In the Calgary Center by-election, Conservative Joan Crockatt, Green Party rep Chris Turner and Liberal Harvey Locke campaigned energetically for the House of Commons seat up for grabs, following the stepping-down of MP Lee Richardson. Though the Liberals and Greens made a huge effort to grab the seat from Crockatt, the Conservative won with about 37% of the vote, against Locke’s 32% and Turner’s 25%. The three-way race shows that Calgary – though traditionally a Conservative stronghold – is evolving. This is due in part to Mayor Nenshi, who has made tremendous efforts to change the DNA of the city, creating a diverse and engaging place for Calgarians. Moreover, Crockatt was probably hurt by her lack of attendance at major by-election debates, whereas Locke may have been hampered by the comments by McGuinty in the press, and SUN News’ digging-up (and subsequent biased interpretation) of the 2010 Justin Trudeau comments.
Though Alberta is almost completely Conservative blue, the efforts of candidates like Turner, Locke and then Linda Duncan in Edmonton-Stratchcona show that the province might just be making strides in becoming more diverse. And that is good: the more variation a province has in terms of the beliefs, values and backgrounds of its people, the higher our potential for innovation becomes. We need the clash of ideas, rather than a single, unified manner of thinking. Calgary Center shows that we’re gradually moving in this direction.