Wednesday, May 04, 2011

2011 Election: What happened in Edmonton Strathcona.

The contest in Edmonton-Strathcona between Linda Duncan of the NDP and Ryan Hastman of the Conservative Party was considered a riding to watch by many because it was the only riding in Alberta not held by the Conservatives. Duncan won the riding in the 2008 campaign defeating Rahim Jaffer by a slim 463 vote margin and it had been no secret that the CPC wanted it back and that the NDP would stop at nothing to hold it.

The end results: Turnout: 48,763 out of 71,050 electors. 68.6%

NDP   Duncan     26,134     53.6%
CPC   Hastman   19,755     40.5%

LPC   Sinclair       1,363      2.8%

GPC   Fehr           1,127       2.3%

So what happened in Edmonton Strathcona?

The best summation that I can make is that the election was won by the Linda Duncan NDP campaign and that it was not 'lost' by the Ryan Hastman team. I know how that may sound like I am trying to blow smoke somewhere but it really is the best explanation of the reality in the Edm Strathcona race.

Full disclosure: On a few occasions during the 2011 election I actively campaigned (mostly door knocking) for Ryan Hastman in Edmonton Strathcona.

The NDP pulled out all of the stops in an attempt to hold the riding which they called "Battleground Alberta" in a national fund-raising campaign.They had volunteers from all over descended to do the ground work (there were rumours of paid door knocking crews but with the numbers of volunteers the NDP had at their disposal from provincial assets I have my doubts), and even Jack Layton came to town on two separate occasions to rally the troops and local dipper voters. They were funded, had the man power, were well prepared, and ran a smart and effective campaign.

On the CPC side similiar can also be said. They were well funded, had the man power, were well prepared, and ran a smart and effective campaign but they faced an uphill battle from the beginning as well as some obstacles and challenges that the Duncan campaign did not. Challenges such as the power of incumbency and demographics not seen in other Edmonton area ridings.

Getting rid of a sitting MP is not generally a easy task as people tend to re elect people they know and are 'familiar' with, and when that MP is believed to be doing a decent job it is even more difficult to accomplish.  I heard it myself at the doors from people who would be considered to be conservative supporters that they thought that she was doing a decent job on the local level as their MP, they had issues with her and the positions she and the NDP took in Ottawa, but not her work at the constituency level. This is sort of a double whammy because one of the biggest reasons why voters turned to Duncan in the first place was because Jaffer was considered by many to be an absent MP. I don't want to go into the demographics too much other than the say that the riding contains the 'hipster' areas of Whyte Avenue and old Strathcona as well as the Campus of the University of Alberta. To say the riding is unique for Edmonton or even Alberta would not be an understatement.

It was an uphill battle to begin with and to make matters worse the Hastman campaign not only had to fight a formidable NDP campaign, incumbency and the unique demographics, they would have to face intangibles which nobody could plan for; namely the almost complete collapse of the Liberal vote and the unexpected surge of the NDP nationally. In 2006 the Liberal candidate received over 9,000 votes under the Paul Martin banner, in 2008 they received over 4000 while under Dion, (which many assumed would be the low point for  the Libs and that under Iggy they would at least hold that vote if not increase it), but that was a very wrong assumption as their candidate received only 1,363 votes in total. As for the surge; I am not sure how many more votes were actually gained from it in the riding on the whole, I don't believe it was that many but one thing I am sure about is that it fired up their staff and volunteers and it galvanized the already existing vote/support in the only NDP riding in Alberta.

In the end Linda Duncan and her team deserve full credit for the victory that they worked so hard to obtain and Ryan can take heart in knowing that he and his team ran one hell of a campaign* against almost impossible odds.

* If there is one positive in this it is that Ryan has proven himself to be capable candidate and a tireless formidable campaigner. Having won a close nomination race in June 17th 2009 he had knocked on 9,000 doors before the one year anniversary of that nomination passed and when the writ was dropped hit the ground running, not stopping until it was over. He performed well in the campaign and even though it was not rewarded with a win at the ballot box, his determination, work ethic, and energy didn't go unnoticed; causing even the NDP to put extra money and resources into the riding into an effort to beat Hastman and hold the riding. I would say that is an accomplishment in itself.


Fiddlers' Green said...

Thats a bit ironic, that the Tories were hurt a bit by the collapse of the Liberal vote; in that in 1993, Chris Pierce narrowly lost to the Reform Party, due to the complete collapse of the Tory vote (Scott Thorkelson was the sitting Tory MP); that plus the perceived strength of the Liberal campaign a lot of voters to the NDP and Mel Hurtigs National Party....

Unknown said...

Jacks lie to Quebeckers that they give $75 each to Alberta needs to be circulated out there.

Also a reporter that lives in the area told me it appeared to her that Hastman "abandoned" the riding. NDP visited her door 3 times and Hastman never visited. She lives in an apartment building so I'm not even sue how that is possible. But that is what she said.

I'm wondering also how many NDP door knockers were from the riding? Seems to me the manpower the NDP deployed could not be local. We should advise people to ask for ID when door knockers come around.

We can win this one back next time. All the NDP noobs are sure to slip up in ways that make Albertans see red. Strathcona needs to see and hear all of that.

Thanks for the good work. It will pay off later.

Rural and Right said...

Rahim Jaffer happened to Edmonton-Strathcona and Simcoe-Grey.

MONSTER said...

All though I voted for Ryan I was not impressed with his campaign. For two weeks I had phoned for a lawn sign. No sign. When Ryan knocked on my door one night I once again asked for a sign. Promised that there would be one on the lawn that night. Never appered. Two days later called for a sign. Told that hopefully they would get one out to me before the election. Maybe Linda is a better MP than Ryan would be if how the campaigns were run is any indicater. Still I`m over joyed that we finallly have a Harper majority.

Jen said...

I think that Duncan is in favour of recruiting very impressionalble young people so that they NDP can mold them into the ndp way of thinking as her boss Layton is doing to the young mps who haven't the foggiest idea of who or what they are or represent they are working for Uncle Jack during the election and that's it.

Doesn't Duncan give a dam to the idea of having youngsters in a daily boring gruelling days in the HOC, when they should be at school or be with their friends. She is a professor therefore, professors should be encouraging young people to attend school where they can broaden their horizon to their own likening instead of being couped up in some building for numerous of hours.

Ardvark said...

The media are going to have to look somewhere other than the government for their gotcha stories and there is going to be no hiding for the NDP or their leader now that he is in the OLO.

Jen said...

, this what gets me AA, Duncan refuse to let her constituents know of Jack's plans or promise he made to Quebec that all government business agencies: banks, judges, lawyers, broadcasting systems etc, across canada will all speak only FRENCH.
Duncan failed to tell her constituents of her boss's secret plans.

And, what's gets me is that reporters ask the PM stupid questions at the same time asking him to repeat in French.
But, when Layton was questions in english he answered in English only and when ask in French he answered in french only.
I think that RYAN HASTMAN should ask the NDP very serious questions, for the sake of ALBERTANS.

Beth E. Eklund said...

Ted Menzies came to my door campaigning for Ryan. Should I have asked him for ID, since he's not local?

Ardvark said...

Beth, of course not. All parties get assistance from people outside the riding, it is the normal practice and there is nothing wrong with it.

The NDP won this one but now they are in the spotlight I suspect things will be different in 4 1/2 years.