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Alberta Diary

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David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions with the Toronto Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald. His 1995 book, A Poke in the Public Eye, explores the relationships among Canadian journalists, public relations people and politicians. He left journalism after the strike at the Calgary Herald in 1999 and 2000 to work for the trade union movement. Alberta Diary focuses on Alberta politics and social issues.

Go back to sleep everyone: Another Tory win in Calgary

| November 27, 2012
Joan Crockatt

Oh, how very depressing.

Progressive voters outnumbered Conservatives, Big-P Progressive and otherwise, by a largish margin in Calgary Centre -- and split their vote in last night’s by-election so tidily between the Liberals and the Greens, with a smattering to the NDP, that Joan Crockatt, one of the weakest Conservative candidates in a generation, managed a comfortable victory.

Just over a quarter of the eligible electors voted.

So after all the Calgary Centre hype, here in a nutshell is the Harper Conservative election strategy for 2015. It seems to have worked just fine in Calgary last night.

Indeed, if I were a true-blue Tory, I'd be thinking of opening up my wallet right now with a generous donation to the Greens!

Of course your blogger is personally disappointed by this outcome in that he predicted a Green victory in the by-election, and thus was double-skunked, seeing as the Liberals' Harvey Locke had considerably outdone the Greens' Chris Turner and in turn been outdone by the Tories' Crockatt by the time the dust had settled. No matter, though, he'll just remind readers that he originally bet on Crockatt, who when the closing bell had rung was indeed the winner.

At any rate, the progressive vote split, so convenient to the Conservatives, allowed Crockatt, a tiny but apparently sufficiently perfect neoconservative for Calgary's tastes, to hang on to a victory that while close enough to make the evening exciting at times was nevertheless convincing enough, and grew more convincing as the night went on.

And that was in the Calgary riding that had the best chance of electing someone other than another Harper Tory.

The Harper Conservatives and Crockatt's supporters in particular must be thanking the first electoral god past the pantheonic post for the undemocratic vagaries of Canada's electoral system.

Ah well, no point moaning. That's the way the system was designed to work, and it stood the challenge of democracy once again, so everyone can go back to sleep for the moment.

If there are lessons in this, they are Delphic, more auguries than axioms.

But if anything is clear from the opposition standpoint, it’s that notwithstanding hoked-up allegations of anti-Albertanism, even in Cowtown's hotbed of Conservatism, it sure doesn't hurt to have Justin Trudeau come out and campaign for a fellow.

Presumably this has been duly noted by the Tory slime machine, and as this is written they are no doubt topping up the tanks of sticky psycho-reactive goop for the 2015 election campaign. Trudeau had best be braced for icy jets of psychomagnotheric slime from Prime Minister Stephen Harper's unsavoury gang of Gritbusters.

The Greens too can take comfort that their support is wide, even if it is not satisfactorily deep, which is always a problem in our unbeloved system of single-member plurality, otherwise known as the first pest past the post.

The news is not really all that good for the Harperites either of course, despite two comforting by-election victories, unless progressives can be induced again to split their vote -- as happened last night in Calgary and Victoria. In that case, the outcome may be happy enough for the W.L. Mackenzie King of the 21st Century.

As for my New Democrats, I am hard pressed to spin this their way, unless it was simply the better part of valour that led to their uninspired and unenthusiastic campaign in Calgary Centre. One can only hope.

Which leaves us where exactly? Well, pretty much where we were yesterday, as a matter of fact, only without the bracing tonic of an impending by-election.

As predicted here before, Crockatt has the right attitudes to do well in the Harper Tory caucus, and will soon be a key player by the PM's inner circle.

This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, Alberta Diary.

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