Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Race for Calgary-Elbow

First formed in 1971, Calgary-Elbow has had 4 MLAs in the past 40 years - and 2 of them became Premier. One other became Deputy Premier. Pretty good odds, by any measure. Formerly held by PC's David Russell and Ralph Klein, the constituency elected Liberal Craig Cheffins in a by-election to replace Klein before electing Alison Redford narrowly in 2008. The redistribution has seen significant changes to the boundaries, with many communities leaving the constituency, and some new ones added from Calgary-Currie. The large-scale changes to the make-up of the riding and the close result in 2008 are making some wonder if Redford, now PC Leader and Premier, can hold onto her own seat.

The Candidates:
Beena Ashar (LIB)
Greg Clark (AP)
James Cole (WRP)
Craig Coolahan (NDP)
William Hamilton (EVG)
Alison Redford (PC)

Beena Ashar ran unsuccessfully for Alderman in Ward 5 in 2010, finishing 3rd. The community fundraiser and prolific volunteer has been active on political campaigns for quite some time. Her issues include public safety and fiscal responsibility. Ashar was the final candidate named by the Alberta Liberals for this election. At this time, she does not have a campaign website.

Greg Clark is an entrepreneur born and raised in Calgary-Elbow, and a founding partner at C3 Associates, one of Alberta's fastest growing companies for several years running. Clark - who also teaches Business Management at the University of Calgary - is all about vision: Long-term planning over short-term political promises. He has a series of 10 videos on his website, featuring his opinions on everything from health care to conscience rights to democratic reform.

James Cole moved his family from Ontario to Alberta in 2006 to follow his love of politics and to capitalize on the Alberta Advantage. The Chartered Financial Analyst is the treasurer for the local Calgary CFA Society (it's got to take serious stones to be the treasurer for a group of CFA's). Cole is a firm believer in fiscal discipline, something he says the current government lacks.

Craig Coolahan is a technical writer and union activist for the United Utility Workers' Association. A New Democrat running where New Democrats are routinely thrashed, Coolahan is an advocate for affordable child care and affordable housing. He became a new father last December.

William Hamilton is a communications consultant and founding partner of Principia Communications Strategies. He's also the only candidate (from anywhere in Calgary) to routinely send press releases to bloggers such as yours truly. William had a bit of fun on April Fool's Day, issuing a release that he had appointed an Ent as Campaign Manager (Ents, naturally, are far too methodical to last long on a 28-day campaign). He ran for the federal Green in 2011, capturing 11% support in Calgary-Centre. His major issues are sustainability and public transit.

Alison Redford was elected here in 2008 by a margin of 419 votes. The lawyer and mother to 10-year old Sarah was elected Leader of the PC Party in October of 2011, and sworn in as Premier of Alberta a week later. Alberta's first female Premier, she is a graduate of Bishop Carroll High School in Calgary - but nobody's perfect (Go Grandin!). You may have heard her name a few times during this election. I interviewed Redford, a noted carnivore, at a local BBQ restaurant during her bid for the PC Leadership - follow this link to hear said interview.

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