Friday, October 29, 2010

I need your local knowledge!

I'm working on an analysis of the effect of local campaigns. I'm looking at how notable individuals help their party's standings, and whether we can draw any conclusions as to the probable effect of having a star candidate running for the first time in a given riding.

The results of my analysis will eventually be incorporated into the projection model.

I've made a list of these "star candidates" who stood for election in 2006 or 2008 for the first time in a particular riding. These are local notables, regional or national celebrities, former mayors, former provincial politicians or cabinet ministers, and formerly popular or influential federal politicians returning for another kick at the can.

But there are 308 ridings and over 2,500 candidates who ran in the 2006 and 2008 elections for the major parties. So I can't know whether every single person is or is not one of these "star candidates". Many of these individuals I've never heard of, and I'm sure I let a few slip through my fingers.

So, I'm asking for your help. Who were the star candidates in your regions in the 2006 and 2008 elections? They didn't have to be elected, and I can determine the extent to which I'll consider someone a star candidate. By-elections aren't included because they are beasts of their own. Please send me your suggestions, either as a comment in reply to this post or in an email sent to

Here are the people I've identified from the 2006 election: Fabian Manning, Maxime Bernier, Marc Garneau, Lawrence Cannon, Jim Flaherty, Jim Harris, Peter Kent, Michael Ignatieff, and Tony Clement.

For the 2008 election I have Jack Harris, Elizabeth May, Keith Ashfield, Andre Bachand, Justin Trudeau, Anne Legace-Dowson, Marc Garneau, Michael Fortier, David Pratt, Gerard Kennedy, Peter Kent, and Leona Aglukkaq.

I'm sure there are others. Thanks for your help!


  1. His first election was in 2004. I'm only looking at the 2006 and 2008 elections, as it is too difficult to compare the results from 2000 to those of 2004.

  2. For BC, here would be my list with varying degrees of "star" power:


    Victoria - Denise Savoie (NDP) [popular Victoria city councillor];

    Vancouver Kingsway - David Emerson (Liberal) [highly respected businessman (YVR, Forest Industry, government deputy minister) - albeit the riding was not a good fit demographically];

    Surrey North - Penny Priddy (NDP) (highly respected former provincial cabinet minister and Surrey city councillor);


    Surrey North - Dona Cadman (CPC) (name recognition from husband albeit had negative press prior to election due to Cadman controversy);

  3. I recommend doing a Google News Archive search. That would at least give you a list of who media thought were star candidates.

    Google News Archive Search

  4. Thanks Jonny Quest. Will add Savoie and Priddy to the list, but Emerson's first election was in 2004. Cadman is too much of a weird grey area for my liking.

  5. 2006: Sharon Labchuk is the most well know Environmentalist on PEI.
    Toronto's Paul Summerville was considered a "star" for the NDP, as was Peter Kent.
    Ignatieff was also big, as was Flaherty.

  6. As mentioned in the post, Kent, Flaherty, and Ignatieff are already on my list. I will look up the other two.

  7. Oh right, Summerville. Now that I've Googled him, I remember him in the 2006 campaign.

  8. Not sure how big of a Star he was but Doug Moffatt ran for the Liberals in 2006 for the Durham riding. He was a former NDP MPP and Scugog Township Mayor.

  9. Eric would your list include former ministers who choose to run after being defeated and won the election? Ie. Rob Nicholson in Niagara Falls?

  10. David Orchard ran for the Federal Liberals in 2008, in the Saskatchewan riding of Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River.

    In 2006, former one-term Saskatoon mayor Jim Maddin ran for the NDP in Saskatoon—Wanuskewin - and while certainly well-known, I think he was too unpopular to benefit from a "star candidate" boost.

    Are you accepting party switchers as Star Candidates? Former NDP MP and MLA Chris Axworthy switched to the Liberal Party for the 2006 election in riding of Saskatoon—Wanuskewin.

  11. Siobhan Coady first ran in 2004 but wasn't elected till 2008 but she was a well known businesswoman. Judy Foote ran in 2008 and is a former MHA and minister.

  12. What about Francoise Boivin running for the NDP in Gatineau in '08, and Michael Byers for the NDP in Van Centre and Marilyn Churley in B-EY? Also Ed Schreyer was a star for the NDP in '06

  13. ...there is also Ray martin, former Alberta NDP leader who ran in Edmonton East in '08

  14. I suppose you could call Paddy Torsney in Burlington as a "star candidate," given that she was known locally everywhere in this city, and not just because of the fact that she was MP for 12 years. She's been a pretty major local figure. But, I'm not sure that fits your criteria.

  15. Morakon, Moffatt doesn't appear (to me) to fit the criteria. His time as an MPP was short and a long time ago. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

    Earl, Rob Nicholson was elected again in 2004. I would consider him, but only if it had been in 2006 or 2008 that he was elected again for the first time.

    atomicrobot, I was considering David Orchard, but I'm not sure how much of a 'star' he is. He has never won an election. I agree with you about Maddin. As to party switchers, I would consider them but only if they went to another riding. There are too many unknowns if they switch parties but run again in the same riding.

    Red Tory Liberal, Foote fits the bill and is added to my list. Coady wasn't a new candidate in 2006 or 2008, so she doesn't meet the criteria.

    DL, Boivin never "returned", so she doesn't fit. I'm not sold on Byers but Churley and Schreyer have been added.

  16. DL, Ray Martin has been added as well.

    Volkov, Torsney doesn't fit as she didn't run for election for the first time in 2006 or 2008.

  17. Poor Paddy.

    In that case, I'd throw in Larry DiIanni in Hamilton East-Stoney Creek in 2008 for the Liberals; David Pratt in 2008 in Ottawa West-Nepean for the Libs; and Gerard Kennedy for the Libs in Parkdale-High Park in 2008.

  18. Volkov, Pratt and Kennedy are already on the list. Di Ianni isn't, though, and will be added.

  19. In 2008, the Liberal candidate for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek was Larry Di Ianni, who had served as mayor of Hamilton from 2003-2006. First at the municipal level in 1982

  20. Other candidates in Newfoundland and Labrador that weren't elected were Walter Noel, he's a former MHA and Minister. Craig Wescott and Ryan Cleary both were editors of local newspapers and Ted Warren was also editor of the province's largest newspaper, he founded his own magazine and was president of the St. John's chapter of the MS Society of Canada.

    Scott Andrews, who beat out Fabian Manning, was a town councillor in the province's 3rd largest community and had won the largest ammount of votes of any candidate in that town. I don't no if that would classify or not but he sure thought it was impressive.

  21. What about John Baird and Shelly Glover ??

    He was an MPP and she was a spokesperson in the community for the police.

    O/T - Liberal fundraising is reported to be HORRIBLE. Contrasted with banner fundraising for the NDP.

    Bad news for all Liberal by-election candidates if Ignatieff can not afford to give them 100% spending.

    Bad news for CPC candidate in Winnipeg East who's path to victory required Lib-NDP vote splitting.

    Bad news for Michael Ignatieff's leadership, which may be drawing to a close.

  22. How about Anne Lagace-Dawson for the NDP in Westmount-Ville-Marie in 2008? Or Nancy Charest for the Liberals in Haute-Gaspesie?

  23. Red Tory Liberal, some good suggestions, but I don't feel any of them fit for this analysis.

    Shadow, I'm not sure how I missed John Baird. I don't think Glover fits, though.

    Volkov, Legace-Dowson already on the list, and Charest not exactly a star.

  24. "DL, Boivin never "returned", so she doesn't fit."

    I'm not sure what you mean by her never having "returned"? She was a former MP running for a different party and the NDP vote in that riding increased wayyy more than it would have with anyone other than her running.

  25. "I suppose you could call Paddy Torsney in Burlington as a "star candidate," given that she was known locally everywhere in this city"

    Just about anyone running for Parliament for a major party in a riding where that party is in contention is "known in the community". That doesn't make someone a star candidate - its almost a minimum requirement for being a candidate in the first place.

  26. I seem to recall that the Tories ran some ex-hockey player in Elmwood-Transcona (he lost). I suppose some people consider retired third rate pro athletes "star candidates".

  27. Eric I think being on the evening news every night answering questions about crimes counts as being a star candidate.

    Winnipeg is a high crime city.

    Here in BC I recognize my local police spokesperson and the Vancouver one.

  28. DL, but how much of her vote drifted because they were Liberals who felt loyalty? It's not the same as if she was a new candidate in the riding who increased the NDP's profile simply because of the person's celebrity. She got NDP votes because she was under the NDP banner, and she got Liberal votes because she used to be the Liberal MP. It's a different situation.

  29. I'd suggest Jack Harris for the 2008 election. He was a former leader of the NLNDP and very highly respected. It might be difficult to disentangle the impact of his "star power" on the campaign from Danny William's ABC campaign though.

  30. Charest could be considered a "star" candidate. She was a former MNA and a popular one at that, giving the Liberals one of their best results outside of Montreal and nearly knocking off the Bloc. I consider that "star power."

    What about Tina Keeper?

  31. Eric,

    How about former BC Liberal MLA, Lorne Mayencourt running for the tories in Vancouver Centre in 2008? Vancouver Centre is essentially owned by Hedy until she resigns, but Lorne did have a high profile and received a lot of attention.

    Also, it pains me to say this, but I agree with the nomination of Michael Byers as a star candidate for the NDP in the same riding. The guy is silly and more partisan than some creepy love child of Pierre Poillevre and Marlene Jennings would be. However, he was courted and recruited by the NDP to challenge Hedy. He also got quite a lot of coverage, at least here in BC.

  32. You may even want to consider André Arthur in Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, considering that he first ran in 2006.

    He must have had some "star" power in order to win as an independent.

  33. Oooh Tina Keeper!! Good call Volkov.

    GAIL SHEA maybe ?

    Wasn't she a cabinet minister.

  34. Matthew, Mayencourt doesn't seem high profile enough for my analysis, but does anyone else think Byers deserves a spot?

    Jonny Quest, Arthur would've fit, but he's an independent so there is nothing to compare his performance to.

    Shadow, Gail Shea is a good one, she was a provincial cabinet minister. I'll add her.

  35. And yes, Tina Keeper is a good one as well.

  36. I don't know if you want to count Jean-Pierre Blackburn in Jonquière-Alma - he was Parliamentary Secretary under Mulroney.

    Svend Robinson ran in 2006 in a different riding than the one he held until 2004.

    I agree with the others that Nancy Charest does count as a star candidate for the Liberals in 2008. It takes a lot to raise the LPC vote by 22% in regional Québec.

  37. Eric said - "...does anyone else think Byers deserves a spot?"

    Living in Metro Vancouver, frankly I've never heard of Byers prior to his announced NDP candidacy for Van Centre. Thereafter, I became familiar with him. But yeah, I don't see the "star" power there and obviously neither did Van Centre voters who placed him and the NDP into 3rd place after a few natural 2nd place finishes.

    As for Mayencourt, he was actually quite unpopular in the riding as an MLA and only held the seat provincially due to the massive building boom of higher-end condos in his riding, which substantially increased the pool of centre-right voters to his benefit.

    Yet even Mayencourt beat out Byers for 2nd place in 2008. Had Byer's had 'star' power in terms of local 'popularity' he would at least have held that previous 2nd place NDP finish. My 2 cents.

  38. Paul Antle ran in St. John's East in 2006. He's a very well known successful businessman and he's considered someone who will lead the party back to power provincially.

    Joseph Goudie ran for the Conservatives in Labrador in 2006. He was a provincial Cabinet Minister in the 70's and 80's.

  39. Mayencourt was the only (openly) gay CPC candidate in that election.

    Svend Robinson made his attempted comeback there in '06 which was big news.

    Harper personally campaigned with Mayencourt and the debate ran on tv across BC.

    The Green candidate Adriane Carr was really big news too. Definetly a star.

    I'd call all four candidates in that '08 election to be "stars".

  40. Tony Clement.

    He lost in Brampton West in 2004, but in 2006 he squeaked into Parry Sound--Muskoka by an ångström and a half.

  41. Hmmm a few from Saskatchewan.

    David Orchard? Maybe. He definitely has a cult following. It just hasn't ever been big enough to push him over the top.

    Kelly Block in Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar. Won the seat over provincial NDP heavey-weight Nettie Wiebe after Carol Skelton retired (skelton beat a challange to her seeat in 06 from Wiebe too). 2 term Mayor of Waldheim (first female mayor). Saskatoon Health authority, Parliamentarian of the year June 2010.

    Ray Boughen in Palliser. Won the seat when Batters retired. 2 term mayor of Moose Jaw, Led the Boughen commission (sweeping tax reform recommendations requested by the provincial NDP. school property taxes, etc). Very big into the Educational system leadership also.

    Palliser was an exciting race in 08. The liberal candidate was former police Chief Cal Johnston, am the NDP picked up former Moose Jaw Mayor Don Mitchell. Both could be considered well known too.

    in 06 there was Gary Merasty in Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River. Two-time Grand Chief of the Prince Albert Grand Council. First Status First Nations person to be elected in Saskatchewan. Won by 67 votes over incumbent Jeremy Harrison after a recount. He was known for pushing the issue of a residential school apology through parliament. The tories finally consented in the spring of 07. Merasty was named in the 100 Alumni of Influence by the University of Saskatchewan in 2007.

    Merasty sat for only 2.5 years before leaving for the private sector again. This is where the most recent incantation of Orchard comes in. Dion denied his candidacy in DMC in the 08 byelection in favor of his own hand picked Candidate Joan Beatty. She was defeated by Rob Clarke who went on to beat Orchard again in the 08 general election.

    Joan Beatty could be considered a star candidate for the liberals, tho she only ran in the 08 by-election. Former provincial NDP MLA (first aboriginal woman elected to the legislature in sask, and also the first first nations person elected in sask.) Former CBC journalist. Orchard defeated her in the subsequent liberal nomination for the 08 general election.

    Back to 08. Michelle Hunter running again Ralph Goodale in Wascana might also be considered a star candidate (atleast the conservatives thought so). She was a 2 term president of the Saskatchewan party. In 2005, Michelle received the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal for her work in the community. She closed the gap from 22 down to 12, but was ultimately easily defeated by the man we sent to Ottawa just to keep him out of Saskatchewan.

    Oh, and one last one.. In DMC, 06. John A. McDonald ran for the Green party. The dead are rising, and they are not just voting, they are running.. lol (Yes, I know, Mc, instead of Mac)

  42. Dang it John, you beat me to an easy one with Clement, after all the Baird talk.

    Have we all forgotten about Bob Rae?

    I only skimmed thru the 2nd time, but didn't notice him mentioned.

  43. Former Winnipeg NHL'er Thomas Steen who ran, unsuccessfully, as a Tory in 2008?

  44. What about former Winnipeg Jet Thomas Steen who ran unsuccessfully as a Tory in 2008?

  45. This comment has been removed by the author.

  46. I think you're going at this backwards. Why not define the star candidates in terms of their *actual* drawing power over the predicted party vote.

    The way you're going about it, you're imputing an arbitrary list of "star" candidates (stardom being in the eye of the candidate recruiter) with some kind of star power, and only then testing it to see if it predicts the results of your hypothesis. Given you can't know all 2500 candidates, that's going to be fraught with danger unless you come up with a rigourous definition of "star" candidate and apply it across the board.

    I think your readers have already generated examples of candidates who were stars in academia but not the athletic world, and vice versa, demonstrating the problem

  47. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  48. Keith Ashfield for the CPC in 2008 in Fredericton - former cabinet minister from the Lord government.

    Leona Aglukkaq for the CPC also in 2008 up in Nunavut, she's a former territorial cabinet member.

    And in all honesty, I'd say Fin Donnelly for the NDP in the 2009 by-election out in New Westminster counts as a "star candidate." He's one of the most popular figures in that area.

  49. Tony Clement, Keith Ashfield, and Leona Aglukkaq are already on the list, as mentioned in my post.

    Barcs, Ray Boughen added.

    AJR79, Bob Rae would've been added, but he was first elected in a by-election.

    BeerBellyBuddah, I considered Thomas Steen, but it doesn't seem like he was touted as much of a star candidate, and actually did very badly.

    The Pundits' Guide, I'm trying to investigate how a local candidate's drawing power can affect a race. I'm not trying to prove that they actually help, I'm trying to see what effect they have. If I, instead, looked at which candidates were able to significantly improve their party's standings, it wouldn't tell me that these candidates were stars, but it might tell me that the other parties' candidates were duds or there were important local issues driving the campaign. It wouldn't help me make projections for the future.

    The question I'm asking is "What effect on an election does a star candidate have?" This is a worthwhile question to ask because parties try to recruit these "star candidates". If, in the end, I find out that a star candidate can improve a party's standing by an average factor of 1.1 over predicted levels of support, then it will help me make more accurate projections at the riding level.

    If I find out they have very little effect, than I wouldn't take this factor into account in future projections.

    Is my list of star candidates arbitrary? I don't think so, because it is a list of candidates that voters (i.e., you, me, and the other commenters here) have found to be star candidates. That is what matters in a race.

  50. I thought that because Tony Clement ran in 2004 and lost that it disqualified him?

  51. He had lost in a different riding in 2004 than the one that elected him in 2006.

  52. Here in Davenport, we had Gord Perks running in 2006 (major columnist for an alt weekly, who would handily be elected to council in 2006--albiet in another riding), and Peter Ferreira in 2008. (Director of the Portuguese Canadian National Congress and President of the National Ethnocultural Council, both of which count for a lot in a riding like Davenport.)

  53. I think I'd agree with Pundit's Guide that picking star candidates is a little arbitrary, especially since political insiders are notorious for overestimating the star power of other political insiders when they run. I think there are different degrees of star power, too -- a repeat candidate will have some added name recognition by virtue of having run previously but perhaps not as much as might a movie star or sports hero. I think some candidates bring negative star power too (e.g., an unpopular but well-known former politician).

    Nevertheless, here's a summary of those candidates who I think brought some star power to their campaigns in Manitoba in 2006 and 2008.

    In 2006, I'd list the star candidates as Merv Tweed (former provincial MLA in Brandon-Souris), Tina Keeper (actress in Churchill), Ed Schreyer (former premier in Selkirk-Interlake), John Loewen (former Conservative MLA running for the Liberals in Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia), Ray St. Germaine (musician, author and radio show host in Winnipeg-Centre). To a lesser degree, Linda West (Conservative activist in Elmwood-Transcona) and Niki Ashton (daughter of longtime local MLA Steve Ashton in Churchill) would have also brought with them some name recognition.

    In 2008, I'd list the star candidates as Jim Maloway (longtime former MLA in Elwood-Transcona), Thomas Steen (former Winnipeg Jet in Elmwood-Transcona), Trevor Kennerd (former Wpg Blue Bombers star in Winnipeg South Centre), and Shelly Glover (Wpg Police spokesperson in St. Boniface).

    I've listed candidates as stars only the first they ran as presumably running a second time in a row wouldn't enhance their chosen party's vote in that riding any further than it had on the first run.

    Good luck!

  54. I think I have one that most haven't thought about.

    Bill Kelly back for the Liberals in 2006 in Hamilton Mountain was huge, and I remember this even from when I wasn't interested in politics. He's a CHCH anchor or something, and everyone was so sure that he would fill the retiring Liberal MP's shoes perfectly.

    Also Glen Pearson's original run back in 2006 in London Fanshawe was touted as a big name, and also when he ran in the 2007 by-election in London North Centre.

  55. Star candidates are perhaps my least favourite aspect of Canadian politics (or politics generally).

    I'd like to see elections fought purely on the basis of issues and the policy solutions offered by the candidates/parties.

    Who the messenger happens to be tells us nothing about the quality of the message.

  56. Living in High Park and working for Nash in 2008 I can verify that Kennedy definetly won the seat,beating Nash and bucking the trend of big losses for the libs and gains for the NDP. Because he was viewed as left, he took alot of NDP votes.


COMMENT MODERATION POLICY - Please be respectful when commenting. If choosing to remain anonymous, please sign your comment with some sort of pseudonym to avoid confusion. Please do not use any derogatory terms for fellow commenters, parties, or politicians. Inflammatory and overly partisan comments will not be posted. PLEASE KEEP DISCUSSION ON TOPIC.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.