Whither the NDP?
February 13, 2008 | 04:01 PM
Calgary has long been a wasteland for the NDP. The last time a New Democrat MLA was elected here: 1989.
Incidentally, one of the two New Democrats elected in Calgary that year was Bob Hawkesworth. Curious that he's the one socialist in the capitalist jungle whose had little trouble getting re-elected at Calgary city hall ever since he left provincial politics. Hmm...
NDP Leader Brian Mason has only been in Calgary a short period of time since this election was called on Feb. 4. But today, we had another sign of how badly things are going for the third party in Alberta's biggest city.
Students at Mount Royal College organized what they called a leaders' debate. They didn't do too badly. After all, they scored Paul Hinman, leader of the Wildrose Alliance, and George Read who heads the Alberta Greens.
The big three parties are a little busy right now as their leaders are in demand here, there and everywhere in Alberta. So filling in for the busy Ed Stelmach was PC representative Dave Rodney, who's running in Calgary-Lougheed. Kevin Taft was in Edmonton today so deputy Liberal leader Dave Taylor came across his riding to stop in at the college.
And that was it. No Brian Mason. No Calgary NDP candidate. Not even an empty NDP chair.No NDP representative took part in an election debate at Calgary's Mount Royal College. (CBC)
I asked an organizer: What's up? I was told the NDP didn't respond.
Didn't respond? I thought campuses were hotbeds of socialist support. Perhaps in free-enterprise Calgary, that axiom doesn't hold.
For the record, all four party representatives were well-received and had their say. Given that there were a few dozen votes up for grabs, one can only wonder: what was so compelling that the NDP willingly gave up this opportunity to reach a group of young voters?
Earlier this week, a local Tory compared Brian Mason to Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe. He said as Duceppe never leaves Quebec, Mason will confine himself to Edmonton. Stay where you have a chance seems to be the idea.