Alberta Politics

Will Rick Hanson run for the PCs in Calgary-Cross?

Rick Hanson Calgary PC Cross Candidate
Rick Hanson

Will Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson run for the Progressive Conservatives in the upcoming spring provincial election? His surprise resignation announcement today timed with the PCs abrupt delay of their nomination in the northeast Calgary-Cross constituency until March 14 has led some political watchers to speculate Mr. Hanson could be appointed as a candidate.

With the retirement of six-term PC MLA Yvonne Fritzseven candidates are seeking the PC nomination in Calgary-Cross. Deep political divisions between the various ethnic groups backing those candidates led one political observer described the race as “a gong-show.” Appointing a high-profile outsider like Mr. Hanson might be a more palatable alternative for the PC establishment to holding a highly divisive nomination meeting that would be difficult to control.

Joe Ceci NDP Calgary Fort
Joe Ceci

But Cross is not the only available spot. There are six other constituencies in Calgary that do not yet have PC candidates, including Calgary-McCall and Calgary-Fort, in which nomination meetings have not yet be scheduled.

Calgary-McCall is currently represented by Liberal Darshan Kang, who is jumping into federal politics as the Liberal candidate in Calgary-Skyview. In Calgary-Fort, long-time PC MLA Wayne Cao is retiring and the New Democrats have recruited former five-term city councillor Joe Ceci.

Mr. Hanson is already seen as close to Mr. Prentice, having invited him to ride alongside the Calgary Police Foundation during the 2014 Calgary Stampede Parade. Mr. Prentice was the Chair of the Calgary Police Foundation Fundraising Committee.

Manmeet Bhullar
Manmeet Bhullar

This would not be the first time the PC Party appointed a candidate in north east Calgary. In 2008, two days after the election was called, 27-year old university student Manmeet Bhullar was appointed by Ed Stelmach as the PC candidate in Calgary-Montrose. Mr. Bhullar is now Minister of Infrastructure and is considered one of Mr. Prentice’s chief political lieutenants.

Mr. Hanson would be one of the latest in a string of police chiefs to jump into electoral politics. In Ontario, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives salivated when Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino was able to steal a long-time Liberal riding in a by-election. In British Columbia, Kash Heed, the chief constable of the West Vancouver Police Department, briefly served as Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

While he would be a political unknown to most Albertans outside of Calgary city limits, Mr. Hanson would be one of the PCs first “star candidates” to be nominated for this election. And with most PC MLAs winning their nominations by acclamation and only a handful of low-key nomination contests underway, a high-profile name like Mr. Hanson’s could bring some much needed heft to a PC slate still heavily loaded with Redford-era MLAs.

6 replies on “Will Rick Hanson run for the PCs in Calgary-Cross?”

I thought for sure he would be the choice for Varsity especially since Donna Kennedy-Glans says she isn’t running.

Jimmy had his chance to appoint Rioux, his former right hand man, but did not do so. Only to have J S lose by two – count ’em – TWO votes to Klein era former MLA Mark Hlady. Maybe Jim already had his quota of sycophants for the upcoming election, or perish the thought – he felt democracy should happen in nominations. He’s pretty much abandoned the latter as it relates to ministers. I would hope that Hanson is principled enough to not accept any nomination afforded him by HRH Prentice. Otherwise we have all badly misjudged him (Rick, not Jim)

“Deep political divisions between the various ethnic groups backing those candidates”…????

I find this “political observers” comments disturbing – not to mention inaccurate. The Calgary-Cross region and Calgary as a whole is made up of ethnic people – yes. As such it seems rather logical that ethnic people may choose to enter this race (though not to the exclusion of others like Rick Hansen who are equally entitled to enter that race…though Mr. Hansen has not announced any intention to as of yet).

In particular, I note that 6 of the 7 candidates in the running are Sikh Punjabi (again not surprising given the composition of Whitehorn, Temple, Pineridge, and Rundle). It can hardly be said that there are deep ethnic tensions between Sikh and Sikh. So the writer must be referring to a supposed ethnic tension between these candidates and the Muslim candidate — though he cites no evidence or incidence of tension in support. Probably because there isn’t any.

I live in the Northeast and have heard nothing to suggest there has been any ethnic tension during or as a result of this nomination race. The Northeast generally is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Calgary and ethnic groups exist amiably side by side here rather successfully. And if there are any differences between any of the candidates or their supporters it seems rather presumptuous to assume that those differences are guided by ethnic identity – as opposed to political preference.

To me it sounds like your “political observer” is essentializing. To dub democracy a “gong-show” just because ethnic people are running against ethnic people without any real basis – is to cast the current nomination candidates and their supporters as nothing more than the “savages” of yesteryear — please tell me we have moved past that type of thinking and maneuvering. Also, I can’t help but point out the writer has done very little to reference any facts in support of his claim of political tensions fueled by ethnic division.

I hope others are outraged too. The appointment of Rick Hansen (an admittedly accomplished man) by the PC party in these circumstances is sad – if he wins he should win by ballot by running against the 7 other candidates. A race is underway and he remains free to throw this hat in the ring. I have yet to hear that the PC party saw any contest where all the candidates were Caucasian as being “unpalatable” or a “gong-show”.

Further, the mere fact that there are 7 candidates running does not mean that the race would be “divisive” or “hard to control”. Are many expected to show up to the nomination meeting? Yes. But since when has turnout been a bad thing? The challenge identified by the writer is that the nomination meeting would be hard to control – without any thing to suggest the contest is divisive, to me the high turnout only requires a logistical solution.

To appoint someone where a race has begun is paternalistic – and a disservice to the Calgary-Cross area. I hope that the position of the PC party is not reflected in this article. If it is, my loyalties are shaken.

I am not aware of the religious or ethnic background of any of the 6 or 7 prospective candidates running for the PC nomination in Calgary Cross. I live in that riding, I shop in that riding, I get my hair cut in that riding. Calgary-Cross is a great place to live, I am very happy here and have been for over 40 years.
I have not heard of any so called “ethnic groups” having “deep political divisions” in our riding and I would be very disappointed if there actually is. I have heard and observed that there is a lack of information regarding the qualifications of every declared candidate regardless of which political party they propose to run for.
“Concerned northeast resident” states that it would be a disservice to the Calgary-Cross area if the PC party appoints a candidate to run because it is paternalistic. I believe any Political Party choosing a candidate from nominated individuals to run under their banner has a responsibility to ensure that voters will know as much about their candidate as possible. As of this date, I don’t believe that any of those declared prospective candidates has taken any steps to tell residents of Calgary-Cross what they stand for other than they want the PC nomination.
I believe that the PC party should ensure that the next candidate running under the PC banner in Calgary-Cross is the right person who, if elected, will represent all the residents of Calgary-Cross best. If that means appointing the candidate, then that’s what they should do.

Rick Hanson should have a serious look in the mirror.

Rick Hanson running for the PC’s just shows that he does not care about real democracy or upgrading our democracy in Alberta. The PC’s are against upgrading democracy and they just want to maintain the current petro state anti-democracy first past the post status quo here in Alberta.

I would have expected more from Rick Hanson. I thought he had more integrity. I guess I was brainwashed by the big corporate media for thinking so. Running for the PC’s shows a great lack of democratic integrity.

We need a real representative democracy that mirrors the will of the people. Our election system does not mirror the will of the people. The PC’s got a false majority with only 43.97% of the vote in the last election. Furthermore, we need to get rid of all corporate donations at all government levels during elections. This is not what representative democracy looks like!

I guess when you are the top cop you just become an autocrat barking orders like a Conservative. It can be tough to teach an old dog new tricks.

Well that did not take long. No real surprise given Jim’s disdain for people to decide for themselves. What is truly disappointing is that Rick, after such an esteemed career, would give over to such an undemocratic process in the hope of a cabinet spot. I think it will be interesting to see how the rank and file in Cross respond. Will they support Rick or quietly sabotage the interloper?

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