Macleod byelection not a done deal

By: Wheel staff

  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 06:00 am

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Nothing says fun like spending a beautiful summer day going to the polls.

The writ for the Macleod byelection to replace former MP Ted Menzies has finally been dropped and yes, voters can look forward to going to the polls on June 30. A Monday, with the following day being Canada’s birthday.

Now, byelection voter turnouts are traditionally much smaller than in a regular federal election. And with the Macleod byelection falling smack dab in the middle of a pseudo four-day weekend there may be less people at the polls than at a Florida Panthers hockey game. Who knows what effect the date will have.

There is no doubt that Conservative candidate John Barlow is a bigger favourite than Secretariat at the Belmont.

The Conservative Menzies won all four of his elections by a landslide beginning in 2004, until he retired in November to work in the private sector before finishing his term.

However, the potential for a poor turnout means all the candidates have to be on their toes.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s party has never seemed more vulnerable since the Conservatives formed a minority government in 2006.

He is fighting with the Supreme Court over its recent ruling about the Senate. Speaking of the Senate, not even the Ottawa Senators had as bad a year as Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and former Harper chief-of-staff Nigel Wright.

Liberal Macleod candidate Dustin Fuller might be able to rally a protest vote, or just those wanting a change of direction from Tory rule.

The Liberals have certainly taken notice. Party leader Justin Trudeau made his third appearance May 8 in the Okotoks area since June 20.

However, the third Macleod candidate, the Green party’s Larry Ashmore, has made the best prediction so far. He rightfully stated now might be the opportune time for disgruntled voters to show their displeasure with the Conservatives.

Barlow is a smart guy and none of this will be news to him (full disclosure — he wrote in this space just four months ago).

But for the first time since Reform Party’s Grant Hill beat incumbent Progressive Conservative Ken Hughes in 1993, the conclusion of a Macleod election is not a foregone conclusion.

Now the nominees have to rally support when most people would rather be lazing on a sunny afternoon.


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