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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

calgary-glenmore by-election results.

Paul Hinman, WAP: 4,052 (37%)
Avalon Roberts, Lib: 3,776 (34%)
Diane Colley-Urquhart, PC: 2,863 (26%)
Eric Carpendale, NDP: 148 (1%)
Len Skowronski, SC: 118 (1%)
Tony Gronchowski, Ind: 71 (1%)

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


altapo said...

I don't think Ed has to worry about the leadership review. Who are they going to pick instead? Doug "carwash" Elniski? Iris Evans? The PC caucus lacks talent. If Ted Morton makes a run for it, the progressive element in the party will block him.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this Dave. I wonder how long until Ed shows himself in Calgary again?

Kyle said...

I bet Hal Walker is feeling mighty good with himself this morning.

Anonymous said...

What's Don Lovett's record at now? Hopefully his arrogance goes down a degree or two.

Anonymous said...

I definitely see Jonathan Denis in cabinet in the next shuffle.

Anonymous said...

I think we can all agree this was a terrible night for Special Ed.

But as far as the Alberta Liberals go, I kept hearing about how this was the best campaign they ever ran in Calgary Glenmore. That they had hundreds of volunteers and a couple voter contacts for each voter. So why did they only got 1% better than the 2008 election? What would the results have been if they ran their usual campaign?

If the ground game actually was that much better, then the support for the Alberta Liberals is slipping.

Or was something going on that I\'m not aware of?

altapo said...

Anon @1:48 - what happened is the Liberals' platform. Most people in a riding like Calgary-Glenmore wouldn't vote for another party that wants to raise royalties higher. Notice how they didn't talk their platform up except in attacks on PC health care and deficit?

rc said...

"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?"

This sort of message to a fellow Tory for running should be done through the Progressive Conservative party's media people, rather than a Government of Alberta press release.

Then again, the Tories probably don't know that there's a difference.

Brian Dell said...

"they only got 1% better than the 2008 election"

This when the NDP shed 2.5% that had nowhere to go but Liberal (there was no Green candidate) AND the leader changed from Edmonton's K Taft to Calgary's D Swann.

Avalon Roberts has experience running against Stephen Harper in Calgary Southwest so it's not like she doesn't know what she's up against. But there's the real Alberta spirit for you: fighting for the sake of the fight.

rc said...

"But there's the real Alberta spirit for you: fighting for the sake of the fight."

Considering that Avalon is originally from Newfoundland, and moved here during the last Boom in the early 1980s, her story indeed seems wholly Albertan.

CalgaryRealtor said...

I'm a Tory & I proudly supported the message Hinman & fellow voters of Calgary Glenmore sent to Ed last night. I can tell you that as one of the more affluent constituencies in the province, it wasn't about the recession or the economy Ed - it's all about you. The party stalwarts need to urge Ed to step down - he's so far over his head it's laughable.

immarilyn said...


I forgot the Green Party didn't run a candidate and the NDP vote utterly collapsed.

When you consider that, the Liberals did terrible!

Dr. Swann might want to consider a different line of work.

Anonymous said...

I'm a former card carrying NDP member. I voted for Avalon Roberts. Don't listen to Brian Mason. The NDP are dead outside Edmonton. The Liberals are the only chance for a progressive government.

Anonymous said...

Ah, if only the Liberals were actually progressive. Oh sure they'll sound the alarm about the forthcoming cuts, but they're a confused, rag-tag team of opportunists. In this they're not so different from the PCs.

I don't know this Lovett character, and maybe he couldn't get his plan implemented, but in general they don't seem very competent behind the scenes. The last election campaign wasn't ABOUT anything. And from what I saw and heard, Roberts didn't have any real focused message - especially when compared to Hinman. Good for Hinman and the WRAP for calling out Stelmach and the Tories strongly.