Know Your Parties – Introduction

With only 5 weeks to learn who will be running in this election, it is time for a primer on the 19 officially registered political parties.  The policies and platforms of each party will be discussed over the next few days.  Here are the list of parties running in this election:

The Big Five

Conservative Party of Canada

As the current minority government, the Conservative Party of Canada will be looking for a majority government once again.  In the 2008 election, they gained 19 seats over 2006 despite only a 1.4% increase in the popular vote.  If they manage to gain another 19, they will easily have the majority government they seek.

Liberal Party of Canada

The Liberal Party continues to lag slightly behind the Conservative Party in the polls for the third straight election, but they will hope for improvement in the coming weeks behind new leader Michael Ignatieff.  The Liberals had a massive reduction in seats from 103 to 77 last election, with a 4% drop in the popular vote.

New Democratic Party

Under Jack Layton, the New Democratic Party have seen their best days since the Ed Broadbent era.  Over the last three elections, the NDP have nearly doubled their seats from 19 to 37, with a 0.7% increase in the popular vote since the last election.  While his health has been a prime cause for concern, Layton will look to continue his party’s momentum in the next election.

Bloc Québécois

While those of us in Alberta will not have the opportunity to vote for the Bloc, they have become the ultimate swing vote.  There has been a slight downturn in momentum for the Bloc, having gone from a high of 54 seats in 2004 to 47 at the current dissolution.  Their popular vote percentage in Quebec has dropped from 49% in 2004 to 38%, accounting for only 10% of the popular vote in Canada.

Green Party of Canada

Whether it is considered the common “protest” vote or just due to people wishing to treat the Earth better, the Green Party by far has had the highest upward momentum in recent years, having gone from a meager 0.8% at the turn of the century to 6.8% in 2008.  While they have yet to win any seats, they have had a candidate in every riding two of the last three elections, and will likely have a full slate once again.

The Idealists

Christian Heritage Party of Canada

They may be controversial, but the CHP had the highest percentage of votes among the remaining parties in 2008, with 0.19% of the popular vote.  Their momentum was at a standstill in 2008, with a nil percentile swing in popular vote over 2006.  They had 59 candidates during the last election.

Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada

It may surprise some people to know that the Marxist-Leninist Party has been around since 1974.  In 1980, they even had candidates in 177 ridings.  Just like the CHP, they had 59 candidates in the last election, but lost 0.02% of the popular vote, down to 0.06% overall.

Libertarian Party of Canada

There has been a resurgence in Libertarian policy over the past few years, especially in the United States behind such idealists as Ron Paul and Bob Barr (contrary to his own belief, Glenn Beck is -not- a Libertarian).  First having run in 1979, the Libertarian Party had between 52-88 candidates in a given election.  After financial troubles kept them out of the 1997 and 2000 elections, they filed the papers again in 2004 and have tripled their candidates, up to 26 in 2008, with their popular vote rising from 0.01% to 0.05% in that given time.

Progressive Canadian Party

While the PC Party attempted to follow in the footsteps of its’ predecessor (Progressive Conservative Party), their momentum has floundered, dropping 0.06% of the popular vote in 2008, to a low of 0.04%.

Communist Party of Canada

Not to be confused with the Marxist-Leninist Party, the Communist Party of Canada has been around since 1930.  They have failed to receive more than 0.1% of the popular vote since 1974.  The 2006 and 2008 elections have had their lowest total vote counts since their inception.

Canadian Action Party

No minority party has had a drop-off in recent years like the Canadian Action Party.  In 2000, they pulled in 0.21% of the popular vote with 70 candidates, but have dropped down to 20 candidates and only 0.03% of the popular vote.

Marijuana Party

I likely don’t have to tell you about the Marijuana Party’s platform, but their momentum has decreased in recent years.  While their main issue continues to remain a hot button issue, their candidate count dropped all the way down to 8 in 2008.  They did however see an increase in voting in their ridings however, up to 1%, despite a drop to 0.02% in the popular vote.

Rhinoceros Party

The Rhinoceros Party is satirical in nature, but they had a mini-resurgence in 2008 fielding seven candidates in the election.  While they may never again have candidates in 120 ridings and 1.01% popular vote, it’s nice to see humour in the often serious world of politics.

First Peoples National Party of Canada

The First Peoples National Party of Canada first ran in 2006, and has gained a small amount of support since, going from 0.56% to 0.98% in ridings with their candidates.

Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada

The Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada increased its’ candidate number from 1 to 4 in 2008, also increasing their riding share vote percentage to 0.28% from 0.12%.

Western Block Party

The Prairies’ equivalent to the Bloc Quebecois, the Western Block will likely have only a handful of candidates as the movement attempts to gain acceptance.

People’s Political Power Party of Canada

The People’s Political Power Party of Canada will look to improve on their 189 votes garnered in their first election in 2008.

New Kids on the Block

Pirate Party of Canada

The Pirate Party of Canada will be running in their first ever election, with seven candidates over five provinces, including one in Alberta (Edmonton Centre).  The Pirate Party has been gaining notoriety with such hot button issues as net neutrality and, more recently, usage-based billing for bandwidth.

United Party of Canada

The United Party of Canada will also be running in their first ever election, on a centrist platform mixed between Libertarian and Progressive Conservative.

Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

The Final Poll

Barring any sort of last minute desire from the media, the poll delivered today by Ipsos-Reid is most likely the last poll of this campaign season. It’s been a long stretch – and now we’re only one week from the finish line.

The most important change in the poll released today was the switch between Higgins and McIver. In the ROI poll released last week, McIver had 37% and Higgins had 33%. Now, Higgins has the 37% and McIver has 34%. And who knows how the Eau Claire land deal will affect the voting numbers – the Ipsos survey finished thursday, the day before the story broke.

Below is a graph illustrating the support of the candidates who are still polling (including Connelly due to his early Sept. support) between September 8th and October 11th.

As shown above, McIver’s support has continued to wane from a high of 43% on Sept 19th down to 34% on Oct 11th for a net loss of -9%. Higgins has regained her July numbers after losing support in August, going from 27% on Sep 8th to 37% on Oct 11th, a net gain of 10%. Nenshi’s become a formidable third place opponent, but it may be too little too late for the campaign, only polling 21%, for an overall net gain of 13%. Among the remaining contenders, Hawkesworth’s campaign has dropped from 7% to 3%. Burrows has polled all over the place, but never higher than 4%, down to 2% in the latest poll. Stewart has been in the same boat, never higher than 3%, and also down to 2%. Connelly was as high as 3% on Sept 19th, but has failed to record above 0% since.

Other notes from the Ipsos Poll:

– Barb Higgins leads in ‘High school or less education’, 48% to McIver’s 29% and Nenshi’s 18%.
– Barb Higgins leads in ‘Lower income households’, 51% to McIver’s 29% and Nenshi’s 17%.
– Barb Higgins holds ‘NE’ Quadrant lead, 47% to McIver’s 26% and Nenshi’s 20%.
– Ric McIver holds ‘SE’ Quadrant lead, 48% to Higgins’ 27% and Nenshi’s 23%.
– Barb Higgins holds ‘SW’ Quadrant lead, 43% to McIver’s 33% and Nenshi’s 19%. NW Quadrant appears to not be included?
– Among the “Absolutely Certain To Vote” category, Higgins loses one point (36%), but gains one on McIver who loses two (32%), and Nenshi picks up four points (25%).
– 33% considered their vote as only ‘leaning’ at this time. McIver had the lowest percentage of leaning, at 30%, while Higgins had 36% and Nenshi had 38%.
– 58% say they are “Absolutely Certain To Vote”. In the 18-34 range, only 40% said they were absolutely certain, with 68% for the 35+ crowd.

(Cross posted at CalgaryPolitics)

Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

Analyzing The Aldermanic Polls

Today, VoteCalgary released their All-Wards Aldermanic Poll done by O’Connell Enterprises. In each ward, 280 people were surveyed, which allows for a ±5.8% margin of error, 19 times out of 20. Here is the voter breakdown for those surveyed:

Age 18-34: 11%
Age 35-49: 25%
Age 50-64: 33%
Age 65+: 30%
Refused: 2%

Now, it’s clearly a skewed poll when you consider only 36% of the respondents were younger than a half-century, but clearly there wasn’t an age quota guideline for this poll. This was indicated by the fact that age was the LAST question instead of a screening question. Regardless, they did a solid job of matching their gender quota 50/50 split.

For the purpose of analyzing this poll, we will take “total support” as the first number and include the firm support, e.g. Candidate X – 20% (15%).

Ward 1
Dale Hodges – 37% (24%)
Chris Harper – 3% (1%)
Ric Lockhart – 2% (1%)
Bill Scott – 2% (1%)
Judi Vendenbrink – (1%)
Undecided – 43%

It looks like Ald. Hodges is well on his way to re-election, as the amount of voters for the also-rans don’t even equal one fifth of Hodges’ current support level. Harper has done a good job of getting his name out there with social media, but unfortunately it won’t be enough.

Ward 2
Gord Lowe – 28% (14%)
“Joe” Biagio Magliocca – 5% (3%)
Terry Avramenko – 5% (2%)
Daniel Del Re – 1% (1%)
Undecided – 49%

Ald. Lowe also appears to be on his way to an easy victory for re-election, which should come as no surprise when Ald. Lowe is facing the same three contenders as 2007, all of whom are on pace to either match or be under their totals from 2007.

Ward 3

Jim Stevenson – 28% (18%)
Helene Larocque – 10% (5%)
Pervaiz Iqbal – 2% (1%)
Gary Tremblay – 2% (1%)
Undecided – 44%

Lots of confusion surrounded Ward 3, with both former Ald. Larocque and incumbent Ald. Stevenson having “re-elect” on their lawn signs. It was an interesting tactic for Larocque, who was likely hoping to pick up the majority of 2007 Chahal voters but has been unsuccessful in doing so. Ward 3 looks to be headed to re-electing their incumbent, as well.

Ward 4
Brad Northcott – 6% (2%)
Leslie Bedard – 4% (3%)
Sean Chu – 4% (1%)
Jon Wong – 4% (2%)
Tommy Low – 4% (2%)
Gael MacLeod – 2% (2%)
Jane Morgan – 2% (2%)
Carol Poon – 2% (1%)
Curtis Kruschel – 1% (1%)
Jeff Haussecker – 1% (0%)
Dwight Boehm – 0% (0%)

Undecided – 55%

Without long-time incumbent Bob Hawkesworth in the way, Ward 4 has become a free-for-all. No candidate has more than 6% total support, and no more than 3% with a firm intention (Bedard). This really will come down to those 55% undecided, but this one surely is a race to the finish that anyone could win.

Ward 5
Ray Jones – 46% (30%)
Beena Ashar – 2% (1%)
Jay Bal – 2% (1%)
Robert Guizzo – 2% (0%)
Undecided – 34%

Ald. Jones will cruise to victory in Ward 5, with only 1/3 of the voters in the ward undecided. The also-rans didn’t put up much of a fight in this one.

Ward 6

Richard Pootmans – 8% (3%)
Randy Royal – 5% (2%)
Brent Mielke – 4% (3%)
John Yannitsos – 4% (2%)
Ken Rogers – 2% (1%)
Coral Turner – 2% (1%)
Robert Willis – 1% (0%)
Rad Dimic – 1% (1%)
Tom Malyszko – 1% (0%)
Henry Sims – 1% (0%)
Undecided – 60%

Just like Ward 4, Ward 6 was expected to be quite the battle with both Connelly and Burrows running for mayor. While Richard Pootmans has the highest support at 8%, both he and Mielke are tied at firm support with 3%. This currently is a 4-man race at the top, but with 60% undecided, those votes could go any which way in this crowded field.

Ward 7
Druh Farrell – 25% (18%)
Kevin Taylor – 15% (10%)
Jim Pilling – 4% (2%)
Elizabeth Ann Cook – 2% (0%)
Michael Krisko – 2% (0%)
Undecided – 40%

Ald. Farrell has seen her fair share of enemies in this election, with many unhappy residents mounting an “Anybody-But-Druh” campaign. Unfortunately, the split vote has still allowed Farrell to have a lead in the ward, but mathematically, Kevin Taylor still has a chance. If the Anybody-But-Druh campaigners have their way and march behind Taylor, this one could be a lot closer than originally anticipated.

Ward 8
John Mar – 39% (25%)
Zak Pashak – 12% (7%)
David Lapp – 1% (1%)
Antoni Grochowski – 1% (0%)
Undecided – 35%

Zak Pashak has mounted a wonderful campaign against Ald. Mar, and due to the fact only 11% of those polled were 18-34 (Pashak’s biggest demo so far), his numbers would certainly be lower. However, it is highly unlikely at this point Pashak will unseat Mar, but I do hope we see more of him in the future.

Ward 9
Gian-Carlo Carra – 9% (5%)
Mike Pal – 8% (5%)
Jeremy Pat Nixon – 4% (3%)
Steve Chapman – 3% (2%)
Petra Clemens – 2% (1%)
Stan Waciak – 1% (1%)
Henry Charles Hollinger – 1% (1%)
Adam Vase – 1% (1%)
Undecided – 61%

With the 2nd biggest undecided percentage among the wards, this is another ward that could go to anyone. Carra has had a lot of upward momentum recently, and it might be enough to carry him to a victory, but it’s too close to call.

Ward 10

Andre Chabot – 45% (31%)
Karl Schackwidt – 3% (1%)
Robert Kennish – 2% (1%)
Nargis Dossa – 1% (1%)
Undecided – 36%

Ald. Chabot is well on his way to an unsurprising re-election. Nargis Dossa, who was the runner-up in 2007 at 11.4% of the vote, appears to have had a huge fall from grace this time around falling to 4th and likely getting between 1-2% of the vote.

Ward 11

Brian Pincott – 22% (13%)
James Maxim – 11% (6%)
Ernest McCutcheon – 4% (3%)
Wayne Frisch – 2% (1%)
Olga Knight – 1% (0%)
Undecided – 45%

If I was in Ward 11, I would vote for Olga Knight just on the name alone. However, I’m not, and unfortunately for her, it appears to be a two-way race between Brian Pincott and James Maxim. Brian Pincott will likely be re-elected for Ward 11.

Ward 12
Al Browne – 7% (4%)
Roger Crowe – 6% (3%)
Shane Keating – 4% (2%)
Rory Rotzoll – 1% (0%)
Ben Sim – 1% (1%)
Undecided – 64%

With a whopping 64% unsure of what to do in a McIver-less Ward 12, it will come down to a 3-way race between Browne, Crowe, and Keating.

Ward 13
Diane Colley-Urquhart – 38% (25%)
Andrew Rodych – 4% (2%)
Trevor Hodge – 3% (1%)
Sandy Jenkins – 2% (0%)
Undecided – 38%

Ah, the ward of my youth. It feels like nothing has changed in the past 10 years – and it certainly won’t for another three. Andrew Rodych has done wonderfully at the debates, but unfortunately for him, it won’t be anywhere near enough to unseat DCU. Sandy Jenkins seems to have fallen from grace, going from 3rd place in the mayoral race in 2007 to last place in an Aldermanic race in 2010.

Ward 14
Linda-Fox Mellway – 20% (14%)
Richard Dur – 16% (8%)
Peter Demong – 13% (10%)
Shawn Kao – 4% (3%)
Billy Tummonds – 1% (0%)
Ken Gerelus – 0% (0%)
Undecided – 35%

Ald. Mellway ran uncontested in 2007, and now she is in a heated three-way battle with Richard Dur and Peter Demong. While she currently has the edge, this is another race that will come down to Election Day.

At this point, here are the likely changes to City Council:

Re-Elected Incumbents (Decided): 7 (Wards 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 10, 13)

Re-Elected Incumbents (Likely): 2 (Wards 7, 11)

Too Close To Call: 5 (Wards 4, 6, 9, 12, 14)

For those who have talked about how city council needs “new blood”, it surely hasn’t shown in the majority of the Aldermanic races. Four of the five “too close to call” races had no incumbent, with only Ward 14’s race having a clear shot at a new Alderman. Now, don’t take all these numbers too seriously – as I stated at the very beginning, these polls are flawed due to improper age quotas, and a margin of error of 5.8% is rather high. But at this point, it is a good opportunity to rule out a huge chunk of candidates, and I wish all those candidates the best and thank them for running and giving Calgarians more choices.

Here is the link to the original poll at VoteCalgary.

Originally posted at CalgaryPolitics.

Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

What’s In Your Wallet?

On September 20th, mayoral candidate Naheed Nenshi released his donor list on his accountability sub-section of his website. Following suit with the challenge, Ric McIver released his list on September 25th. Reluctantly, Barb Higgins’ camp joined in on the 26th. Much has been said about the big names listed on the candidates’ donor lists. Somewhere, someone went through the lists, saw a couple known names and wrote an article about it, and every news source thereafter followed. For me, that’s not good enough.

I replicated the donor list of all of the Big Three, line by line. This was crucial in reading McIver’s donor list, as many of the donors contributed on multiple occasions. Once this process was complete, the data was compiled of all donors who donated at least $1,000. Then, the research began. After spending the past few days focusing on this project, we have something to present to you. And if you care about who is giving to your favourite candidates like I do, you’ll be fascinated too.

For the information that will be presented, there were seven donation sectors and two categories. The two categories were “Personal” and “Corporate”. The sectors break down as follows:

Auto: Manufacturers, Dealerships, Rental Agencies.
Development: Building and real estate development, design construction, and sales.
Energy: From the oil sands all the way to the wind farms.
Financial: Banks, non-specific investment firms.
Food: Restaurants, production.
Municipal: City-based associations and services such as the police and fire department.
Other/Unknown: Any donations that are either unaffiliated, or unable to determine what the affiliation is.

There will be comparative graphs provided to show how much money each candidate is receiving from each sector, as well as individual graphs.

Below we will be comparing three measures. The first will show the personal and corporate donations of each candidate. Afterwards, we will compare all three candidates’ donation totals together. The third and final measure will be to evaluate the percentage of donations that each candidate received per industry sector. For colour representation, Ric McIver will be blue, Naheed Nenshi will be purple, and Barb Higgins will be green. Sorry, Barb.

Before we start, once again, this only included donations over $1000. Thus, here are the donation totals we have over $1000:

McIver: $524,494
Higgins: $180,250
Nenshi: $97,750

What we can tell instantly from these numbers is that Higgins has received a higher average dollar per donor, where as Nenshi has capitalized on the smaller range donations ($1000 and under). In actual campaign figures, McIver’s dollar figure ranges at around $700,000 while Higgins and Nenshi are fairly closely matched over the $200,000 mark.

Measure One: Corporate/Personal Donations by Candidate

The first and most telling statistic from the image would be the amount raised from the developers. The amount raised in corporate donations from developers is almost equivalent to the entire kitty of either the Higgins or Nenshi campaigns. McIver has also had three years to rack up donations, which explains the above-$5000 donors. Here are some of the large, key developer donations:

JEC Enterprises – $13250, Carma – $13150 (which explains the mention of them at the ArtsVote Mayoral Forum), Trico – $9510, Hopewell – $7200, as well as big donations from CANA, Ronmor, Norr Architects, Jayman, Kovac, and Rencor – and that’s just the $5000+ range. I listed 66 total development companies having donated $1000 or higher. Again, that’s 66.

Outside of developers, Calgary BMW and Jack Carter Chevrolet Cadillac both donated the full $5000. TD Securities and Werklund Capital Corp in the financial sector did the same. Apparently, McIver eats a lot of Spolumbos sandwiches, as they were willing to give $5000 too (plus an additional $5000 from Tony Spoletini himself). In the energy sector, Murco Industries gave $10000, and Baytex as well as Trinidad Drilling each chipped in $5000. As far as municipal donations go, I found it interesting to see the Calgary Police Association having donated $1300 to the campaign, as well as the Fire Fighters Association (2500) and IAFF Local 255 (2000). Ecco Waste Systems also donated $6000 to the campaign.

In personal donations, Michelle Cann donated $8900, Marton Murphy donated $7500, while John Simpson, Eric Prosser, and Jollean Hancan donated $5000 each. Another name that intrigued me was Kurt Enders, the owner of Checker Transportation Group, donating $1400 (Checker donated as well, to a lesser degree).

If you include personal donations, some developers donated closer to the 15000-20000 range. Boy, the things I could do with that money.

When Higgins first announced she was running for mayor, there was a surge of energy injected into the election. Excitedly, the energy companies returned the favour and became the largest overall sector to donate to her cause. As far as developers go, Rencor and Ronmor both donated $5000, and have planted themselves firmly into both Higgins’ and McIver’s pockets. Also hedging their bets, Ecco Waste Systems donated $5000 to Higgins’ campaign.

In personal donations, it is clear to see Higgins’ connections around town, which is understandable with her level of celebrity. Irene Tutto, Murray Edwards, and Lezlie Stark all donated the maximum amount. Police Commissioner Daryl Fridhandler donated $5000, and both Lois and Richard Haskayne also contributed $5000 each.

Naheed Nenshi has gained a lot of momentum as the weeks go on, and he has successfully captured the youth demographic. The hard part about analyzing Nenshi’s data was the lack of an actual donation tally, so we tried using median values to get the most accurate numbers we could. There aren’t too many intriguing names on the corporate side of things, with only Rexcourt Properties, Nanji Professional Corporation, and Zinc Research donating in the 2500-5000 category. In the 2500-5000 personal donation range, we have Marc Doll, Rob Taylor, and Michelle Danyluk, as well as big donations from both the Cullen and Cochrane families. Richard Haskayne also donated. A good portion of the remaining donations came from the Arts & Culture community.

Measure Two: Donation Totals Comparison

As shown above, Ric McIver dominated in corporate donations, while others were not as far apart. But now, we need to look at a true comparison.

Measure Three: Donation Comparison, Percentages

As much as the above charts show a wave of McIver blue, the reality is, he had that much more in donations overall. So what really needs to be compared is how much each candidate received per sector as a percentage of their campaign funds.

There are some pretty stunning numbers above, but let’s see how they stack up against one another:

In Auto, McIver has the clearest advantage, having donations from multiple dealerships. But development has to be the most telling statistic. At least 50% of McIver’s campaign money came from developers, compared to only 19% and 15% for Higgins and Nenshi respectively. All candidates had a very low percentage in Finance, Food, and Municipal, with only McIver having corporate municipal support. Higgins dominated in the energy sector at 24%, and even Nenshi’s 13% was higher than McIver’s 9%.

Make of these numbers what you will, but it’s all very telling of the truth behind political campaigns. Candidates need money to run their campaigns, and they are likely willing to make promises with corporations and citizens who are willing to shell out the big money. Everyone knows this, even if it usually can’t be proven. And thanks to the challenges made this election, we have the numbers and information to properly speculate who these candidates owe favours too. Personally, I feel this should be mandated every campaign. It might seem unfair to some to have their name or business in the limelight, but if we talk about transparency, this is what it means. Calgarians have a right to know this before they vote, and it’s quite obvious why we’ve never been allowed to know in advance before; because really, it’s rather scary.

Originally posted at

Posted in Politics | Leave a comment