Alberta Politics

staging a political comeback in alberta.

With a number of former MLAs having declared their intentions to seek their party candidacies in the next election (David Eggen, Rick Miller, Weslyn Mather, and Mo Elsalhy), I thought it would be interesting to take a look at other former MLAs who launched successful and not so successful comeback attempts. By my count, thirteen former MLAs have attempted a comeback since the 1997 General Election, meaning that most former MLAs stay former. Of this group only  six have successfully returned to the Assembly.

Former MLAs attempting a return to the Legislature
Candidate Party Constituency Vote Result Previous Office
1997 General Election
Albert Ludwig Liberal Calgary-Foothills 29.7% Defeated Social Credit MLA Calgary-North East (1959-1963), Calgary-East  (1963-1971), Calgary-Mountain View (1971-1975)
Alex McEachern NDP Edmonton-Calder 27.3% Defeated NDP MLA Edmonton-Kingsway (1986-1993)
Pam Barrett NDP Edmonton-Highlands 50.6% Elected NDP MLA Edmonton-Highlands (1986-1993)
Don MacDonald Social Credit Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills 28.1% Defeated Liberal MLA Three Hills (1992-1993)
1998 By-Election
Nancy MacBeth Liberal Edmonton-McClung 53.6% Elected PC MLA Edmonton-Glenora (1986-1993)
2000 By-Election
Terry Kirkland Liberal Edmonton-Highlands 18.3% Defeated Liberal MLA Leduc (1993-1997)
2001 General Election
Andrew Beniuk PC Edmonton-Glengarry 44.9% Defeated Liberal/PC MLA Edmonton-Norwood (1993-1997)
Len Bracko Liberal St. Albert 41.2% Defeated Liberal MLA St. Albert (1993-1997)
2004 General Election
Ray Martin NDP Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview 50.8% Elected NDP MLA Edmonton-Norwood (1982-1993)
Walter Szwender PC Edmonton-Decore 30.4% Defeated PC MLA Edmonton-Belmont (1982-1986)
2008 General Election
Broyce Jacobs PC Cardston-Taber-Warner 46.2% Elected PC MLA Cardston-Taber-Warner (2001-2004)
Tony Vandermeer PC Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview 39.6% Elected PC MLA Edmonton-Manning (2001-2004)
Andrew Beniuk PC Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood 31.9% Defeated Liberal/PC MLA Edmonton-Norwood (1993-1997)
2009 By-Election
Paul Hinman Wildrose Calgary-Glenmore 36.8% Elected Wildrose MLA Carston-Taber-Warner (2004-2008)

17 replies on “staging a political comeback in alberta.”

Any ideas why former MLAs stay former? I always hoped that Karen Leibovici and Howard Sapers would try a comeback.

Rick Miller ran and lost in 2001 then ran and won in 2004 then ran and lost in 2008, so the pattern would dictate that he wins in 2012.

Also while not formally announced, Bruce Miller will run in Glenora. David Eggen should go back to Calder and he’ll easily win it back and leave Glenora to Miller.

Leibovici is on City Council and Sapers got a job in Ottawa.

I heard Bharat Agnihotri and Bruce Miller are running again too. This would make 2012 a banner year for comeback tries.

A friend of mine who lives in what was and what will be Calder said Eggen was at his doorstep recently. I suspect Mr Eggen will be running in Calder after all. He got caught by the boundaries changes that were suggested and then scrapped. I bet he’s waiting for the final riding boundaries before he makes a change back to Calder official.

Tony Vanermeer ran and lost in 1997 then ran and won in 2001 then ran and lost in 2004, so the pattern would dictate he loses in 2012.

Eggen running in Calder is a win win win win. Eggen and Miller get reelected. Doug “equal sugar packet” Elniaski and Heather Klimschuk are releaved of their spots as one termers. Alberta needs more opposition and less Tory backbenchers.

Agnihotri is interested but is taking a wait-n-see approach. In Ellerslie, Naresh Bhardwaj is one of those useless Tory backbenchers no one will miss.

And along with Mo Elsalhy in McClung, Bharat Agnihotri is the only other Liberal MLA in Edmonton whose vote actually improved from 2004 to 2008 – a small increase, yes, but still!

Also of note is that MacBeth and Martin are the only two so far who returned to the Leg and have subsequently faced re-election (Barrett resigned, and the other 3 were elected in ’08 or a subsequent by-election). Both of them lost their seats again in the next general election, so it’s pretty tough to carve out a career in the Leg once you’ve been voted out once.

And is Craig Cheffins hoping to run again in Calgary-Elbow? Will Nancy cavanaugh try again in Whitemud?

In 2008, Mo Elsalhy received the 4th highest liberal vote in Edmonton and 6th overall in Alberta (1. Taft, 2. Swann, 3. Cavanaugh, 4. Chase, 5. MacDonald). Rick Miller registered 13th overall (out of 83 ridings) and lost by a very tiny margin. I think these are two to watch for sure and if you add Cheffins (7th overall) and Cavanaugh, you have four to monitor.

Hmmm…perhaps Bhardwaj has his shortcomings, but vis a vis Agnihotri, he does have his strong points as well. Such as “knowing where he is” and “being capable of breathing in and out without coaching”.

Seriously – if both your brain cells fire at the same time, there is no way Agnihotri cannot fail to make your top five list of biggest disgraces to ever hold office in this province. Who the hell gets nostalgic for the return of a meatsack like that???

Interesting news about Bruce Miller running for the Liberals in Glenora. The next move will be Eggen’s, for sure. But if I’m Heather Klimchuk, I’m sure glad to hear of a possible fight on the left.

Rick Miller will surely give Fred Horne a run for his money making Rutherford one of the races to watch province-wide. I wouldn’t worry much about Agnihotri, though, the guy was probably the least effective opposition MLA from 04 ot 08. And I don’t see Cavanaugh or Cheffins pulling it off, either. Maybe Nancy Cavanaugh should look north and run for Taft’s old seat in Riverview?

On the whole, a lot of people are putting stock in rising Liberal fortunes in Edmonton based on a vote-split. That’s a bit premature since I think it also depends on the Liberal vote staying the same in Edmonton. A number of factors, including a Calgary-based Leader who doesn’t have Taft’s profile in Edmonton, could knock those Liberal numbers down in the Capital.


I was just staing a numerical fact – Bharat’s vote didn’t go down, his percentage of the final vote did but the actual number of votes received went up, albeit slightly. I wasn’t commenting on Agnihotri’s strengths or weaknesses, per se, although I still think Edmontonians should send Stelmach a message and give all his backbenchers the boot. An opposition member, even a weak one, beats a greedy, lazy PC backbencher any day of the week in my book.

But what do you mean by “knowing where he is?”

Oh and opposition members cost taxpayers less. They make less money to start with and don’t nickel-n-dime us to death with their expense claims and allowances for this, that, and the other thing.

And for the most part, opposition MLAs work harder than their Tory counterparts.

I meant, re. Agnihotri, that any significant interaction with the gentleman left one with a distinct sense that he wasn’t possessed of sufficient sentience to have even a basic awareness of his surroundings. Or, put another way, his grasp of even the most basic concepts was so lacking that a metaphor about spatial awareness seemed useful to illustrate his inadequacy.

In more simplistic terms, he was (and presumably still is) an idiot.

A potted plant would literally be more effective; the only use the man ever had was pointing out the futility of making broad generalizations about the effectiveness of MLAs along partisan lines.

Eggen is keeping his options open until the new boundaries are passed by the Tories.

And I’ll believe the Bruce Miller rumours when he makes a public statement. Until then, it’s just hopeful dreaming on the part of Liberals who actually think the guy is worth electing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *