can david swann survive dave taylor’s blow?

With Liberal MLAs standing behind him, David Swann speaks with the media about Dave Taylor's resignation.

This morning I attended Liberal leader David Swann‘s media conference in response to Calgary-Currie MLA Dave Taylor‘s resignation from the Liberal caucus. Backed up by six of his seven remaining caucus-mates (Calgary-McCall MLA Darshan Kang is in India), the Leader of the Official Opposition put on a brave face. This may have been his toughest media conference since becoming leader in December 2008, but I believe that this may have been the strongest performance that I have seen from Dr. Swann. He had a clear message and showed emotion in defending his leadership from the criticisms raised by Mr. Taylor.

At around the same time in Calgary, Mr. Taylor released a statement to the media explaining his reasons for leaving the Liberals. Among his reasons were some fair comments about the state of the Liberal Party in Alberta. Between 2006 and 2008, it looked like the Liberals were gaining new ground on the nearly forty year ruling Progressive Conservatives. The election of Craig Cheffins in the Calgary-Elbow by-election replacing retired Premier Ralph Klein showed that there could be potential for the Liberals to expand in Calgary, while holding their base in Edmonton. In 2008, the major gains never materialized in Calgary and the Liberals lost ground in Edmonton. Mr. Taylor thought he could turn his party’s fortunes around, but was unable to attract the support needed to win the Liberal leadership in 2008. After his defeat in to Dr. Swann, it became well-known in political circles that Mr. Taylor was not satisfied in playing second fiddle to the Leader of the Official Opposition.

The Liberals continue to have difficulty gaining traction on issues raised in the Legislature and appear completely irrelevant in the political narratives that have evolved around the PCs and the Danielle Smith-led Wildrose Alliance.

No matter how you put it, this resignation is a major blow to Dr. Swann’s leadership and to the Liberal Party. The loss of Mr. Taylor leaves the Liberals with only 8 MLAs and without the public persona that Mr. Taylor perfected during his many years as a radio host on QR77.

Dr. Swann faces a tough and perhaps impossible challenge: as Alberta’s political sands continue to shift, he needs to prove to the Liberal Party membership and his fellow MLAs that he can grow his party’s political support and create a strong presence that can compete with the insurgent Wildrose Alliance in the next election, otherwise his leadership face more serious internal dissent.

(See more photos from today’s media conference)

9 thoughts on “can david swann survive dave taylor’s blow?

  1. JD Galt

    Dave Taylor’s comments:

    “The majority of Albertans don’t want that. They want sensible, moderate, pragmatic solutions that are fiscally responsible, socially progressive, and that put Albertans first.”

    It sounds like almost a direct quote from the Alberta Party, maybe he should go on a listening tour. Are we seeing the beginning of his drive to be the Alberta Party leader or is this a ploy to launch a coup of David Swann. Either way it proves that Dave Taylor sure doesn’t like to be second fiddle. It should be interesting times.

    Reply
  2. Shubenacadie Spam

    I sincerely hope that Dave moves to the Alberta Party and gives it some legitimacy. Only them will the failure of the left be complete. The left will be fractured and mortally wounded. Premier Danielle Smith has a nice ring to it.

    Reply
  3. Amelanchier Alnifolia

    Dave Taylor’s simple non-denial that he’s thinking about the leadership the “nascent” Alberta Party really does say something about this party raising it’s profile enough to even be noticed… albeit at slow speed, and through some legitimate skepticism

    Still, Mr. Taylor’s public evisceration of Dr. Swann and the ALP doesn’t bode well for the Alberta Party. Those trying to get the AP into a position of legitimacy believe the best way to garner support is through the thousands of Big Listens it has planned for the province and to try and do politics in a different way. If it wants off the ground… and to shed the continuing criticism that it is another right-winged party or a laughable collection of misguided souls… it needs to follow through on the Big Listens… convene a policy convention and move to a legitimate leadership race that is open and transparent to all Albertans.

    Leadership of personality and force of a single character is not something that is going to entice Albertans to take a serious look. It will simply be more of the same.

    Dave Taylor is welcome to take a look… as are all Albertans, regardless of previous (or current) political affiliation.

    Reply
  4. Frustrated

    Meanwhile – while we’re busy stabbing each other in the back, the NDP has announced Dave Eggen will run in Edmonton Glenora. That’s a seat we should be aiming to win back. Where’s the ALP candidate for this and other ridings we want to win?

    Reply
  5. Ray Danyluk's Inner Goth

    Nobody cares if someone defects from the Liberals. Nobody cares about David Swann. Nobody cares if they survive or not.

    Only the PC’s and WAP are relevant to Albertans as the Liberals are really just a fringe party.

    Reply
  6. Anonymous

    The Liberals should not waste energy trying to retake Edmonton Glenora. Between a PC cabinet member, an NDP “star” candidate, and the rejigged boundaries for that riding, it would take a tremendous amount of resources to basically turn this riding into a roll of the dice. There are so many better ridings for the ALP to target…

    Reply
  7. Darren

    Erickson is a nice guy but if the Alberta Party wants to make any kind of inroads into Edmonton or Calgary they’ll have problems. With a rural leader (people already derisively refer to Stelmach as that pig farmer from Andrew) urban voters won’t likely embrace the party and shrug it off as just another fringe party from the sticks. Now if you were to put Taylor at the helm and generate a good core of fiscally responsible policies, touting above all else restraint, you’d have something.

    Reply
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