Sunday, May 15, 2005

20 Ridings

Some exciting new changes coming to Ahab in the near future, in time for what seems to be an impending general election call back home in Canada. While we wait for those details to get sorted out, I thought I would jump ahead and start looking at ridings. Ideally, once the campaign gets underway, we'll be updating the site regularly with a particular eye on the key bellweather ridings that hold the most compelling stories. Here's my top 20 districts of interest for the record as we begin the process.

Nova Scotia
(1) King's Hants: Scott Brison (Lib v. CPC)
-Martin's pointman on Gomery, "turncoat" in normally rural, Conservative territory. I would be surprised if Brison doesn't hold on here, but it will be interesting to see who the CPC nominate and how hard they fight it.

(2) Dartmouth-Cole Harbour: Mike Savage (Lib v. NDP)
-Martinite, son of a former Premier, in a seat Wendy Lill held for two terms before she retired from politics. If the Liberal support drains to the NDP here, it could be a sign of a long night for the Liberals.

New Brunswick
(3) Saint John: Paul Zed (Lib v. CPC v. NDP)
-Who gets nominated? Zed's a Liberal hack and close friend of the Irvings. Elsie Wayne would win this seat, and if popular MPP Elizabeth Weir ran she could probably take it for the NDP. Another key riding and early gauge on whether support is shifting since last year.

(4) Fredericton: Andy Scott (Lib v. CPC)
-The final Maritime seat on this list, popular MP in a traditionally Conservative riding. Harper will be gunning for this one big time.

(5) Pontiac: David Smith (Lib v. CPC)
-Can Lawrence Cannon win the all-important seat for the Tories in Quebec? I'd say yes.

(6) Outremont: Jean Lapierre (Lib v. Bloc)
-Does the Quebec Lieutenant fall to his old party? Lots of Quebec ridings seem out of play unless something truly wild happens on election night (the close victories of Pettigrew, etc... are likely to be reversed) but it will be fun to watch Lapierre in campaign mode.

(7) Newmarket-Aurora: Belinda Stronach (CPC v. Lib)
-Future leadership candidate, publicly doubtful about an election that will be as closely fought as the last one in which she triumphed by less than 1000 votes. Anything can happen here.

(8) Trinity Spadina: Tony Ianno (Lib v. NDP)
-Olivia Chow in a rematch. Is Gomery enough to push those final necessary votes into the NDP column? A testament to whether the Libs can successfully run a "scared of Harper" campaign.

(9) St. Paul's: Carolyn Bennett (Lib v. CPC)
-Interesting due to the "star candidate" factor, though Bennett won this big last time. If Liberal support collapses, the dramatic swing will register quite profoundly here.

(10) Glengarry-Prescott-Russell: Don Boudria (Lib v. CPC)
-Who gets nominated, is Boudria biding his time for a return, can the CPC make its crucial Ontario gains? Many questions in Cooper's riding.

(11) Halton: Gary Carr (Lib v. CPC)
-CPC blogger Brent Colbert ran for (and lost) the nomination, but will certainly have an interesting perspective on the local dynamics here. Apparently Carr is another "turncoat" MP, so this one could be even more personal than most.

(12) Hamilton-East Stony Creek: Tony Valeri (Lib v. NDP)
-Leader of the Government in the House. With a minority either way likely, will be interesting to see if Valeri can keep his job, or gets punished for the procedural shenanigans. Another riding where NDP support will be sorely tested.

(13) Ottawa Centre: Ed Broadbent (NDP v. Lib)
-Can Ed win one final campaign, on behalf of a successor? He deserves it.

(14) Winnipeg South: Reg Alcock (Lib v. CPC)
-Manitoba's boring, I don't see any real uncertainties at electoral prediction. Will Alcock get tarred with the Gomery brush? Unlikely, but again, here's another riding that might test the baseline of Liberal support.

(15) Regina Qu'Appelle: Andrew Scheer (CPC v. NDP)
-One of the few Tory MPs experimenting with the blogosphere. Very interested here if Lorne Nystrom attempts a comeback after a shocking upset last time. Who benefits the most from presumed falling Liberal support?

(16) Palliser - Dave Batters (CPC v. NDP)
-Another close loss for the NDP in Saskatchewan. This is the type of seat both opposition parties are desperate for and neither can really afford to lose... so does Dick Proctor run again?

(17) Edmonton South: Anne McLellan (Lib v. CPC)
-Does landslide Annie have one more great escape left in her, or do the Tories sweep Alberta?

British Columbia
(18) Vancouver Centre: Hedy Fry (Lib v. NDP)
-Can the NDP take it away, or will the fear factor keep Hedy Fry in the House of Commons?

(19) West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country: John Reynolds (CPC v. Lib)
-longest riding name in the country... surprisingly close last night, and Reynolds figures to play a big role if Harper gets the keys to 24 Sussex. Interesting.

(20) Surrey North: Chuck Cadman (Independent v. ?)
-What are your plans, Chuck?

So there's a preliminary list to focus on as a starting point. Sure to be some adjustments: which ridings am I missing, and which are superflous? Make the case below. Or does it even matter? Cosh and Wells are skeptical that people will change their votes from the last time. I disagree wholeheartedly, and think the parties have got it all to play for, as we say in England. Who will the voters punish?


Anonymous dave said...

Sweet list.

FYI update for your list

- Halton MP Gary Carr was a Tory MPP before running for the Fedlibs in the 2004.

- Dick Proctor in Palliser isn't running again.

- Anne McLellan's riding is Edmonton Centre (my riding!)

10:56 PM  
Blogger Jason Cherniak said...

Also, Broadbent, Boudria and Reynolds aren't running again.

In NS, I would say Brison almost can't lose. Savage is a good seat to watch for Lib fortunes in the region. I would also say watch Halifax, though. If Alexa loses then the NDP is probably toast due to the fear factor.

In Ontario, Oak Ridges will be a good judge of whether Harper is gaining. The seat went strong Lib last time, but it is actually quite conservative and would be the next to go in York Region after Newmarket.

11:22 PM  
Blogger The Tiger said...

Cadman's running again. He'll win in a landslide.

As for the rest, who knows? Take Stronach, for instance. Halfway through the last campaign, she was up by 20%. She won that narrowly last time because, well, I think people saw how lame she was. She did _not_ impress. But I've heard that she's improved and become a halfway decent parliamentarian.

I'll be working for Kent. He's a bit negative on the stump for my tastes, though wonderful to chat with. Maybe he'll improve as the campaign goes on. (Or maybe he'll attract the people who are pissed at the Liberals but afraid of Harper.)

1:22 AM  
Blogger The Tiger said...

One change to what I said: Stronach gets re-elected. Landslide.

7:41 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

Tony Ianno's days are numbered. After twelve years, people are finally beginning to realize how useless the "Red Ghost of Little Italy" really is.

4:12 PM  

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