Monday, May 05, 2008

Taking Guelph by Storm?

It wouldn’t surprise me if Liberals are starting to view by-elections like a trip to the dentist – every six months you get a bit of discomfort…with the possibility of a lot of discomfort if they find a cavity. And there’s a toothache right now, with another quartet of by elections looming. Asuming, of course, that there’s no spring election.

The two in Quebec should go according to script. The Bloc took Saint Lambert by a 2 to 1 margin last time, and Marc Garneau should launch off in Westmount-Ville-Marie with no problems (rule of thumb: any riding with the word "westmount" in it is still safe in Quebec). With both the BQ and Liberals struggling in Quebec, it will be interesting to see how much the margins of victory shrink but I wouldn’t expect anything too earth shattering.

In Don Valley West, John Godfrey will be stepping down July 1st, which kiboshes doing all four by elections in June. Rob Oliphant won a nasty nomination for the Liberals, while John Carmichael, who lost by 20% to Godfrey last time out, will be the Tory nominee again. Again, I’d expect a drop in Liberal support due to the incumbent leaving, but it should be a hold.

The most intriguing of the four is Guelph, following Brenda Chamberlain’s official resigning on April 7th. That means Harper can call the by election anytime between now and October. If I were Steve, I’d be targeting June since the students won’t be there, and it could generate some momentum going into the summer break. Of course, doing all four at once would be neater, he’s shown a willingness to delay by elections before and, there’s the somewhat counter intuitive theory that Harper doesn’t want to win any more by elections.

Whenever it happens, this one will be an interesting test, since the road to a Harper majority would likely be paved with ridings like Guelph. The riding has seesawed back and forth in the past, usually going to the party in power, and Chamberlain only won by 5,000 votes in 2006:

Brenda Chamberlain (Lib) 38%
Brent Barr (CPC) 30%
Phil Allt (NDP) 22%
Mike Nagy (Green) 9%

Here's the field for this time:

Liberals: Frank Valeriote, a lawyer with lots of community involvement.

Conservatives: Gloria Kovach, a 16 year city councillor and, judging from her picture, member of Deborah Grey's motorcycle gang. Kovach's nomination generated a fair bit of controversy after the original CPC candidate was removed.
NDP: Tom King, a University Professor and creator of CBC radio show "the dead dog cafe".

Greens: Mike Nagy, who has run twice for the Greens before.

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  • "(rule of thumb: any riding with the word "westmount" in it is still safe in Quebec)"

    I think I technically live in westmount now, and I would love to vote for Garneau. I really admire the guy. But alas, I am likely moving to Papineau in July where something tells me I will like the Liberal candidate a little less.

    By Blogger Anthony, at 1:53 a.m.  

  • You forgot to mention the controversy surrounding Gloria Kovach and Brent Barr.

    If you don't know, look into it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:00 a.m.  

  • Brenda Chamberlain has held Guelph since 1993 and it no longer comprises the rural component it once did. Guelph is solidly Liberal.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:46 a.m.  

  • Anon - forgot about that. Updated it now.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 10:50 a.m.  

  • The counter-intuitive theory is pretty hokey. sounds like the right and left hand having a thumb fight.

    you think harper WANTS to lose a bye-election?

    that's Liberal-logic.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 11:15 a.m.  

  • LOL, you really stepped in this one CG...

    Dan Schnurr got publicly castrated pretty good for that Opt ed piece you linked to... it's come to be known as "Schnurr's snarl", and he lost a whole lot of public credibility for it... see any of the subsequent letters:

    In fact, as a result of Dan's letter, Kovach got support dozens of residents via personal calls, and just random people on the street stopping her to express their outrage towards Mr. Schnurr's comments. Instead of hurting her, as he intended to after their years of disagreement on City council, he actually helped raise her profile! (Many people accused Dan of simply being bitter towards her because she held her seat, while he got drubbed at the polls two years ago)

    Kovach also won "Female Newsmaker of the Year" from the same newspaper just weeks after Dan's remarks... just goes to show how highly his opinion is regarded in the paper that occasionally gives him space to rant.

    As for what went down in Guelph, a better story to link to would be this one, as it all went down long before Kovach got involved:


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:29 a.m.  

  • Just to clarify, one of the letters I sourced was written by another Paul, not me.

    Paul A

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:32 a.m.  

  • You forgot the controversy surounding Valeriote's nomination, which made the national press, and should be more important to Liberals.

    The Liberal Party is split in half, long time volunteers and 1300new members at least 300 of which were cut off by LPCO, backed Marva Wisdom, the backbone of the Liberal Party in Guelph.

    Marva has been called by more than one person the best loved person in the Liberal Party. LPCO decided to screw her. Liberals in Guelph haven't forgotten that.

    Chamberlain was running around Ottawa telling people Guelph didn't want a black women to be their MP. Liberals in Guelph haven't forgotten that.

    Another female running for nomination in Ontario had to get a court ordered injunction against the LPCO for cutting off her memberships and eventually won her nomination. Wisdom should have done the same thing.

    Liberals in Guelph haven't forgotten that.

    Valeriote by the way has not done much for the community, catholic school board trustee for a few years pales in comparison to Kovacs and Wisdom's community involvement

    Honestly, the Liberals don't have a hope in Guelph, not with that candidate.

    Guelph likes women. Kovacs is infinately better known in the community and will pull right leaning Liberals. King is a well liked, well known national celebrity and native who will pull the left leaning Liberals.

    Guelph has voted with the government every election except the last one for decades, more consistently than any other ridings except four.

    The Conservatives, if smart, which I believe they are, probably will go in June for Guelph as Valeriote's base is Catholic teachers who will be too busy and students would be less likely to vote Conservative.

    The Conservatives will win.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:32 p.m.  

  • As a Guelph Liberal, I would like to know about the so called controversy? Frank won end of story. The story in the National Post was pure fabrication.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:26 p.m.  

  • Oh, and by the way, I rather liked Dan Schnurr's "snarl".


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:58 p.m.  

  • I'm going to close the comments on this post for the time being, after a few requests to delete some anonymous ones which "outed" various people.

    Play nice or the anon comment experience will go the way of the Socreds...

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 4:10 p.m.  

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