Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Race For Calgary Buffalo

This riding was formed in 1971, and was a Tory stronghold from that point until 1986, when Sheldon Chumir wrestled control of the riding into Liberal hands. The Liberals held the seat until 2001, when current MLA Harvey Cenaiko won the riding back for the PC's. Cenaiko will not be running for re-election.

Calgary Buffalo is the least predictable riding in the city. With a high turnover of residents due to its inner-city location, the demographics of this area can change radically in between elections. Further exacerbating the frustrations of candidates in the area is the prevalence of high-density housing and secured apartment buildings, which make door-knocking and lawn signs difficult, if not downright impossible.

The Candidates:
Sean Chu (PC)
Kent Hehr (Lib)
Robert Lawrence (NDP)
Steven Rickets (Grn)

There is no nominated Wildrose Alliance candidate at this time.

Sean Chu arrived to Calgary from Taiwan in 1985 speaking not a word of english, and within 7 years he was a sworn officer with the Calgary Police Service, and spoke better english than most people I know. In the time since, Chu has taken on a role in the community as a bridge-builder, bringing people of many different backgrounds together - especially important in a riding with large immigrant populations, that tend to stick with their own. Seniors issues are another area in which Sean has earned kudos over the years. Chu is hoping that the inclination of the people of Buffalo to elect ex-cops (Cenaiko) over the past 8 years will pay dividends for him on polling day.

Kent Hehr is a Calgary lawyer with, by all accounts, the heart of a champion. Struck down by gunfire in a drive-by shooting at age 21, Hehr (an innocent bystander) found himself confined to a wheelchair as a quadriplegic. Less than a year later he enrolled at the University of Calgary, and earned a law degree. Hehr has served the community on many boards, and is a compelling figure in person. The challenges that any other candidate would have with the hustings in this riding are magnified for Kent - but Hehr has a reputation for rising to meet challenges, and overcoming them. Many consider Hehr the favourite in this race.

Steven Rickets and Robert Lawrence have no information available at this time. (Pssst! Hey, guys - the election's started!)


Anonymous said...

Kent Hehr is amazing, he's been knocking on thousands of doors (yes, in his wheelchair) since being nominated almost two years ago. It's been impossible to attend any downtown community event withou meeting him, and his campaign is being run by Chima Nkemdirim, the Chair of the Better Calgary Campaign and a great tactical mind (and my best friend, so of course I am biased).

So, unless there is a great swing to the Tories overall, and that is reflected in this riding, I think think this is one of the Calgary ridings (along with McCall) that is most likely to swing red.

Anonymous said...

It will be a close one, no doubt. Sean Chu is a very worthy candidate. Boundless energy. And for an inner-city riding, you could do worse than have a police officer running for office.

Glen said...

I'll put down money on Kent and give people 2 to 1 odds to sweeten the deal.

Anonymous said...

As a resident of CGY-BUF, it's quite nice to have at least two candidates running who seemingly would do a very good job as an MLA...

Anonymous said...

I heard Kent Her hasn't done a very good job at reaching out to ethnic communities in Buffalo. Too bad, you would think this would have been a natural place for Liberals to gain support. I think Chu might pull this one out.

Anonymous said...

Sean Chu is quietly soaking up support just the same way Sheldon Chumir did back in the 1980's. The election will be close, but Sean has been connecting at the community level in this part of Calgary for more than 10 years.

Anonymous said...

Kent's campaign has all of the momentum in this tight race. He has been working extremely hard toward this for two years, and everything appears to be coming together now for the final stretch.

I wouldn't be surprised if he wins this by more than expected honestly. There are a lot of disaffected voters in the riding and the mood for change is evident to say the least.