10.25.2016 07:50 AM

Stan Sakamoto and Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner

Here’s the results from Elections Canada:


A few things:

  • I had the honour to work with Stan’s son Mark back in the Ignatieff era.  A finer man, and a more decent family, you could not find.  Stan and the Sakamotos should be very, very pleased with the result they got in an Alberta riding that has not gone Grit in many decades.
  • Congrats to the Tories.  They are down but not out, as I regularly warn my Liberal friends.  Trudeaumania is not found everywhere.
  • The final New Democrat vote was a shocker – only a hundred or so more votes than the Rhinoceros Party.  Incredible.  They have big, big problems.  In the Hat, as elsewhere, Trudeau has seemingly stolen – and kept – the Dipper vote.  Under the NDP figures out a way (and selected a leader) to get it back, they and the CPC are pooched.
  • Turnout was a disgrace.  Blame lies, in varying degrees, with Elections Canada, the political parties, and all of us.



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    cynical says:

    That riding, after a couple of revisions, was essentially the one that I grew up in. I think the only Liberal that has ever represented it was Bud Olson, and only after he jumped ship from the Socreds, if I recall.
    My dad worked for a variety of unsuccessful candidates there, including some very estimable people. His job was ethnic outreach, among other things, to try to consolidate the vote of immigrant citizens in favour of the Liberals.
    One of the big “problems” for the Liberals there is the concentration of LDS church members in the Cardston part of the riding. They tend to vote en bloc and are very socially and economically conservative. And it is predominantly rural, outside Medicine Hat, although I suspect the number of actual farm dwellers is down owing to consolidation of farms into larger entities.
    I seem to recall that the south east of the province, around Medicine Hat, was a centre of CCF/NDP voting, probably because of the number of union workers in Medicine Hat. Or I might be misremembering. One of my elementary teachers (G.McFall) ran for the CCF in that area).
    I was browsing an old photo album the other day and found a picture of Mr.Pearson waving from his car window during a visit.
    It was also the riding where an upstart Conservative by the name of Gundlock defeated a long-standing Socred by the name of Blackmore, whose family name lives in infamy for a variety of reasons. Some of the Socreds in those days were very… right wing.

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    Alex says:

    Completely agree with your analysis Warren (and in particular your third point). The Tories can only win if there is a strong NDP, and the NDP is incredibly weak these days. I see nothing but Liberal majority governments for the foreseeable future, and this comes from someone who voted Dipper in the last federal election.

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    bluegreenblogger says:

    Hm, I would not be terribly worried about a low turnout in a by-election. The turnout was not actually that low for a slam dunk riding. democracy will do just fine. Dippers disappearing though, I guess all those mouth breathers are drinking their own koolaid again. Commies at the gate seems to feature prominently in the, hm, shall we call them less intellectual circles in Alberta?

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      The Doctor says:

      So you’re a mouth breather if you vote Conservative instead of NDP. And a non-intellectual. Or something like that.


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    ottawacon says:

    Turnout is not that far off the historical average, and considering it is a fairly processional election to send a Con to Ottawa, it is not surprising it would be on the low side in an early term byelection. It is a poor showing by the NDP, but they generally don’t clear 10% in that riding. Much of that riding is white-hot Wildrose provincially, with the NDP running 3rd everywhere except Medicine Hat. Notley may be holding up in urban Alberta, however I think the provincial NDP were more of a liability than an asset this time out.

    Cynical – yes, Medicine Hat proper has more NDP provincial votes than the other two provincial districts in the Federal one put together.

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    Francis says:

    Wow, that voter turn out is brutal. However, it could be due to the fact that this riding has been deep blue for so long that Conservative voters possibly declined to show up; feeling their vote would be unnecessary. By-elections also typically tend to see fewer votes cast than general elections. Not a bad showing for the Liberals, though — considering this is CPC heartland.

    Unfortunately, this is a devastating result for the NDP and in particular, the ABNDP.

    The trend line for Dippers in that province has been atrocious for sometime and its not letting up. If the NDP was only able to pull 1% of the vote in a province where their Alberta wing holds a majority government, its not a very good reflection on the reception of their party’s brand.

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    BlueGritr says:

    Who can save the federal NDP? Boulerice? Cullen? If one of the two doesn’t step up, the Dippers are doomed. And the Liberals will waltz to an even bigger majority government.

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      Matt says:

      Cullen’s already said he isn’t running.

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        dave constable says:

        Craig Scott has his analysis of CETA in The Tyee. Sometimes a person mulling running for something can sort out, and try out, some ideas that way. Get a little feedback! I always appreciated the substance of his contributions in debate when he was an MP. Not sure how his way of putting things would work in ‘marketing’ politics, though.

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        BlueGritr says:

        He can still change his mind.

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      Francis says:

      Who would even want it?

      The NDP isn’t going anywhere for at least another generation. If the Liberals are expected to be in government for at least two election cycles, the NDP are going to be forced to sit and watch from the back corner of the House as power changes hands between the Conservatives and Liberals for possibly 10-15 years.

      I mean, once you get that close to power only to be knocked back into relative irrelevancy, the incentive for being the “conscience” of Parliament evaporates. Nathan Cullen has expressed a similar opinion, which is why he has declined a run. One can safely assume that the others also feel similarly.

      As it stands, the NDP is on the cusp of non-existence in the polls. With the debacle at the convention with the Manifesto and Mulcair’s humiliation, the party has demonstrated a complete lack of cohesion and direction. The Liberals have completely engulfed any ideological territory on the political spectrum that the NDP could occupy. If Dippers decide to swing further to the left then governance is completely out of the questions.

      I said this after last year’s federal election and I believe its truth to endure. This may be the end of the NDP in its current form. Over the past 5 years alone, the NDP has exhibited many problems. The main ones that continue to kill them are:

      1) a complete inability to mount successful campaigns,
      2) a vision that is neither tenable nor articulated in a palatable manner
      3) leaders that just can’t get the job done
      4) Unwillingness to push people out who are clearly a drag on the party

      Coast to coast, province to province, the problems are all similar.

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    Maps Onburt says:

    I hate it when people point out spelling/grammar mistakes in posts but I had to do a double turn when I saw “Under the NDP…”. I believe you meant “Until the NDP…”.

    With respect to the actual content, I think the NdP is rudderless right now and Trudeau is getting all the attention. The Conservatives actually increased their vote percentage from the last general election with an incumbent running that time. As for the “Christian” portion of the riding meaning the Conservatives, I saw what about the fact that the Christian Heritage Party managed to more than triple the NDP.

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    P. Brenn says:

    leap manifesto, mulcair on way out , no decent candidates for leader , notely too but no one could have prevented the mess in alberta

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    Matt says:

    Actually at 44.5% I thought voter turnout was pretty good for a by-election.

    Some recent ones have been in high teens.

    The ridings of MacLeod and Fort Mac-Athabasca in 2014 by-elections had turnout of 19.8% and 15.3%.

    Trinity Spadina also in 2014 was around 32%

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    When democracy sleeps, we all lose.

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    Kev says:

    That’s excellent turnout for a by-election in an uncompetitive riding. The fact that the LPC consolidated its vote is not a good sign for the other parties one year into the term.

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      Matt says:

      Libs got almost the same number of votes in the by election as they did in the 2015 general election

      2015 general – 9086. Turnout 65.8%

      2016 by-election – 8778 Turnout 44.5%

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    westcoastjim says:

    I, for one, refuse to take personal responsibility for the turn out in the Medicine Hat by-election.

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