New Democrats to have real nomination battle in Calgary-Foothills riding

Posted on July 02, 2015, 9:40 pm
5 mins

PHOTOS: Skilled polling technicians monitor the interactive voice response equipment the day before Canada Day. Actual Canadian pollsters may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: NDP Calgary-Foothills nomination candidates Anne Wilson and Bob Hawkesworth.

Notwithstanding a gloomy demon-dialler poll suggesting voter support has migrated from the NDP Government to the Opposition Wildrose Party, there will be real fight for the New Democrat nomination in the upcoming by-election in the Calgary-Foothills riding, which was briefly the political home to one Jim Prentice.

(Jim Who? — Ed.)

anne wilsonYesterday, Calgary lawyer Anne Wilson announced she would seek the blessing of the riding’s New Democrats to run for a second time – she came a close second to Mr. Prentice, who really alert readers will recall was the premier of Alberta at the time, on May 5.

Ms. Wilson may not be the frontrunner for the riding this time, however. Bob Hawkesworth, who was New Democrat MLA for Calgary-Mountain View from 1986 to 1993, when he was defeated by Progressive Conservative Mark Hlady, is also seeking the nomination. In 1986, the PC candidate Mr. Hawkesworth defeated was … Jim Prentice.

After losing in the 1993 provincial election, the deliberately spoken Mr. Hawkesworth then served on Calgary City Council for 23 years before flaming out politically in 2010 when he dropped out of the race to be mayor of Calgary that was eventually won by Naheed Nenshi.

Almost at the last minute, too late to get his name off the ballot, Mr. Hawkesworth threw his support behind mayoral candidate Barb Higgins, who came third after Mr. Nenshi and Ric McIver, who is now the leader of the nine-member PC caucus in the Legislature.

If Mr. Hawkesworth is the party’s preferred candidate, Ms. Wilson was having none of it. “Jim Prentice might have been willing to walk away from Foothills voters, but that’s not me,” she said in a news release announcing her candidacy yesterday. “I was there at the beginning and would never walk away, and in fact here I am again to prove it.”

Ms. Wilson is a criminal defence lawyer in Calgary and Bow Valley. Before embarking on her legal career, she was a landscape gardener.

HawkesworthMr. Hawkesworth announced his intention to run on June 29. No date has been set for the by-election required because of Mr. Prentice’s sudden, if not completely unexpected, election-night resignation. The NDP nomination vote will be held on July 27.

As for that poll by Toronto-based Mainstreet Research, the Calgary Herald, for which it appears to have been conducted, reported that it “surveyed a random sample of 3,007 Albertans on June 30th.”

While there were no details in the story of Mainstreet’s methodology, the company is known for its use of auto-dialled interactive voice response polls.

The NDP Government’s opponents – who include the opposition parties, of course, as well as the usual suspects in the wishful-thinking tank sector and the media, presumably including the Calgary Herald – are taking much succor from the results.

Fair enough, I guess, although they should remember that the poll was done on the sunny day before the national holiday, the Fête du Canada, when the only people at home in Alberta may have been disgruntled Wildrosers with nowhere to go.

Another poll released by Mainstreet yesterday indicates that Canadians would choose Hilary Clinton to lead the Democrats and Jeb Bush to lead the Republicans in the next U.S. election if they were given the chance.

They won’t be, of course, so let’s not spend any more time on that one other than to predict that our American cousins, who will have a choice, will say no to both of them. Remember where you heard it first.

This post also appears on

5 Comments to: New Democrats to have real nomination battle in Calgary-Foothills riding

  1. Zeens

    July 2nd, 2015

    Did I hear correctly that the nomination date for the NDP in Foothills will be July 27th?

    • David Climenhaga

      July 3rd, 2015

      You did. I have updated the story to include that information.

  2. David Grant

    July 2nd, 2015

    I know Anne Wilson and I have met Bob Hawkesworth and I think that they both would be good MLAs. I think it would be good to have Bob Hawkesworth would provide some great legislative experience which this government needs right now. In regards to the U.S. election, Dave might be right because all through 2007 the predictions were a Hillary/Guiliani race and that didn’t happen. I can say that I have had a good response from my MLA Stephanie McLean concerning ambulance fees and coverage of CPAP machines. The fact that there is an effort to speak to me is reassuring. When I contacted the PC MLAs, the response was not as welcoming. It is a reason that they lost and the NDP should remember that.

  3. Martin d'Entremont

    July 3rd, 2015

    I supported Bob Hawkesworth for mayor when he ran and respect his political experience and savvy. He would be a great addition to the NDP and increase its bench strength. But, and here is where the “but” erases all written before, Ms. Wilson took on Mr. Prentice and gave a good accounting of herself. She came in a not distant second. I hate to say it but Mr.Hawkesworth’s throwing his hat into the nomination race smacks of opportunism. I think Ms. Wilson deserves the nomination and I would support her if I lived in the constituency.

  4. Kirk Heuser

    July 8th, 2015

    I had considered seeking the NDP nomination in Calgary-Foothills, but when I found out Bob Hawkesworth was running, I made the easy decision to support him. One of the most inspiring aspects was witnessing the selfless effort Bob Hawkesworth displayed in putting aside his personal ambition to tirelessly work to get candidates like Joe Ceci and Karen McPherson elected.

    He has proven to be an effective campaign manager, but now we need him in his more familiar role. With 30 years as a Calgary city councillor and MLA, Bob’s experience would be a tremendous asset to the incredibly talented rookie MLAs in the NDP caucus. The fact he is a long-time resident of northwest Calgary, who has represented parts of the constituency, means he will also be a knowledgeable, tested and trusted voice for the residents of Calgary-Foothills


Leave a Reply

  • (not be published)