Key Conservative ridings in Calgary could go Liberal

It’s shaping up to be an interesting election in Calgary, where the Conservative stronghold is showing some serious cracks.

There are three ridings which look ready to vote Liberal: Calgary Centre, Calgary Confederation, and Calgary Skyview.

MRU political scientist Lori Williams says historically the Calgary Centre riding has seen moderate Conservatives, adding the by-election which saw Joan Crockatt elected showed a much stronger vote against her overall, than for her.

“That certainly indicated there were a lot of people in that riding willing to support someone other than a Conservative candidate and with the national momentum that we’re talking about those [Liberal] chances have done nothing but improve,” she said, adding it’s a similar story in Calgary Confederation where a strong Liberal candidate, Matt Grant, is up against former PC MLA Len Webber.

“It may be that the Progressive Conservative label is going to hurt Len Webber a little bit, and some of the controversies associated with him as well,” she said.

Williams expects Calgary Signal Hill is probably the longest shot of the three which looks to be leaning Liberal.

“Ron Liepert, who was a PC but not associated with some of the most recent controversies of the PCs is much better known and if the Liberal candidate Kerry Kundal were able to win that riding, that would be quite an upset,” she explained.

Mount Royal University Political Scientist Keith Brownsey says if three or more ridings do go Liberal in Calgary, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise.

“What it signals is that Calgary is becoming more like every other large urban centre in the country with parties that reflect the diverse nature of the economy as well as the diverse nature of the population,” he said. “Places like Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Halifax, as well as other urban centres, will tend to go more towards centre or centre-left. It’s a natural progression, nothing out of the ordinary, it may be odd for Calgary, but Calgary was always the odd city out in these cases.

He adds if the Liberals do pick up a handful of seats in the city, it may show the Conservative strategy of running a long, expensive campaign backfired.

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