Weekly Round-Up: August 16

August 16th, 2013 by Dan Allan

Each Friday, CIVIX provides a digest of the major events in Canadian politics. For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

Will there be fall elections in Nova Scotia and Quebec?

Last week, we wrote about how a Nova Scotia provincial election seemed “imminent.” There still hasn’t been an election call by Premier Darrell Dexter, but the Chronicle Herald reports that MLAs are “sticking close to home” as an election call “looms.” A number of spending announcements from the governing NDP have only added to this “election speculation,” and next week’s fiscal update could be the last hurdle before Dexter drops the writ.

Quebec could also see a provincial election in the “weeks and months to come,” according to Liberal leader Phillippe Couillard. Quebec has had minority government after last September’s election, and Couillard seems poised to topple PQ Premier Pauline Marois. Couillard, who does not have a seat, has announced that he will run in the Roberval riding.

The importance of municipal politics

Yesterday, Preston Manning wrote about the importance of municipal politics and how a greater interest and engagement in local government will strengthen our democracy as a whole. It can be easy to view municipal politics in a negative light at times (like when the City of Detroit put the wrong election date on a billboard), but we noticed two encouraging stories this week, both from Manning’s home province of Alberta (which heads to the polls for municipal elections in October):

In Calgary, Mayor Naheed Nenshi is launching an online campaign to increase voter turnout for the municipal election – including council and trustee races. The website will remind you to vote, provide information on where to vote, and provide tips for how to inspire friends and family to vote.

In Edmonton, potential city council and school board candidates took part in an information session that went over tips and rules for campaigning. Candidates aren’t officially in the race until September 23, but attendees will be better informed on campaign signs, donations and the voting process.

More resignations

Conservative MP Merv Tweed announced that he will resign his Brandon-Souris seat at the end of the month to take on a new job as president of OmniTRAX Canada. Tweed has represented the riding since 2004, and previously served as an MLA in the Manitoba legislature and as a municipal councillor and deputy reeve in the rural municipality of Brenda. There are now four vacancies in the House of Commons.

BC Green Party leader Jane Sterk also announced her retirement this week.  Sterk has led the party since 2007, but does not have a seat in the provincial legislature. Andrew Weaver, who became the first Green Party MLA in BC after the May election, has announced that he will not pursue the interim leadership role but may one day run to be the permanent leader.

Leadership races in full swing

Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal leader Kevin Aylward resigned last January. The first debate in the leadership race to replace him takes place next Thursday in Gander. There are five candidates, but CBC News reports that it will come down to three main contenders: Dwight Ball, Cathy Bennett and Paul Antle. The leadership convention is being held in November. Eddie Joyce currently serves as interim party leader.

In Alberta, two candidates have announced that they will run for the leadership of the Alberta Party. Troy Millington and Greg Clark, both from Calgary, are running to replace Glenn Taylor, who resigned last fall. The new leader will be chosen on September 21.

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