Located along the eastern edge of the city, Calgary Fort includes such communities as Dover and Erin Woods. It is, in the words of one observer, "a great example of the bad strategic minds at work in the opposition parties." The incumbent, Wayne Cao, is insanely popular in the riding. He can be found in attendance at every school opening, charity tournament, and tree-house dedication in the riding - singing Alberta's official song (badly, from what I hear - Wayne, I know a good singing teacher if you're interested) that he had commissioned for the province's centennial. The Liberals and NDP are running 2 extremely well-qualified contenders here, who would have had an excellent chance in Calgary East. In Calgary Fort, they're fighting for 2nd and 3rd place.
Wayne Cao (PC)
Carole Oliver (Lib)
Julie Hrdlicka (NDP)
Travis Chase (WAP)
J. Mark Taylor (Grn)
Wayne Cao, or "Cao-boy" (pronounced "Cowboy"), is a hugely popular incumbent. A highly qualified IT professional, Wayne is a big proponent of promoting what he calls "multi-culturalism, not multi-nationalism". As such, Cao believes that the most important part of the "German-Canadian", "Vietnamese-Canadian", or "French-Canadian" designations is the part that reads "Canadian". Whenever there's a soccer field, playground, or bike rack opening in Calgary Fort, you'll find Wayne Cao there... and his constituents LOVE him for it. This man will have his job as long as he wants it - and he still wants it.
Carole Oliver is a former one-term public schools trustee for Wards 6 & 7. She is a long-time volunteer with the Salvation Army, as Director of Residential Services. Well thought-of in the community for her tireless volunteerism, Oliver would have had a much easier go of it if she were to run anywhere but Fort. As it is, she will be trounced handily by the Cao-boy.
Julie Hrdlicka is probably one of the most active involved candidates in the province. A co-ordinator for the Parkland Institute, she was nominated to run for the NDP here in November of 2006. The holder of a BA in International Relations from the University of Calgary, Julie regularly appears in the media, including CBC and the Globe and Mail (which recently included yours truly in its list of Alberta Election Blogs worthy of note). Extremely passionate and articulate, Hrdlicka is sure to break through the glass ceiling that has held the NDP at under 900 votes since the riding's inception.
Travis Chase ran for the Alberta Alliance in 2004 in this riding, capturing nearly 600 votes. In 2005, he was threatened with legal action by He Whose Name We Dare Not Speak, for speaking against him during the Alliance Leadership Race. As such, it would certainly be interesting if Travis were to be elected to sit as a Wildrose Alliance MLA, and the independent candidate were elected in Egmont and then, as he promised, attempt to join the Wildrose Alliance Caucus. One wonders how well the 2 would get along... but one doesn't wonder it for long. It's wasted thought, anyway - Travis will do better than he did in 2004, but he's not knocking off Wayne Cao.
J. Mark Taylor is a Medical Herbalist and director of the Arcady Holistic Clinic, a toxin elimination clinic, in Inglewood. Taylor's professional approach to the holistic nature of health care rather than the "chasing the symptoms" system that generates so much waste currently, has much to offer us societally. The Minister of Health, whomever they happen to be after March 3rd, would be well-advised to sit down with Taylor and talk with him. Taylor has much to offer the wider, province-wide debate, but won't be able to break through in Fort.