Well, we had our byelection in Calgary Centre and I feel because so many people were kind enough to check out my thoughts before hand, I ought to write a few words about how it all went down, and my reaction to it.
If you read my last post (and if you didn’t, scroll down, it’s just below this one) you would get the sense that many people in this riding were hoping to elect a non-Conservative MP (or Reformer or Wild Rose or whatever you wish to call it) for the first time in over 40 years.
In a sense, this election was partly about whom we wanted as well as whom we didn’t want. Even many members of the Conservative Party itself didn’t want the Conservative candidate, and so they came over in droves to support Liberal Harvey Locke’s bid for election.
At the same time, there was a tremendous groundswell of support for Green Party Candidate Chris Turner. It must have been the belief (at least the hope) in the Locke camp that given the projections, a percentage of Turner supporters would come to his side, realizing that it would be the only way to take the seat from the Conservatives.
For that to have happened, the Turner supporters would have had to have been somewhat luke warm in their support for Turner, but what I saw on Facebook was just the opposite. They actually believed they could win, and so they weren’t going anywhere with their vote, and I believe Turner actually did better in the election than was predicted.
And so with no agreement in place, no compromise, no backing down from their belief they could win on either side, they split the vote and the Conservative candidate didn’t even have to sneak in, she sauntered on through all the way to a back bench in Ottawa.
What could have become a great event was as usual in this riding a non-event and today it’s business as usual in Calgary Centre.
Of course there were some interesting outcomes. That a Liberal candidate could do so well in a riding where the term “Liberal” (not to mention the name Trudeau) is not usually heard in polite conversation was encouraging. I thought so, anyway, enough to support Harvey Locke’s campaign and vote for him.
The emergence of the Green Party in this riding was perhaps surprising to many, but not to those who were involved in the campaign. Many of these folks, many of them friends of mine, got their first real taste of success from Naheed Nenshi’s successful mayoral campaign a few years ago. They had won one unlikely victory, and they fully expected to win another. They weren’t just in it for the running. They didn’t win, but they certainly established themselves as a force in this riding for the foreseeable future.
Maybe the most resonant ongoing story with this byelection is that only 30% of eligible voters bothered to vote. I have one friend who lives in a seniors complex who told me only 18 of over 70 people bothered to vote.
“They have nothing to do all day, they complain about being bored, and then they don’t even bother to vote!” he said. This little tidbit debunks the myth that old people vote and young people don’t, especially as I would assume the average age of the Turner camp was somewhere around 30, if even that.
Well, that’s democracy I guess. While nothing really changed this time around, it seems like a lot has changed, and in the next federal election I believe the unthinkable could happen and the Conservatives could lose what has been a sure bet for decades.
Can that happen with two strong contenders like we had in this election?
I doubt it. And I don’t know what would have to happen to change the situation.
Thanks for reading . . .