On Monday in Calgary, will the Tories come second … or third?

Conservative candidate Joan Crockatt campaigns in Calgary while a supporter covers his face in embarrassment. (Joke.) Below: The winner of Monday’s by-election, as forecast by Perfesser Dave, Chris Turner.

The great political minds of Alberta are pondering today where Conservative Party candidate Joan Crockatt will place in Monday’s Calgary Centre by-election.

Will she come second? … Or third?

You think I’m joking? This is no joke – especially for Prime Minister Stephen Harper!

Face it, people, if the Conservatives lose the safest seat of safe seats – in downtown Cowtown, for crying out loud – it is not going to tell a happy story about where Canadians are at when it comes to Mr. Harper’s angry neoconservative caucus, a government so cranky it can’t even stay on the same page as its provincial cousins who run the government in Edmonton!

But the contest now as it’s coming to be seen here in Alberta is that by election day each of the Liberals, Greens and Conservatives will own about 30 per cent of the committed vote in the riding, and the NDP will have the remainder.

So the race could go any of three ways, and in normal times there’s just enough of an edge from old habits that die hard for the Tories to win it easily.

But these, as they say, are not normal times. The Harper Conservatives, so focused on ideology they couldn’t see the dangers of their alliance with the far-right Wildrose Party, which they enthusiastically backed in last spring’s Alberta provincial election, have upset their own political applecart.

They have so alienated the riding’s traditional Tories – the kind of people who are comfortable backing Red Tories like their neighbour Alison Redford, the Progressive Conservative premier of Alberta, and former federal PC leader Joe Clark, who once represented the riding – that many of them are determined to teach their no-longer-comfortable federal political party a lesson by voting for someone else.

What’s more, despite her ability to articulately present her thoughts, Ms. Crockatt has turned out to be a far-from-ideal candidate.

Apparently thoroughly controlled by her Wildrose/Harperite advisers, the former journalist and right-wing commentator has avoided all-candidates’ forums, earned the wrath of Calgary’s popular mayor and run away from the media she’s supposed to understand. In economic terms a harsh, far-right ideological candidate, Ms. Crockatt seems to have assumed she could count on the riding’s traditionally reliable Tory vote without thinking too deeply about what kind of Tories many of those voters are.

But a lot of them, it’s turning out, are Red Tories just as disturbed as other Canadians about the authoritarian tone the country has taken on under Mr. Harper’s heavy hand.

Yes, Ms. Crockatt is a good door-to-door campaigner. But a lot of Calgary Centre voters, it is said here, are paying attention for once to the issues, and as a result we have a real race.

So what’s going to happen? Well, I’ve been wrong before and I will be again, but it’s said here Green candidate Chris Turner, an author, will win by a whisker.

The logic behind this speculation?

Easy. Liberal Harvey Locke, a lawyer, may hold most of his 30 per cent of the vote, shown in two recent Forum Research polls, helped a little by the recent visit of the undeniably charismatic Justin Trudeau and hindered a bit by the Albertans Go Home ejaculation Wednesday of former federal Liberal Energy Critic David McGuinty.

The bogus two-year-old “exclusive” about supposedly anti-Alberta remarks by Mr. Trudeau, dredged up by the Sun News Network in an attempt to resuscitate Ms. Crockatt’s flagging campaign, will likely have little impact – or at least not the impact its generators intend.

Mr. Turner, meanwhile, will hold the quarter of voters committed to voting Green who were identified in the last Forum poll and look to gain more support from other anti-Tory camps.

NDP candidate Dan Meades will lose a few more of his remaining 8 per cent, as soft Knee-Dips continue to migrate to the next-best anti-Tory candidate. They will go to the Green because it’s just too hard for a New Democrat to vote for a Liberal.

Then there are the Tories – deeply split now in the riding between the Wildrose rightists and ideological hardliners who dominate Ms. Crockatt’s campaign and the Redford-style Red Tories who were happy with their softer-edged former Tory MP, Lee Richardson, who is now Ms. Redford’s principal secretary.

But if it’s hard for NDPers to vote Liberal, it’s even harder for Conservatives – and that would be true even if the former Liberal natural resources critic hadn’t shot off his mouth about Tory Albertan MPs. That’s why, it’s said here, Mr. McGuinty’s ill-timed commentary and Mr. Trudeau’s long-ago remarks won’t have much impact on the outcome Monday. Many disaffected Red Tories have already made up their minds to go Green, rather than Liberal or NDP, and as usual Mr. Harper’s brain trust has concentrated its fire on the wrong opposition candidate.

So what’s the risk to these unhappy Conservatives of teaching the Harper-Wildrose crowd a lesson by voting for a Green? Virtually none. Heck, everyone’s pretty green nowadays anyway!

So Mr. Turner will pick up a few strategic NDP votes and lot of strategic Red Tory votes. At the last minute, he’ll even pick up some extra strategic Liberal votes, cast by electors either unhappy about Mr. McGuinty’s blathering or following those soft New Democrats to the strongest anti-Tory candidate.

Then the patented Alberta come from No. 3 strategy will have worked again! Indeed, a fourth Forum Research poll is said to be about to be released within hours that will confirm this predicted flow of votes toward Mr. Turner.

So Monday’s vote will be really close, I predict, but it’ll shake out in this order:

  1. Greens
  2. Liberals
  3. Tories
  4. NDP

Then again, I may be out to lunch. Maybe the NDP will come third. We’ll see on Monday.

This post also appears on Rabble.ca.

21 Comments on "On Monday in Calgary, will the Tories come second … or third?"

  1. Sam Gunsch says:

    re: “NDP candidate Dan Meades will lose a few more of his remaining 8 per cent, as soft Knee-Dips continue to migrate to the next-best anti-Tory candidate. They will go to the Green because it’s just too hard for a New Democrat to vote for a Liberal.”

    This will be the most important factor. If it happens. My guess.
    Especially in light of Lib’s endorsement of bitumenoiltar for China, and the Dutch that shall not be named.

  2. NDP Insider says:

    That fourth poll came out.
    Greens don’t have that momentum.

  3. Will Munsey says:

    I’ve never hoped you were right before… but this time, my fingers are crossed for your prediction.

  4. Canada Joe says:

    After what Golden Boy was caught saying, don’t bet on it. Hope you like crow David as you will be eating it come Monday.

  5. joeBlow says:

    So now that a new poll has Green support back down to 17-percent, maybe you should correct part of the article? Your hate for the CPC has taken away your ability to look at this one objectively and forced you to rationalize reasons why for once someone else may win.

    You mention Calgary-Centre should be the safest seat for this party, I’d think Cgy-SE or Cgy-SW would be safer.

    Nice try, you fail to bring any truthful substance to the table yet again!

    Hack.

  6. CuJoYYC says:

    So why does everyone covering and forecasting this by-election neglect to mention that, over the last several decades. there’s been about an average 25% of the vote headed the way of the Federal Liberals and that this Federal riding includes the Provincial riding of Calgary Buffalo, long the home of Liberal MLAs—Sheldon Chumir (two term MLA) Gary Dickson (three term MLA) and Kent Hehr (currently in his second term).

    Harvey Locke by three points over Chris Turner. After coming in third, Joan will be hired by the Fraser Institute where she can continue to tell us how life ought to be all the while never holding down a real job. Come to think of it, that’s basically the standard MO of all the market fundamentalists. Has Harper, Kenny, Polievre, Baird, Anders et al ever had a REAL job? No but they sure pontificate and ‘bloviate’ a lot about the merits of real jobs in our economy.

  7. David says:

    I hope you are correct!
    This is so exciting!
    Harper will get a strong message if this comes true. But in his usual approach he will brush it off…..

  8. Eric Cameron says:

    Thank you for making me laugh out loud. “Then again, I may be out to lunch. Maybe the NDP will come third.”

  9. Paul says:

    Umm . . . you forgot to mention that Chris Turner is an intelligent, informed, and very articulate spokesperson for sustainable policies and practices in government and business. It is not just numbers and dissatisfaction in other parties that appeal to voters.

  10. Liza says:

    I’m not convinced that NDPs would turn to a Green Party candidate over a Liberal candidate, there are often deeper divides between Greens and NDPers than between the NDP and Liberals.
    That is assuming that Crockatt really is in trouble here, and I just don’t have the faith that you have David.

  11. Filostrato says:

    I hope you’re right. Two Green MP’s would make Canada start looking like a semi-progressive country again. And in Calgary? Fantastic.

    And what were the Cons thinking? As well as the out-of-date Trudeau interview – come on, people – I have a terrible feeling that they were listening to Tom “The Wiz” Flanagan
    again, another one whose “sell by” date passed a number of years ago.

    • David j says:

      2 years is out of date? Don’t think so. Then I’d have to say Harpers firewall nonsense is out of date. No, all is valid ammo against any politico. We need to call them out on everything they ever uttered or did. Feet to the fire at all times. No hypocrisy.

  12. For someone who takes her marching orders seriously, does not show up at all-candidate forums but glad-hands drive-by motorists, concerning the depth of Joan Crockatt advancing her election platform, your picture is a real beaut!!! Thanks!

    Appreciate as well your interpretation of what the considerations are of various groups of citizens who have a history of voting and your predictions how this will all shake out.

    Even though it has been pointed out that the previous MP, Lee Richardson received a strong endorsement, in reality, while his 56.9% of the vote was relatively high in relation to the field of 308 elected, as a point of fact, less than 32% of the electorate actually went out and voted for him! Not exactly the ringing endorsement many claim he had. This supports your prediction that possibly as many as two other candidates have a real shot.

    Given yours and others predictions here are a few more. Well over 60% of those who will vote, will likely not vote for the one declared elected. Sadly, this statistic will not change regardless of whether the turnout is very high or low.

    It’s also clear that 100% of the party candidates running, not one of their leaders would tolerate this kind of an undemocratic election outcome bases how they, within their party, were selected party leader!

    The http://www.1calgarycentre.com forum had the right idea! That when citizens would conduct their own vote123 pre-election straw-vote poll, armed with that citizen generated collaborative information, then the citizens and not the party brass would be in charge of who got elected. In counterpoint to the corporate rambo polls etc even when conducted live, the integrity of a citizens vote123 poll can not only safeguard the secrecy of voters’ intentions which no other poll can do, but also provide much better results, true to democratic standards.

    Maybe the Albertadiary could check out what the politics was behind why the group appears to be all talk to help voters eliminate vote-splits. Not enough resources? Or do they with divided loyalties to democracy believe their favoured horse has a better Casino election outcome chance than if the bar is at minimum 50% of voter support? Or worse, did some party brass lean on them so the public does not learn that a vote123 which is good to elect party leaders is also very good to ensure that the majority who vote in a civic election actually get to elect who will be declared elected!!!?

  13. David j says:

    Cons have rock solid 25,000 votes in riding. Libs would have to pull from cons to win. Not a chance, and the lib candidate a typical Liberal hypocrite. Hope Greens come 2nd but they desperatly need a new leader. Even though she won her seat, Green votes fell in last election. If chernesenko had won leadership, they would be fed opposition right now. May a one trick pony and way to whiny.

  14. David j says:

    Sorry friend, Redford is libs cousin. She has her face on Lockes campaign lit. Also, many people have supported greens for years and are seeing results. They would rather vote for a candidate than against, which is the way it should be. We can’t start prostituting our votes to gang up on one party or candidate…so un Canadian. And Locke pleading for people to vote for him is straight up pathetic.

  15. Bruce Anderson says:

    Interested in hearing your explanation. (Not really)

  16. Sean says:

    David Climenhaga is an idiot.

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