Calgary Elbow By-Election Drumheller-Stettler By-Election

by-election rundown.

I’ve had some time to compile some thoughts about yesterday’s by-elections. Here are some of them:

Calgary Elbow
Alberta Liberal candidate Craig Cheffins was elected in Calgary Elbow – Ralph Klein’s former constituency and a bedrock Tory constituency since 1971. This is significant for all the obvious reasons.

Though I don’t think Cheffins’ election in Calgary Elbow is a complete deathblow to the Stelmach Tories, I do think it is a substantial kick in the teeth. Voters in Calgary Elbow sent a strong message that Calgary may be more in-play than it has been in a long time. Many Calgarians aren’t happy with the Stelmach Tories and if strong local candidates like Craig Cheffins continue to let their name stand for Kevin Taft’s Alberta Liberals in Calgary, the Tories could be in trouble in the next election.

While many Calgary Tory MLAs are rumoured to be stepping down in the next election, the Alberta Liberals are already starting to line up quality candidates like Kent Hehr (Calgary Buffalo), Carole Oliver (Calgary Fort), and Avalon Roberts (Calgary Glenmore).

For those of your keeping score, you can add another Ed Stelmach-point to the Strom-o-meter. In 1969, the Lougheed Tories wrestled away the Strathcona East constituency following Socred Premier Ernest Manning’s retirement. Peter Lougheed led the Tories to victory over Premier Harry Strom’s Social Credit Party in 1971.

Tory Jack Hayden’s landslide victory wasn’t a big surprise as Drumheller-Stettler is probably one of the strongest conservative constituencies in Alberta. There are some interesting results though. Alberta Liberal candidate Tom Dooley may have won 14% across the constituency, but won 9 out of the 11 Town of Drumheller polls (something that reflects the warm reaction on the doors last weekend).

If the Liberals are able to become competitive in Alberta’s smaller cities like Drumheller, then a number of normally safe-Tory rural ridings will shift to the in-play column.

Low Turnout
Albertans already hold the lowest voter turnout rates in Canada, so it wasn’t surprising that turnout was dismal yesterday. It doesn’t downplay the significance of the Liberal victory in Calgary Elbow and I don’t think you can place the blame for this on any one thing, but his is a serious issue that needs to be discussed and addressed (in a soon to be written post).

RIP Alberta Alliance:
The results of this by-election were a clear deathblow for the Alberta Alliance. Even with the help of Alliance Leader Paul Hinman, Drumheller-Stettler Alliance candidate Dave France still only garnered 5% of the vote – 8% less than he won in the 2004 General Election – and 2% behind Alberta independent advocate John Rew. If the Alliance can’t win votes in Drumheller-Stettler, the question must be asked if they can win anywhere else.

The Unstoppable New Democrats
The New Democrats garnering 1% in Drumheller-Stettler and 3% in Calgary Elbow. These results certainly prove that the New Democrats are a force to be reckoned with in Alberta – watch out!

Calgary Elbow By-Election Drumheller-Stettler By-Election

elbow deep in red.

Calgary Elbow By-Election Drumheller-Stettler By-Election

polls closed.

Let the vote counting begin.

Calgary Elbow By-Election Drumheller-Stettler By-Election


Don’t forget to get out and vote today if you live in Calgary Elbow or Drumheller-Stettler. The by-election polls are open from 9:00am to 8:00pm.

If you don’t know where to vote, you can find your polling station here.

Calgary Elbow By-Election Drumheller-Stettler By-Election

t-minus 1.

I spent the past weekend campaigning in Drumheller-Stettler by-election for Tom Dooley.

Being in Drumheller, I didn’t expect a warm reception at the doors, so I was pretty surprised at the positive reaction I recieved when I told people I was campaigning for Tom Dooley (quite literally every second door).

It soon became fairly clear that Tom Dooley is a really well known man in the Drumheller area (he’s also a really nice guy). As a local rancher, former County Councillor and Deputy Reeve, I get the feeling Tom Dooley do pretty well in Drumheller.

Even though Tory candidate Jack Hayden is considered the by many to be the frontrunner in this long-time rural ‘c’onservative riding, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a substantial slip in the ‘C’onservative vote this time around. I say this for a number of reasons.

First, it’s a by-election. In by-elections, voters can express their satifaction or disatisfaction with the governing party without changing government.

Second, with four right-wing candidates in the running, there is a good chance that the ‘c’onservative vote will be split between Hayden, Social Credit candidate Larry Davidson (Davidson actually had noticeably more signs on private property in Drumheller than Hayden), Alliance candidate Dave France, and Alberta Independence advocate John Rew. This right-wing split could cause some interesting senarios when the votes are counted.

Third, the Balzac water management issue has exploded in Drumheller. I’m still blown away by how mad the people I spoke with on the doors are about this issue. When the Drumheller Valley Times runs “Liberals show PC’s lied” as their frontpage headline, you know this has become a big issue.

As for the other smaller party candidates, it’s always tough to predict how well the Greens will do, so it will be interesting to see how Jennifer Wigmore makes out (Her husband ran as the Green candidate in the area during the last Federal Election, so there is probably a certain amount of ‘Wigmore’ name recognition in the constituency). As for the New Democrats, well… the ‘Brian Mason’ campaign signs everywhere signal to me that if the New Democrats aren’t even buying signs with their candidate’s name on them, they’ve pretty much given up on these races (I hear the same signs have shown up in Calgary Elbow).

As for the Calgary Elbow race (which most of the media attention has been on), some of the media outlets seem to be calling it already, but I’ve been around enough election campaigns to know that it’s not over until the polls close at 8pm (or on the third judicial recount in some cases). It’s been a hot race between Alberta Liberal Craig Cheffins and Brian “the choker” Heninger, so it should add some excitement to tomorrow’s day on the Alberta political scene.

Nether the less, both the Drumheller-Stettler and Calgary Elbow by-elections tomorrow will be uphill battles for any of the opposition candidates running as both constituencies have been held by the Tories for over 30 years

If you live in either of these constituencies, remember to get out and vote tomorrow!

Calgary Elbow By-Election Drumheller-Stettler By-Election

fourteen rings to rule them all.

The official candidates list has been released for the June 12 by-elections in Calgary Elbow and Drumheller-Stettler. There are seven candidates in each race (and there’s no shortage of right-wing candidates to split up the right-of-centre vote).

Al Brown, NDP
Craig Cheffins, Alberta Liberal
Jane Greydanus, Alliance
Trevor Grover, Social Credit
Brian Heninger, PC
George Read, Green
Jeff Willerton, Independent

Richard Bough, NDP
Larry Davidson, Social Credit
Tom Dooley, Alberta Liberal
Dave France, Alliance
Jack Hayden, PC
John Rew, Independent
Jennifer Wigmore, Greens

Though it’s not unexpected, I’m still a little surprised at the amount of right-wing candidates that appeared out of the woodwork to run in these by-elections. Though Calgary Elbow still remains a race between Craig Cheffins and Brian Heninger, the Drumheller-Stettler race could end up having very interesting results depending on the vote split between Jack Hayden, Tom Dooley, Dave France, Larry Davidson, and Jennifer Wigmore.

(Apologies for the lame Lord of the Rings reference in the title…)

Drumheller-Stettler By-Election

drumheller-stettler by-election.

The by-election in Drumheller-Stettler was called yesterday to replace former Finance Minister Shirley McClellan following her resignation in January 2007. The by-election is set for June 12.

Candidates include Alberta Liberal Tom Dooley, a local rancher and former County Councillor and Deputy Reeve. The Alberta Liberals didn’t nominate a candidate in this riding during the 2004 election, so it should be interesting to see how a well-known candidate like Dooley places.

PC candidate Jack Hayden is a consultant and a former County Reeve. Hayden was also a rural organizer in Tory Premier Ed Stelmach’s leadership campaign.

Alberta Alliance candidate Dave France was his party’s candidate in the 2004 election and was also, according to the Alliance Press Release, nominated as the Alliance candidate in December 2007. The Alliance’s support in Drumheller-Stettler will be telling as to whether the Alliance is really dying, as has been suggested (I’ve heard a rumour that Alliance leader and MLA Paul Hinman is seeking the PC nomination in Cardston-Taber-Warner).

Water has become a growing issue in rural Alberta and in the Drumheller area – especially since the proposed development of a shopping complex and racetrack at Balzac would divert water from the Red Deer River which flows through Drumheller for the time being (see more here)

Other nominated candidates include Social Credit candidate Larry Davidson, Green candidate Jennifer Wigmore, and New Democratic candidate Richard Bough.

Drumheller-Stettler was created in 2004 and includes portions of the former Drumheller-Chinook and Lacombe-Stettler ridings. Here are the results from the last election.

Shirley McClellan, PC – 6,770
Dave France, Alliance – 1,413
Richard Bough, NDP – 890
Eileen Walker, Alberta Party – 616
David Carnegie, Separation Party – 465
Mary-Lou Kloppenburg, Social Credit – 279

Alberta Liberals Alberta Tories Calgary Elbow By-Election Drumheller-Stettler By-Election

dropping the writ.

By-Elections in Calgary Elbow and Drumheller-Stettler were called this afternoon.

Writ Day: June 12.

More detailed post coming soon.


Here’s what the media is saying about the June 12 By-Elections in Calgary Elbow and Drumheller-Stettler:

Maclean’s: Cracks in Tory Monolith
Calgary Sun: Candidates off and running in Calgary Elbow and Grit feels Tories on a De-Klein
Edmonton Sun Grits anxious for Calgary Elbow
CBC: Alberta By-Elections to be held in June
770 CHQR: Former Klein Strategist Fears Riding May Go To Liberals

Calgary Elbow By-Election Drumheller-Stettler By-Election Jack Hayden Kevin Taft Ralph Klein Shirley McClellan

nomwatch – march 9, 2007

With two upcoming by-elections in Alberta, the Spring Session of the Legislature could play a big role in determining the direction voters in these two ridings end sailing towards. The seats were vacated by former Premier Ralph Klein and former Finance Ministry Shirley McClellan.

In Drumheller-Stettler, consultant and former President of the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties Jack Hayden is lining up for the PC nomination. Hayden had previously ran for the PC nomination against former MLA Judy Gordon in the former riding of Lacombe-Stettler in 2000. The Alberta Greens have scheduled a nomination meeting for March 5. Kevin Taft’s Alberta Liberals have yet to set a nomination date, but word through the grapevine is that a credible local candidate will step up to the plate.

There should be a full slate of candidates in Drumheller-Stettler, but being one of the deepest backwater conservative strongholds, it will take a strong camapaign to move Drumheller-Stettler any closer to the centre than a deep blue conservative. Look for the main opposition parties to be gunning for strong showings rather than victory.

Calgary Elbow presents a different picture. Located in what some political observers have coined the “Latte Belt,” Calgary Elbow showed strong support for the Alberta Liberals in 2004 against-the-odds of an incumbent Premier. There will likely be a full slate of candidates including Social Credit candidate Trevor Grover (I’m sure Social Credit will hit a highwater mark of 200 votes this time around). The Alberta Liberals have scheduled their nomination meeting for March 22. The Tory nominations in both ridings will occur in mid- to late-April.

I’m predicting both by-elections to occur sometime in June.

Brent Rathgeber Calgary Elbow By-Election Chris Kibermanis Drumheller-Stettler By-Election Edmonton Castle Downs Ralph Klein Shirley McClellan Thomas Lukaszuk

by-election nation!

It looks like there will be two and potentially three by-elections facing Albertans across Alberta in the next couple months.

On Monday, former Premier Ralph Klein has said he will resign as the MLA for Calgary Elbow (a riding he has represented since 1989). And yesterday, former Minister of Finance Shirley McClellan declared that she will resign as MLA for Drumheller-Stettler (McClellan has served as MLA since 1987 in it’s previous recarnations of Chinook and Drumheller-Chinook).

McClellan’s announcement comes as no surprise as she had previously declared that she would not seek re-election in the next General Election.

The surprise of the day came yesterday when it was reported that Edmonton Castle Downs PC MLA Thomas Lukaszuk may step down as MLA and run for the Conservative Party of Canada nomination in Edmonton-St. Albert. Lukaszuk would be running against former Tory MP Scott Thorkelson and former Edmonton Calder MLA Brent Rathgeber in the race to replace retiring MP John Williams.

Lukaszuk was “re-elected” in 2004 by a court-decided margin of 3 votes against Liberal Chris Kibermanis.

Three potential by-elections would provide quite the mini-election and quite the thermometer in gauging the political feelings of Albertans since Tory Premier Ed Stelmach took the throne in December.

This should be exciting!