Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Serious Federal Independents in the last six elections

One of the reasons we do not see many independents elected in Canada is because we have had very few serious campaigns run by independents.   If more people ran strong campaigns as independents

A made a list of all the serious independent campaigns I could find from the last six general elections of which I found 30, well 29, I also included one fringe party candidate who spent a lot of money and did very badly.   Only in five of these races was the independent successful and three had been elected previously as an MP for a party.  11 of the independent campaigns were from sitting MPs that were either expelled or left their party, only 3 of them won re-election as an independent.  They are the underlined ones on the list.  17 of the 30 campaigns were from people that had at sometime been an MP before.

The only real independent to win in the last six elections has been Andre Arthur.   When we factor out the MPs that had been with parties, we are only left with 11 people that have seriously tried to run as independents.

My cut off was based on several factors, how much was spent, how they finished in the rankings and percentage of the vote they achieved.   It is not perfect but I think I have captured every serious campaign.

2011 - 5 Serious campaigns.  2 were sitting MPs, 1 had been an MP and one more had run a strong campaign in 2008

  • Chambly-Borduas - Jean-Francois Mercier came third with 11.3% of the vote and spending 6% of the legal limit.  This is a very borderline serious campaign in my mind.
  • Edmonton-Sherwood Park - Jimmy Ford came second with 29.5% of the votes and spending 44% of the limit, less than half what the winning Conservative spent.  He had run in 2008 as an independent as well but 2011 was not a close race like 2008.
  • Portneuf – Jacques-Cartier - the sitting independent Andre Arthur came second with 27.8% of the vote.  He only spent 29% of the limit but was not defeated by the Bloc that spend almost three times as much, but by the NDP.    He had win in 2006 and 2008 as an independent.   
  • Renfrew Nipissing-Pembroke - Hec Clouthier came second with 18.7% of the vote and spending 85% of the limit - he outspent the sitting Conservative MP.  He had been the Liberal MP from 1997 to 2000 and had run a strong second place campaign as an independent in 1993.
  • Simcoe-Grey - sitting independent MP Helena Guergis came third with 13.5% of the vote.  She spent only 55% of the limit, which was less than the fourth place Liberals and the winning Conservatives but much more than the second place New Democrat.   She had been elected as a Conservative in the past.


2008 - 5 serious campaigns, the 2 winning independents who were sitting MPs.

  • Calgary Northeast - Roger Richard came third with 13.2% of the votes and spending 69% of the limit.
  • Cumberland--Colchester--Musquodoboit Valley - Bill Casey the siting independent MP was elected with 69.0% of the vote.  He spent 88% of what he was allowed and spending almost as much as the other three candidates combined.
  • Edmonton-Sherwood Park - Jimmy Ford came second with 32.5% of the votes and spending 38% of the limit, only a bit more than 1/3 of the winning Conservative.  He came within 3 percentage points of winning.
  • Portneuf – Jacques-Cartier - sitting independent MP Andre Arthur won re-election with 33.5% of the vote.  This was a drop of 6.3 percentage points from 2006 even though there was no Conservative candidate.  He only spent 10% of the limit, much less than the second place Bloc candidate.
  • Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry - Howard Galganov coming third with 5.7% of the vote.  He spent 54% of what he was allowed to.  He had run as an independent in 1997.

2006 - 5 serious campaigns - 2 were sitting MPs and one was a former MP.  

  • Battlefords-Lloydminster - Jim Pankiw came third with 14.4% of the vote.   He spent 95% of the limit, more than all the other candidates combined.  He was a Reform/CA MP from 1997 to 2002 and then as an independent.
  • Brome – Missisquoi - Heward Grafftey ran as a Progressive Canadian candidate and came 5th with 4.0% of the vote.  I have him on this list because he spent 78% of the limit and did so badly.  He more or less matched the Bloc, Liberals and Conservatives in spending.  He was an MP in this riding for the PCs from 1958 to 1968 and again from 1972 to 1980.
  • Churchill - sitting independent MP Bev Desjarlais came third with 17.2% of the vote and spending only 25% of the limit, much less than the winning Liberals and second place NDP.  She has been elected as a New Democrat in the past.
  • Peace River - Bill Given came second with 20.3% of the vote and spending 94% of what he was allowed, over $17,000 more than the winning Conservative.  His 2006 result is the strongest finish for a non Conservative in the last four elections in Peace River.
  • Portneuf – Jacques-Cartier - Andre Arthur is elected with 39.8% of the vote and only spent 1% of the limit.


2004 - 9 serious campaigns of which 5 were sitting MPs ran and only one was elected

  • Desnethé – Missinippi – Churchill River - Rick Laliberte was the sitting independent MP and came fourth with 9.9% of the vote.  He only spent 17% of what he was allowed.  He had been elected in 2000 as a Liberal and in 1997 as a New Democrat.
  • Jonquière – Alma - sitting independent MP  Jocelyne Girard-Bujold came third with 6.0%  of the vote and spending 38% of the limit. She has been elected as a Bloc member in the past.
  • Labrador - Eric Condon came third with 10.4% of the vote and spending nothing.  He ran in the 2005 by-election but his vote went down to 5.7%
  • Nunavut - Manitok Thompson came second with 15.7% of the vote and spending 6% of the limit, much less than the others running.
  • Regina – Lumsden – Lake Centre - sitting independent MP Larry Spencer came 4th with 4.9% of the vote.    He spent 28% of what he was allowed, which was the least of any candidate.  He was elected in 2000 as a CA MP.
  • Scarborough-Rouge River - Raymond Cho placed second with 17.9% of the vote.  He spent 88% of what was allowed, the most of any candidate.
  • Souris-Moose Mountain - Grant Devine came second with 27.4% of the vote.   He spent 82% of what was allowed, the most of any candidate.   This is the only close race in the last four elections in this riding.  He was once the PC premier of Saskatchewan.
  • Saskatoon-Humboldt - sitting independent MP Jim Pankiw came 4th with 20.0% of the vote.  He spent 100% of the limit.  He had been elected as a CA member in 2000.
  • Surrey North - Chuck Cadman was the sitting MP and was reelected with 43.8% of the vote and spending 93% of what he was allowed to spend.  He was out spent by the fourth place Conservative.  He had been elected as a Reformer and Canadian Alliance MP.


2000 - 4 serious campaigns of which three were sitting MPs

  • Burin-St George's - Sam Synard placed second with 25.7% of the vote and only spending 36% of the limit, less than the winning Liberal or the third place PC candidate.
  • Crowfoot - sitting independent Jack Ramsay came 4th with 5.6% of the vote.  He spent 225 of the limit.  He had been the CA MP elected in 1997.
  • Portage-Lisgar - siting independent MP Jake Hoeppner finished fourth with 10.3% of the vote and spending 61% of the limit, about the same as the first place CA candidate and the second place Liberal.  He had elected in 1997 as a CA MP.
  • York South-Weston - John Nunziata, a sitting independent MP, placed 2nd with 41.3% of the vote. He spent 99% of the limit.


1997 - 2 serious campaigns of which one was a sitting MP that was re-elected.

  • Mount Royal - Howard Galganov came second with 20.9% of the vote.  He did not spend a lot, only 31% of what he was allowed and was outspent by the winning Liberal and third place PC.  
  • York South-Weston - John Nunziata the sitting independent MP won with 45.0%  of the vote and spending 97% of what was allowed.  He has been elected originally as a Liberal.
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