Following the death of Conservative Member of Parliament Jim Hillyer on March 23, 2016, Elections Canada has announced that a by-election must be called in the Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner electoral district before September 26, 2016. The earliest a by-election could be held is May 16, 2016.
By-elections can produce unexpected results, as we have seen recently in Alberta, but as one of the strongest Conservative voting areas of the country, it is very likely the next MP for this area will be a Conservative. Mr. Hillyer was elected in October 2015 with 68 percent of the vote, ahead of LiberalGlen Allan with 17 percent and New DemocratErin Weir with 9 percent (not that Erin Weir).
Candidates running for office usually reserve their harshest criticism for their political opponents, but in southern Alberta a rookie Conservative candidate and retiring Member of Parliament are turning on one Conservative MP running for re-election.
Local media reported that Conservative candidate Rachael Harder lambasted former Lethbridge Conservative MP Jim Hillyer at a forum hosted by the local Chamber of Commerce, claiming that the city endured “four years of non-representation” and “have suffered for the last four years” with her Conservative predecessor as their Member of Parliament.
But Mr. Hillyer is still running for re-election in the neighbouring riding of Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner. Due to a change in electoral district boundaries, Mr. Hillyer’s hometown of Raymond is now in the new riding.
Mr. Hillyer shot back at Ms. Harder, telling a local radio station that she is also facing some of the criticisms she levelled against him. “They’re saying the same things she said about me. She’s not attending forums, she’s not listening, she’s not there,” Mr. Hillyer told CJCY radio.
@hatmedhat talked with many of his current constituents who had nothing good to say about him, he is known as no show Hillyer. — LaVar Payne (@LaVarMP) October 7, 2015
Mr. Payne had previously announced in 2014 that he would not endorse Mr. Hillyer in his bid to become MP for the new riding.
Mr. Hillyer was first elected to parliament in 2011 and when the electoral boundaries were redrawn in 2014 he initially announced he would run against Mr. Payne for the Conservative nomination in the new Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner riding. After what was likely a stern directive from his Ottawa bosses not to challenge a fellow MP, he then announced that he would run for re-election in Lethbridge.
Almost immediately after Mr. Payneannounced that he would retire, Mr. Hillyer then jumped back into the nomination race in the Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner riding.
Despite the public tension between the two Conservatives, it is likely that both Mr. Hillyer and Ms. Harder be elected to the House of Commons, which could make for an awkward working relationship in Ottawa.
2015 Election in Lethbridge and Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner
Transposing the results from the 2011 election into the boundaries of the new Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner riding gives the Conservatives 25,659 votes (68.7 percent), New Democrats 5,578 votes (14.9 percent), Liberals 4,165 votes (11.1 percent) and the Greens 1,658 (4.4 percent).
Transposing the results from the 2011 election into the boundaries of the redrawn Lethbridge riding gives the Conservatives 21,617 votes (52.5 percent), New Democrats 12,329 votes (29.9 percent), Liberals 3,759 votes (9.13 percent) and the Greens 1,845 (4.4 percent).
The Medicine Hat News reports that women’s health issues and the rights of sexual minorities were the hot topics at a debate between Dan Hein and MP Jim Hillyer, the two candidates running for the Conservative Party of Canada nomination in southern Alberta’s newly redistributed Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner riding.
“…I’m not interested in somebody parading in front of me their sexual preferences, whether hetero or anything else … I don’t believe it is proper form, I don’t believe it benefits anyone to bring this stuff out in garrish fashion and parade it in the public square.”
Hein added he doesn’t believe a restaurant owner should be obliged to serve a person whether it’s the way he cuts his hair or “any reason.”
In response to the same question, Hillyer said, “a lot of the trouble with the social and moral issues is the people who don’t share our views on these issues are very clever and very sly. They hijack our language — it’s like 1984 newspeak or doublespeak.”
The Medicine Hat News also reported that Mr. Hillyer told the crowd he was “wildly and boldly” opposed to a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion.
Mr. Hein is the past-president of the local Conservative riding association and was campaign manager to retiring Conservative MP LaVar Payne. Mr. Hillyer is a first-term MP for Lethbridge and is seeking the nomination in the new Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner riding because of boundary changes.
In the 2011 election, Mr. Payne received 71.3% of the total vote in the Medicine Hat riding. His closest challenger, New Democrat Dennis Perrier, placed a distant second with 13%. Mr. Hillyer received 56.5% of the vote in Lethbridge in the 2011 election. His closest challenger, New Democrat Mark Sandilands, earned 27.2%.
Conservative Party members in the riding will begin voting for their next candidate on Thursday.
Edmonton-Centre: Young lawyerAkash Khokhar defeated Nicole Martel to win the PC nomination. In the next election, Mr. Khokhar will face Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman, who has represented the constituency since 1997.
Edmonton-Gold Bar: Past Mayoral candidate David Dorward defeated past City Council candidate Lori Jeffrey-Heany to become the PC candidate. This is Mr. Dorward’s second attempt at becoming MLA in Gold Bar. In 2008, he placed second to Liberal MLA Hugh MacDonald, who will be retiring at the next election.
Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville: Strathcona County Councillor Jacquie Fenske defeated Tofield Mayor Nabil Chehayeb, former Fort Saskatchewan Mayor Jim Sheasgreen, Gene Hrabec, and Adam Kozakiewicz to become the PC candidate. Former Premier Ed Stelmach has represented this region since 1993.
UPCOMING NOMINATION MEETINGS
The PCs will be holding a packed week of nomination meetings that will see Alberta’s 40 year governing party nearly fill its entire slate of 87 candidates. Two final nomination meetings are scheduled to be held in February to replace MLAs who recently announced their retirements.
I will be away from my blog for the next week, so to earn forgiveness for my absence, here is a look at the PC nomination meetings that will be happening in the final week of January. I will provide updates when I return.
Lethbridge-East (January 26, 2012): Former Liberal MLA Bridget Pastoor is facing Lethbridge County Reeve Lorne Hickey for the PC nomination. Ms. Pastoor has represented the constituency since 2004 and cross the floor to join the PC caucus in late 2011. Lethbridge Alderman Jeff Carlson and Lethbridge Senior Citizens Origanization executive director Rob Miyashiro announced this week that they will seek the Liberal nomination (date not scheduled). The constituency has been represented by Liberal MLAs since 1993.
Edmonton-Riverview (January 27, 2012): Edmonton police office Steve Young and businessman Tom Choucair are seeking the PC nomination. The constituency has been represented by Liberal MLA Kevin Taft, who is not seeking re-election.
Edmonton-Strathcona (January 27, 2012): No candidate stepped forward to claim the nomination, though the date is still listed on the PC Party website.
Airdrie (January 28, 2012): Former Airdrie Mayor Linda Bruce, Councillor Kelly Hegg, and Michael Crawford are seeking the PC nomination. The constituency is represented by MLA Rob Anderson, who left the PC Party in 2010 to join the Wildrose Alliance.
Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock (January 28, 2012): The retirement of Speaker Ken Kowalski, who has represented this region since 1979, has attracted five candidates including Morinville Mayor Lloyd Bertschi, Westlock Town Councillor David Truckey, ministerial executive assistant Tim Schultz, and Westlock County Councillors Maureen Kubinec and Bert Seatter.
Calgary-Varsity (January 28, 2012): Former Nexen Vice-President Donna Kennedy-Glans is facing Ph.D. business student Rhiannon MacDonnell. The constituency has been represented by Liberal MLA Harry Chase since 2004. Mr. Chase is retiring at the next election.
Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo (January 28, 2012): Four candidates have lined up to earn the right to face PC-turned-Wildrose MLA Guy Boutiler as the PC candidate. Candidates include Councillor Mike Allen, teacher Andrew Highfield, Nick Sanders, and School Trustee Jeff Thompson.
Grande Prairie-Smoky (January 28, 2012): The retirement of former cabinet minister Mel Knight has sparked a three-way nomination contest that has drawn Grande Prairie County Reeve Everett McDonald,Tab Pollock, and Tom Burton.
Highwood (January 28, 2012): Associate publisher at the Okotoks Western Wheel John Barlow, John Hankins, and Okotoks Town Councillor Ed Sands are seeking the PC nomination. Wildrose leader Danielle Smith is also seeking election in this constituency.
Little Bow (January 28, 2012): Deputy Reeve of the County of Lethbridge Henry Doeve and former County Councillor John Kolk are seeking the PC nomination.
Medicine Hat (January 28, 2012): Former Alderman Darren Hirsch, retired school district superintendent Linda Rossler, and Investment Advisor Dan Hein are seeking the PC nomination to replace long-time MLA Rob Renner. Mr. Hein is the former campaign manager for Medicine Hat MP LaVar Payne
Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood (January 30, 2012): Past City Council candidate Cris Basualdo and Emerson Mayers are the two candidates I have heard are seeking the PC nomination. The constituency has been represented by NDP MLA Brian Mason since 2000.
Edmonton-South West (January 30, 2012): This new constituency has drawn the candidacy of four PC nominees Charles Balenga, Tofael Chowdhury, Matt Jeneroux, and Eva Mah-Borsato.
Calgary-Buffalo (January 30, 2012): Donna Haslam is the only candidate that I am aware of who is seeking the PC nomination. The constituency has been represented by popular Liberal MLA Kent Hehr since 2008.
Rocky Mountain House-Sundre: According to Wildrose provincial director Krista Waters, landowners rights advocate and former leader of the Alberta Green Party leader Joe Anglin won the Wildrose nomination on August 13. Mr. Anglin defeated Rocky Mountain House town councillor Sheila Mizera and former constituency association president Ed Wicks. Mr. Anglin earned 22% of the vote as his former party’s candidate in Lacombe-Ponoka in the 2008 provincial election. He was elected to Rimbey Town Council in October 2010.
Medicine Hat: Dennis Perrier defeated Manuel Martinez at the NDP’s joint-nomination meeting last night in Medicine Hat. Mr. Perrier was the federal NDP candidate in the 2011 federal election and placed second with 13% of the vote, behind Conservative LaVar Payne (who earned 71% of the vote). Mr. Martinez was his party’s candidate in the 2008 provincial election in the Cypress-Medicine Hat constituency, where he earned 3.9% of the vote to PC MLA Len Mitzel‘s 63%.
Sherwood Park-Strathcona: Strathcona County Councillor Jason Gariepy was defeated by Paul Nemetchek in a contested nomination for the Wildrose. Mr. Nemetchek ran for the PC nomination against current MLA Dave Quest in 2008. He was a founding board member for the Strathcona Wildrose and previously worked as a campaign manager for former Conservative Member of Parliament Ken Epp.