November 26th, 2014 | 2 Comments »
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Between them, the opposition NDP and Liberal parties will have nominated eighty candidates in the month of November alone, a sure sign that election readiness is top of mind in the year or so leading up to the next federal general election. Add those to the at least 11 Conservative nomination meetings (and likely more), and nearly 100 candidates will have been confirmed in 30 days, with a month to go in 2014.
The NDP, which only unfroze nominations in Ontario earlier this fall (with Quebec unfrozen in late June), has scheduled 42 meetings this month, which will have doubled their nominated slate-count in the process, and will hit 100 nominations by the end of the calendar year.
The Liberals, who already had a substantial head start, will have added a further 38 candidates to their roster in November, and expect to hit 180 by year's end. [Note that their line looks to be meeting the Conservatives' by year-end, but the blue team's will rise once their nominations get reported after the fact.]
The Conservatives don't publicize their nomination meetings centrally, and so my count of their November meetings only includes those they've reported to Elections Canada or those I've been able to find on the Internet. Nevertheless the governing party remained ahead of its opponents in nominated candidates as of this Tuesday (181 Conservatives to 160 Liberals and 71 New Democrats), and will have had at least 11 nomination meetings scheduled in November themselves.
[Remember, the Conservatives have 7 designated candidates who are protected incumbents by virtue of party rules - all their by-election winners, plus the party leader - and they also had one nominated candidate step down (Rob Merrifield), which is why their number of nomination meetings and nominated candidates aren't the same. The NDP and Liberals also have nominated candidates who later stepped down or were suspended, though not as many, and they don't have any protected incumbents that I'm aware of.]
Nominations Progress by Party and Province, as of November 25, 2014
With leader Justin Trudeau's nomination completed in Papineau this past weekend, the Liberals have completed nominations of all 30 of their 35 incumbent MPs who are running again. Ralph Goodale was renominated November 13 in Regina-Wascana, and Guelph, ON MP Frank Valeriote announced last Friday that he won't be re-offering in the next election. Five of their caucus have now announced their retirement as of the next election: Irwin COTLER, Lise St-DENIS, Ted HSU, Gerry BYRNE, and Frank VALERIOTE, and though the party hasn't filled any of those positions on its slate as of yet, there are hotly-contested nominations underway now going on in:
- Cotler's seat of Mount Royal, QC (long-time Liberal backroomer Jonathan GOLDBLOOM vs the former mayor three-time mayor of Côte St-Luc Anthony HOUSEFATHER, slated for Nov 30), and
- Hsu's riding of Kingston and the Islands, ON (seven candidates, down from eight; but still unscheduled).
To date, the NDP has renominated 47 of its 96 members of caucus, with 5 of the remaining 49 already having announced retirements (Alex ATAMANENKO, Jean CROWDER, Joe COMARTIN, Marie-Claude MORIN, and Tarik BRAHMI), and 16 further incumbents having nomination meetings scheduled before mid-December. In addition, the party has filled or is scheduled to fill a number of its open seats (whether from retirements or floor-crossers) by Christmas:
- Wildlife biologist and former provincial candidate and Penticton municipal councillor Dick CANNINGS won a contested nomination to run in Atamanenko's successor riding, South Okanagan–West Kootenay, BC.
- The chair of the Islands Trust (a quasi-municipal government in BC's Gulf Islands), Sheila MALCOLMSON, defeated four other candidates to replace Crowder in the northern half of her old riding, now called Nanaimo-Ladysmith, BC. The southern half, Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC, has 6 nomination contestants at the moment, but is currently still unscheduled.
- Previous candidate and an aide to Marie-Claude Morin, Brigitte SANSOUCY, is expected to be acclaimed in Sainte-Hyacinthe-Bagot, QC on December 10.
- Well-known EI and poverty activist and the party's 2000 candidate in Papineau, Hans MAROTTE, is expected to be acclaimed in Brahmi's Saint-Jean, QC seat on November 29.
- Also on the 29th, the president of the posties local, Karine TRUDEL, will be acclaimed to run in the Jonquière, QC seat being vacated by retiring NDP-turned-Bloc MP Claude PATRY.
- And then on December 5th, economist and three-time former candidate Réjean BELLEMARE will reclaim the spot he probably should have taken in 2011, and replace Jean-François Larose as the NDP standard-bearer in Repentigny, QC. Larose left the party a few weeks ago to join Jean-François Fortin in creating a new nationalist party called Forces et Démocratie.
Open seats still to fill for the NDP include: Montcalm, QC (where Manon PERRAULT now sits as an independent, pending the disposition of her legal issues), Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC (where Lise St-DENIS crossed to the Liberals before announcing her retirement), Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC (now held by Sana HASSAINIA who left the caucus as she announced her retirement in 2015), Windsor—Tecumseh, ON (where Joe COMARTIN is stepping down), and Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON (where MP Bruce HYER crossed the floor to the Greens).
That leaves 28 members of the NDP caucus to either be renominated or announce their retirement in the new year. We'll revisit this topic again when the list whittles down a bit further.
For the Conservatives' part, they also logged a retirement announcement – Patricia DAVIDSON in Sarnia—Lambton, ON was one of the few of their incumbents not already renominated and she made her retirment official last Friday. This brings the number of retiring Conservative MPs to 23, and the total number to 36.
As for the other not-yet-renominated Conservative MPs:
- Egmont, PE fisheries minister Gail Shea has still not declared her intentions, though the issue of her indecision was further highlighted during a very competitive Liberal nomination race in her riding last week won by former Liberal MLA Robert MORRISSEY, and the attendance of NDP leader Tom Mulcair at the nomination of former NDP MLA Herb DICKIESON, who will also seek a federal seat there.
- Cabinet ministers Peter MacKAY, Bernard VALCOURT, and Lynne YELICH are still question-marks, as is Veterans Affairs minister Julian FANTINO.
- While there is no word on Mississauga-Brampton South MP Eve ADAMS' intentions, Finance Committee chair James RAJOTTE is reportedly no longer facing a nomination challenge in Edmonton Riverbend, AB, and his meeting is expected to be scheduled in the new year. That leaves Leon BENOIT as the final question-mark, though if he was going to run in Lakeland, AB, he'd now have to face Deb Grey's former constituency assistant, and a former riding president of his own, not to mention a third new entry into the race. Whether Benoit is up for the challenge one more time or ready to finally step down has yet to be determined, so stay tuned.
The Conservatives have enough open seats and enough vigourously contested nominations in them for their own post, which given the hour I'll sign off on this one, and get to that in the morning.
Note, however, that I've just finished making a massive three-day pass through the entire list of ridings, entering nomination contestants for every riding I could find them in. For now, you can see them in the new "Nominations" tab on a Riding profile page, but shortly I'll add them to the Candidate profile page as well, and then make a new and better party list page that shows nomination contestants in one tab, and nominated candidates in another one. I'm even keeping track of any names I come across who did not get vetted, or who withdrew from the race. So, if you seem any names missing, do get in touch.