a look at the candidates lining up in the race to replace ed stelmach.

The candidates lining up to replace Premier Ed Stelmach as leader of the PC Party have been campaigning for months, yet what should be the hottest political leadership contest of the year has so far been a quiet affair. Will it take the summer months to heat up this contest, or will Albertans wait until the September 17 first ballot vote approaches before they begin to pay attention?

Here is a look at the candidates who are seeking the PC Party leadership:

A photo of Doug Griffiths, Alberta PC leadership candidate.

Doug Griifths

Doug Griffiths
Slogan: Better Alberta
Elected experience: MLA for Wainwright from 2002-2004 and Battle River-Wainwright from 2004 to present.
Released policies: Energy, Finance, Property Rights
Background: An underdog in this contest, Mr. Griffiths’ public musings have made him a pariah among some fellow conservatives and his openness to go to these uncomfortable places makes him unique when contrasted with the large contingent of comfortably-silent MLAs in the PC caucus. These musings have likely cost him a spot in cabinet, but they have also built him a solid following of supporters online.

Despite support of some rural high-rolling Tories, word on the street is that Mr. Griffiths campaign has had a challenge keeping up with fundraising compared to the other candidates in this contest. Calgary-North Hill backbencher Kyle Fawcett is the only MLA to have endorsed Mr. Griffiths. He supported Jim Dinning in the 2006 PC leadership contest.

A photo of Doug Horner, Alberta PC Leadership candidate.

Doug Horner

Doug Horner
Slogan: Let’s get it done right.
Elected experience: MLA for Spruce Grove-Sturgeon-St. Albert since 2001.
Background: Calgary Tories still bitter from Jim Dinning’s defeat in 2006 will try to paint Mr. Horner with the same brush as they did Premier Ed Stelmach. Mr. Horner is a more comfortable figure than the Premier and did a decent job filling various cabinet posts, including Agriculture and Advanced Education & Technology.

The heir to a three-generation political dynasty, Mr. Horner follows in the footsteps of his grand-father Senator Ralph Horner, his uncles former MPs Jack Horner and Norval Horner, and his father former MP, MLA and deputy Premier Hugh Horner. Big shoes to fill.

Under the auspices of the grassroots Albertan group, led by advisor Brad Ferguson, Mr. Horner is embarking on a province-wide “Think Big Alberta” speaking tour with retired Canadian Forces General Rick Hillier and Vancouver 2010 Olympic Committee CEO John Furlong. The tour kicks off in Edmonton on June 22 and has stops planned in Red Deer, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, and Calgary.

In 2006 he supported Mark Norris on the first ballot and Ed Stelmach on the second ballot.

A photo of Gary Mar, Alberta PC leadership candidate.

Gary Mar

Gary Mar
Slogan: None evident, supporters on Twitter are using the hashtag #GOGARY
Elected experience: MLA for Calgary-Nose Hill from 1993 to 2004 and Calgary-Mackay from 2004 to 2007.
Released policies: Education, Municipal Funding
Background: Smart and slick, Mr. Mar’s campaign has the feel of a candidate for the United States Senate, which is not surprising considering that he has spent the past five years dining and lobbying the Washington DC political establishment on behalf of the Alberta Government. An MLA and cabinet minister from 1993 until 2007, he has been out of the public eye long enough not to be directly tied to the current PC Party administration.

Mr. Mar’s campaign carries significant support from Establishment Tories like former Finance Minister Iris Evans and current Energy Minister Ron Liepert, who rumours say has been trying to strong-arm support from other Tory MLAs. Mr. Mar’s campaign public relations are being handled by long-time government spokesperson Mark Kastner, who is still listed as Alberta Health Services Executive Director of Media Relations.

The membership list of a secret Facebook group created before Mr. Mar officially entered the PC leadership contest included Jim Dinning‘s 2006 campaign chairman Brent Shervey, Calgary-Nose Hill MLA Neil Brown, Drayton Valley-Calmar MLA Diana McQueen, Edmonton-Rutherford MLA Fred Horne, co-chair of the PC Party’s 2008 election platform committee Brenda Barootes, and pollster Janet Brown.

He supported Jim Dinning in the 2006 PC leadership contest.

A photo of Rick Orman, Alberta PC leadership candidate.

Rick Orman

Rick Orman
Slogan: The Right Choice
Elected experience: MLA for Calgary-Montrose from 1986 to 1993
Background: This blast from the past could turn into the Ron Paul of the PC leadership contest. As the MLA for Calgary-Montrose from 1986 to 1993 and third place candidate in his party’s 1992 leadership contest, Mr. Orman faded into political obscurity until making a return as a candidate in this contest. Taking aggressive positions at candidate forms and typing with a sharp wit on Twitter, he does not owe much to the PC Party in its current incarnation and has little to lose by telling PC members what the other candidates are afraid to say. It has been suggested that Mr. Orman’s candidacy poses the biggest threat to Dr. Morton.

Mr. Orman’s campaign is moving into an office recently vacated by Calgary-Centre Conservative MP Lee Richardson‘s campaign team, opening speculation that Mr. Orman’s support may not be so thin.

A photo of Justice Minister Alison Redford at the 2011 Alberta budget announcement in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Alison Redford

Alison Redford
Slogan: None.
Elected experience: MLA for Calgary-Elbow since 2008
Released policies: Democratic Renewal, Education, Energy, Health Care
Background: The only woman in this contest, Ms. Redford is not your typical Red Tory. While her campaign has so far focused on important issues like health care, education, democratic renewal, and energy policy, the safe communities initiative during her time as Justice Minister demonstrated that she is creative enough to look beyond the “tough on crime” agenda. She is also appears to be taking a page from popular Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Edmonton City Councillor Don Iveson by “campaigning in full sentences.” (This may have been influenced by her campaign strategist Stephen Carter, who was involved with Mayor Nenshi’s campaign).

Ms. Redford has only been an MLA since 2008, but her political experience is broad, ranging from serving as a Senior Policy Advisor to External Affairs Minister Joe Clark, being appointed as one of four International Election Commissioners to administer Afghanistan’s first parliamentary elections, and challenging Calgary-West MP Rob Anders for the Conservative Party nomination in 2004 (she was unsuccessful).

A photo of Ted Morton, Alberta PC leadership candidate.

Ted Morton

Ted Morton
Slogan: Alberta Proud/Proud to be Albertan
Elected experience: Senator-in-Waiting 1998 to 2004, MLA for Foothills-Rockyview from 2004 to present
Released policies: Democratic Renewal, Power Transmission
Background: The former Finance Minister and third place leadership candidate from 2006 who’s actions forced Premier Ed Stelmach to resign and this contest to begin. Many of his key organizers from his previous leadership bid have joined the Wildrose Alliance and it is questionable whether they will return to the PC Party fold if they have embraced Dr. Morton’s ideological soul-mate Danielle Smith. His time as Finance Minister hurt his conservative credentials, especially among rural landowners furious at the government’s recently passed transmission line legislation – Bill 50.

In 2006, Dr. Morton received support of Rob Anders, Myron Thompson, and Jason Kenney, who have each since quietly or loudly shown support for the Wildrose Alliance.

Expected to enter the race:

Thomas Lukaszuk
Elected experience: MLA for Edmonton-Castle Downs from 2001 to present
Background: Yet to enter the contest, rumours have been swirling for months about Minister Lukaszuk’s potential entry into this contest. He would be the only MLA from Edmonton to enter the contest and while he would be a long-shot candidate, it could help solidify his position in cabinet under the next PC Premier.

He supported Jim Dinning in the 2006 leadership contest.

20 thoughts on “a look at the candidates lining up in the race to replace ed stelmach.

  1. Neal

    Everyone north of Calgary should vote for Doug Horner. If we get another cowtown premier after such a short period with Stelmach, the north loses out on even more provincial money. Horner’s the legitmate “Edmonton area” candidate with a shot at winning, and he’s a good politician. He’s got the oratory skills and policy savvy that Stelmach lacked.

    Reply
  2. Jim

    Pretty telling that Kyle Fawcett has endorsed Griffiths. Fawcett is a right-wing hack of the worst order. He’s the one that slammed Calgarians for electing Naheed Nenshi on the very night of Nenshi’s election. He’s also one of the loudest, rudest goons on the PC benchs & the guy that championed the homophobic elements of Bill 44 during filibuster.

    That all fits of course. Griffiths cheer squad on Twitter is made up of anti-union thugs who despise everything to do with middle class workers and their rights to negotiate.

    Griffiths has never refuted the views of his strongest supporters and is clearly happy to put the likes of a Kyle Fawcett endorsement out in public.

    I really really hope Daveberta and others take a good hard look at who’s really “behind” Doug Griffiths. He’s not the champion of youthful energy or social media grace that his team likes to portray him as. He’s actually the front man for the scariest remaining parts of the PC party.

    TL/DR: If you look beyond the surface, Doug Griffiths actually makes Ted Morton look centrist.

    Reply
  3. Karen

    Jim and Nick’s comments are very frightening! I was going to support Doug Griffiths because of his apparent youth, but he is clearly not the right person for the job. I’ve also heard rumblings that he has been using severe bully tactics against members of other camps. Now I finally realize that Griffiths is nothing more than an inexperienced, radical conservative, who just so happens to be using this leadership race to promote his 13 Ways propaganda. It’s so tacky when he brings all his books to seel at every event. Doug Griffiths is not in this leadership for YOU, he’s in it for his book sales.

    Reply
  4. William Munsey

    How did they all vote on Bills 44… 19… 50… 36? Aside from Redford, who was not present at the vote for 44 (this I know for sure), they all voted with the government.

    Now many of them are voicing concern for Bill 50. They had their chance to be courageous once. They failed. That’s enough for me to have given up on them.

    Gary Mar (and perhaps Rick Orman) is the only one who can reasonably distance himself from the most destructive of the policies of the current government.

    Reply
  5. bob smith

    why would anyone entry the race to become next premier went candidates our bash. every candidate is bring a different aproach to make a better alberta besides if is was not for middle class workers paying taxes there would not be any goverment jobs

    Reply
  6. SmithBob

    yes when candidates are bash they entry the race goverment jobs is bring middle class to a different aproach.

    Reply
  7. Albertan Watcher

    Griffiths is not a credible candidate. He is just a career politician trying to boost his profile.

    The real contest is between Gary and Rick. The rest of them are just profile raising, that’s all. It will be interesting to see what skeletons Oberg was talking about in the PC party. It will even be more amusing to see both candidates put their dancing shoes on and casually dismiss all skeletons as baseless allegations that are untrue. Let the best, most believable liar win.

    Reply
  8. Chris Yakimak

    The contest is between Gary and Ted. Ted from the past, Gary from the far past. But Gary wants to be in the business of being in business. Ted doesn’t.

    Any other candidates?

    Reply
  9. Ed Mundt

    I suspect Griffiths might be doing better than most assume, given the number of vipers crawling out from under the rocks.

    Reply
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