 to 1993, a public school board trustee from 2001 to 2004, and once again as an MLA from 2004 to 2008. This is the fourth time Mr Martin has sought a seat in Parliament since 1997. The Liberals have nominated IT management consultant Shafik Ruda.

Edmonton-Sherwood Park was the second closest race in 2008, when Independent Conservative James Ford nearly defeated Conservative candidate Tim Uppal. It was a city mouse versus county mouse game as many voters in Strathcona County and Fort Saskatchewan were upset with the Conservative nomination process that led to County Councillor Jacquie Fenske defeat and allowed Edmontonian Mr. Uppal to win the nomination.

Mr. Ford is running again and the Liberals and NDP, represented by Rick Szostak and Mike Scott, are expected to play minor supporting roles in this contest. The big question is whether voters in the county still feel that Mr. Uppal’s candidacy is the great injustice they believed it to be in 2008.

choosing a new captain of the mothership.


Happier times in the PC Caucus when Ted Morton and Dave Hancock held hands and sang Kumbaya.

Former Finance Minister Ted Morton believes that he is the best person to bring conservatives back to the PC “mothership,” but that is not stopping the speculation of who will challenge him in the contest to fill his party’s top job.

Stelmach’s McGarry
Rarely in the spotlight, Premier Ed Stelmach‘s Chief of Staff Ron Glen spoke with the Calgary Herald about his boss’ resignation announcement and the politics of the past week.

Vote a vote for Jim in 2011?
Completely ruling out returning to politics when asked last Tuesday, former Finance Minister and 2006 PC leadership contest front-runner Jim Dinning was less committal later in the week. Many Tories I have spoken with in the past week tell me that while they would love Mr. Dinning to return to politics, that they believe it is unlikely that the University of Calgary Chancellor will seek his party’s leadership.

Two more candidates?
Edmonton-Leduc Conservative MP James Rajotte is said to be considering a bid for the PC leadership. First elected as a Canadian Alliance MP for Edmonton-Southwest in 2000, Mr. Rajotte . He was the Ottawa roommate of Rahim Jaffer in the 1990s, when he worked as the legislative assistant for Edmonton-Strathcona MP Hugh Hanrahan and Surrey-North MP Margaret Bridgeman, and later as executive assistant to Edmonton MP Ian McClelland. Mr. Rajotte is currently the chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.

First elected as the MLA for Edmonton-Whitemud in 1997, Minister Dave Hancock placed fifth out of eight candidates with 7,595 votes on the first ballot of his party’s 2006 leadership contest. He endorsed Premier Stelmach on the second ballot. Minister Hancock has served as Minister of Justice, Health, Advanced Education, and Education (among others) and has been a PC Party insider since serving as Youth President in the 1970s.

In his current role as Education Minister, Hancock encouraged Trustees, parents, administrators, and others to think big about the future of the education system. This process had encouraged good among education system participants until recently, when the government attempted to renegotiate an already agreed upon contract with Alberta’s teachers.

The right time for Griffiths?
A leadership bid by Battle River-Wainwright MLA Doug Griffiths is not only gaining support in internet polls. Metro Calgary columnist DJ Kelly wrote a column last week suggesting that the outspoken and insightful Mr. Griffiths might be the best candidate for the job.

Benitomania or Benitolution?
Tongue in cheek campaign or the next big political shift? Paula Simons examines the political career of Edmonton-Mill Woods PC MLA Carl Benito and the recent online chatter about him.

alberta liberal attrition.

Today’s news that Calgary-Currie MLA Dave Taylor is leaving the Liberal caucus is big news for political watchers, but it is far from the first time that an MLA has left the Alberta Liberal Caucus. Due to many circumstances, ten MLAs have departed the Liberal Caucus before their term has ended over the past 16 years.

2006: One-term Edmonton-Manning MLA Dan Backs was expelled from the Liberal caucus by party leader Kevin Taft due to “ongoing friction” between the MLA and his colleagues. Mr. Back sat an an Independent MLA. After unsuccessfully seeking the PC nomination in 2008, Mr. Backs ran as an Independent and placed third behind Tory Peter Sandhu and New Democrat Rick Murti.

2004: Leader and Lethbridge-East MLA Ken Nicol and Edmonton-Ellerslie MLA Debby Carlson both left the Liberal caucus to run as federal Liberal candidates. Dr. Nicol eared 21.5% support against Conservative MP Rick Casson, and Ms. Carlson placed only 5,000 votes behind Edmonton-Strathcona Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer.

2000: Edmonton-Norwood MLA Sue Olsen left the Liberal caucus to run peruse a career in federal politics. Ms. Olsen was unsuccessful in her campaign to unseat Edmonton-Centre East MP Peter Goldring.

1999: One-term Edmonton-Castle Downs MLA Pamela Paul left the Liberal caucus to sit as an Independent MLA after domestic issues made it difficult for her to work with her caucus colleagues. She did not seek re-election in 2001.

1998: Two-term Edmonton-Mill Creek MLA Gene Zwozdesky left the Liberals over a dispute with leader Nancy MacBeth. One month later, he joined the Progressive Conservative caucus and is currently the Minister of Health & Wellness.

1996: Former leader and Redwater MLA Nick Taylor left the Liberal caucus when he was appointed to the Senate of Canada by Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

1995: Edmonton-Norwood MLA Andrew Beniuk was expelled from the Liberal caucus and sat as an Independent before joining the PCs in 1996. Mr. Beniuk was defeated by Liberal Sue Olsen in the 1997 election. Mr. Beniuk attempted political comebacks as the PC candidate in Edmonton-Glengarry in 2001 and Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood in 2008.

1994: Edmonton-Beverly-Belmont MLA Julius Yankowski and Lac La Biche-St. Paul MLA Paul Langevin left the Liberals to sit as Independent MLAs before joining the PC caucus in 1995 and were both re-elected in 1997. Mr. Langevin retired in 2001 and Mr. Yankowski was defeated by New Democrat Ray Martin in 2004.

top 40 under 40: rahim jaffer.

Rahim Jaffer and Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a 2008 election photo.

Edmonton’s Avenue Magazine has once again opened nominations for their annual Top 40 under 40 list. The magazine asks readers to introduce Edmontonians under the age of 40 who are making a difference in their city. Past nominees have included young community activists, business leaders, lawyers, and artists. When thinking about who to nominate for this year’s Top 40 Under 40, one name came mind that we should not forget.

Name of the Nominee: Rahim Jaffer

Nominee Job Title: Former Member of Parliament, co-founder Green Power Generation Corp.

Why are you nominating this person for the 2010 Top 40 Under 40?
As a young business leader, Rahim skyrocketed into a successful political career in 1997 as the Reform Party MP for the hip district of Edmonton-Strathcona. At the age 25, Rahim was the first Shia Ismaili elected to the Canadian Parliament. Known as “the life of the party,” Rahim was also a frequenter and strong supporter of entertainment establishments in both Edmonton and Ottawa.

Jim Dinning campaigns with Rahim Jaffer in 2006.

Rahim showed outstanding leadership in new management strategies as an MP, including allowing his staff to act beyond their full potential. Rahim was actively involved in party politics in Alberta and his alliteration on the floor of the House of Commons made him a favourite among his caucus colleagues. He served on many important Parliamentary Committees and as Chairman of the Conservative caucus from 2006 to 2008.

Rahim’s eleven year political career was cut short in 2008 by an insurgent socialist campaign supporting Linda Duncan. In true Edmontonian fashion, he did not let the setback get him down and eloped with his fiancee Helena Guergis the day after his defeat. The former Edmonton MP has made national headlines this year for his new business ventures in Ontario, which included a collaboration with a well-known Toronto-based businessman.

alberta politics notes 2/24/2010

– As Bill 1, the Alberta Competitiveness Act is this sessions flagship piece of government legislation. With all the focus on “competitiveness,” has anyone wondered what happened to the Premier’s Economic Strategy Committee that was announced last summer? (their website has not been updated since July 2009) The committee included former Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan, former MP David Emerson, and former Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge.
– Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier announced that he will not be seeking re-election in October. Bronconnier was first elected as Mayor in 2001. Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel has yet to make his electoral intentions public.
– Alberta could hold its fourth Senate election since 1989 along-side the municipal elections this October.
– Edmonton City Council approved the Municipal Development Plan this week. Councillor Don Iveson has posted some remarks on his blog.
– Lethbridge-East MLA Bridget Pastoor scored a win for the Liberal Opposition this week when the Assembly approved her motion to “…urge the Government to establish an independent Commission to review the current salaries and benefits for Members of the Legislative Assembly…” It is important to note that as this was a Private Member’s Motion, it is non-binding.
– Facing charges of cocaine-possession and drunk-driving, former Edmonton-Strathcona Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer is expected to plea-bargain when his case reconvenes in March.
– In my previous post, I mentioned the low-voter turnout in the 2008 provincial election. Here is a map showing voter turnout in ridings across the province (only 4 out of 83 ridings had a turnout larger than 50%).

canada’s 2008 federal election: 365 days later.

One year ago today, just over 50% of Albertans made their way to the polls to vote in the 2008 Canadian Federal Election. While just over two years since the previous election, last October saw some Edmontonians (and Strathconans) paint their electoral map with a little more diversity of colours (even if it only resulted in one actual change in electoral representation). A year out, here is a look at some of the more interesting ridings from 2008 and what the electoral races may shape up to look like in the next election.

Edmonton-Centre

2008 results
Laurie Hawn, C – 22,634 (49%)
Jim Wachowich, Lib – 12,661 (27.4%)
Donna Martyn, NDP – 6,912 (15%)
David Parker, G – 3,746 (8.1%)
Peggy Morton, ML – 203 (0.4%)

I expected closer results in this riding during the last election, but if only one thing were clear about the 2008 election, it is that the Liberals under Stephane Dion had zero momentum in western Canada. After narrowly defeating Liberal MP Anne McLellan in 2006, a low voter turnout allowed Conservative Laurie Hawn to widen his margin of victory into a comfortable lead in 2008 when facing off against consumer advocate and Liberal candidate Jim Wachowich (the total voter turnout dropped by over eleven thousand votes and over 9,000 Liberal voters stayed home, dropping that party’s support by over 9,000 votes between 2006 and 2008).

This riding has been the focus of both Reform/Canadian Alliance/Conservative and Liberal resources since 1993 and the prospect of three strong candidates in the next election could make this Edmonton riding a centre of attention once again. Hawn is a strong campaigner, but he is now facing two hard working challengers who have already began campaigning door-to-door. Liberal Mary MacDonald is a lawyer, Ph.D., former Deputy Chief of Staff to McLellan, and former provincial Liberal candidate. New Democrat Lewis Cardinal is an educator, activist, and former candidate for City Council. Some people will inevitably bemoan the potential for vote-splitting between the two main challengers, but I am looking forward to watching three strong candidates make this riding competitive in the next election. If Edmonton-Centre becomes home to a serious three-way race, I would wager that anything could happen.

Edmonton-East

2008 results
Peter Goldring, C – 21,487 (51.3%)
Ray Martin, NDP – 13,318 (31.8%)
Stephanie Laskoski, Lib – 4,578 (10.9%)
Trey Capnerhurst, G 2,488 (5.9%)

This riding could be one to watch in the next election. With the collapse of the Liberal-vote in 2008 (likely caused by the previously mentioned Dion-factor and the last minute withdrawal of candidate Jim Jacuta), former MLA Ray Martin was able to capitalize and boost the NDP vote by 13% to a solid second place finish. The riding has been represented by MP Peter Goldring since 1997, but the eclectic collection of citizens in this riding supported NDP MP Ross Harvey in 1988 and Liberal MP Judy Bethel in 1993.

Although Goldring has perfected the art of invisibility as a backbench MP, he still hold an incumbency advantage and I wouldn’t underestimate Martin, who has once again been nominated as the NDP candidate in the next election. A seasoned elections veteran, Martin’s political drive has led him to be elected the MLA for Edmonton-Norwood from 1982 to 1993, Edmonton Public Schools Trustee from 2001 to 2004, MLA for Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview from 2004 to 2008, and Leader of Alberta’s Official Opposition from 1986 to 1993. I have also heard that along with Edmonton-Strathcona, the NDP are planning to focus much of their resources on this riding, which was their second strongest Alberta finish in 2008.

Edmonton-Sherwood Park

2008 results
Tim Uppal, C – 17,628 (35.8%)
James Ford, Ind – 15,960 (32.4%)
Brian LaBelle, NDP – 6,339 (12.8%)
Rick Szostak, Lib – 5,575 (11.3%)
Nina Erfani, G – 3,678 (7.4%)

In 2008, Independent conservative James Ford rode a strong wave of Strathcona County-concentrated discontent after a shady Conservative nomination process chose former Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont candidate Tim Uppal over local favorite Jacquie Fenske.

Ford’s strength led this riding to the second closest results in the province, but I wonder whether a second run by Ford would result in the same level of discontent. This has been a strong conservative riding and includes areas that are represented on a provincial level by Premier Ed Stelmach and Finance Minister Iris Evans. If the voters in this riding are now less offended by the internal party shenanigans than they were a year ago, I would imagine that they will return to a traditional Conservative voting pattern.

Edmonton-Strathcona


2008 results
Linda Duncan, NDP – 20,103 (42.5%)
Rahim Jaffer, Con – 19,640 (41.6%)
Claudette Roy, Lib – 4,279 (9%)
Jane Thrall, Grn – 3,040 (6.4%)
Kevan Hunter, ML – 147 (0.3%)

A year ago today, NDP candidate Linda Duncan edged out long-time Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer in a close election race. Initially planning a comeback, Jaffer is now dealing with some personal issues in Ontario and the Conservatives have nominated Ottawa insider Ryan Hastman as their standard bearer. Both candidates and their teams have been busy canvassing door-to-door over the summer months in this extremely geo-politically polarized riding (as you can see by the poll results from the map above).

Since the last election, a number of people have noted to me that Duncan has become somewhat of a ghost in Edmonton. I will give Duncan the benifit of a doubt that she is still mounting the learning curve that all elected officials face during their first couple years in office, but I am sure that Hastman’s campaign will focus on this point.

Expect a flood of resources and high-profile MP visits to the riding from both the NDP and Conservatives to continue before the next election (NDP leader Jack Layton has visited this riding at least 4-5 times since October 2008). The collapse of the Liberal vote helped vault Duncan to her victory, but it shouldn’t be underestimated how strong her organization and her campaign momentum were in the last election. If she is successful in her next election, she will be the first NDP MP to be re-elected in Alberta’s history. The Liberals have yet to announce a candidate in this riding, but Michael Ignatieff spent the Canada Day long weekend in the riding.

(Thanks to Jordan C. for the map)