Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ridings to Watch - Alberta

Over these final 5 days of the campaign, I plan to take a look at the seats to watch in each region, with a little help from my seat projections. There's not much in terms of new polls today, so I'll save the updated projections for tomorrow.

Luckily, you don't need a complex simulation model to figure out how Alberta will vote, so let's start there.

Edmonton Strathcona

This is the main event in Alberta - all eyes are on this riding due to Linda Duncan's victory over Rahim Jaffer here in 2008. With Jaffer persona non grata these days, the Conservatives have countered with Ryan Hastman, a young entrepreneur. While it's unclear how a national NDP surge would impact Alberta, I had this one pegged as an NDP hold before the campaign began, so I'll stand by that prediction, even though the Tories have unleashed much of their Alberta organization against Duncan.

Edmonton Sherwood Park

Before the Ford revolution took Toronto by storm, it nearly hit Alberta last election. Conservative independent James Ford came within 2,000 votes of defeating Tim Uppal last election, and he's running again this time. I haven't heard much about this seat, so I'm going to keep it in the too close to call column for the time being.

Edmonton Centre

As Anne McLellan's old seat, this remains the great Liberal hope for Alberta. The Grits are running Mary McDonald up against incumbent Laurie Hawn (shown below, in one of the most bizarre photo ops of the campaign). Hawn won handily in 2008, and there's no reason to believe this time will be any different.

Other NDP Hopes?

The orange-crush doesn't seem to have hit Alberta as hard as elsewhere, but Layton has made two trips to Edmonton, and the party is hopeful of gaining new seats there. Former provincial NDP leader Ray Martin seems like the best bet in Edmonton East, but he still lost to Peter Goldring by 20 points last election. Still, my projection model gives him a 9% chance of taking the seat, so he can't be ignored.


The Liberals haven't won a seat in Calgary since 1968, and that seems unlikely to change this time. Nevertheless, there are a few ridings worth paying attention to. With Jim Prentice's departure, the race in Centre North should be a lot closer than it has been in recent years, with Stephen Randall running a strong campaign for the Liberals.

Josipa Petrunic has generated a lot of media buzz in Calgary East, thanks to her local issues campaign and could surprise.

Jennifer Pollock got the most votes of any Liberal last election, and has switched ridings from Calgary West to Calgary Centre, traditionally seen as the seat with the most potential for the Liberals in Calgary.

Labels: ,


  • Good to see Calgary Liberals focusing on ridings we always thought there was a remote chance in. One could never Consider West a possible Liberal riding - not with all the Oil big wigs living there on their estates. The strip of Calgary from downtown to the East is likely the most fertile for us. Focusing on those ridings with all resources was always my suggested strategy (not that anyone was listening).

    By Blogger WesternGrit, at 4:25 p.m.  

  • Edmonton Centre would be more interesting if either McDonald or Cardinal were weaker. The anti-Tory vote should split very conveniently for Hawn.

    By Blogger Don, at 7:44 p.m.  

  • I'm quite pleased that the NDP offered a credible candidate in Edmonton Centre this time; previously, they've nominated 18 year old kids still in high school!

    I have nothing against youth candidates, but if you're looking for "real-life" experience, why would you go to youth?

    Mary Mcdonald may seem like a strong candidate, but even on her website her "career" highlights seem to be focused on working within the Liberal Party. That makes her a political hack, in my view, and I'm going to vote for someone more representative.

    By Blogger Party of One, at 8:10 p.m.  

  • The Dippers' polling numbers are 10 points up over their 2008 result in Alberta. Assuming that places like Calgary, Fort Mac and Crowfoot have not turned into socialist hotbeds overnight, most of the NDP vote is concentrated in and around Edmonton. That suggests to me that Duncan is fairly safe and that Edmonton East and Edmonton Centre are in play for the NDP. Sorry, but I don't see any Liberals having a prayer in Alberta while the national party is preoccupied with saving the furniture in Toronto and Montreal.

    By Blogger ghoris, at 8:32 p.m.  

  • "Sorry, but I don't see any Liberals having a prayer in Alberta while the national party is preoccupied with saving the furniture in Toronto and Montreal."

    Maybe, but even when you lose every riding in a province, it can open up new possibilities. The NDP is a good example of that.

    In 2000, just 11 years ago, the NDP won 1.8% of the vote in Quebec. In 2003 Pierre Ducasse ran for the NDP leadership, increasing the attention of the party on Quebec. In 2004, with a bilingual leader, the party fared better, winning over 4%. By 2006 they had some strong candidates, like Leo-Paul Lauzon, who ran in Outremont, winning 17% of the vote (while the party won 7.5% overall).

    A year later, when a disgruntled Quebec Liberal Mulcair opted to enter federal politics, the NDP was on the radar, and proved a worthwhile vehicle for his ambitions. Had the NDP run a nobody in Outremont the year before, that might not have happened.

    Did the NDP get a big break in 2008? No, but they went up from 7.5% of the vote to 12%. Thus by 2011 the NDP was able to mount a serious campaign for Quebec. It took a perfect storm of events - the coalition crisis (which proved the Bloc was useless), a great performance in the French language debates and so on, but my point is that these things didn't "just happen". Eight years of building went into the orange crush, before it could reach a critical point of explosive growth.

    So I salute these brave men and women, standing for the Liberals in Alberta. They may indeed be sacrificial lambs... or they could be paving the way for an age when even a unilingual francophones that doesn't live in Alberta, could win for the Liberals while vacationing in Vegas.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 12:41 a.m.  

  • re: Linda Duncan, semester ends April 30, university kids go home/travel/work and the university kids who lived in residence can no longer vote for Linda they will have to vote for their home candidate.
    The riding is going Tory blue.

    By Blogger wilson, at 1:04 a.m.  

  • Hi wilson.

    By the way, did you ever look at that riding map they had posted at Macleans? The one that showed how each polling station voted in each riding?

    I ask, because the polling station at the U of A - you know, the one where all those "kids in residence" would vote at - voted CPC.

    My neighbourhood (at the risk of sounding elitist to your conservative ears) is much too high income for university students. The lawn signs are overwhelmingly NDP.

    That is not to say Linda Duncan is going to win - because to say something like that with the certainty you have said it can come back and bite you in the ass after the election. However, your "logic" in support of your argument that Hastman is going to win really cannot be supported by the facts.

    By Blogger Gayle, at 1:44 a.m.  

  • "Mary Mcdonald may seem like a strong candidate, but even on her website her "career" highlights seem to be focused on working within the Liberal Party. That makes her a political hack, in my view, and I'm going to vote for someone more representative."

    More representative of what, exactly?

    When I looked at her bio I thought it was rather diverse and impressive. She is well educated and has a well rounded career, including experience in many areas outside politics.

    You make political experience sound like something she should be ashamed of.

    By Blogger Gayle, at 1:50 a.m.  

  • More representative of what, exactly?

    Earth to Gayle, Earth to Gayle. Hello. Come in, Gayle. Come in, Gayle -- are you receiving? I think he may mean "More representative of the people *outside* of the Liberal Party".

    I'm just running on instinct here. Try and keep up if you can...

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 2:28 a.m.  

  • H2H makes a good point. No, I don't expect the Liberals to win a single seat in Alberta. But that doesn't mean they can't win seats there in 5 or 10 years.

    They won seats in Edmonton in the 90s. The city is nicknamed "Redmonton" for crying out loud.

    Even Calgary has elected a slew of provincial Liberal MLAs in recent years.

    This is an urban party and there are lots of neighbourhoods in Calgary and Edmonton with fertile demographics for the Liberal Party.

    I'd put money down that they win a seat in Alberta within the next 10 years. Maybe even in Calgary, once the boundaries get redrawn.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:35 a.m.  

  • FYI, good article on Mary MacDonald in the Journal today:

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:39 a.m.  

  • JBV, you had it right on.

    Gayle, elected political experience is not a bad thing. However, political experience only in the context of appointed position within a political party does not indicate competance as much as it does knowing how to play the political game.

    And THAT, while useful from a party perspective, is not representative of people who earn their living mostly WITHOUT playing political games.

    If you've ever been involved in political parties, you would know that an awful lot of energy and potential is wasted through people jockeying for position, hedging their bets, lobbying for support, "horse-trading", etc. It's extremely frustrating to those who wish to act in good faith and provide a contribution without necessarily taking sides in internicene disputes.

    So yeah, when I see a CV that includes a lot of party positions, especially paid party positions, my "hack politician" radar goes on alert. I simply can't trust someone whose priorities lie in party politics instead of just getting the job done.

    By Blogger Party of One, at 3:16 a.m.  

  • There's a condensed version (Green-focused) of the Calgary Centre North all-candidates forum at:

    Click the link at the beginning to watch the entire forum.

    By Anonymous Bert, at 4:14 a.m.  

  • It's so hard to imagine Albertans voting NDP, a party that bad-mouths the oilsands on which our jobs, economy and social programs rely. But we did ...

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 9:42 a.m.  

  • JBV - because we declared a truce a couple years ago I have restrained myself from pointing out your self righteous style and your tendancy to take a position of moral superiority when you so clearly do not deserve it. I get how much you love to dedicate your posts to snide comments suggesting everyone else in the world is beneath you, but I have put that down to an inferiority complex on your part. Do try not to make me regret the decision to ignore you. (And because I know you are going to respond with some "clever" attack deriding me as stupid, or as a stupid partisan something or other, let me just say now to go ahead and do your worst. I am not going to get dragged down to your level again so you can go ahead and demonstrate your how very clever you are with your biting criticism. You already know what I think of you so there is no point in my responding).

    Party (I was going to use an acronym but then I realized what that spelled ;)) - yes, I get the whole "outside the liberal party" thing. My point was that she has a whole lot of life and work experience outside the liberal party. Hence my use of the term "well rounded".

    I think it is possible to work for a political party and also have perspective into the world outside that party - especially anyone working for any party other than the conservatives in Alberta, where it is completely impossible to exist without influence from outside the party.

    How is one more representative of people outside the liberal party? Are you suggesting there are two groups - liberal party members and the rest of the world? If you spent 10 years of your 30 years in the work force working for the liberals you cannot be "representative" of anyone else?

    By Blogger Gayle, at 10:00 a.m.  

  • Gayle, I don't think I'm better than everyone else and that comment hurts.

    I come here to learn from people I respect, especially from H2H and CG.

    Now, I'm a country mile better than you personally, sure. Because -- everyone at once here -- you're a predictable, tired, partisan parrot.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 10:22 a.m.  

  • Yawn...

    By Blogger Gayle, at 11:14 a.m.  

  • Robert Vollman said...
    It's so hard to imagine Albertans voting NDP, a party that bad-mouths the oilsands on which our jobs, economy and social programs rely. But we did ...

    Boy, no kidding. When I saw Ed-Strath fall the the NDP in '08 - I was expecting my TV to go to black & white and for Rod Sterling to pop out from the right corner of the screen. They must really hate the Grits out there to vote NDP in protest, and overlook the party that at least says they're sorry for the NEP and won't do it again.

    By Blogger Tof KW, at 1:03 p.m.  

  • Gayle, not just within the Liberal Party.

    You need to understand that I have great antipathy to political parties generally. I think the depth and width of party politics(in Canada) is the main impediment to an effective and truly representative democratic system.

    Most people who haven't actually studied comparative political systems, as I have, seem to think that Canada's model is the norm. It isn't. It has the greatest powers given to the PCO and PMO, has the greatest party "discipline" (whipped votes, etc., backed with the PMO's power of appointment). Britain, India, Australia, Japan, Germany, and other parliamentary democracies all feature parties that encourage internal debate and discussion. They even tolerate "factions" within parties.

    You just don't see that in Canada, everyone has to "toe the party line", and the result is not good for democracy, or for Canada.

    And, as I suggested above, people that engage in the behaviour necessary to acheive paid positions in political parties (NOT just the Liberals) tend to get distracted by internal party politics and often lose sight of whatever motivated them to get involved in the first place. In my view, that's a shame...and a waste of effort.

    By Blogger Party of One, at 3:44 p.m.  

  • OK, but that means that the only way to elect someone who is "representative" is to elect an independent. I don't see how anyone who is elected as a candidate from any political party can avoid any of the traps you cite. In which case I'm not sure why you single out Mary Macdonald.

    By Blogger Gayle, at 4:02 p.m.  

  • Gayle, I think there's a qualitative difference between a)-someone who brings people into a party from their other activities in life and earns a nomination, and b) someone who accepts paid positions within a party and gets the nomination because she or he has better connections within the party.

    Yes, an independant would be good. So would loosening the party discipline controls so that a party could tolerate dissent. I don't see ANY party doing that. So I'm voting for the candidate with the most political activism experience in a "non-party" environment.

    My initial comment related to the wisdom of putting one's paid party work experience as a qualification on a campaign flyer. I think MacDonald would have done better to highlight other qualifications.

    By Blogger Party of One, at 6:08 p.m.  

  • I am sorry but I do not see the difference between being sucked into the vortex of party discipline/politics/control before you are elected or after. It all ends up the same any way tiy slice it.

    And while I get your point about what is on her flyer, she also lists a number of non-political activities - at least on her website.

    By Blogger Gayle, at 7:52 p.m.  

  • Calgary Northeast will be a surprise result. Incumbant Devinder Straw shory is in trouble.

    No talents, benchwarmer, avoids debated, third world tactics to scare opponents, BMO fraud, not supporting tunnel, no supporting immigrants on immigration, no of issues, The advance polling increase by 40%, if voting percentage goest to 60% in this area, liberal cam stewart will vin.
    Last time 2008, this area has the lowest voting of 44.1%. Onus is on liberal team that how many they can motivate to brign them to polling stations

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:51 a.m.  

  • By Blogger John, at 6:55 a.m.  

  • By Blogger 柯云, at 7:56 p.m.  

  • By Blogger Unknown, at 3:23 a.m.  

  • By Blogger raybanoutlet001, at 2:22 a.m.  

Post a Comment

<< Home