Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Race For Calgary Nose Hill

A relatively new riding just East of Nose Hill Park, this riding is staunchly middle-class, featuring such neighbourhoods as Huntington Hills and Beddington. Several large churches dot the landscape. The riding elected PC Neil Brown by a margin of 1,700 votes in 2004. His Liberal challenger is being recycled from that election, so if at first you don't succeed...

The Candidates:
Neil Brown (PC)
Len Borowski (Lib)
Tristan Ridley (NDP)
John Murdoch (WAP)
Nick Burman (Grn)

Dr. Neil Brown is a biologist, zoologist and lawyer seeking his 2nd term as MLA for Nose Hill. An avid volunteer, Brown has lived in Calgary for the past 27 years (he obtained his PhD from McGill, which means he must be a devotee of the Smoked Meat Sandwich at Schwartz's). Neil is an advocate for electoral reform, which plays well in this riding. In addition to kudos from Jim Dinning and Jim Prentice, Brown also has an unlikely testimonial on his website:
"I actually have to start with a complement to the hon. Member, who I really appreciate having in this assembly and appreciate his work ethic. He certainly works hard and is, for the most part a fair and reasonable person to work with". - Mo Elsalhy, Liberal Opposition MLA - Alberta Hansard April 17, 2007
Brown has a video on YouTube, and will be hoping to hold onto this riding against 2 strong challenges. It has been suggested that Brown has an inside track to be the next Minister of Sustainable Resource Development (he certainly has the background).

Len Borowski is running on a platform of electoral reform - a smart move in this riding. He ran here in 2004, capturing 2,600 votes. It's worth noting that the voter turn-out here was appallingly low in 2004, and Len - being 4 years wiser - knows he's going to need to get 1700 more voters to come out and vote for him to win here. Len is an active volunteer as well, and has spent many years involved with the Alberta Liberals. The appetite for "change" in this riding is debatable - what is not, though, is the need for the voters to re-engage with the process... or perhaps more accurately, the need for the process to re-engage with the voters here. Neil Brown has done a good job for North Hill, but if Borowski can convince the voters that the PC's aren't the party to change the electoral system, and Brown bleeds some votes to the WAP, he's got a shot. The problem that such debates ultimately run into is the undeniable fact that it's not the SYSTEM that keeps electing the PC's to govern, it's the people themselves. The PC's just flat-out get more votes than anyone else - something that many Liberals, including their leader, can't seem to come to grips with. Borowski is instead going to have to hammer the PC's on fixed election dates, lobbyist rules (which Brown helped put into place to begin with), and accountability. The people of this riding want government that plays by the rules.

Tristan Ridley has GOT to be one of the youngest candidates in this election. To look at him, you'd be tempted to ask him for ID going into a movie rated "PG-13". A recent arrival to the city, Tristan is pursuing studies in Financial Management and Planning (I know, anathema to a New Democrat - I was just as shocked as you are). This was a weak riding for the NDP in 2004, and they're not putting much in the way of resources into this fight. Tristan's fighting for 3rd - but 4th is more realistic.

John Murdoch is running here for the Wildrose Alliance. This was the second-strongest riding for the Alliance in 2004, and Murdoch is a model candidate for them, combining their 2 biggest issues in this election: Electoral Reform, and Oil & Gas (he's CEO of Madison Energy Corp.). The reality of this riding is that the WAP message WORKS here - it's a riding full of hard-working people who don't want once-every-April tax savings, they want every-single-paycheque tax savings. Likewise, a lot of people in the riding are directly or indirectly affected by the oilpatch. There is a LOT of room for growth in the Wildrose Alliance support in this riding, and the party is trying like hell to pull this riding into the fold. There's at least as good a chance for Murdoch here (if not better) as for the Liberal Borowski - I said in an earlier post that Jane Morgan represented the WAP's best hope in Calgary. Murdoch is a close 2nd.

Nick Burman is an experienced manager in the health, finance and disability fields. This riding wasn't exceptionally kind to the Greens in 2004 - which is a touch unexpected, considering the presence of a major urban park in the riding. That said, the Greens won't put up much of a fight here.


Anonymous said...

Len Borowski has the most inflated egotistical biography on the Alberta Liberal website. As an unelected advocate for injured workers in the past he taskes FULL credit for the passage AND PROCLAMATION of 2 pieces of Legislation.'

It's pretty hilarious actually, here I thought only the Lt. Governor could proclaim legislation into law, but apparently Borowski has the ability as well, so why does he even need to run?

what a joke.

Also, Neil Brown has zero chance of being in cabinet. You heard it here first.

Anonymous said...

Great job on the races going on in the various ridings! I have really enjoyed reading your thoughts. This has been an enormous undertaking and I really appreciate learning who the "players" are in each riding. What are you going to do with your time after the election?
Monday is going to be a very interesting day and I'm sure it will be full of surprises.
PS I think you should keep your identity secret. You know the whole "riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma" thing. Always keep them guessing.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Don on both points. Good work on describing the races in Calgary and elsewhere. Any definitely stay anonymous... keep 'em guessing. Open the vault in 30 years.