Will the Tories meet their Waterloo on the field at Calgary Centre? One can only hope!

Napoleon after the Battle of Waterloo. Events in the Calgary Centre by-election may not turn out to be exactly as illustrated. Below: Liberal Harvey Locke, Conservative Joan Crockatt and Green Chris Turner.

Is Joan Crockatt about to meet her Waterloo?

As reported first by Dave Cournoyer of the Daveberta blog and moments later by the Globe and Mail, a new poll released yesterday shows the by-election campaign in Calgary-Centre tightening into a three-way race among Ms. Crockatt, who is the Conservative Party’s standard bearer, and Harvey Locke of the Liberals and Chris Turner of the Greens.

Ms. Crockatt has been described by many commentators, with some justice, as a polarizing candidate. Even so, it would be a shocker if an electorate in a dependable Calgary riding were to send a brisk message to Prime Minister Stephen Harper about the way he runs the government by electing either one of the two environmentalists who showed well in the Nov. 12 robopoll by Forum Research.

The survey, of 376 randomly selected residents of the downtown Calgary federal electoral district, showed Ms. Crockatt, a former journalist and right-wing commentator, in the lead – but barely so, at 32 per cent. Nipping at here heels were Mr. Locke, with 30 per cent of the respondents, and Mr. Turner, with 23 per cent.

Forum says the margin of error for the poll is five percentage points, which would certainly appear to put Ms. Crockatt and Mr. Locke, a lawyer and prominent conservationist, within spitting distance of one another.

The NDP candidate, Dan Meades, who was nominated late and whose party for some reason only recently made much of an effort in the riding, trailed distantly with 12 per cent.

The idea that a robocall poll – called an interactive voice response, or IVR, in pollster talk – with a tiny sample to boot, could call it right when I’ve said repeatedly I thought Ms. Crockatt would be a shoo-in because of the way Calgary voters historically behave leaves this blogger torn.

I’ve called ’em wrong before and will no doubt call ’em wrong again, but it still makes me cringe when it happens. On the other hand, given Ms. Crockatt’s hard-right economic views, nothing could delight me more than to see Calgary Centre’s voters coalesce around any more progressive opposition candidate, Mr. Locke looking like the most likely at the moment, to give Mr. Harper and his unconservative neoconservatives a sound and much deserved spanking on their home turf.

Given the choice I’m going to plump for the horserace and pray that progressive voters in the riding rally ’round the best placed non-Conservative.

The Calgary vote will take place on Nov. 26.

After the Battle of Waterloo, which was fought on Sunday, June 18, 1815, in present-day Belgium, Napoleon Bonaparte wrote to the British: “Exposed to the factions which divide my country, and to the enmity of the great Powers of Europe, I have terminated my political career.” One can only hope for a repeat of history.

This post also appears on Rabble.ca.

7 Comments on "Will the Tories meet their Waterloo on the field at Calgary Centre? One can only hope!"

  1. david says:

    REMINDER RE COMMENTS: Gratuitous Nazi references, even funny ones, are strongly discouraged in the comments section of this site. If you’re going to call anyone a Nazi, you’d better have a persuasive case to make or a strong historical reference. Otherwise, I’ll save you the embarrassment of being associated with this kind of rhetoric and delete the reference.

  2. fubar says:

    Meh! Crockatt may lose (not the probable outcome) but so what? By-elections often produce interesting but transient results. Data sets generally show these as blips on a graph, and not trends. Party brass will not lose any sleep if she loses, as they will be confident they will pick it up again in a general election.
    What I find more interesting is that she appears to be a more WR friendly Tory (from the facts-free G&M anyway).
    The trend I will be on the lookout for is the official / unofficial relationship between the WR and the CPC. That dynamic could change the provincial political landscape, and ultimately the federal one.

  3. Filostrato says:

    Well, Calgary elected my favourite mayor of any city in recent memory, Naheed Nenshi, although Mr. Nenshi insists he won the election almost solely on the basis of his good looks. May they make a further enlightened choice with any of the ABC party candidates.

    “First gain the victory and then make the best use of it you can.” – Horatio Nelson

    (And now I have Abba’s “Waterloo” as an earworm for the foreseeable future. Could be worse, I guess.)

  4. Ken L. says:

    If the polling numbers you report more or less reflect the actual vote in Calgary Center, what sort of anti-democratic voting system gives the seat to a candidate who 65% of the people vote against?

    If my math is correct, it is enough to make me join the missing 3%! There must be a better way.

  5. fred says:

    The fact that neo-nazis were card carrying members of the Reform party, when Preston Manning was leader and Harper was the policy chief, does give some legitimacy to the ‘Nazi Christian Stormtroopers’ meme used in reference to the Harperites in my opinion (although, to his credit, Manning did eventually ban them). The neo-nazis also provided security services for the Reform party during some public events (Toronto).

    I was simply trying to inject humour into the consideration of some very serious issues. My apology for the frivolity.

  6. Your write: “I’m going to… pray that progressive voters in the riding rally ’round the best placed non-Conservative.”

    In addition to prayer, there is actually a good science or good math to help you achieve this assuming the majority is on side.

    Let me first give you some statistics on what kind of majority you might need if you leave it to the status quo. In the fed 2011 general election, not one of just over 70% of Canadians who voted, voted for any of the Harper operatives now sitting in Ottawa! Please reread if necessary. This is not a typo!

    Turning to Quebec’s recent General Election, not one of the 125 candidates declared elected received even one vote from among a solid majority, fully 56% of Quebec voters!

    If you would like a spreadsheet of either election to support these numbers please ask.

    How are such outcomes possible? Consider a clear majority of five out of nine voters who strongly prefer two similar candidates in a field of three. Candidate A gets 2 votes and B gets 3. Even when C is not at all approved of by the majority of five voters, throughout all of Canada, when C receives the remaining 4 votes, C is “declared” elected! More often than not such vote-splits divide the voice of the majority and are easily orchestrated to give the illusion that a candidate with only minority support can then be inflated with a weasel word application of popular support, when in fact their support often falls far short of an honest majority.

    Now the good news: Should the citizens as a run-up to the November 26 Calgary Centre by-election voting day, voluntarily conduct a pre-election vote123 straw-vote poll, with such results known on voting day, those citizens would be self-empowered on election day to avoid vote-splitting and elect not the lessor of two evils, but the one actually preferred by an honest majority!

    Nor do you need much money to accomplish this. Mostly elbow grease from the Calgary Centre Constituents. With some modifications, including adding an online poll to the paper poll this is quite doable. Please see Taking back our democracy

    To my pleasant surprise I also just became aware of http://www.1calgarycentre.com which is reinventing the vote123 wheel/ Still a bit wobbly, but with people like you helping them along, democratically speaking you can be assured of an answer to your prayer.

    Eduard Hiebert

  7. Eduard Hiebert says:

    Sorry, I did not realize submissions have hyperlinks removed.

    Here is the missing information either as a PS or if you insert within the earlier submission.


    orchestrated to give the illusion Please see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKNC8Nwzx78&feature=youtu.be

    Taking back our democracy Please see http://www.eduardhiebert.com/ereform/v123p.htm


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