Election Day! Again!
(Updated, at the top, throughout the day)
12:45 AM - Cardston/Taber/Warner appears to have elected the only Alberta Alliance MLA (and here I should probably add, "ever"). All polls are reporting, and the margin is 131 votes. No doubt, especially in Edmonton and even Calgary, that the papers will characterize this as a victory for small-c conservatives in rural Alberta. I suppose it's not exactly wrong to call it that way, but if you're asking, "why did they win in this particular riding?", it's not instructive to talk about a love of small government, or even social conservatism: that just doesn't differentiate this riding enough from all the others. Wondering if it was the impressive candidate?
Look, even this CBC profile of Randy Thorsteinson mentions why he abandoned Social Credit; they were dissing the Mormons. If you accept this characterization of why Randy and the SC broke up, and assume that the AA made sure everyone in Cardston, Taber, Warner, and points between knew it, it probably tells the tale. My LDS history is a little stale, but there's something about being given the middle finger at the last place that strikes a chord with a lot of Mormons. I realize this whole take sounds a bit ignorant, but hey. I don't think it's unfair.
Anyhoo, none of this matters much, and not just because Ralph is clearly ready to retire and anoint a replacement. As soon as the Alliance member starts voting with the NDP guys to reregulate electricity, etc., the "threat from the right" (at least electorally) will become irrelevant for a political eternity, i.e. two years.
10:47 PM - Klein just interviewed on CBC (Global has moved to Fear Factor). I'd call this a softball, but it was the CBC:
Anchor: "Brian Mason has suggested you don't really have a mandate."
Klein: "Well, I'd rather have 62 or 63 than 5."
The NDP presently has 4 candidates leading or elected. That reminds me, the striking thing about Kevin Taft's speech (besides the size of his head) was that the gloating was directed more at the NDP than the PCs. This may just be residual talking points from the campaign, but phrases like "the serious alternative" and "a voice in the centre" are obviously directed more at the NDP and their voters than the PC crowd.
10:41 PM - Bridget Pastoor (Lib) has been elected in Lethbridge East. I feel like the disenfranchised minority now, and that's a funny thing for a tall, good-looking white guy like me to say.
10:35 PM - Cenaiko came back and was elected in Calgary Buffalo. He's a former cop, and has been the epitome of what you want from a backbencher or opposition member, i.e. pick an issue or bill, master the topic, and win the argument. Harvey is a straight law & order type, which in 2004 is actually rare for a provincial or federal elected representative. Glad to see you back, Harvey.
10:25 PM - Ralph is talking, and the present tally is 63-16-4-0. (Sidenote: childcare and liveblogging do not jibe at times.) He is still a very likeable man, which reminds me again that I'm really sad about the missed opportunity that is this campaign. More to follow sooner or later. Global is going off the air. Bye Danielle!
9:02 PM - Terry Taylor and the ghost of Sheldon Chumir are leading Harvey Cenaiko in Calgary Buffalo. Shades of David Pratt (Nepean) - when the self-satisfied, longtime incumbent party is defeated, it's too bad when the actual candidate embodies none of the problems of the party. Another race to keep watching.
8:59 PM - The Liberals are leading in my riding Lethbridge East by 9%, 7/73 polls reporting. That's real bad for the PCs if it holds up. The pre-election polls I saw had the PCs favoured here by 11%, but among likely voters, they were favoured by 5% which was the edge of the margin of error. Developing, I guess.
8:55 PM - David Taras in the Global studio is rightly pointing out that if Mark Norris loses to the Liberals in Edmonton-McClung, it's a major blow. That said, while he's losing by 5% at the moment, it's with 11/71 polls reporting, and the actual margin is 56 votes. Worth watching.
8:49 PM - Called for the PCs at 8:33 by my clock. I suspect that's the most useless stat I'll see or pass on tonight, but I'll keep my eye out. There's a 1 back next to the "Other" box, but I haven't found out where it is yet (Renner in the Hat has now been declared elected).
8:30 PM - Heh. Global mentioned it was Medicine Hat that was Alliance leading. CBC.ca showed, with 1 poll reporting, Alliance 150, Liberal 20, NDP 1, PC (incumbent Rob Renner) ZERO. They fixed it, and now (still with 1 poll) it's PC 68, Lib 38, AA 15, NDP 5, SC 4. That's more like it. Although, I had a millisecond panic that the 1 poll was in a seniors home, and they really want their $1,400.
8:18 PM - There's a "1" next to the "Other" box on the ticker. I suspect this is like that GTA riding in the federal election where the Marxist-Leninist guy was briefly winning.
8:05 PM - Garry Bobrovitz (Global) just stated for no doubt the 50th time tonight that Klein had a very weak campaign. I don't disagree with this on its face, but dispute entirely the example he used (AISH). For you in the Rest of Canada, that means Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped, and on Day 1 or 2 of the campaign, Ralph took a look at a group of protestors for increased $$ to AISH, and said, "they don't look that severely handicapped to me."
A little immoderate, sure. But the media seems to think it is a massive faux-pas to point out that sometimes government entitlement programs go to people that are, um, less needy than others. Sorry, but that's not going to horrify too many Albertans.
And it looks like the Tom Olsen/Danielle Smith panel on Global may wildly exceed my expectations.
7:55 PM - Predictions! I dunno. The PCs slip a bit, it'll certainly look worse in the popular vote % than number of seats. On the tee-vee, a lot of very stupid things will be said. Here we go!
4:10 PM - Since today is Albertablogging, take a look at Diogenes from last week on Edmonton v. Calgary. I'm a native Calgarian and do not, as such, endorse his opinions therein, but he makes a few good points. (Although UofA "has the best Engineering school in the country"? I'm all for hometown pride, but that's news to me.)
I bring this up only because I need to take a gratuitous swipe at the "political scientist" quoted near the top of this story. Hopefully something was lost in the reportage:
Lois Harder, a political scientist at the University of Alberta, attributes voter apathy in Alberta to the Tories' perceived stronghold, and a general lack of interest in the election.
In other news, the CBC is attributing their low ratings to a general lack of interest in CBC programming. Thanks for the analysis, Lois!
2:30 PM - Reading the G&M online, and I am reminded thanks to the multiple references to "oil-rich" Alberta of a point I've been meaning to make for months. To the media, which includes the local guys, and everyone else who works on perpetuating the Dumb Luck Theory: if you're going to tell us that the only reason we're well off is because of this lucrative natural resource we're sitting on, can you at least get the resource right?
I can't get too huffy, because most Albertans misunderstand this too, but natural gas provides much, much more royalty revenue than oil (2002/03 Royalties: Oil - $1.360B, Natural Gas - $5.125B). Other favorite snippet from the Globe piece: "...the province is rolling in cash thanks to high energy prices and gambling revenues...". Gambling revenues - another unfair natural advantage for the redneck pinheads!
2:00 PM - Don't believe me about Ellerslie Rd? Check this ridings to watch piece at cbc.ca, and the previous margin-of-victory in the "close" Calgary ridings compared to Edmonton. I'm not guaranteeing a sweep by any means, but a lot of the Alberta coverage at the moment reminds me of Bob Cole when the Leafs are down 6-2 midway through the third period, and they score to make it 6-3. (Don't go away yet folks! Remember that one time, a few years ago, when the Leafs almost came back in a situation just like this....)
1:30 PM MST - For the third time in five months, it's election day in Alberta (and of course there was that 4th one, which apparently some people around here had an interest in as well). Since this is the last of the four, and holds the least amount of suspense, it's hard to find anyone outside of Kevin Taft's campaign office who's even slightly excited about the whole thing.
Since the pro doesn't appear to be reprising the Blue Box theme, I'll see what I can do to provide a bit of liveblogging. I'll be off to the polls a little later. The noontime radio news was reporting that early turnout (according to the R.O. for Lethbridge West) was weak, but my mother-in-law says there was no parking at her polling place (in Lethbridge East, which may be the only riding south of Ellerslie Road where a PC win is not a foregone conclusion).