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Kim Siever placed 7th in federal election of 91 independent candidates

Here’s my breakdown of the results of the federal election for Lethbridge.

Earlier this week, Elections Canada released the latest, updated results for the 2021 federal election. Now that those numbers are in, I wanted to talk about how I performed in the federal election.

First of all, here’s how Lethbridge voted:

CandidatePartyVotes% of
popular vote
Rachael HarderConservative32,81755.38%
Elaine PerezNDP11,38619.22%
Devon HargreavesLiberal8,92815.07%
Kimmie HovanPeople’s Party4,0976.91%
Kim SieverIndependent1,1791.99%
Geoffrey CappChristian Heritage Party5660.96%

Unsurprisingly, Rachael Harder came in first place, by a pretty comfortable margin. This marks her third win in a row, and the 21st consecutive election that the Conservative party (or one of its predecessors) has won the Lethbridge riding.

That being said, this isn’t Harder’s best showing. Take a look at her share of the popular vote for every election she’s run in:

201520192021
CPC56.7665.7955.38
NDP20.5014.7219.22
Liberals18.5013.6415.07
Greens2.573.13
PPC1.636.98
Independent1.99
CHP1.311.080.96
Rhino0.37

In fact, this election was her worst showing of the three. Both the NDP and Liberal candidates improved their showing over 2019, but still fell short of their 2015 numbers.

When we compare the 2015 and 2021 election results, we find some interesting numbers:

20152021Change
CPC56.7655.38-1.38
NDP20.5019.22-1.28
Liberals18.5015.07-3.43
Greens2.57-2.57
PPC6.98+6.98
Independent1.99+1.99
CHP1.310.96-0.35
Rhino0.37-0.37

The People’s Party won 6.98% of the popular vote last week. That’s up 5.35 points from 2019, and since they didn’t run in 2015, it’s up 6.98 points from 6 years ago.

Most of the commentary I’ve seen say that wins by the PPC are at the expense of the CPC, but in Lethbridge the loss in CPC popular vote share accounts for only a fraction of the PPC’s gain. There are still roughly 6 points to account for. Even if we assume the 0.35 points lost by the CHP was gobbled up by the PPC, that still leaves 5.25 points unaccounted for.

The remaining votes have to come from somewhere, and the 0.36 points the Rhino Party got in 2015 isn’t enough.

Collectively, the NDP, Liberals, and Greens took in 7.28 points more of the popular vote in 2015 than in 2021, so some of that PPC gain had to come from there. Clearly I stole some of it with my 1.99%, but there’d still be quite a bit left over.

Which leaves us wondering two questions:

  1. Are the people voting for the PPC more than just the far right that the media portrays them as?
  2. Were the far right voters in 2015 voting for parties that are popularly portrayed as progressive?

Those aren’t questions we can answer from this data.

One thing I learned from this election is that it doesn’t matter who runs under the party banners—Lethbridge voters love voting by party.

This is the 5th election in a row where Lethbridge voters gave the Conservatives a 1st place showing, the NDP a 2nd place showing, and the Liberals a 3rd place showing. And that’s despite the NDP candidate receiving such little support from the party: she had very few signs up, attended only one of the forums, and had no online presence.

In fact, she received nearly the same number of votes as Cheryl Meheden did in 2015, and Meheden was far more well known, as a local educator, a business owner, and having just emerged from a mayoral race 5 years prior.

And the Liberal candidate’s efforts to ban conversion therapy at the municipal, provincial, and federal level didn’t help him move the popular vote in favour of the Liberals. I mean, he performed better than the 2019 candidate did, but far worse than the 2015 candidate.

It was very clear that there was more at play here than just voting based on name recognition.

Which brings me to my showing in the election.

I got 2nd-to-last place, with 1,179 votes, which gave me roughly 2% of the popular vote. That seems pretty low, but there are a couple things to note.

First, I did better than the 946 votes I received in the 2001 municipal election. Had I received less than that, I’d definitely would}ve reevaluated ever running again.

Second, it’s important to compare how I did against other independents.

There were 91 candidates running in the 2021 federal election who identified as “independent” or “no affiliation”. The average number of votes these candidates received was 357, while the median was only 184. I was only 1 of 7 independent candidates who received above 1,000 votes, and only 3 candidates received more than 2,000.

I was 230.3% above the average total number of votes received by independent candidates and 540.8% above the median number of votes.

Plus, the average popular vote share was 0.32% and the median vote share was 0.88%. I was 1 of 13 independent candidates who managed to get above 1% of the popular vote, and only 7 got 2% or higher (8 if you round up my 1.99%).

My popular vote share was 521.9% higher than the national average for independent candidates and 126.1% higher than the national median.

Here are the top 10 independent candidates, sorted by total votes received:

RidingCandidateVotesPop. vote
TerrebonneMichel Boudrias3,8646.41%
YukonJonas Smith2,63913.50%
Banff—AirdrieDerek Sloan2,0202.61%
Northwest TerritoriesJane Groenewegen1,79112.68%
Rimouski-Neigette…Noémi Bureau-Civil1,4673.41%
ProvencherRick Loewen1,3662.72%
LethbridgeKim Siever1,1791.99%
Hastings—Lennox…Jennifer Sloan8381.52%
Brampton CentreRonni Shino8242.39%
Surrey—NewtonParveer Hundal6281.70%

Considering that I had the 7th highest number of total votes and the 8th highest share of the popular vote out of 91 candidates, I think my first time running in a federal election was pretty decent, especially given that I had literally no campaign expenses. My campaign was driven by my own labour and the labour of my team of 2 dozen volunteers and was focused on outreach and engagement, not name recognition.

It’d be interesting to see how I’d do if I ran in the next federal election.

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By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 4 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

2 replies on “Kim Siever placed 7th in federal election of 91 independent candidates”

I don’t think so. The race between the UCP and NDP in my riding is super close. If I run, I anticipate, it would be enough of a split to let the UCP candidate win. Maybe one day though, if the conditions are right.

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