|July 25th, 2012 by Student Vote||Leave Comments »|
Revised on July 27 to include the nomination of Catherine Fife (NDP for KW).
It seems it is the season for by-elections as three have been announced this summer. One provincial (in Ontario) and two federal by-elections are to occur in the next six months, pending on timing decisions made by the respective house’s leader. In this case, Prime Minister Stephen Harper or Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty could wait for up to six months to call the elections.
By-elections occur outside of the regular election cycle when a member of parliament vacates their position, is appointed elsewhere, passes away, or is unable to continue as a member. Alternatively, if election results are overthrown because of voting irregularities (which could occur in Etobicoke Centre), a by-election can be called to produce new results. It is the first case in the by-elections of Calgary Centre, Durham, and the provincial riding of Kitchener-Waterloo.
In Calgary Centre, Conservative MP Lee Richardson stepped down in order to take a position provincially, as principal secretary to Alberta’s Premier, Alison Redford. Calgary Centre has been a Conservative riding since its creation in 1966, electing the likes of Prime Minister Joe Clark.
Stefan Spargo, a former campaign manager and current entrepreneur is vying for the nomination. Media consultant Joan Crockatt has declared her intention to run, as has Jordan Katz, a Conservative campaign strategist and Calgary businessman. Former MLA Jon Lord is also running to win the Conservative seat, as is current municipal politician, Jon Mar. No names have come up as of yet for the NDP candidates, but two Liberals are running for the nomination: former lawyer Harvey Locke and the co-founder of TEDxCalgary Rahim Sajan. The Green Party’s William Hamilton will run again for this by-election. For more on the prospective candidates, click here.
In Durham, the Minister of International Aid, Bev Oda, resigned her seat on July 31 amidst rumours she could be replaced in a cabinet shuffle. She had held the seat in Durham since 2006. Two Conservative candidates so far are vying for the Durham seat: former Canadian Forces Captain and current lawyer, Erin O’Toole, as well as an aide to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Thomas Coughlan. The CBC’s Kady O’Malley suggests that former Liberal candidate Grant Hume may run again for the Liberals.
In Ontario’s Kitchener-Waterloo riding, PC MPP Elizabeth Witmer (the longest serving MPP in Ontario history) was appointed to the position of the chair of the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB), leaving her stronghold vacant. The PC candidate trying to replace Witmer is Tracey Weiler, a business consultant and university instructor. The Green Party candidate is Stacey Danckert, and the Libertarian candidate is Alan Dettweiler. And on July 26, the NDP nominated Catherine Fife as their candidate. The Liberals will nominate their candidate on August 9, and so far have candidates in lawyer Eric Davis, Waterloo Region Police Staff Sgt. Raj Sharma, and a city councillor and former teacher, Karen Scian. If the Liberals win this by-election, it would create a majority government in Queen’s Park.
Student Vote programs have taken place in all of these ridings. In the May 2011 federal election, Lee Richardson of Calgary Centre won with 48.2% of the popular vote. In Bev Oda’s riding of Durham, she won with just 33.9% of the Student Vote, with only 259 votes between her and the Green Party candidate. In the October 2011 Ontario Provincial Election, Elizabeth Witmer won with just 17 votes over the Liberals and only 25.9% of the popular vote.
As these by-elections occur in the next several months, the campaigns are bound to be competitive and strategic for the parties and their governments. To learn more about the case for a by-election in Etobicoke Centre, read the details of a recent debate that took place in the Student Vote office.
Megan (CIVIX Intern)
About Student Vote
Non-partisan organization engaging young Canadians in the democratic process.
View all posts by Student Vote →