Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Joan Crockatt considers herself ‘fiscally conservative,‘ concerned about the economy, energy and the environment.

Chris Bolin/The Globe and Mail

Joan Crockatt has the political equivalent of the golden ticket.

The Calgary newspaper editor turned policy pundit is the federal Conservative nominee in Calgary Centre, where Prime Minister Stephen Harper must call a by-election by Dec. 4. Ms. Crockatt recently managed to elbow out five other Tory hopefuls to secure the party's nomination in the downtown riding, which was vacated last spring by Lee Richardson, a popular red Tory who is now working for Alberta Premier Alison Redford.

For the Harper government, this is probably one of the safest seats in the country. But some observers are suggesting that Ms. Crockatt, who is perceived as too right wing and polarizing, might not coast quite so easily to Ottawa. Voters tend to use by-elections to send a message, and lately, Mr. Harper's popularity has taken some hits.

Story continues below advertisement

"If you had a high-profile candidate with a good organization, Joan Crockatt is quite beatable in that riding, no question," said Keith Brownsey, a political scientist at Mount Royal University in Calgary. "But the opposition parties never rise to the challenge. The opposition parties are riven with faction and stupidity and simply cannot get it together to challenge the Conservative Party machine."

Several formal attempts by the left-leaning parties to mobilize behind a single candidate have failed. However, local pollster Brian Singh has mounted an Internet campaign – – to bring "progressive" voters together to back a single ABC candidate: anybody but Crockatt. It's a strategy that has worked before in the riding. In the 2000 federal election, as the former Canadian Alliance was steamrolling across the city, voters united behind Joe Clark to lead the Progressive Conservatives to victory and block an Alliance sweep.

Ms. Crockatt, 56, said she isn't taking voters for granted, but she also isn't too worried about the ABC strategy.

"I think that they conveniently forget that Joe Clark was a conservative," she said. "He was a conservative prime minister of Canada."

Ms. Crockatt considers herself "fiscally conservative," concerned about the economy, energy and the environment. As a television commentator and former managing editor of the Calgary Herald, she is a familiar face.

She won the Tory nomination on the fourth ballot, but some party faithful were upset with the process, which allowed her to become the candidate even though she did not have the required six-months membership. Riding president Glenn Solomon said Ms. Crockatt had a "valid" reason, because she needed to be independent of political ties in her previous job.

The riding is home to many young, urban, liberally minded professionals, and has about 90,000 eligible voters. While parts of the riding have gone Liberal provincially, the city has a long history of swinging right federally. Calgary last elected a Liberal MP in 1968.

Story continues below advertisement

Doreen Barrie, a political scientist at the University of Calgary, said Ms. Crockatt is a high-profile, personable and articulate candidate who mounted an impressive campaign.

However, Catherine Ford, a former editor and columnist at the Calgary Herald, described Ms. Crockatt as a "drive-by editor" (someone who makes significant changes in stories without consulting the writer) and cited her as one of the main reasons workers went on a union drive in 1999 and ended up in long strike.

"I have seen this woman at work," Ms. Ford said. "I do not trust her. I would not trust and I will not in any circumstances vote for her."

Ms. Crockatt's eyes well when those criticisms are put to her. She shrugs off complaints about editing: "That's what editors do." And of the strike: "It was a difficult time."

Conservationist and lawyer Harvey Locke, teacher Rahim Sajan and disenfranchised Conservative Steve Turner want to win the Liberal nomination on Sept. 22. Author and journalist Chris Turner was confirmed on Wednesday as the Green Party candidate. The NDP hasn't set a nomination date, but has one potential entrant.

A recent poll found that 44 per cent of voters backed the Conservatives, with the Liberals a distant second and the NDP and Green further back battling for third. The underdogs see the numbers as positive.

Story continues below advertisement

"We believe there's a progressive vote we can get ourselves," said Arthur McComish, president of the Calgary Centre Liberal riding association.

Duane Bratt, a political scientist at Mount Royal University, said there's only a "pretty minute" chance Ms. Crockatt will lose: "The question shouldn't be is she going to win, it's what role is she going to play."

Mr. Harper already has a caucus filled with Tories from Calgary.

"If I'm a backbench MP, I'm just fine doing that," Ms. Crockatt said. "To me, the job is to support the Prime Minister in whatever way that he thinks."

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies