Mayoral races by the numbers

Now that nomination day is over and an immense amount of signs have come up everywhere I wanted to go through the mayoral numbers across Canada for the major cities. I've often heard that Mayor Nenshi is the most popular politician in Alberta (undeniable I think), but let's remember he was elected to his position by just about 1 in 5 eligible Calgarians. In comparison, Mayor Ford scored higher in Toronto (marginally) and the Harper Tories scored much higher in the 2011 federal election with 2 in 5 Calgarians voting Tory.

I put together this graph with public information available on major city websites and the always useful blog by Daveberta for some stats from Elections Canada.


Total Votes

% of votes cast

Total eligible voters

% who voted for winning candidate out of eligible

Toronto (Ford)





Calgary (Nenshi)





Edmonton (Mandel)





Vancouver (Robertson)





Montreal (Tremblay)





Calgary (Harper Tories)





My two cents is this: if ever you were a Tory worried that a wave of progressive politics was incoming, stop and look at he numbers. 40% of Calgarians strongly identify themselves with the conservatives and they vote for them. Harper is more popular in Calgary than Mayor Nenshi in 2011. Some might think our system is broken and needs a reboot to introduce proportional representation. That particular approach isn't just opposed by a party in power but also by the Trudeau Liberals. I also opposed proportional representation because it gives more power to political parties over individual members, plus it creates endless coalitions and eventually we could face the Belgium conundrum of perpetual minorities unable to establish a government. The recent 18th federal election in Germany is also another showcase of the shortcomings and advantages of proportional representation systems.

But, back to the main point.

A significant minority of Calgarians, 2 out of 5, vote for small C conservative values and are far, far more likely to get out and vote. They care about their community, they turn out to vote, and take an active interest in the politics of their governments. Judging by how these challengers responded on the issue, I'd say everyone is going for that "likely voter" and "small-c conservative" type voter who they know is likely to show up at the polls this time. Likely with his tax bill from June firmly in hand.

My view is that the Mayor rode waves of discontent to victory last time. This time around, he has no big-name challenger and therefore will win easily. His allies on Council who have alienated those federal small-c conservatives may not fair as well. I'm not as interested in the who wins, and who loses, as much as by the numbers on election day to see who showed up and in what numbers. That will give you a great idea of the next federal and provincial election.