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Alberta Politics

alberta politics notes 2/04/2011

A reality check from the Cosh.
Colby Cosh has delivered a cynical and un-sensationalist reality check for Albertans getting starry eyed or swept up in a whirlwind of political change. While Alberta’s political landscape may be more unstable than it has been in years, and it is exciting to be part of new emerging parties and movements, it is important to step back and keeping some perspective is key.

Cabinet resignations.
With cabinet ministers expected to resign in order to seek the PC Party leadership, Albertans could witness a series of cabinet shuffles over the coming months. The resignation of Finance Minister Ted Morton and potential resignations of Deputy Premier Doug Horner, Justice Minister Allison Redford, and Housing Minister Jonathan Denis could put a number of Parliamentary Assistants and backbench MLAs in cabinet positions. I would not be surprised if Greg Weadick, Janice Sarich, Diana McQueen, or Manmeet Bhullar had cabinet experience by the end of 2011.

American scientist resigns from Alberta Water panel.
Only days after the new panel to create a new provincial environmental monitoring system was appointed, prominent University of California-Irvine professor Helen Ingram has quit the panel.

According to the Edmonton Journal, Dr. Ingram resigned ‘citing concerns about a lack of scientific and First Nations representation on the panel, and what she saw as an overzealous draft confidentially agreement.’ The panel includes a number of credible scientists and is co-chaired by former TransCanada CEO Hal Kvisle, who has leveled strong criticism against environmental groups.

Budget on February 24.
Premier Ed Stelmach told an audience during speech to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce yesterday that the 2011 provincial budget will be tabled on February 24. The Assembly is scheduled to begin spring session on January 22 with the Speech from the Throne.

Redford getting some Carter power.
Wildrose Alliance Vice-President Membership Blaine Maller tweeted last night that Calgary political operative Stephen Carter has been hired to manage Allison Redford‘s campaign for the PC leadership. Mr. Carter had been staff to Wildrose Alliance leader Danielle Smith and was a key player in Naheed Nenshi‘s successful Mayoral campaign in Calgary.

PC campaign manager exits.
Not surprisingly, the departure of Premier Ed Stelmach has also led to the departure of PC campaign manager Randy Dawson, who managed the party’s 2008 campaign and had been reappointed to manage their next election campaign.

Hinton Mayor Glenn Taylor expected to run for the Alberta Party leadership.

Taylor versus Taylor?
Hinton Mayor Glenn Taylor is expected to launch his campaign for the Alberta Party leadership on February 8 in Edmonton. Mr. Taylor was elected to his third-term as Mayor of Hinton in October 2010. It will be a battle of the Taylor’s if Alberta Party MLA Dave Taylor enters the leadership contest, as some political watchers expect him to.

An awkward place.
What an awkward place the Official Opposition caucus must be this week. Laurie Blakeman is reportedly weighing her options to seeking the leadership of the Alberta Party or the Liberal Party. This news comes the same week as leader David Swann announced his resignation. Ms. Blakeman’s colleague Edmonton-Gold Bar MLA Hugh MacDonald is said to have ambitions for his party’s leadership.

Paramedic Rick Fraser wants to inject himself into the next election as the PC candidate in Calgary-Hays.

More candidates step up.
The list of nominated and declared candidates for the next provincial election has been updated to include Lori Sigurdson, who is seeking the NDP nomination in Edmonton-Riverview.

Ms. Sigurdson is the Professional Affairs Coordinator for the Alberta College of Social Workers and previously worked for former NDP leader Ray Martin when he was the MLA for Edmonton-Norwood. That constituency has been represented by Liberal MLA Kevin Taft since 2001, who was re-elected in 2008 with 50% of the vote. Dr. Taft is not be seeking re-election. The Wildrose Alliance has nominated John Corie as their candidate.

Calgary Paramedic Rick Fraser is seeking the PC nomination in Calgary-Hays. The constituency is currently represented by PC MLA Art Johnston, who was first elected in 2004 and re-elected in 2008 with 54% of the vote. Former Libertarian Party of Canada leader Dennis Young is seeking the Wildrose Alliance nomination in that constituency.

Read more in the Alberta Politics Notes archive.

5 replies on “alberta politics notes 2/04/2011”

Colby Cosh is right about a couple of things: that Alberta has changed plenty since 1971 and that the Alberta Party can’t go from zero to 60 as quickly as a Shelby Mustang. But his Maclean’s rant can hardly be described as a “reality check.” Rather, it is the same old ultra-right-wing libertarian/totalitarian drivel and spin we have come to expect from Mr. Cosh, who must have learned his analytical skills at the feet of Ted Byfield. Thus we have Mr. Cosh fatuously trying to differentiate Danielle Smith from Ted Morton because, back in the day, Dr. Morton observed the niceties of cabinet solidarity. Elsewhere we have a typical attempt to dismiss a vote for a progressive candidate as meaningless, or as really meaning voters are moving to the right. As for his denial that “there is some unexploited, powerful hidden welter of Red Toryism in Alberta,” well, in fact, scientific polling suggests there is. Enough of such claptrap, please!

Cash’s piece is like a hundred other opinions. He’s bound by his own experiences. Even as a supporter of the Alberta Party, I don’t credible the idea that we will form Alberta’s government in the next election. There is a lot of “wait and see” among Albertans, who are–for the first time–even hearing of the Alberta party.

Much depends on who challenges for the PC leadership… who wins… what the economy does between now and the next election… and if the Alberta Party keeps gaining steam at the rate is is today.

What I found most interesting (and disheartening) was the amount of anti-Alberta rhetoric in the comments below the piece. Having spent nearly 1/3 of my life outside of Canada… with expat Canadians from all over the country… I know first-hand how angry and negative many ROC Canadians are towards Alberta.

@dave, william,

Its too early to tell anything right now. The true political wildcard and most popular people’s politician is Dr. Raj Sherman. There don’t seem to be any credible PC candidates and WRA Smith has her cheesy wobbly privatization dribble, that is a lie at best, given that her HRC experiment was heavily subsidized by the Gov’t and didn’t generate the profit she claims. With regards to our image, we have not had an articulate and intelligent enough premier to communicate the positive attributes of AB, is it any wonder why ROC Cdn’s have such a bleak view of AB?

AP is a good alternative, only problem is that most PC mla’s are chickenshxt cowards! Many of them won’t speak their mind, they just want a job, really, a warm seat, if that is all they can get anywhere, wherever its easiest is what they will do, to sit around long enuff to collect pensions. The entire PC party has become full of warm bodies, lacks integrity, honesty, dynamism, energy, is stagnant and out of good ideas and out of touch with the population.

Another wildcard is the huge flux of voters from other non-conservative Provinces, who are urban dwellers, they don’t have the unwavering loyalty to the PC brand, they just want to take care of their families and new children born here. In otherwords, they want good, public healthcare.

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