There will undoubtedly be no shortage of analysis and punditry about the impact of these results during the political season this fall, so here are some thoughts to help start it off:
– Calgary-Glenmore represents only the fourth time since 1979 where a provincial by-election has resulted in a switch of party representation. This is the second since Ed Stelmach became Premier in 2006.
– Paul Hinman is returning to the Alberta Legislature. Hinman is the outgoing Wildrose Alliance leader and served as the MLA for Cardston-Taber-Warner from 2004 to 2008. A 37% victory is far from a landslide, but it appears that Hinman’s SEND ED A MESSAGE campaign resonated with a plurality of voters in Glenmore. It will be interesting to see if this by-election win increases public interest in that party’s leadership race scheduled for October 17.
– The Alberta Liberals were hoping to build on their Calgary gains from the 2008 election, but candidate Avalon Roberts’ strong second-place finish showed that the Liberals have been unable to grow their share of the vote from 2008. This is not great news for an Official Opposition party that has constantly struggled to define itself.
– How could Diane Colley-Urquhart not win? Some pundits may point out that the last time a PC candidate placed so poorly in a Calgary by-election was Calgary-Buffalo in 1992. While I’m not disputing that Rod Love‘s third place finish in the 1992 contest was embarrassing, the Calgary-Glenmore scenario is quite different. Unlike Calgary-Buffalo in 1992, which had been represented by popular Liberal MLA Sheldon Chumir, Calgary-Glenmore has been a PC stronghold since 1971. Also, unlike Love, Diane Colley-Urquhart was not a parachute candidate. Colley-Urquhart is a nine-year Alderman, a former President of the Glenmore PC Association, and the campaign manager for former MLA Ron Stevens. Colley-Urquhart knew Glenmore and the PCs still managed to lose over 3,500 votes in this election.
– When did it become an appropriate use of public resources for the Premier to issue a media release from the Government of Alberta thanking a candidate for running for his party? Rather than congratulating Hinman on his election, Premier Stelmach issued a Government of Alberta media release thanking Colley-Urquhart for her “strong and honourable campaign.” There was no mention of the MLA-elect for Calgary-Glenmore in the media release.
– With an upcoming leadership review, expect Premier Stelmach to initiate some classic overcompensation. Since the end of the spring legislative session, there have been endless rumours about a fall cabinet shuffle and who it could include. Rumour has it that new Calgary faces in the cabinet that could include Dave Rodney and Len Webber.
– The Alberta NDP and Social Credit candidates battled throughout the evening for the fifth place finish, with Socred leader Len Skowronski finally besting NDP flag-bearer Eric Carpendale late in the evening.
Alex Abboud: Calgary Goes Wild(rose)
Ken Chapman: By-Election Results Show Premier Stelmach has some serious soul searching to do!
Chris Labossiere: Between a WRAP and a Hard Place
Trish Audette: Break out the welcome mat…
Calgary Grit: A Wild(rose) ride in Calgary Glenmore
Graham Thomson: Stelmach’s nightmare now a reality