With the resignation of Ron Stevens as MLA for Calgary-Glenmore, anticipation is building among bloggers, politicos running the gamut from wannabe to has-been, and supporters of all stripes in the City of Calgary. The recent stamping out of a potential summer federal election means that this by-election, likely to be scheduled for late autumn, may be the only outlet for partisan rancour for the foreseeable future.
With that in mind, I thought I'd take a quick look at the riding, the candidates both confirmed and rumoured, and the by-election itself.
Calgary-Glenmore has been an active constituency in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta since 1959, when "social media" was something they were hoping could be cured with penicillin. In that time, it has been represented by 4 Progressive Conservative MLA's (one of whom, Ernest Watkins, was Leader of the Progressive Conservatives for a period of a few years) and one member, Bill Dickie, who served as a Liberal for 6 years before crossing the floor to join a tiny, 6-member Official Opposition under Peter Lougheed's PC banner (things got substantially more comfortable for Dickie from 1971 to 1975, when he stepped aside).
Until the by-election is held and the new MLA sworn in, Jonathan Denis, MLA for Calgary-Egmont (and most definitely NOT the Enlightened Savage) will be representing the constituents of Glenmore.
44% of the riding's voters are over the age of 45 years. 46% of the riding's residents were born in the province of Alberta. 77% of the homes in the riding are occupied by the owners, and the average home value is $348,000. Only 16% of the homes in Glenmore are less than 30 years old. 43% of voters have completed Post-Secondary education, with the lion's share of those being in architecture, engineering, business, management, and administration. Average household income is $96,000. To whit: Your average Glenmore resident is middle-aged, educated, was born somewhere else but chooses to live in Glenmore, gives a lot more orders than s/he takes while on the job, and lives in a nice, albeit older, home.
Now, some candidate talk...
Eric Carpendale has been announced as the NDP candidate in the Glenmore by-election. Curious, though, that some New Democrats have been complaining that there didn't seem to be any sort of nomination race or process - interesting tactics, for a party with "Democratic" right there in the name...
Corey Hogan, a young and well-connected Liberal workhorse, will be running for the Liberal nomination against perennial also-ran Avalon Roberts, in a race sure to stir up some good, cross-generational dialogue within the ranks of Liberal supporters in Glenmore ("So, they tell me you can talk to voters on this 'inter-webs' thingy... do I have to join in on the 'twooter' thingamajig?").
Diane Colley-Urquhart, Alderman for Ward 13 on Calgary's City Council, was acclaimed as the Progressive Conservative candidate. Colley-Urquhart is by far the most well-known of the potential candidates, and has been a popular member of city council, with a reputation for being progressive socially and conservative fiscally - handy, considering the party she's representing, and the riding in which she's running.
Paul Hinman is the only declared candidate for the Wildrose Alliance Party. Hinman is the former MLA for Cardston-Taber-Warner, and former leader of the Wildrose Alliance - which might not give him huge name or face recognition in the riding, but certainly makes him a recognized figure to the more politically involved within the riding. The WAP will be looking to capitalize on discontent with the PC's handling of the economy, the deficit budget, and energy royalties. The nomination deadline for the WAP nomination is June 23.
Premier Ed's "drop dead" date to order a by-election is November 19th - which doesn't mean that the by-election needs to HAPPEN by then, it just means that it needs to be SCHEDULED by then. My money's on October - if for no other reason than October's going to be a very busy month for me, and that's just my luck. The Premier is said to be willing to wait as long as the PC team in Glenmore feels is necessary to get their candidate out to every part of the riding - and, should she win, there's talk that Colley-Urquhart could find herself elevated to a minor cabinet role (Tourism, Parks and Rec?) right off the bat in a late fall shuffle, to fill the Calgary-shaped hole left in cabinet by Stevens' departure. Other Calgary MLA's rumoured to be on the short list include the affable and able Len Webber (Calgary-Foothills) and the aforementioned Jonathan Denis (Calgary-Egmont, NOT the Enlightened Savage).