Monday, February 11, 2008

The Race For Calgary Cross

Calgary Cross can be forgiven for seeming inconspicuous - tucked away in a small corner of the city's North East, Cross generally only gets noticed around election time, and otherwise keeps to itself. The riding has been dominated since 1993 by Yvonne Fritz, who has never garnered any less than 60% of the popular vote. This is one of the safest seats in the province for the PC's.

The Candidates:
Yvonne Fritz (PC)
Ron Reinhold (Lib)
Shelina Hassanali (NDP)
Gordan Huth (WAP)
Susan Stratton (Grn)

Yvonne Fritz was a nurse in her past life, but left the profession to run for and serve as Alderman for Ward 5. She made the transition to MLA in 1993, most recently serving as Associate Minister of Affordable Housing and Urban Development. Fritz is an extremely popular and well thought-of MLA in her own riding, and many pundits suggest that if the Tories lose 82 races in Alberta once the votes are cast, Yvonne Fritz will still be standing when the dust clears as the party's lone MLA.

Ron Reinhold serves as a hockey referee and softball umpire, making him easily the most reviled candidate in the entire election - and, from what I'm told, a prime candidate for laser eye surgery (or a seeing eye dog). Seriously, though... He owns a private investigation firm, and instructs at Bow Valley College. A political newbie, the Liberals have thrown him to the wolves in Cross, where (unless his firm can dig up some dirt on Fritz) his goose may have been cooked before the writ was even dropped - the Liberal vote total in Cross has declined in every election since its founding in '93.

Shelina Hassanali is a social worker and union representative with strong ties to the community. In effect, she's the perfect candidate for the NDP. And while Brian Mason has cast his covetous eyes on Calgary, he'd be best advised not to bet the farm on Cross. Despite her high levels of personal popularity, Hassanali is considered by most to be running for 2nd place - which would be a tremendous feat in itself, in a Calgary riding.

Gordan Huth is a long-time resident of North Calgary and a veteran of the federal and provincial political scene, going back as far as the Reform days. He ran for the Alberta Alliance in 2004, finishing a distant 3rd in Cross. Gord describes himself as having a "passion for fiscal responsibility"... sounds exciting. :)

Susan Stratton is the President of the Alberta Greens. She ran in Calgary North Hill in 2004, where she finished 3rd and captured more votes than any other Green Party candidate in the entire election. A proud member of the infamous "Raging Grannies", Susan can realistically hope to capture a lot of NDP and protest votes in this riding, and perhaps finish as high as second place. A committed champion for the environment and former University of Calgary English professor, she is very likely to a) shine in any local debates, and b) notice the drastic decline in the quality of my writing since Blogger's "spell check" feature went on the fritz. Bonus points for her short-lived stint as a Blogger herself.


Anonymous said...

If I lived a few blocks south, I would probably vote NDP (!). Yvonne is very good, and certainly the best of the East Calgary MLA's (and that's a low bar if there's ever been one), but there's something great about Shelina. Just passionate about what she believes in and willing to work to get it. The kind of person who should be an MLA, regardless of whether you agree with her policies or not.

Anonymous said...

What a nonsensical statement – policies are the basis for an enlightened and well thought out decision to cast your vote for the representative of that particular party and the strength of the candidate in meeting or exceeding those policies. Yvonne Fritz consistently delivers on all fronts with enthusiasm, commitment, dedication and a reputation that is simply beyond compare. I am not sure what bar Naheed is referring to, but best to stay away from them in any case.

Anonymous said...

Enthusiasm, commitment, and dedication is precisely the point. Since backbench MLA's (and "associate ministers") have little say in actual government anyway, I would rather have someone who is committed and dedicated to constituency issues and showing up for work every day willing to fight for whatever they believe in.

Certainly true that Yvonne is that, but Shelina would be a damn site better than Hung Pham, Moe Amery, or Shiraz Shariff, whether or not I agree with everything she says. Better a passionate advocate for the good than a piece of furniture who votes for the "policies" that are meant to be the basis of the electoral decision.