News / Calgary

Calgary Centre byelection race heating up

Growing national attention on the Calgary Centre byelection is raising the stakes and likely to boost voter turnout, according to local political scientists.

“I think it’s going to motivate particularly voters for the Greens, the NDP and the Liberals,” Lori Williams of Mount Royal University said Tuesday, shortly after Justin Trudeau spoke at a rally in support of Liberal candidate Harvey Locke.

Trudeau is the latest in a series of high-profile federal politicians to weigh in on the byelection, which has been attracting more and more interest from Canadians outside of Alberta.

That creates a “huge incentive” to vote, Williams said, especially for riding residents eager to show off a different side of Calgary, which has become known for routinely electing Conservatives in landslides.

But that stereotype is starting to change, according to Green Party candidate Chris Turner, who was pegged in a recent poll at a close third in the race with 25 per cent support.

“I think generally speaking people are kind of curious about Calgary these days,” Turner said. “Our politics has been very exciting and unpredictable.”

University of Calgary professor Barry Cooper questions the accuracy of that poll, but believes it could play into the Conservative candidate’s hands.

“If the narrative is that Joan Crockatt is in a tight race, then that will have the effect of inspiring the Conservative voters to get out (and vote),” he said.

Locke, meanwhile, is playing up his second-place poll result and calling the election a “two-horse race.”

For his part, NDP candidate Dan Meades said “we don’t put any credence in these polls, at all.”

Crockatt was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

The byelection is Monday, Nov. 26.

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