Byelection brouhaha: Calgary Centre, Durham and Victoria

Aaron Wherry’s by-election play by play

by Aaron Wherry

Welcome to live coverage of tonight’s by-elections in Victoria, Calgary Centre and Durham. Results should start coming in after 10pm when polls close in Victoria. We’ll be here all night (or at least as long as it takes to exhaust whatever drama can be found).

Some numbers by which to measure the night. First, the vote percentages from the 2011 election in each riding.

Durham
Conservatives 54.6
NDP 21.1
Liberals 17.9
Greens 5.4

Calgary Centre
Conservatives 57.7
Liberals 17.5
NDP 14.9
Greens 9.9

Victoria
NDP 50.8
Conservatives 23.6
Liberals 14.0
Greens 11.6

If you combine the 2011 results for those three ridings, the cumulative total divides like so.

Conservatives 44.3
NDP 30.0
Liberals 16.4
Greens 9.0

9:45pm. Beyond the obvious (who wins?), some questions for tonight. How low does the Conservative vote go in Calgary Centre? How well does the NDP vote from 2011 hold up? Can the Liberals show improvement? Can the Greens make significant gains?

Calgary Centre is obviously the riding to watch (although the numbers will still be interesting in Durham and Victoria). After the Conservative party was united, Lee Richardson won 51.2%, 55.4%, 55.6% and 57.7% in four elections. If the polls hold true, Joan Crockatt could win the riding, but finish with a total under 40%. The lowest total for a winning conservative in Calgary Centre is 40.1%, by the Reform party’s Eric Lowther, when the right was split between Reform and the Progressive Conservatives.

10:01pm. First results are in. With 15 polls reporting, Joan Crockatt has a nine-vote lead in Calgary Centre.

10:03pm. With 20 polls reporting, Harvey Locke leads by 10 votes in Calgary Centre.

10:05pm. With 23 polls reporting, Mr. Locke’s lead is 34 votes.

10:08pm. With 26 polls reporting, Mr. Locke’s lead is 43 votes.

10:09pm. With 30 polls reporting, the Liberal lead in Calgary Centre is down to 35 votes. Meanwhile, Durham looks like a comfortable win for the Conservatives, though at the moment the Conservative vote is down slightly and the NDP vote is up.

10:12pm. Through 35 polls, Mr. Locke’s lead is 54 votes.

10:14pm. And just like that, with 40 polls in, Ms. Crockatt takes a 15-vote lead.

10:15pm. Back comes Mr. Locke. Through 45 polls, the candidates are tied with 990 votes.

10:23pm. It is of course notable that while Ms. Crockatt and Mr. Locke go back and forth, the Green party’s Chris Turner is getting a quarter of the vote in Calgary Centre. It will be tempting to suggest that, if Ms. Crockatt wins, it will be because the vote on the left was split, but I think that’s a problematic theory. Go back to the public polls in Calgary Centre. While the Green vote went up, the Liberal vote held steady. If anything, the rise in Green support coincided with a decline in the Conservative vote. If these numbers hold (as I write, Joan Crockatt is up slightly), the Conservatives will be down about 22 points and the NDP down about nine points. The Liberals will be up 14 points and the Greens will be up 15 points.

10:36pm. Safe to say Erin O’Toole will be the next MP for Durham. His share of the vote is down slightly (at the moment) from what Bev Oda took in 2011, but he’s still at 50%. The NDP looks like its share will be up and the Liberal vote will be down.

10:42pm. Still more than half the polls left to report, but Ms. Crockatt’s lead seems pretty steady. Through 100 polls, it’s 400 votes. Through 90 polls, it was 326 votes.

10:48pm. Meanwhile, in Victoria, the New Democrat (Murray Rankin) leads the Green candidate (Donald Galloway). A strong third in Calgary Centre and second in Victoria would probably qualify as a good night for the Greens.

10:53pm. That Conservative lead in Calgary Centre is narrowing. It was down to 334 votes through 111 polls. It’s now 238 votes through 121 polls.

10:55pm. Down to 218 votes through 126 polls. Up to 272 votes from 131 polls. Up to 293 votes through 135 polls.

11:04pm. Meanwhile, in Victoria, Mr. Galloway has a small lead through 24 polls. NDP and Conservative shares are down.

11:13pm. Ms. Crockatt’s lead went up to 400 votes and then back under 300 votes. Now it’s back over 300 votes. There are sporadic reports of other numbers (apparently from the Liberal side) showing the race even tighter than Elections Canada has so far reported.

11:27pm. Meanwhile, in Victoria, the Greens are back in the lead after losing it for a bit. At present, Victoria is, indeed, a “little bit Conservative.” Precisely, 12.8% Conservative.

11:36pm. Ms. Crockatt’s lead is now over 600 votes through 190 polls. If Macleans.ca would let me hire a decision desk that decision desk would be probably be advising me to call it.

11:50pm. So let’s now obsess over the Victoria results. The big issue in this by-election: poop. Namely, what to do with it. The New Democrat support a new sewage treatment plant, the Green candidate wanted a better plan. This debate resulted in Peter Julian and Elizabeth May getting mad at each other this evening on television. There was also some controversy over whether or not David Suzuki had actually endorsed Mr. Galloway.

12:00am. As we hit midnight in the eastern time zone, the NDP lead is 19 votes in Victoria through 120 polls.

12:04am. With 135 polls in, Mr. Galloway and the Greens take a three-vote lead.

12:13am. If the Greens win in Victoria, they’re the big story of the night. But even if they don’t get a win—they’re down 39 votes as I type—they might be the story. Chris Turner seems to have made gains at the Conservative party’s expense in Calgary Centre. And now Donald Galloway is making gains at the expense of the New Democrats and Conservatives in Victoria.

12:25pm. The Green lead is 141 votes.

12:29pm. Let us pause here to note that the Green nomination in Victoria, after a tied vote, was decided by a coin toss. But it was the guy who lost the coin toss that got the nomination.

Trevor Moat was declared the winner Saturday night, even giving his acceptance speech. However, he later learned that he and Galloway had been tied and that his victory was based on a coin toss. “I requested time to reflect on this unprecedented and unanticipated result to determine what would be best for the Green party and for me,” Moat said in statement.

After some soul searching, Moat decided Galloway — who has a full slate of volunteers in place, has been an adviser to the party and has a number of high-profile supporters in environmental and academic circles — was the stronger candidate.

12:47am. The Green lead reached 300 votes at one point, but just like that the NDP’s Murray Rankin has taken a 200-vote lead.

12:55am. The NDP lead is now nearly 400 votes and so suddenly it seems that the Conservatives and New Democrats will hold their respective ridings tonight.

1:11am. The NDP lead is now more than 800 votes with 205 polls in and so it seems Murray Rankin will soon join Joan Crockatt and Erin O’Toole in the House of Commons.

1:26am. Democracy never sleeps, but I do. With Victoria looking decided, I’m off to bed. We’ll look at the final numbers in the morning.




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Byelection brouhaha: Calgary Centre, Durham and Victoria

  1. ‘We’ll be here all night (or at least as long as it takes to exhaust whatever drama can be found).’

    Ahh Mr Wherry, you’re a gentleman and a scholar [and an honest journo] and I luv ya!

    • Yuk!

      • And yet you read him faithfully, every day. Heh.

        • No it was your comment I was referring to. Like the Trudeau accolades who love the guy for his hair and charisma. That a leader does not make but lets not let the facts get in the way.

          • I was teasing Wherry about his comment….’as long as it takes to exhaust whatever drama can be found.’ It was about the media.

            It has nothing whatever to do with Trudeau or people you imagine like him for his hair and charisma. You need a vacation.

          • acolytes?

          • Exactly……..my fingers and then my proof read is not working that well.

  2. Looking forward to a Green Party victory tonight!

    Thanks for your reporting.

    The Green Party candidate has run a very strong race, and as polls clearly showed, the Green Party has a chance at a major upset.

    • I guess a snowball’s chance in hell is still a chance…

    • Green party? Really? They are watermelons, green on the outside commie red on the inside.

      • Did you really just say commie red?

  3. This election clearly shows why a merger is needed. As long as the anti-conservative remains split three ways, Harper has nothing to be worried about.

    • You say a merger is needed, I say electoral reform is needed. DOWN WITH FIRST PAST THE POST

      • Only way that might happen is a Lib/NDP coalition. They have two options: merge or reform the electoral system. Anything else means Conservatives have outsized influence and power.

        • Unless Wild Rose goes federal. One of the reasons the Liberal party was seen as “Canada’s natural governing party” was because Albertans split the conservative vote: first with Social Credit, then Reform.

        • There is a third option and probably the most viable one at this time: agree to run a single candidate in key ridings.

      • You had your chance from 1993 to 2004.

      • I like the first past the post but I also know that it will be a cold day in hell before any political party in power allows something like this to come to pass. In the meantime, those of us who want Harper out of office (and eliminate any chance of seeing people like Jason Kenney take over the mantle when he decides to step down as leader) in the next election only see two options: A merger or an agreement to run one centre-left candidate in key ridings.

        The math on this is rather clear. A splintered centre-left vote ensures a Tory government in the next election. I

      • Stuff your BS!

    • Anti-Conservative? The Greens took vote away from Conservatives, not Liberals. Shows you that Conservatives are not all “bad” people, as Liberals and NDPers would like you to believe.

      • Anti-Conservative vote means people who do not want to see the Harper Tories in power.

    • The best option is Instant Runoff Voting. This simply makes our existing (Westminster-style) voting system democratic by requiring MPs earn their seats with a majority of the vote. (Voters have the option of ranking candidates instead of selecting one to ensure a vote on a second instant runoff ballot.)

      So with this system, a person can vote Green but have their vote transferred to a Liberal or NDP on the second ballot (if a candidate doesn’t win with a majority on the first.)

      This system does away with the need for mergers. It stops vote splitting, wasted votes and prevents voters from getting saddled with politicians and governments they don’t want and didn’t vote for.

      Since this is only a modernization of our existing system it can be brought in without a referendum. The ideal would be for an alternative minority government to legislate this in 2015. It would stop extremists from getting unearned, unfettered power once and for all.

      After, PR supporters could build support for a PR/IRV referendum. (The “two prong approach to electoral reform.)

      • And what political party do you think would EVER push for this?

        • Perhaps ALL parties should because it would make our existing system DEMOCRATIC.

    • This election clearly shows why a merger is needed.
      No it doesn’t. While such a case could be made in most elections, these by-elections created some clear winners.
      The Conservatives took one riding with more than half the vote, while the “progressives” (I’m lumping the NDP and Greens into that category*) took over 2/3rds of the vote in another, with the NDP coming out on top (as opposed to a vote split with the Tories sneaking up the middle).
      Your argument holds with the Calgary riding, but that represents only 1 of 3 by-elections.
      (* Some would say the Greens are actually siphoning conservative votes, creating a split on the right, as some commenters have stated here. I would disagree, and I suspect you do too.)

      • But a merger would tip the balance in Ontario and BC. That’s all the NDP or Libs need to take power, Mike514. The Tories won the last election because of vote splitting. There is no debating that fact. If the vote splitting stops, the Tories 30-some percent support won’t be enough to keep them in power.

        • I’m not arguing that. Your thinking is more or less sound on that, although I have some quibbles with your arguments, but “this election” is not the best one to make your case. A clear winner in one by-election, a progressive candidate winning in another where the progressives got about 70% of the total vote, and a third which was the only one where vote splitting made any real difference. If anything, this election is the weakest case against any modifications to the system. Again, not arguing the general points. Just arguing with the example – these by-elections are not the best examples to make your case.

          • You misunderstand. The other two ridings are not relevant because there was no vote splitting on the left. Calgary, on the other hand, showed exactly what happens when the centre-left vote doesn’t coalesce around a single candidate against the Tory. This happened all over Ontario and BC. There are quite a few seats that went blue because of the splits. Should the NDP and the Libs ever get over themselves and do what is necessary, the Tories are done. Harper has never grown beyond his 30-some percent base. Calgary has shown everyone what could happen if the Left came together.

  4. You seem to prefer posting the liberal leads. No posts in a while I notice…

  5. The Greens have always emphasized “fiscally conservative, socially responsible”. Many of the most successful Green Party candidates, and Green Parties have succeed running as conservative Greens. Look to the election today of the Maya Graf, as the President of the swiss legislature. Conservative Green Party Governor Winfred Kretschmann, elected president of the “Bundesrat”, or upper legislative house in Germany. Greens have always had many successes with true “values conservatives” leading the Green Party.

    • Greens can run as fiscal conservatives, but Elizabeth May has some statist tendencies.

  6. A Green Party gain of 15 points is a spectacular victory!

    • Yeah, if you’re delusional. But let’s face the facts. Under corrupt and undemocratic FPTP, a vote for Green is a vote for Stephen Harper and a vote against the environment. If the Green lunatics manage to get 10% of the vote in 2015, the 3-way center-left vote-splitting will likely give Harper another fake majority.

      If you want to see your future look to the Dippers. They kept the faith believing the revolution would one day come for about 80 years. Jack Layton pulled off a “spectacular victory” defeating the Liberals and the Bloc — and drove the right-leaning vote reluctantly into Harper’s arms.

      In 2006, the Liberals got 30% of the vote and held the Cons down to 36% with 124 seats. In 2011, the Dippers got 30% of the vote and boosted the Cons to a 40% majority with 166 seats. How spectacular!

      Why don’t these flaky single-issue partisans work within the existing parties? After all, politics is about getting things done, not pretending the disastrous results of one’s misguided efforts are somehow a victory.

      • only LOSERS cry about First past the post

        • And FPTP seems to be favoured by folks who don’t want to accept the true will of the people.

          • As the good Senator from Massachusetts said “YOU LIE!”

          • Care to elaborate?

        • While in opposition, Harper said FPTP produced a “benign dictatorship.” Of course he doesn’t mind it when he’s the dictator…

      • Perhaps the NDP should try to figure out what draws folks to vote Green, and then examine their own platforms and behaviours and so on, and make appropriate adjustments.

        Rather than call them lunatics…

      • “Why don’t these flaky single-issue partisans work within the existing parties? After all, politics is about getting things done, not pretending the disastrous results of one’s misguided efforts are somehow a victory” – Ron Waller

        Do you think this aided in your effort to recruit “flaky single-issue partisans”? I would guess not. Perhaps you need to re-assess matters and ask why the default is that the other guy should give up their core beliefs and get in line behind you. And, perhaps you shuold learn to be nicer to people you want to recruit.

        In the end, this is all intellectually lazy. You pre-suppose that 100% of Green votes in Calgary belong to the Liberals. In reality, no one knows the result of removing the Greens from the ballot. I suspect that would mean lower turnout (especially among the youth) and a larger margin of victory for the Conservatives. Stop counting other people’s votes as your own. You sound exactly how Liberals are portrayed – entitled to power by virtue of the fact that you have power. Try running for something. Try understanding other points of view. Try anything but this tired, failing line of reasoning.

  7. 11:36pm Call it Wherry. And blame it on sympathy for Marty the Horse. Heh.

  8. Let the pondering of the entrails begin…did Crockatt just nip Locke because she did knock on 10 billiion doors, or does JT owe him one big time? My theory is zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Lights out.

    Anyway congrats Calgary. You’ve shown that the city is changing, becoming very diverse, dynamic and fluid. As an old Edmontonian i shouldn’t really say that. But i’m happy to see Calgary is sending out some signals that it wont just be taken for granted by Conservatives any more.
    Next up – skid Anders out of town.

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