With the Conservative candidate chosen and widely expected to win the upcoming by-election, attention will now shift to the opposition party candidates. The New Democrats have yet to select a candidate and no prospective candidates have made their intentions public. Past candidate William Hamilton has announced his intentions to seek the Green Party nomination and popular local writer Chris Turner has expressed interest in that party’s nomination.
This is reminiscent of the Calgary-Centre Liberal nomination before the 2004 election, when local lawyer Julia Turnbull, who had been campaigning for the nomination, was nearly pushed out of the race in favour of former Calgary police chief Christine Silverberg, who the central party had hoped to appoint as the candidate.
A new group, calling themselves 1 Calgary Centre, has formed in hopes of mobilizing progressive voters within Calgary-Centre to support and elect a consensus candidate in the upcoming by-election.
Lawyer Rick Billingtonhas also joined the contest. Mr. Billington is a long-time Conservative Party director in the neighbouring riding of Calgary-Southwest. His website biography lists him as having participated in the Leaders Debate preparation team for Premier Alison Redford during the 2012 Alberta election.
Perhaps the strangest candidate to join the Conservative nomination contest is Quebec political advisor and Ottawa-area resident Joe Soares – who describes himself as “Calgary Joe.” It is not known whether Mr. Soares has spent any significant amount of time in Calgary or has any connection to the city or the province of Alberta.
The messaging on Mr. Soares’ website is a textbook case of negative partisanship, taking aim at New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair, who he accuses of wanting to destroy Alberta’s economy. The political insider also takes aim at the perceived frontrunner Ms. Crockatt, who he accuses of defending former Ontario Conservative MP Belinda Stronach when she crossed the floor to the Liberal Party in 2005 (which I imagine is a top of mind issue for Conservative Party members in Calgary-Centre).
The date of the Conservative nomination vote has not yet been set, though the deadline to enter the contest occurred last week.
Their status as Official Opposition in Ottawa does not seem to have generated wide interest in the NDP nomination. I have heard very little about who the NDP candidate in this by-election could be.
However unlikely, the latest speculation I have heard is that some party members are trying to draft Anne McGrath to carry her party’s banner in the downtown Calgary riding. Ms. McGrath is the former President of the NDP and chief of staff to former NDP leader Jack Layton. She ran for the provincial NDP in the Calgary-McCall by-election in 1995.
On July 11, Mr. Cullen will co-host a workshop with Edmonton-Strathcona NDP MLA Rachel Notley with the goal of sending “Stephen Harper a stinging message in his own backyard that his divisive politics aren’t going to cut it anymore.”
In 2011, the NDP orange wave made more of a ripple than a splash in Calgary-Centre. Parachute candidate Donna Montgomery earned only 14% of the vote, up from 9% in 2008. It is difficult to imagine any candidate other than a Conservative will win the expected by-election, but it is interesting to see that the NDP are putting some energy into cultivating and engaging potential supporters in this downtown Calgary riding.
Conservative political pundit and former Calgary Herald editor Joan Crockatt and former Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation board member Andy Crooks were the first two candidates to announce their intentions to seek the Conservative Party nomination in Calgary-Centre. Mr. Crooks has already been endorsed by Calgary-West MP Rob Anders, a supporter of the Wildrose Party who is known for his far-right conservative politics.
Two-term Calgary Alderman John Mar, recently in the news for his tough on potato farmers stances, entered the contest last week. With ties to the PCs, Alderman Mar could represent the voice of moderate Conservatives in the nomination contest.
Tory victory inevitable? Almost certainly, but…
Unless something cataclysmic occurs in the next six months, it is highly unlikely that the by-election in this riding will result in anything but the election of another Conservative MP. The type of Conservative candidate could effect how strong that outcome is.
While it may not translate to votes on the federal level, voters in this riding have a streak of electing non-Conservative representatives on the provincial level, including Liberal MLA’s Kent Hehr and Dave Taylor (Mr. Taylor later joined the Alberta Party).
Update: William Hamilton, the 2011 Green Party candidate, has announced that he will seek the Green Party nomination when the election is called. Mr. Hamilton was also the EverGreen Party candidate in Calgary-Elbow in the recent provincial election.
Update (July 24, 2012): Andy Crooks has dropped out of the Conservative nomination.
With an election call expected in the next three to six weeks, Alberta’s opposition parties are busily nominating candidates to stand in the upcoming vote. Some parties, like the Wildrose Party and the NDP, are close to nominating a full-slate, while the Liberals are scrambling to catch up. The Alberta Party and EverGreen Party are only expected to nominate a small number of candidates.
The Progressive Conservatives are expected to appoint their final candidate in Calgary-West on February 16. This appointment will replace previously nominated candidate Shiraz Shariff, who was disqualified by the PC Party last week.
Battle River-Wainwright: Midge Lambert is seeking the Alberta Party nomination. Ms. Lambert was the Green Party candidate in Wetaskiwin-Camrose in the 2008 election. The NDP are holding a nomination meeting on February 21 where Terry Zalwalski is expected to be acclaimed. Mr. Zalwalski was the NDP candidate in the federal riding of Vegreville in the 1993 election.
Bonnyville-Cold Lake: Retired municipal administrator Roy Doonanco has been nominated as the Wildrose candidate, replacing previously nominated candidate Chuck Farrer.
Calgary-Elbow: William Hamilton has been nominated as the EverGreen Party candidate.
Calgary-Fish Creek: Nazir Rahemtulla is the nominated Liberal candidate in this south Calgary constituency.
Calgary-Fort: Said Abdulbaki has been nominated as the Liberal candidate in this east Calgary constituency. I am unclear whether this is the same Mr. Abdulbaki who ran for the Wildrose Alliance in Calgary-Montrose in 2008 and for the Wildrose nomination in Chestermere-Rockyview in 2011.
Calgary-Hays: Brian MacPhee will stand under the Liberal Party banner. Mr. MacPhee was the federal Liberal candidate in Calgary-Southeast in the 2011 election.
Calgary-Northern Hills: Stephanie Woodlund was recently nominated as the NDP candidate.
Calgary-South East: Marta Warszynski was chosen as the NDP candidate in a nomination meeting held earlier this week.
Calgary-Varsity: Jackie Seidel, Director of Field Curriculum at the University of Calgary Faculty of Education, was chosen as the NDP candidate this week, replacing previously nominated candidate Cynthia Caldwell.
Cardston-Taber-Warner: Aaron Haugen was nominated as the NDP candidate this week, replacing previously nominated candidate Barbara Eng-Bonthoux.
Cypress-Medicine Hat: Manuel Martinez is expected to be nominated as the NDP candidate on March 2, replacing previously nominated candidate Scott Riable. Mr. Martinez was his party’s candidate in the 2008 election.
Edmonton-Ellerslie: The NDP nomination contest is heating up. Rod Loyola, Kevin Wright, and one other candidate are seeking the nomination. Former Liberal MLA Bharat Agnihotri, who was previously nominated as his party’s candidate in the upcoming election, appears to no longer be the candidate.
Edmonton-South West: Former Catholic School Trustee Rudy Arcilla was nominated as the Liberal Party candidate in this newly created constituency. Served as a trustee from 2007 to 2010.
Edmonton-Whitemud: Rick Szostak is the nominated Liberal candidate in this constituency. Mr. Szostak was previously the Liberal candidate in Edmonton-Sherwood Park in the 2008 and 2011 federal elections.
Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville: Spencer Dunn is the nominated Liberal Party candidate.
Highwood: Miles Dato was recently nominated as the NDP candidate.
Leduc-Beaumont: Dave Stasiewich has been chosen as the Wildrose candidate.
Little Bow: Everett Tanis is the Liberal Party candidate. Mr. Tanis was the 2008 Liberal candidate in this constituency, earning 1,080 votes. In 2011, he was honoured as Picture Butte’s Citizen of the Year.
Medicine Hat: Graham Murray is the nominated EverGreen Party candidate