Monday, August 17, 2009

By-election Called for Calgary Glenmore

Battle Royale of the Right

t's on!

The first test of the latest Stelmach regime has been set for September 14.

The biggest challenge facing contenders Dianne Colley-Urquhart (PC), Paul Hinman (WRAP), Avalon Roberts (LIB), and Eric Carpendale (NDP), will be simply generating interest in the back-to-school by-election.

That's not to say there isn't dissent in this upper middle-class holding - check out the comments section on the Calgary Herald story online.

However, the history of Alberta by-election voter turnout in Calgary & Central Alberta, even in the wake of waves of anti-government sentiment, is by any measure appalling - 35% in Calgary-Elbow, 2007 - 33% in Calgary Buffalo, 1992 - 20% in Red Deer North, 2000 - 28% in Calgary McCall, 1995. Turnouts in capital city by-elections are actually marginally better.

The trick is to identify as many supporters and possible supporters as possible - and push, pull and drag your vote out to the polls on election day or before, while convincing the possible supporters that a vote for your camp is their best possible bet for change, for benefit to their neighbourhood, or for the voter's pet issue. City by-elections, in theory, can be easier for smaller parties or protest candidates to win. For the Liberals and NDP, it means they can draw volunteers from the entire city rather than from the piddly constituency membership numbers they possess in southern Alberta.

Likewise for the Wildrose Alliance. Bussing supporters in from surrounding areas for weekend door-knocking blitzes becomes a worthwhile endeavor. The more vote identified, the more camping out on doorsteps and condo entrances to pull the vote on Election Day. Remember, strange things happen in Alberta by-elections, and Hinman is a bigger threat than Gordon Kesler ever was.

This member of the Alberta Report editorial collective has $20 on a Hinman victory, with Colley-Urquhart close behind.

Diane Colley-Urquhart, PC

For Colley-Urquhart, who does enjoy some name recognition (not all of it positive) as a City of Calgary Alderman (ahem - we prefer the term Councilor on this 21st century information apparatus), this will be the election of her life. Her team needs to somehow motivate a hostile & cynical small-c conservative into casting a ballot - presumably for her. Colley-Urquhart certainly has the political experience and local cred, having served as campaign chair for departing MLA Ron Stevens, President of the Calgary Glenmore PC Association, and interestingly enough, as co-chair of one of Kim Campbell's leadership booster clubs. That makes her a Canadian PC rather than Reformer.

Vital Stats:
First Elected: 2000, as Ward 13 Alderman, City of Calgary;
Bizarre Fact: Once served as one of Kim Campbell's field lieutenants;
Most Helpful Attribute: a member of the formidable Prime Minister's fundraising committee;
Facebook: 'Diane Colley-Urquhart for Calgary- Glenmore MLA' - 97 members, personal facebook page is private & no fan page, August 17.
Twitter: diane_glenmore 222 followers, 74 tweets.
Blog: None, but is taking a beating on this one:

UPDATE: Kudos to Bill Given, Grande Prairie City Council & social media guru, who dug out a blog for Diane here. Our apologies for the error.

Paul Hinman, Wild Rose Alliance Party

The right flank of the ballot is represented by one Mr. Paul Hinman, former leader of the Alberta Alliance/Wild Rose Alliance Party. Hinman has huge growth potential - both for oilfield cash and votes. He can win it on the ground war with hard work and door-knocking - and by looking (gulp) 'liberal' enough for the affluent and well-educated Glenmorians.

Vital Stats
First Elected: 2004 Alberta General Election, Cardston-Taber-Warner;
Bizarre Fact: Descendant of the bigamous Hinmans of early Cardston fame (photo to come). Also related to social-credit era finance minister who became embroiled in the infamous 'Hinman Affair.'
Most Helpful Attribute: Soft spoken and generally respected, Hinman shone in the 2008 leader's debate; was also raised in the Glenmore neighbourhood of Haysboro;
Facebook: 'Paul Hinman for Calgary Glenmore MLA' group: 126 members - Paul Hinman poltiical fan page: 57 supporters, August 17;
Twitter: Two accounts? Hinman 77 has 20 followers, 1 tweet: Paul Hinman has 13 followers, 1 tweet. Both seem to be him.
Blog: N/A

Eric Carpendale, NDP

The 29 year-old electrician and political neophyte is an organizer of some renown in Alberta Building Trades circles, and is employed as such with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Carpendale is straight-forward, photogenic, and sadly, without a hope in Glenmore - one of the worst constituencies for the NDP in the province. The absence of a Green and Carpendale's youth and good nature may lift the NDP tallies, but not enough to come close.

Vital Stats
First Elected: First ever campaign.
Bizarre Fact: Can be seen regularly on TV promoting 'World Skills International', an organization that promotes excellence in the trades, with its next global competition in Calgary, Sept. 1 to 7, 2009. Watch video.
Most Helpful Attribute: Easily the tallest and most attractive candidate.
Facebook: 'Eric Carpendale for NDP MLA in Calgary Glenmore' with 108 members, no fan page.
Twitter: eric_glenmore, 1 tweet, 10 followers.
Blog: N/A

Avalon Roberts, Alberta Liberal - There was some consternation in the Alberta Liberal camp over this choice - many wanted to see Corey Hogan, a young tech-savvy communications consultant, win the nomination. Hogan had all of the glitz at the nomination - buttons, swag, charisma - but none of the votes, as the constituency selected past candidate Avalon Roberts, a Newfoundlander psychiatrist. Roberts could come up the mushy middle if the right-wing turnout is too low - but the anti-Stelmach vote is more likely to go to Hinman than this also-ran.

Vital Stats:
First Elected: Past candidate in 2004, 2008, defeated in both campaigns. Did succeed in beating Liberal-up-and-comer Corey Hogan for the by-election nomination.
Bizarre Fact: Shares name with groovy Roxy Music single/album, Avalon. Also, appears to be bucking Alberta Liberal royalty policy (and understandably so), with her assertion that: "Our oil and gas royalty structure must be designed so that investment dollars start flowing again."
Most Helpful Attribute: Third time running; third time's a charm?
Facebook: 'Avalon Roberts for Calgary Glenmore' has 192 members, personal facebook page is private, no fan page as of August 17.
Twitter: 63 followers, 32 tweets


3 Responses to "By-election Called for Calgary Glenmore"
  1. Peter's Pan said...
    August 18, 2009 at 8:43:00 a.m. MDT

    I just don't see how this is a 'Battle Royale.' The Tories by a mile. South Calgary isn't hospitable to other parties. It would be interesting if the WAP came second, but I'm not sure even that will happen.

  2. Peter's Pan said...
    August 18, 2009 at 8:44:00 a.m. MDT

    When are Shannon and Tony going to post?

  3. Alberta Altruist said...
    August 19, 2009 at 10:59:00 p.m. MDT

    Discontent and being a by election I wouldn't count anyone out. The one that can gotv will win the prize. I would take the tories by a mile wager, it is going to be tough and too close to call.

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