What’s an election without a couple of predictions? And to avoid any of that “I said that would happen!”/”No you didn’t!” stuff I thought I’d write down a few of mine. (And instead revel in the multiple “Boy, was that guy way off!” that will no doubt come my way.) So here are my thoughts as we head into the final hour of the Alberta provincial election every news outlet has already deemed “historic”.
Let’s start with the questions everyone will ask:
- Who will win? My bet is the Wildrose Party.
- Majority or minority? Minority.
- Seat breakdown? Your guess is probably as good as mine, but I’ll go:
- Wildrose: 40 (currently 4)
- Progressive Conservative: 38 (currently 66)
- Liberal: 5 (currently 8 ) – Some of those retiring seats won’t be replaced, many will go PC.
- NDP: 3 (currently 2) – Brian and Rachel get a new co-worker. Who? Could be a few tight races in Edmonton, but I’ll guess David Eggen squeaks this one out finally.
- Alberta Party: 1 (currently 1 who’s retiring) – I’ve got high hopes for Hinton mayor and party leader Glenn Taylor, so I’m willing to take a flyer on him.
- Yes, that shows either the Liberals OR the NDP holding the balance of power. I dream of a raucous session as you can see.
- Voter turnout? 65% (2008 was 40%, an all time low).
Now more fun predictions:
- Who ever wins my riding of Calgary-Klein will form the government.
- Win or lose Danielle Smith will take a shot at the PCs and their 41 years in government saying something like “FINALLY!” or “I’m disappointed we weren’t able to end it… yet.”
- Alison Redford will be gracious, all the while looking like she’d like to stick the knife in the Wildrose and twist it. Win or lose.
- Ron Leech doesn’t get the chance to speak for anyone other than himself.
- Allan Hunsperger won’t “suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire”, AKA the Legislature, as voters accept he was born this way. But it will be close.
- Tomorrow there will be a government. (A stretch, but after this campaign you’d be forgiven if you thought the opposite.)
- It will take a looooonnnnnng time before final results are in and Twitter will be lit up with whiners wanting to go to bed.
- Speaking of Twitter: someone will make a dumb mistake and click on one of the dozens of spam #abvote tweets that looks like it’s coming from a sexy lady who happens to tweet every 18 seconds.
There’s a couple of my predictions. I’ll add more if I think of them, but please add yours in the comments below. I’d love to hear them!
In this alberta@noon column on CBC Radio One with host Donna McElligott I talk about Elections Canada’s ban on reporting the results of a federal election in a time zone where the polls have not closed yet. Topics include the $25,000 fine, the difference between media and people using social media, #tweettheresults becoming the most used hashtag in the world in the recent election, and clever ways to report results including Brits, Australians and Americans tweeting on our behalf. How do we even find these people? Do we have the resources? We also talk about whether Twitter tried to block tweets or were there just jokes being taken seriously. Elections Canada is fighting a losing battle. When shutting down the internet is the best option available to you, you need to rethink your strategy. It’s long overdue to reexamine our election night social media ban and find new ways to address this issue.
[List last updated July 12, 2010.]
There sure are a lot of names coming out of the proverbial woodwork right about now saying they are going to run for Calgary City Council. Now it’s a long way off from nomination day on September 20, and everyone can change their minds still, but it’s already getting hard to figure out who is who, and who’s saying their running and who is not.
So with this in mind we decided to put together a list of everything we’ve seen reported, heard personally and have heard rumour of. We’ll try to update this list regularlly as we hear or see other things. If you know of anyone missing, please just let us know and we’ll add them!
PS – Try not to read too much into the difference between “rumoured” and “declared”. At this point it doesn’t really mean much. It’s more a degree of veracity in their statements up till now that made me choose one over the other. Some however, are just rumours.
Dave Bronconnier – Incumbent (not running)
Craig Burrows (declared)
Diane Colley-Urquhart (not running)
Joe Connelly (declared)
Oscar Fech (rumoured)
Bob Hawkesworth (declared)
Kent Hehr (declared)
Barb Higgins (not running)
Paul Hughes (declared)
Gary Johnston (declared)
Alnoor Kassam (declared)
Jon Lord (declared)
Ric McIver (declared)
Naheed Nenshi (declared)
Wayne Stewart (declared)
Ward 3 Alderman
George Chahal (rumoured)
Jim Stevenson – Incumbent (rumoured)
Gary Tremblay (declared)
Ward 4 Alderman
Leslie Bedard (declared)
George Chahal (rumoured)
Sean Chu (declared)
Michael Hartford (declared)
Calvin Horne (not running)
Bob Hawkesworth – Incumbent (not running)
Curtis Kruschel (declared)
Tommy Low (declared)
Jane Morgan (declared)
Ward 8 Alderman
Steve Champman (not running)
Barry Eldridge (rumoured)
John Mar – Incumbent (declared)
Zak Pashak (declared)
Ward 10 Alderman
Andre Chabot – Incumbent (rumoured)
Nargis Dossa (declared)
Ward 13 Alderman
Diane Colley-Urquhart – Incumbent (declared)
Sandy Jenkins (declared)
Ward 3 & 4 Trustee
Lynn Ferguson – Incumbent (rumoured)
Ward 5 & 10 Trustee
Pamela King – Incumbent (rumoured)
Ward 6 & 7 Trustee
George Lane – Incumbent (rumoured)
Carole Oliver (rumoured)
Ward 8 & 9 Trustee
Pat Cochrane – Incumbent (rumoured)
Ward 11 & 13 Trustee
Karen Kryczka - Incumbent (not running)
Kathy Power (rumoured)
Ward 12 & 14 Trustee
Carol Bazinet – Incumbent (rumoured)
Also available on the Calgary Herald’s Q.
The Governor General is a figurehead position, it has been for many years. It is unfair to ask an unelected official to decide the fate of our country.
Therefore there is only one option Michaelle Jean has before her: do whatever the Prime Minister asks of her. Assuming the PM enjoys the confidence of the House, he represents the will of 308 elected officials. This is the precedent and is exceedingly fair.
However it is also the reason Stephen Harper cannot ask her to prorogue Parliament.
To ask her to do so would be to ask an unelected official to decide the fate of our country. To do this would be near political suicide. It would be considered by many, myself included, as cowardly and undemocratic. The House of Commons is the governing body and they alone should be the ones to decide the future of Canada. Its members are our representatives. This is what we sent them to Ottawa to do.
In my eyes this leaves Stephen Harper with only three options. He can only present one to the Governor General, and she should agree to whichever one he proposes regardless of her own personal opinion.
- Work with the opposition MPs to avoid defeat on Monday’s non-confidence motion – This is obviously my favourite option as it means Parliament returns to civility and we can get back to the job of governing and fixing the current economy situation we are in. It is however the hardest option of the three to undertake because it requires patience and quick work.
If they go this route the Conservatives only have until Monday to strike a deal on the economy with the Liberals or the NDP. Or the Bloq. All you need is the support of one of those parties and we can get back to business as usual. Harper has already shown he is willing to back down on the majority of items proposed in the offending Fiscal Update – the Coalition should show they are willing to do the same. It is time to make at least one more concession to one other party. This is democracy in action. After Monday’s vote, you will have officially failed or succeeded at being a minority government. And you would only have two options left to choose from if you prove to be a failure.
Proroguing is an extension of this option but one that you have asked an unelected official to grant you extra time to undertake the task. Instead, go ask an opposition leader and get more time democratically by gaining the confidence of the House of Commons, and Canadians.
- Call an election – There is no shame in this if you can’t work with other parties. Let Canadians decide if we agree with you or the opposition. If we agree with you then you will probably get a majority. If not, you’ll become the opposition and the party we think can do the best job governing will be given a chance. Or you may be given a message that we don’t trust anyone fully and we are happy with a minority government so quit your bitchin’ and get back to work.
Of course one could argue that this is what we just did on Oct. 14, but sometimes people need to be told twice.
If you don’t like the option of facing the electorate once more that leaves you with only one last option.
- Step aside and let the Coalition give it a try – If you think the first option is going to hurt the Tories pride this one will really sting. But it isn’t such a bad option. They will have a minority and with the support of the Bloq you could bring them down anytime you like. When the Conservatives of course will be in a much better position to win an election with a majority.
The morale of the story is there are still options available to the Government that don’t result in an unelected official deciding the fate of our country. We should expect the rest of the House of Commons to respect any decision the Prime Minister makes so we can avoid that; just as we would expect him to obey the will of the House if they decide this Parliament will not continue.
Of course there is that fourth looming option: prorogue. Suspending Parliament only to avoid a confidence motion is something I think most Canadians can agree is ridiculous for the reason I outlined above, hence why I’ve ruled it out altogether. But prevailing thought is this is what the Prime Minister will announce he is going to ask the Governor General to do. If he really does go down this road, I’d like to think she kicks him out of her office and says, “Get back to work and stop running away from your problems.” Although as an unelected official I don’t think she can do much more than agree to whatever he asks.
So if a suspension is what he asks for, and what he gets, the Prime Minister certainly will have lost my confidence forever for putting the future of our country in the hands of someone other than Parliament.
Note: This post is my first cross-post with the Calgary Herald’s Q. I’ll be posting there ever so often from here on in. (So big thanks the the Herald for having me join their online team.)
Election-mania blew through Alberta on Monday night like a hurricane hell-bent on providing the change we’ve been standing from the roof tops shouting for. Okay, judging by the voter turnout it was more like a really small dirt devil on an abandoned baseball diamond that more or less thought about bringing the change a select few bloggers bitched about online. I guess what I’m trying to say is: just like has happened with the US presidential election, the pundits got it WAY wrong.
Some of these so called “experts” may have predicted as many as 60 seats for Ed Stelmach’s Progressive Conservatives, but I heard no one predict more than 70 would be their headcount for the next four years. That is a staggering endorsement for the status quo when ALL of the build-up to the election revolved around “change”.
Congratulations have go to Ed Stelmach for proving he really is the heir to King Ralph’s everyman crown. Writers and political scientists alike called him “bumbling”, pointing out he “struggles with his command of the English language”, and even went as far as to say he often “sounds like Woody Allen trying to make a quick decision”. (These all may, or may not be things I’ve said about the Premier in the past month. Although more likely, and truthfully, they’re the former.) None-the-less voters delivered a strong statement saying ‘c’mon give the guy a chance’. (Yup, that’s as strong a statement as we Albertans ever deliver with our ballots.) Whether they feel bad for how he has been treated by the media or just saw through it all to see he was just an honest guy doing his best is a moot point. What really matters is ‘Steady Eddie’ got the mandate he wanted from the people of Alberta.
But what does that say about us as Albertans? The fact we don’t care about your credentials; we care about what your actions.
Did Ed and his team really see this train leaving the station back when he was sworn in as premier? Is that why they decided to govern for 15 months without a mandate from the citizens? Were they really that shrewd that they knew they had to show voters what they could do before requesting judgement? Probably, yes. And that, I think is the real reason the PCs came out on top last night. Ralph Klein admitted he had no plan anymore and was just phoning it in, and in 2004 voters appeared leery. Ed had to be the opposite of Ralph on that point and needed to show potential voters he could fix the province.
Good on him for realizing this so quickly. That’s not bad for Alberta’s second premier in a row to not even have a university degree.
Now let’s all hope he keeps on the same pace and continues to fix the problems Albertans know we have. Now’s not the time to reflect on a job well done. After all, Ed, you did run on a platform of “change that works for Albertans”. We’re all watching, so get to work on giving us that change we’ve asked for.