As expected, yesterday morning Battle River-Wainwright MLA Doug Griffiths entered the contest to replace Premier Ed Stelmach as leader of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party. As I posted yesterday, I believe that Mr. Griffiths will be an interesting addition to a leadership contest that has so far been less than exciting.
At his campaign announcement, Mr. Griffiths highlighted five areas that his leadership campaign will focus on, including K-12 education, land stewardship and environmental issues, government reform, developing solutions for healthcare, and reinvigorating the PC Party.
His opponents will likely use his age (38) and lack of cabinet experience to downplay the seriousness of his candidacy, but his position as an underdog and outsider may be easily disputed by support from a big-name Tory insider.
A quick reverse address search on Whitepages.ca reveals that the mailing address listed for the “Doug Griffiths 2011 Campaign Fund“, 220 Wolf Willow Road, is also listed as a home address B. Heidecker.
Brian Heidecker is a big name in the PC Party establishment. As the current Chair of University of Alberta Board of Governors, a unapologetic former political appointee to the Alberta Treasury Branches Board and Alberta Securities Commission, and a former PC Party Vice-President, his support will establish credibility for Mr. Griffiths’ campaign among PC insiders. Not coincidentally, Mr. Heidecker is a retired rancher and owns a 16,000-acre ranch near Coronation, which is also Mr. Griffiths’ hometown.
The suggestion that Mr. Heidecker is a fundraiser on this leadership campaign might be a subtle signal to the PC establishment that Mr. Griffiths is a more credible candidate than his opponents may want that party’s members to believe.