FURTHER UPDATED: The Very First Nomination News Post of #Elxn42
February 9th, 2013
I was kind of hoping not to be drawn into the very labour-intensive biznak of writing and keeping track of the nomination news at least until the new Representation Order came out in the fall. But political junkies that they are — some people are already signalling their intentions to run or step down, and we may as well start documenting that now, before falling too far behind.
UPDATEs: I got Scott Simms' riding wrong in the boundary commission segment, by confusing him with Scott Andrews (which I gather happens a lot; sorry fellas). Also, an alert reader reminds us about the possibility that Gerry Byrne could run provincially; see below.
The Impact of Redistribution
First a little context. We now have 8 of the 10 boundary commission reports tabled in the House of Commons (all except Ontario and Québec, which have both been given an extension until February 21). Four of them have even been through the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs already (Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador). The only MP objections raised amongst those four had to do with: (a) where the boundary commission drew the boundary between the new St. John's East and St. John's South–Mount Pearl ridings (i.e., after the initial commission proposal) which split the community called "The Narrows" in half (the shot that opens CBC's Republic of Doyle, interestingly enough), and also (b) the
new name for Avalon riding name for the new central Newfoundland riding which Bonavista–Gander–Grand Falls–Windsor Liberal M.P. Scott Simms argued should start with "Coast of Bays" rather than "Bay d'Espoir" to be more inclusive of all the bays involved. The Committee agreed with both changes and so advised the House in its 40th report.
The Standing Committee has now started on its study of the Alberta boundaries with the northern and central ridings (evidence not yet transcribed and translated from the 57th meeting on February 7, but a very interesting audio recording of it is available here). Fort McMurray-Athabaska MP Brian Jean argued that, because the federal 2011 census significantly under-reported the shift-working population of Fort McMurray with its telephone/mailback/online data collection methodology, as compared with the door-to-door methodology used by the municipal census, and given that the city is the fastest-growing part of the province, the new riding's boundaries should be limited to just the municipal boundaries of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (which includes Fort Mac). This position had also been supported by the local Liberal riding association in hearings before the boundary commission.
Another northern MP, Chris Warkentin (Peace River), talked about the difficulties the new boundaries would create for him and neighbouring MPs in navigating their ridings, and argued that the boundary commission for Alberta erred in adhering too strictly to a 5% variance, given not only the large geography, awkward boundaries for an MP to service, but also a single MP needing to serve for example 32 municipalities and 26 first nations. He and Mr. Jean argued to keep the northern ridings north of the "swath of trees" that separate Edmonton from the rest of northern Alberta. Meanwhile, central Alberta MP Blaine Calkins (Wetaskiwin) argued that the Rimby area belonged back with the northern Red Deer riding, while the Hobbema First Nations territory should be split so that each of the bands could be joined with the city (Ponoka vs Wetaskiwin) they most often do business with, and finally he argued against the name Red Deer-Wolf Creek for the northern Red Deer riding in favour of the name Red Deer-Lacombe which would be better understood locally.
So, we have had four kinds of MPs' objections so far:
- Objections based on a new boundary drawn by a boundary commission since its first proposal and after the public hearing phase was over,
- Objections based on new information, for example about the most suitable name,
- Objections that revisit earlier unsuccessful representations to a boundary commission, but which the MPs are hoping will be bolstered by a unanimous recommendation of the Procedures and House Affairs Committee, and
- Objections that the MP did not present during the public hearings at all, but which stem from representations made to him or her by constituents.
In the latter case, Wetaskiwin MP Blaine Calkins was asked why he hadn't raised this information earlier to the boundary commission. He said that he was responding to constituents, but suggested that a better process might have been for the Commission to solicit input in advance of making their initial proposal. Unfortunately, Mr. Calkins seemed to be unaware that that is exactly what the Commission had done, so he missed his chance for a pre-submission and a presentation to the public hearings, and had to settle for an appearance before the Standing Committee instead.
The Committee will continue consideration of MP objections to the Alberta report at meetings on Tuesday, February 12 and Thursday, February 14. They have until June to study and report all 10 provinces, and then the Chief Electoral Officer will take the summer to prepare the Representation Order, which is expected to be proclaimed by the Governor-in-Council in September. The new riding boundaries are called the "Representation Order", and will come into effect for any election held at least 12 months after it's proclaimed.
Now before any nomination meetings can be held, of course all the parties' riding associations will have to either pass resolutions continuing themselves on the new boundaries, or where there are new or significantly changed ridings, winding down the old associations, and creating new ones (which will also entail the distribution of old ridings' assets and liabilities proportionally to the new ones). You can appreciate the amount of work involved here. There are currently 1,181 riding associations registered, and that's not counting the 30 new ones that will have to be created for each major party in the new ridings.
Notwithstanding that effort, a number of potential candidates are trying to get out of the gate early, so we may as well record their intentions now.
First, the Liberal leadership candidates:
- Martha Hall Findlay has said she intends to run again in 2015 in the Willowdale, ON riding (we don't know exactly what boundaries it will have yet, of course).
- Martin Cauchon has said he intends to run in a Charlevoix, QC riding – his hometown and where he first ran against Brian Mulroney at the age of 22 – rather than in his old seat of Outremont against NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.
- George Takach has said he will be devoting the next 20 years of his life to politics, but I didn't think to ask him which riding had caught his eye. A question for next weekend's debate gathering, for me, then.
- Karen McCrimmon I assume will run again in whatever riding corresponds with the current riding of Carleton–Mississippi Mills, just west of Ottawa, while David Bertschi seems intent on another run in Ottawa-Orléans, which doesn't look likely to change much in the final Ontario boundaries report.
- I'm not aware that Deborah Coyne has said whether she'll run, or in what riding, so I better pay closer attention to that question next time.
In other news:
- Former three-term Surrey Central and then Newton-North Delta, BC Conservative M.P. Gurmant Grewal is "vindicated", and ready to jump back into the ring, according to an email he sent the Vancouver Sun's Peter O'Neil. This time, Grewal is considering running in the proposed south Surrey riding of Langley-Cloverdale, rather than challenge NDP M.P. Jinny Sims in the proposed new riding of Surrey Centre. If successful, Grewal would be hoping to rejoin his wife Nina, the four-term Conservative M.P. for nearby Fleetwood-Port Kells, BC.
- Meanwhile in Saskatchewan, 2011 NDP candidate and University of Regina professor and housing / homelessness expert Dr. Marc Spooner announced his intention to seek the nomination once again in Regina-Wascana, on Facebook last month. Spooner, whose beard and long-hair inspired a website to give him a light-hearted makeover during the last election, also announced a pretty drastic haircut a few weeks later — see what you have to do when you aspire to government!
- Finally, while there have been no formally announced retirements that I'm aware of, John Ivison has reported on the rumours of Bob Rae's expected retirement as MP for Toronto Centre, ON this summer. The same sources were reporting an interest on the part of former Toronto Centre MPP George Smitherman in replacing him for the federal Liberal nomination there.
- Meanwhile, Rob Ford's success in beating back a court-enforced resignation has also quelled the rumours of any move by the NDP's Olivia Chow to the municipal scene for now. So, no Trinity-Spadina by-election is in the offing after all.
- Which leaves Denis Coderre, who is still widely expected to seek the mayoralty of Montréal, thus opening up his north-Montréal seat of Bourassa before the next federal election.
- UPDATE: Oh, and of course west coast Newfoundland Liberal MP Gerry Byrne, who will wait until March to announce whether he'll run for the provincial Liberal leadership, Bonavista–Gander–Grand Falls–Windsor MP Scott Simms having ruled out a run in an interview tonight with the CBC's David Cochrane. Thanks to @JordanP90 on Twitter for reminding me to include them.
I am hearing that the Conservatives will not be promising to protect the nominations of their incumbents in the upcoming election, and that the NDP could unfreeze nominations as early as this fall. Several of the Liberal leadership candidates are advocating a lift on protection for incumbents as part of the race, but it's doubtful that governance rules for nominations could be finalized until the new leader's administration is settled in.
Now if you know of candidates who have publicly declared their intention to seek a nomination federally, do not be shy. The Nomination News works best when it is crowd-sourced, and Google News is just not as reliable as it used to be (too few links returned with too wide a net cast). All tips received confidentially, though a link or news source is always helpful, as is the individual's website, Facebook page and/or Twitter handle if you have it.
Drop me a line by email, or tweet to @punditsguide on Twitter. I tried to set up a Tumblr for nomination news, but I think that's one too many channels to keep track of, even for me, so I won't be checking it for updates, sorry.
I'm hoping to give the website an update and redesign in anticipation of the next election, not least because the Google Maps API v.2 is not going to work after May of 2013, and with the advent of JQuery, WordPress, Google Charts and Twitter since I first built the site. Anyways, my ambitions always seem to exceed my time available, so we'll see how well that goes, but in the meantime, we can at least collect a good dataset.
Also, don't forget the social media aggregator for the federal Liberal leadership campaign, at http://lpcldr.punditsguide.ca, which pulls in Facebook feeds from each of the candidates, tracks their Facebook and Twitter follower counts, updates a Google News search in both english and french every 30 minutes, and features Twitter tickers for the candidates and the greater Twittersphere, along with links to CPAC video of the debates and scrums, and my blogposts on the race.
See you on the campaign trail.