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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

alberta election 2008: calgary-buffalo.

In 1986, lawyer and Rhodes Scholar Sheldon Chumir swept into Calgary-Buffalo to become the first Alberta Liberal MLA elected in Calgary since 1967. Chumir was re-elected in 1989 and following his untimely death in 1992, a by-election was held that elected Alberta Liberal Gary Dickson (Dickson faced off against Tory candidate Rod Love). Dickson was re-elected in tight races in 1993 and 1997. In 2001, Dickson retired from politics and is now Information & Privacy Commissioner for the Province of Saskatchewan.

In 2001, police officer Harvey Cenaiko picked up Buffalo for the Tories by defeating Liberal Brian Edy. In 2004, Cenaiko was re-elected after a challenge from Calgary lawyer Terry Taylor (the son of former Alberta Liberal Leader Nick Taylor). With Cenaiko retiring (even though his re-election website is still up and running...), Buffalo is a constituency to watch. If the Alberta Liberals are going to pick up new seats in this city, Buffalo will be on top of that list and hoping to make that a reality is Calgary lawyer Kent Hehr, who is leading the Alberta Liberal charge against Tory candidate Sean Chu.

Kent Hehr may have one of the most interesting backgrounds of any candidate in this election. In 1991, while he was a student at Mount Royal College and playing on the college hockey team, he was a victim of a drive-by shooting that left him quadriplegic - something that obviously hasn't held him back as he has been named one of the 20 most compelling Calgarians to watch in 2008 by the Calgary Herald and one of the Top 40 under 40 by Calgary Inc. Magazine.

Chu joined the Calgary Police Officer in 1992 after having immigrated to Calgary from Taiwan in 1985 and attending Mount Royal College.

Buffalo is a dense downtown Calgary constituency and has seen enormous growth since the last election. Between 2004 and 2006, the population of Buffalo grew by 21.33% - bringing over 5,200 new voters to the constituency. The over 70% renting population has contributed voter turnout in Buffalo, which had one of the lowest turnouts in the 2004 election. Taking into account Calgary's apparent dissatisfaction with Ed Stelmach' s premiership, I'm giving Kent Hehr the edge in Buffalo, but it still could be close.

Calgary-Buffalo Candidates

Alberta Liberal - Kent Hehr
Green - Steven Rickets
ND - Robert Lawrence
PC - Sean Chu
Calgary-Buffalo Past Election Results
x Harvey Cenaiko, PC - 3,365
Terry Taylor, Lib - 2,815
Grant Neufeld, Grn - 670
Cliff Hesby, NDP - 457
Elizabeth Fielding, SC - 73
Carl Schwartz, AP - 56
Voter Turnout: 31.5%


Harvey Cenaiko, PC - 5,582
Brian Edy, Lib - 4,135
Neil McKinnon, NDP - 473
Dave Schwartz, SC - 113
Voter Turnout: 41.7%


x Gary Dickson, Lib - 4,310
Terri-Lynn Bradford, PC - 4,115
Neil McKinnon, NDP - 547
Raymond Neilson, SC - 300
Ralph Holt, NLP - 115
Turnout: 40.9%
(Enlightened Savage also has a good profile on Calgary-Buffalo)


calgarygrit said...

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Calgary Buffalo has the largest Liberal margin of victory in Calgary after Mountainview.

The demographics play to that (especially with rent control an issue) and it's a traditional Liberal seat. Hehr's a great candidate who's been working the riding hard.

Toss in strong challenges against Taylor and Cheffins, and Chase's surprise win last time and that's why I put this one number 2 in Calgary for the grits

daveberta said...

Glad I have you around for this. Thanks, Dan!

Anonymous said...

Kent Hehr is going to make a great MLA.

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't the Wild Rose Alliance nominated a candidate here yet?

Naheed said...

If hard work and a star candidate are what it takes to win, Kent should have this one in the bag. He was nominated early, has been knocking on thousands of doors (the wheelchair works well in the snow except when he veers off the sidewalk, he says), and has been at every downtown community event imaginable for the last two years. His campaign is smart and focused.

That said, it's a very volatile ward and it'll be a challenge getting those renters to the polls. So, I still predict a Hehr win, but I don't think it will be the easy walk that Dan predicts.

Mind you, I think that all the Liberal seats in Calgary will be nailbiters. Here are my early Liberal predictions: I say Taylor fends off Kent, Cheffins is in very tight, and Swann and Chase do fine. I think Kang wins in McCall, and hopefully Robinson (an outstanding candidate) in Foothills. If the Tories continue to have a poor campaign and Taft does really well in the debate, then we may see a few more seats shift: Montrose, maybe NW, maybe North Hill.

Always fun to watch, but a shame that the election is not more in question, I think.

ASL said...

ed stelmach people!
he's all good
no large downfalls and he has the majority's best intrest at heart

Anonymous said...

I live in this riding and it was interesting to have Steven Rickets ( GRN party candidate ) at my door asking for a signature to be added to his nomination papers. So late! I am surprised he made it on time.

Anonymous said...

Sean Chu is quietly soaking up support just the way Sheldon Chumir did for the Libs in the 1980's. The people who vote in this riding know Chu for his community service (10+ yrs). Buffalo will surprise everyone come March 3rd

Anonymous said...

Kent will win this rather handily. Other than Chinatown Sean Chu has really limited appeal in the riding. Chinatown will be primarily for Sean, but to compare his support to Chumir is laughable!

Kent is a bright, enlightening individual. Even for a non-liberal like myself I feel compelled to be part of his unquestionable success!