Alberta Politics

nathan cullen aims to unite progressives in calgary-centre.

Nathan Cullen NDP MP
Nathan Cullen

Skeena-Bulkley Valley New Democrat Member of Parliament Nathan Cullen is jumping into Calgary’s Stampede celebrations next week to host a workshop on uniting progressives in advance of the inevitable by-election in Calgary-Centre.

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.

Representing the northern British Columbia federal riding through which the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline will travel, Mr. Cullen has been a vocal critic of the development that would export crude oil and bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands to a marine terminal in Kitimat, BC. The NDP launched a spoof website last week in response to claims by Conservative politicians that “radicals” are holding up the public hearing process.

Calgary-Centre Conservative MP Lee Richardson announced his resignation on May 30, 2012 after accepting a job offer to become Principal Secretary to Premier Alison Redford. Mr. Richardson was first elected in this riding in 2004 and was re-elected with 57% of the vote in May 2011.

Conservatives Joan Crockatt and Alderman John Mar have announced their bids to seek their party’s nomination. Beena Ashar is the lone candidate seeking the Liberal nomination and past candidate William Hamilton is seeking the Green Party nomination.

8 replies on “nathan cullen aims to unite progressives in calgary-centre.”

If we really wanted to provide a united non-Conservative front, it would make more sense for the Greens, Liberals, and NPD to throw all their support behind an independent candidate, and, should they win, have the candidate be an ‘independent progressive’ who caucuses with all three parties.

This would never actually happen, and would probably never work in practice, but it would actually be a way to “unite progressives” that wasn’t just code for “support the NDP”.

Calgary is a more progressive city than its given credit for, and indeed central Calgary even more so. But it’s also the kind of place where it seems to me the Liberals would have better chance if they can just rehabilitate their image; Calgary will respond much better to a pro-market + social justice ideology rather than the NDP’s more socialist bent and more strident opposition to Alberta’s oilsands.

You mean Cullen wants to unite behind the 2nd place finisher in Calgary-Centre, the Liberals? Sure! Good idea. In the 2000s the NDP has finished no better than 3rd, and in 2004 and 2008 finished 4th behind the Greens.

It’s happened before in Calgary Centre, or at least something similar. PC Joe Clark was elected before the merger that resulted in the CPC (after which merger he sat as an Independent). There was a strong movement among progressives to vote for him as the relatively progressive candidate with the best chance of prevailing over the CA candidate (former Reform incumbement).


I’m a little sadden by the comments I read as of late of Albertans who don’t normally vote Conservative. From an outside perspective, I don’t fully understand why so many people have given up on opposition parties. What worries me the most about Alberta is its inherent willingness to give up and just allow another Conservative MP to be elected. Why don’t those on the left of the Conservative spectrum unite under one political party? I read that 39826 people, Calgary Centre, a riding of 89000 people did not vote in the last election. (I know that voter turnout is low, but this tells me that a Conservative won the seat in this riding with only 32% of eligible voters supporting him) That is absolutely horrible, don’t you think? Listen, I know what kind of rhetoric might be thrown about the NDP. In my city, Resource Minister Joe Oliver wrote several letters to the editor stating that the NDP and its supporters are against the environment and this country’s resources.

I am an NDP supporter and I am not against resources. In fact my city is based on the extraction of minerals and most of its citizens are NDP supporters. Why? Because in my province the NDP was actually built up as the speaker of those in the resource industry, ironic isn’t it? They continue to this day to fight for our region.

So what you hear in the media and what is reality are two different things. The NDP is not a party that needs to be feared. I would certainly like as an NDP supporter to have more of Alberta’s views brought to the table. I think rather than working against each other, the NDP and Alberta needs to work with each other. I think that is the problem. With only one MP from Alberta, like ever, how can we get a better sense of what Albertans want and need? I just wish the people who have given up, to find the NDP as the banner to unite. Make change from within. I think the people of Calgary have a chance to help the NDP be what Albertans expect it to be. You have to admit, a party can only do a great job of representing its members if its members participate in making its policy. Right now only a handful of Albertans participate compared to the rest of the country.

I beg all those who are on the opposite of what the Conservatives represent to keep an open-mind and use teamwork and cooperation to help build a strong opposition to the Conservatives in Alberta. Transform the NDP into what you would like it to be! It is possible! Trust me!

The announcement that Harvey Locke is seeking the Federal Liberal nomination in Calgary Centre certainly adds to the potential to make this an interesting race. Whether you support him or not, he has the name and credibility to demonstrate that there are quality candidates other than those seeking the Conservative nomination.
I know I have my biases, but I would consider Harvey Locke are far superior candidate to say someone like Joan Crockett, who I have alwasy found to be quite underwhelming.

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