Calgary-Centre: The Day After
It has been a wonder of a campaign.
For the Harvey Locke campaign the Liberals doubled their support from 2011 (going from 17% to 32%) and sent a message that Calgarians were willing to give the Liberals a crack at representing them. It was a 4% spread and the highest result for the Liberals in Calgary for four decades. It’s going to re-energize a group of Calgarians who haven’t been energized in a long time.
That says something. It says a lot.
The team that knocked on doors were new. Hundreds of the faces who worked the doors had never knocked on doors before — outside of a few nice old ladies — and Locke engaged with a part of Calgary that has long since not been engaged with. It felt good doorknocking and getting the electorate out to vote. It felt good hitting these doors and calling these voters.
The Liberals are Competitive in Calgary
The four-point gap between the Liberals and the Conservatives can be closed. What brought the Locke campaign to such a close race with the Tories was that he articulated principles that for such a long time haven’t been talked about. Especially from Liberals. A principle governing style: focused on being fiscally prudent, socially progressive, and environmentally responsible at home and abroad are key here. What’s more key, however, is how Harvey Locke came to these principles — he came and listened to Liberals, progressives, and Calgarians to find this common language and create a platform to reach out to them.
But it wasn’t only this articulation of values.
It was the honest inclusion of many people that felt themselves not represented in the candidacy of the Conservative. Progressive voters who found that a Wildrose-supporting candidate did not meet their needs, be they Progressive Conservative, the average voter, or many other groups of people, found a spot to be welcomed into a campaign. It has been at times surreal for this blogger to work with NDP campaigners (supporters of Layton) and arch-Progressive Conservatives (who had supported Lougheed, Klein, and Getty).
A concentration of efforts to build a strong campaign over the next two years, and a strategy that deeply integrates both local and national efforts, could spell a Liberal victory in 2015. Which should cause the Tories to take a look at how they campaign in Calgary and, as some pundits have written, “in their backyard.”
And, with that thought in mind, the Tories should be terrified. Which is healthy. Governments should feel that they are being held accountable for the actions they take and that their ultimate accountability is to the voter. It’s the voters that count and they have spoken.