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NEWS: Calgary chapter has potted plant in place of Conservative candidate

The Toronto Star reports this evening, “Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has pointedly criticized Conservative candidates for skipping debates. The Council of Canadians may have wordlessly trumped him. The advocacy group co-hosted a debate at a church in the riding of Calgary Centre-North on Tuesday night. According to the news website OpenFile, Liberal, NDP, Green and Marxist-Leninist candidates attended, but Conservative Michelle Rempel had ‘prior commitments’. Her seat was occupied by a potted plant.”

On April 19, CTV reported, “Many political watchers see Calgary’s eight federal ridings as a shoe-in for the Conservative Party. However, the riding of Calgary Centre-North may not be a slam dunk this time around. It is the only Calgary riding without an incumbent. Jim Prentice, who easily won the riding in the last two elections, quit politics in the fall and left the seat vacant.”

On April 1, CBC reported, “A Calgarian trying to organize an all-candidates debate has secured a venue and set a date. Now all he needs is the candidates. Ted Woynillowicz says such forums aren’t common in the city during federal elections, even though they play an important part of the political process. …Woynillowicz is a Calgary organizer of a provincial healthcare lobby group called Friends of Medicare (and is with the Calgary chapter of the Council of Canadians). The group has secured a community centre in the riding of Calgary Centre-North and set a tentative date of April 19 for their forum. …Woynillowicz said all-candidates forums were popular when he first moved to Calgary in the 1970s. ‘They used to have forums all over during elections,’ he said. ‘It hasn’t been all that evident recently and that’s a real concern. And that is leading to lower and lower voter turnouts.’”

This evening’s Toronto Star report can be read at http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/978086–party-favours-election-ephemera.

The video of the election forum can be seen at http://calgary.openfile.ca/calgary/file/2011/04/livestream-tonight-centre-north-forum. After Tuesday’s debate, Calgary chapter activist Mel Teghtmeyer reported, “We had close to 250 people at the door and another 90 on live feed.”