Premier Ed Stelmach spoke to an audience of over 300 staff and students at the University of Alberta this afternoon at an event hosted by the Campus Conservative Club. I have seen Premier Stelmach speak on a number of occasions, and though public speaking is not his gift, this afternoon was not his best performance. I have to admit that even as I was video recording the Premier’s speech, my mind wandered to other things like, what should I eat for lunch this afternoon?
It was a fairly unremarkable twenty minute speech and Premier Stelmach used most of his time justifying decisions that his party has made in government over the past three years. He did make some interesting comments, including criticizing the Province of Quebec for the amount of transfer payments that they collect and their low university tuition (see the third video). The Premier also made an interesting comment made about “the previous Premier” when referring to former Premier and gameshow host Ralph Klein. Feel free to watch the videos, and if you are able to get through the entire twenty minutes, let me know what you think.
When I first heard about the campaign, I pictured the messaging being conceived by a group of grey-haired baby boomer marketers whose target audience was the +65 year old couple with a time-share in Boca. When it comes to travel, and in general, I do not feel any animosity towards Calgary (or their airport and its free wireless internet), nor do I feel that there is any point to a rivalry between the two cities.
In recent conversations with some friends, the question was raised: “Why would we want to compare ourselves to Calgary?“
A big deal was made in the mid-1990s by political groups like The Edmonton Stickmen and politicians like Mayor Bill Smith about the lack of corporate headquarters in Edmonton and businesses being lost to Calgary. The hockey rivalry does not interest me and now that Premier Ralph Klein has retired to become a gameshow host, the political rivalry feels practically inexistent and pointless. From the amount of cranes in its downtown skyline, it appears that Calgary is continuing its dream of becoming the Toronto of the West. As a proud Edmontonian, I say: “they can have it.”
As Calgary charts its own course, Edmonton is charting one that will be shaped by its own unique identity, strengths, and opportunities. Outsiders might be shocked to learn about the vibrant and engaged communities that our city has (last week’s GalaGuru event at the packed Latitude 53 Studio was a great example of these vibrant communities). I used to believe that I would need to move to bigger cities like Vancouver or Toronto (or even Calgary) in order to find a great job and quality of life, but I share the perspective of a growing number of younger city-dwellers who believe that Edmonton is a place to be. There is a new confidence in a younger generation that perhaps was not there when the Edmonton-Calgary rivalry was at its hottest twenty or thirty years ago.
When I fly to other cities, I fly from the Edmonton International Airport, not because of loyalty or rivalry, but because it is the closest. If Calgary International Airport is attracting important international flights and airlines, I say: “good for them. It is good for Calgary, good for Alberta, and good for Edmonton.”
The Katz Group launched a new website last week reframing their campaign for a new downtown arena as the centrepiece of a new “Arena District” north of Edmonton’s downtown core. The new website features a video interview with Katz Group President Daryl Katz. In the video, billionaire businessman Mr. Katz spoke emotionally about the potential for downtown Edmonton and the need for a conversation about the future of a revitalized downtown Edmonton. The website provides different types of social media, like Twitter and Facebook, to start this conversation.
While I liked the video, Mr. Katz avoided the most important question of the exercise: money. It is no secret that the Katz Group would like the City of Edmonton to loan upwards of $400 million towards a new downtown arena, likely making it the largest non-transportation-related one-time investment that our municipality will have ever made (Councillor Don Iveson recently explained the funding request issue more articulately than I ever could here and here).
Aside from the political spin, I welcome a wider public conversation and am excited about the potential for a real debate about downtown. There are those people who are stuck in the 1980s and 1990s mentality that downtown Edmonton is a barren wasteland of warehouses and closed down rail yards, and then there are those Edmontonians who have moved on and seen the evolving character of our downtown core. The Katz Group campaign could generate competing ideas and a real discussion about what kind of face Edmontonians want our downtown to wear.
Downtown Edmonton (what I describe as the area between 100 Street and 124 Street) is a drastically different place than it was ten years ago. From the time when I first lived downtown in 2003 to when I moved back in 2009, I am excited by the changes that I have witnessed. New condo developments in the Oliver and Grandin have created a new identity in those neighbourhoods. People are moving into the core of the city and enhancing its diversity. Walk down Jasper Avenue west of 109th Street on a summer night and you will bump into many people coming in from the restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. The 104th Street Farmers’ Market is a perfect example of the vibrant new identity of Edmonton’s downtown core.
The business district of downtown Edmonton is like many other commercial business districts: employees leave work and it closes down at 6pm. This is the purpose of a commercial district dominated by office towers. An arena is not going to change this. An arena district north of downtown developed on clear urban development concepts could help revitalize a rougher part of the downtown core.
I have heard many arguments about how a downtown arena could revitalize the area, but I have not been convinced that our current arena, Rexall Place, is as bad as its detractors would characterize it. Admittedly, I have only been inside Rexall Place about a dozen times over the past ten years (mostly during the Canadian Finals Rodeo). While this is the case, I don’t fully understand why it needs to be replaced so badly. As a friend pointed out to me yesterday, ‘because it is old’ isn’t a very good argument.
Although the idea of a downtown “arena district” intrigues me, any new development must be based in solid urban development concepts, and not in emotional appeals from politically and financially motivated individuals.
I welcome a real conservation about downtown Edmonton. Let’s start it!
I had a great time participating in the Future of Story Conference organized by MacEwan University‘s School of Communications this weekend (you can read tweets from participants at #futureofstory). I was lucky to be invited to join a panel discussion focusing on “the political narrative” that was led by writer Curtis Gillespie and included panelists Michael Phair (Edmonton City Councillor from 1992 to 2007) and Patricia Misutka (Chief of Staff to Mayor Stephen Mandel). Our discussion topic led to some very interesting conversation about the role (and dangers) of narrative in politics and the differences between narrative, spin, and ideology.
Opening the discussion, I offered my thoughts on how the political narrative and mythology of Alberta has been translated into how Canadians from other provinces see us (a topic that I have recent written about). A sincere glance at our province will make it easy for anyone with common-sense to debunk the myth that Alberta is a cultural, societal, and political monolith.
Michael Phair spoke about the political narrative that dominated the run up to the 1995 municipal election. At the time, it was largely believed that Edmonton was falling behind and needed to elect a new and “business-friendly” Mayor. Two mayoral candidates, including Bill Smith, adopted this narrative as central to their campaigns and in October 1995, he was successful in unseating two-term Mayor Jan Reimer. Upon entering office, Mayor Smith discovered the limitations that municipal governments have to creating immediate economic growth and attracting businesses. This political narrative pigeon-holed Smith, who over his three-terms in office was typecast as solely being the “business Mayor” or “cheerleader” for Edmonton. Mr. Phair pointed out that this narrative overshadowed many of Mayor Smith’s accomplishments – including the leading role he played in ending smoking in bars and restaurants in Edmonton. Interestingly, current Mayor Mandel, who arguably has just as much business background as his predecessor, has successfully avoided being overshadowed by this political narrative.
Patricia Misutka gave a really good example of how the vacuum of leadership from the provincial and federal orders of government has allowed municipalities across the world to become leaders in environmental and sustainability initiatives. Having attended the ICLEI World Congress in Edmonton last summer, I completely agree.
The panel also generated some interesting discussion on the challenges of differentiating political narrative and political ideology. When describing the various political narratives that Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party has been successful in creating since they were first elected in 1971, a number of audience members pointed out that the root of the political narrative that defined Premier Ralph Klein‘s government was rooted in the ideology of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. I argued that Premier Klein’s decision to embrace a harder-line fiscal conservative agenda was less based on sincere ideology than it was in ideology of convenience. It was pointed out by one of my fellow panelists that the first politician to begin crafting that narrative in Alberta was Liberal leader Laurence Decore. As is fairly well-known in Alberta political circles, Premier Klein understood that Albertans were embracing that narrative and he embraced the idea and branded it as his own. Under this narrative, his party was re-elected in 1993, 1997, and 2001. Arguably, after the deficit and debt has been paid off, Premier Klein’s government drifted through the 2004 “Kleinfeld” election until his retirement in 2006.
One of the biggest challenges facing the government of Premier Ed Stelmach is its lack of defining purpose, or political narrative that Albertans will embrace. In the absence of any dominant narrative, there are a number of citizen groups and political parties competing to craft their own political narratives (or spin) around the upcoming provincial budget, including the Taxpayers federation, Join Together Alberta, the Parkland Institute and the Wildrose Alliance. This weekend, theManning Centre for Building Democracy hosted a Conference on Alberta’s Future, where among many things, crafting various shades of blue political narratives for our province were discussed (you can read more about it here, here, here, here, and here). In a couple of weeks, citizens involved in Reboot Alberta will gather in Kananaskis to discuss other new ideas in crafting a new political narrative for our province. We are only two months in and 2010 already looks like it is going to be an interesting years for politics in Alberta.
Overall, The Future of Story conference generated some excellent discussion about the future of the craft of storytelling and brought together over 250 interested and passionate storytellers to share their ideas.
Long-time Government spokesperson Jerry BellikkareplacesTom Olsen as spokesman for Premier Ed Stelmach (Olsen now becomes Alberta’s Olympic Spokesperson in Vancouver). Former MLA Jim Gurnett replaces Jerry Toews as Chief of Staff at the NDP caucus. Instead of laughing atsatire, PAB blogger David Sands leaves Twitter altogether. Taking a more open approach to the media than his predecessor, Health & Wellness Minister Gene Zwozdesky‘s cell phone number is now showing up on Government media releases.
Not your father’s NEP
With new Energy Minister Ron Liepert‘s mandate to reclaim PC dominance over energy sector support from Danielle Smith‘s Wildrose Alliance, the Liberals do not want to be left out. Calgary-Currie MLA Dave Taylor is leading his party’s 180-degree policy change from their previous position that resource royalties are too low. On the policy change, Mount Royal University Professor Bruce Foster told FFWD:
“It seems as if the Liberals didn’t take the lead on this or didn’t distinguish themselves and now they’re playing catch-up,” he says.
The masses have spoken and after 1628 total votes from this blog’s readers, the top political moments of Alberta’s past decade have been chosen. After being chosen from the final group of ten, these three moments made it to the top of the list:
3)2001: Premier Ralph Klein‘s visit to the Herb Jamieson Centre in Edmonton. Long-known for his enjoyment of alcoholic beverages, Premier Klein’s late night visit that night changed how many Albertans viewed the Premier’s vice. Shelter residents claimed after Premier Klein and his chauffeur stopped in front of the Men’s shelter, the Premier began slurring, swearing, and yelling at the men to get jobs. Witnesses told reporters that Premier Klein then threw money at them. In a statement released soon afterward Premier Klein publicly apologized and declared that he would quit drinking.
2) 2004: Premier Ralph Klein declaring Alberta fiscally debt free, making our province the first debt-free province in a decade would have been my choice for the most important political moment of the decade in Alberta politics. When Premier Klein stood up at his Calgary Stampede breakfast and declared Alberta to be debt free, a major political narrative came to an end this province.
Aiming to defeat the deficit and debt saved the PCs from being unseated by the Liberals in the 1993 election after Laurence Decore used his infamous debt clock to highlight the growing debt and fiscal meanderings of Premier Don Getty‘s administration. This defining narrative changed the landscape of Alberta politics, contributing to the decimation of the NDP in 1993 and the marginalization of the post-Decore Liberal Party. It was the defining theme in Alberta politics in the 1990s and early 2000s. Since Alberta was declared debt free, the PCs now led by Premier Ed Stelmach have struggled to create a compelling narrative for being in government.
If I were to wager, in 30 to 40 years, this moment will be front and centre in Alberta’s history textbooks. As the Chief of Staff to the President of Daveberta wrote in an earlier post, “the language of our elections and our politics is shaped around deficits and spending in a way that isn’t present in other politics.”
1)2008: While too early to estimate in my opinion, democracy and the readers of this blog have chosen Linda Duncan‘s election victory in Edmonton-Strathcona as Alberta’s top political moment of the decade.
After placing a commanding second in the 2006 election, Duncan challenged the Conservative Party hegemony in Alberta by unseating backbench Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer and becoming the second-ever NDP MP from Alberta in 2008. Duncan’s campaign had momentum from the moment the writ was dropped and drew significant volunteer support from across Edmonton and across party-lines. Duncan also became the first non-PC/Reform/Alliance/Conservative MP to represent Edmonton-Strathcona since Liberal MP Hu Harries was elected in 1968 and the first non-Conservative MP elected in Alberta since 2004.
Since becoming the Federal NDP environment critic in the House of Commons, Duncan has brought a very unique voice to federal politics in Alberta as a vocal critic of current environmental practices in Alberta’s oil sands, a proponent of National Hockey Day, a member of the Canadian delegation at the COP15 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, and as the only Alberta MP to vote against abolishing Canada’s federal gun registry. The lawyer and former Chief of Enforcement for Environment Canada recently released a new book (which is sure to be a Christmas hit) “A Legal Guide to Aboriginal Drinking Water: A Prairie Perspective.” The video below was filmed during Duncan’s 2008 election campaign:
Vote – 2000: Thousands of Albertans protest the passage of private health care Bill 11. Albertans raised a massive protest against government plans for private health care and private hospitals. Opposition to Bill 11 is remembered for the the spontaneous nightly vigils at the Legislature. The government passed an amended version of Bill 11 that actually inhibited private health care more than it facilitated it.
Vote – 2001: Ralph Klein berated the homeless in a late night visit to a mens shelter in Edmonton. Long-known for his enjoyment of alcoholic beverages, Premier Ralph Klein’s late night visit to the Herb Jamieson Centre changed how many Albertans viewed the Premier’s vice. Klein publicly apologized and pledged to stop drinking.
Vote – 2004: Ralph Klein declared fiscal debate erased, making Alberta the first debt free province in a decade. At his July 12 Stampede Breakfast, Premier Klein declared Alberta to be ‘debt-free.’ The pursuit of erasing the provincial debt became the defining goal of the government in the 1990s and early 2000s. As the Chief of Staff to the President of Daveberta said, “the language of our elections and our politics is shaped around deficits and spending in a way that isn’t present in other politics.”
Vote – 2005: Gay marriage becomes legal in Alberta. Alberta began granting marriage licences to same-sex couples on July 20, upon the granting of Royal Assent to the federal Civil Marriage Act. After promising to continue opposing same-sex marriage, Premier Klein announced Alberta would would reluctantly recognize same-sex marriage, but promised new legislative protection for anyone who opposed it on moral or religious grounds.
Vote – 2006: Calgary MP Stephen Harper became Prime Minister of Canada. On January 23, Calgary-Southwest MP Stephen Harper led the Conservative Party to defeat the Liberal Party led by Prime Minister Paul Martin to form the first Conservative government since 1988. As the first Prime Minister from Alberta since Joe Clark, Harper’s election shifted the power dynamic in Alberta politics, making it more difficult for the provincial government to criticize the boogeymen in Ottawa.
Vote – 2006: $400 Ralphbucks cheques mailed to every Albertan. An embodiment of short-term vision of a government with unprecedented financial wealth, the $400 Prosperity Bonuses were mailed to every Albertan. This represented $1.4 billion (or 20%) of the $6.8 billion surplus and was criticized by many Albertans as a pointless giveaway (but few actually refused the cheques).
Vote – 2006: Ralph Klein received 55.4% approval in the PC leadership review. After 14 years in the Premier’s office and leading the PC party to four majority governments, low approval from convention delegates forced an early retirement for the man who dominated and defined Alberta politics since 1992.
Vote – 2006: Ed Stelmach defeated Jim Dinning in the PC leadership contest. On December 2, former Finance Minister and Calgary’s favourite son Jim Dinning was unexpectedly defeated by 13-year MLA and former Lamont County Reeve Ed Stelmach. Stelmach became Alberta’s first Premier from rural Alberta since Harry Strom in 1971.
Vote – 2008: Linda Duncan defeated Rahim Jaffer to become the second-ever NDP MP from Alberta. On October 17, Linda Duncan was elected as MP for Edmonton-Strathcona, defeating four-term Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer by 436 votes. The first NDP MP elected in Alberta was Edmonton-East MP Ross Harvey in 1988.
It is no surprise that Stelmach has a difficult time articulating himself when speaking in public, so these kind of productions will allow the Premier to present a message that is pre-produced, edited, and heavily scripted. The address is being pitched as a talk on the economy titled “The Way Forward.” This avenue presents Stelmach with the opportunity to make bold announcements, but I expect that while making numerous references to tough economic times, he will focus on the government’s legislative agenda, economic agreements with neighbouring provinces, public service salary freezes, the recently implemented lobbyist registry, and the international role of Alberta’s oilsands. It is also difficult to imagine Stelmach not mentioning that the Governments of Alberta and Canada have provided a $865 million subsidy for carbon capture projects to Shell, one of the largest and most profitable oil companies in the world.
Stelmach’s 2007 televised address cost taxpayers $145,000, and with internet ads already popping up, I wouldn’t be surprised if the total cost was closer $200,000 this year. The Premier has already been booked on the Rutherford Show for the next morning, so expect a full court press.
Also on October 17 is ChangeCamp Edmonton, an event that invites Edmontonians and Albertans to re-imagine government in the age of participation. As citizens, we have a responsibility and opportunity to start redesigning the way that we participate in government. Interested? Register online for free and join the conversation on October 17!
October 26-December 3: The Alberta Legislature will sit for the first time since the spring session ended with widespread opposition to Bill 44. I anticipate the first two weeks of the fall session to be about positioning Stelmach and his cabinet in a positive light before the PC leadership review. There continues to be talk of a cabinet shuffle, and with the retirement of Ron Stevens, Stelmach has been left without a designated Calgary Lieutenant. Justice Minister Alison Redford appears to be a natural fit for this position, but with rumoured leadership ambitions herself, she may be cautious to how tight she tethers her horse to Stelmach’s buggy.
The critics are vocal, but when push comes to shove I believe that the delegates to this convention will heed to the party brass and rally to protect the brand by giving Stelmach the support he needs to continue to occupy his current office.
“I would advise he [Stelmach] step down if he doesn’t reach 70%. [in the November PC leadership review]”
Any Premier would have a hard time facing the internal party dissent that would come from a less than 70% approval rating, but this advice would be odd if it weren’t coming from Klein. Traditionally, former Premier’s step behind the scenes. You rarely heard a peep from Don Gettyand only more recently Peter Lougheed has began to offer a kind of statesmanly advice to Albertans on the future of their natural resources.
Rich argues that the Klein Government had everything – the political power, a popular leader, a fragmented opposition, and loads of money – to be real leaders in reforming Alberta’s political, economic, social and cultural institutions. They could have diversified the provincial economy to lessen its reliance on natural resources. They could have brought serious reforms to the money-draining health system. They could have been political and economic leaders in the country. Yet their failures far exceeded their successes.
Twelve essays in Ralph could have been a Superstar: Tales of the Klein Era deal with Ralph Klein’s rise to power, his government’s well-planned and well-executed manipulation of the mainstream media, the fear it instilled in people who dealt with government, its contradictions on issues involving children, its repeated failures to reform health care, the plight of the Liberal party, the story of Jim Dinning’s rise and failure, and an assessment of scandals and scandalous political behaviour throughout 34 years of Conservative Government. The final essay is an open letter to Premier Ed Stelmach, defining serious political challenges that face his government and the province.
While many Albertans may not fully understand the quirky politics of our neighbours to the west, there are number of reasons why the electoral battle between the BC Liberals, led by Premier Gordon Campbell, and the BC NDP, led by leader Carole James, should be of interest to Albertans.
Since they were elected eight years ago, Campbell’s BC Liberals have forged a close relationship with Alberta’s governing Progressive Conservatives. Starting with meetings earlier in the decade, British Columbia and Alberta are now partners in the controversial TILMA (Trade, Investment, & Labour Mobility Agreement). The two governing parties have also hosted a series of joint-cabinet meetings to highlight their close relationship (and during this campaign, Campbell wore a pair of cowboy boots gifted to him by former Alberta Premier Ralph Klein).
In their platform, the BC NDP have pledged to renegotiate TILMA, which leads me to imagine what an entertaining time the first meeting between Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach and a Premier-elect Carole James would sound like…
James: In British Columbia, you’d probably be a Liberal.
My friends in Alberta’s PC party who thought Klein was around for too long should take note of Gordon Campbell’s political longevity. Campbell has been leader of the BC Liberal Party since 1993, and in a quick estimation, this makes Campbell the second longest serving current major provincial party leader in Canada (the current longest being Manitoba Premier Gary Doer, who has led the Manitoba NDP since 1988). During his time as leader of the BC Liberals, Campbell has outlasted five BC NDP leaders.
British Columbians will also vote in their second STV referendum on May 12. Albertans including former Reform Party leader and Calgary-Southwest MP Preston Manning, former Edmonton-North Reform MP Deb Grey, and former Edmontonian Mel Hurtig have joined the broad list of prominent Canadians endorsing the change to STV in this referendum. Here’s a quick video explaining what the proposed electoral changes would mean:
After receiving $41.3 million in exclusive government contracts over a 10 year period, Highwood left $5.3 million in unpaid bills and applied for bankruptcy protection before closing its doors last November. At the same time Highwood was receiving these government contracts, its owner, Barry Styles, was a key player in Progressive Conservative election campaigns.
Since the early 1990s, Styles was involved in the election campaigns of former Premier Ralph Klein, and most recently Ed Stelmach‘s election campaign in March 2008. The day before the Auditor General’s announced his intentions to investigate, Klein defended Highwood, stating that the government should “stay out of it and let the private sector deal with it.“
Only days before the Alberta PC annual convention is to begin in Jasper, Auditor General Fred Dunn has confirmed that he will be opening an investigation into Highwood Communications, a firm operated by PC-insider Barry Styles. After leaving $5.3 million in unpaid bills, Highwood applied for bankruptcy protection after receiving $41.3 million in exclusive government contracts over the past 10 years.
The day before the Auditor General’s announcement, former PC Premier Ralph Klein defended Highwood, stating that the government should “stay out of it and let the private sector deal with it.” Styles was a key player in Klein’s election campaigns since the early 1990’s and most recently helped current Premier Ed Stelmach in the March 2008 election.
Highwood’s Saskatchewan branch, the advertising agency for several departments of the Saskatchewan government, filed for bankruptcy in 1998, leaving liabilities of $582,000.
As I wrote earlier this week, only hours before the March 3 election was called Tory leader Ed Stelmach and his cabinet changed the date that Alberta’s new conflict-of-interest legislation take effect. This change means that the tougher conflict-of-interest rules don’t apply to retiring or defeated Tory cabinet ministers and MLAs.
A quick look back in time shows that when former Tory leader Ralph Klein implemented new conflict-of-interest rules he did so over three months before the 1993 election, instead of waiting until after the election. I didn’t think that this is what Ed Stelmach meant when he started trying to distance himself from Klein…
The timing of the change raises some important questions:
Which cabinet ministers supported this decision? Did retiring cabinet ministers Lyle Oberg and Greg Melchin participate or influence this decision?
Which cabinet ministers believed that their fellow Tories shouldn’t been held to account under the new rules?
Does 37-years in power give you the right to decide that your friends are above the rules?
These are only some of the questions that Albertans shouldn’t hesitate to ask their Progressive Conservative candidates, MLAs, and cabinet ministers. Albertans deserve to know the answers. Albertans deserve better from their elected representatives. Albertans deserve better from their government.
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.