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Alberta Politics

liberal coms director gone.

Word from the Legislature Annex is that Liberal Caucus Communications Director Neil Mackie‘s contract was terminated this afternoon. Sources say that Mr. Mackie was informed about the termination of his contract around 1:30pm and Liberal MLAs were notified of the decision at 2:00pm.

Liberal leader David Swann hired Mr. Mackie in March 2009 to replace former journalist Larry Johnsrude who had served in that job since 2007.

The Liberals had difficulty communicating their messages as they fell in the polls behind the Wildrose Alliance and their media savvy leader Danielle Smith in 2010, leaving Mr. Mackie with what may have been one of the most challenging jobs in the Official Opposition staff. It is likely that this staff shake-up is a result of the communications challenges of the past year.

UPDATE: When contacted by this blogger, Liberal Caucus Chief of Staff Rick Miller acknowledged that the Official Opposition caucus faced communications challenges of 2010 and commented that “the change is an opportunity to put a new face on our communications efforts.” An interim Communications Director is expected to be appointed soon and a search for a permanent replacement will begin soon after that.

11 replies on “liberal coms director gone.”

They might have had a better chance if Swann had listened to a seasoned communicator like Johnsrude rather than the coterie of tree-huggers and sycophants he surrounded himself with. No one could put enough lipstick on this pig. He’s the best recruiter the Alberta Party could ask for!

Like all people in the AB Liberal party I’m sure Mr. Mackie will be given his turn as leader some day.

The biggest problem the Liberal Party has is that Liberals don’t really stand for anything, other than winning; they don’t have any real ideology. The Conservatives, for better or for worse, have an ideology; the federal Conservatives try and hide it, because they know deep down that most Canadians don’t share it, but they do have one. New Democrats, whether provincial or federal, have a definite ideology, although there are different flavours in that party based on how purely they adhere to some of those positions. But Liberals? They are so hard to pin down, it’s no wonder many voters don’t see them as a credible choice.

On economic and fiscal policy, Liberals have historically been all over the map, from tax & spend pseudo-Keynesians in the 70s & 80s (Pierre Trudeau et al), to budget-cutting deficit-fighters in the 90s (Paul Martin, Laurence Decore), to wanna-be ‘Dippers’ in the 2000s (Kevin Taft, Stephane Dion). On social justice issues, they do differ sharply from the Conservatives, tending to infringe more into NDP territory, except where government spending is affected (see previous point). On the environment, I don’t see that they have really settled where they stand, other than that they don’t accept the Conservatives’ view that the environment is there too be exploited. On health care, they give lip service to public health care, but when they have decision-making power over the system, they fail to deliver. On education, they fund like Conservatives but set other educational policy (curriculum, inclusiveness & cultural matters, etc.) like New Democrats. And on democratic reform, they are most definitely the party of the status quo.

Canadians & Albertans need to choose a party that more closely reflects their priorities. In Alberta, the Liberals aren’t it. The Liberals are the party of “vote for us because we aren’t the other guys”. It may be that the new AB party will someday develop into a centrist alternative; but I don’t think they’re going to be ready for prime time come the next election: there just isn’t enough time. For those Albertans concerned about the direction we’re going, I hope not too many buy into Wild Rose, who are just Conservatives who aren’t as scared to let their ideology show. For progressive voters in 2012, I think the NDP is their best shot.

jerrymacgp – I disagree with most of what you say.

In 2008 and Alberta Liberals presented the electorate with the most complete set of – and the best – policies of any party. Their planks on Education, Health, and Environment were endorsed by teachers, health care professionals and environmentalists, respectfully.

But nobody noticed. Certainly not the media. Sadly, most people don’t vote. And those that do usually base their vote on personalities, and opinions formed decades earlier. How many voters in Alberta have changed their minds about anything substantive in the last two decades?

The sad truth is elections are about money, communications and inertia. So the ALP is finally in black and is now focusing on communications. Now they just need to figure out this inertia thing.

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