thorny candidates could be the wildrose party’s biggest liability.

Danielle Smith Wildrose Alberta
Danielle Smith (photo from Wildrose Facebook page)

As the face of the campaign, Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith is her party’s biggest asset. She is media savvy, personable and, despite her limited governance experience (one year as a trustee on the dysfunctional Calgary Board of Education), she talks about becoming Premier with more confidence than any opposition leader in a long time.

But looking beyond the high-profile face of the Wildrose Party, which polls from the first week of the campaign suggest could be poised to form government, Albertans should be asking important questions about who would serve as cabinet ministers in a Wildrose Party government? The Premier is only one person at the table. Which Wildrose candidate would serve as Minister of Justice, Minister of Education, Minister of Finance, and Minister of Health?

Ask most Albertans to name a Wildrose candidate outside their own riding, and they will probably respond with a puzzled face. The lack of “star-candidates” is likely a product of timing. The Wildrose Party began to hold its candidate nominations in 2010 during a time when the party was seen to have peaked and was sitting in the mid-teens in the polls. What the party ended up with were plenty of well meaning candidates, but not many who would be defined as “star candidates.”

The recent success of the federal NDP in Quebec provides a textbook example of why any party should take seriously the candidates it nominates to run under its banner, even if it does not look like they might form government at the time.

If the Wildrose Party are to form the next government in Alberta, an important question needs to be asked about whether their candidates are the kind of politicians that Albertans want running the show. Here is a look at some of the Wildrose candidates who could end up serving as a cabinet minister under Premier Danielle Smith:

Link Byfield Wildrose Barrhead Morinville Westlock
Link Byfield

- Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock candidate Link Byfield is the former publisher of the right-wing Alberta Report magazine. As has been noted elsewhere, Mr. Byfield was the president of the Society to Explore and Record Christian History and the founder of the Citizens Centre for Freedom and Democracy, which stands, among other things, “against expanding influence of the Charter of Rights.”

John Carpay Wildrose Calgary Lougheed
John Carpay

- Calgary-Lougheed candidate John Carpay penned an opinion-editorial in the National Post in 1994 which criticized Premier Ralph Klein for not invoking the Notwithstanding Clause to block the Supreme Court decision forcing Alberta to include protection of homosexuals from discrimination.

More recently, Mr. Carpay defended the University of Calgary Campus Pro-Life Club and was part of the legal team which defended anti-gay activist Bill Whatcott against charges in Saskatchewan. (Mr. Whatcott was recently detained by the police for distributing anti-gay hate literature to homes in northwest Calgary).

Ron Leech Wildrose Calgary Greenway
Ron Leech

- Calgary-Greenway Wildrose candidate and evangelical pastor Ron Leech penned an article in the Calgary Herald in 2004 which argued “to affirm homosexuality is to distort the image of God, to insult the nature and being of God.” Perhaps this fits with Ms. Smith’s ideas on conscience rights (which has angered at least one now former Wildrose supporter).

- Edmonton-South West candidate Allan Hunsperger is the self-described pioneer in the establishment of Alberta’s private schools in the late seventies and founder of Heritage Christian Schools.

Don Koziak Wildrose Edmonton Glenora
Don Koziak

- Edmonton-Glenora candidate Don Koziak‘s short-lived mayoral bid in 2010 was kicked off by a promise to halt LRT expansion, calling the public transit “enormously environmentally unfriendly.” When asked what he would do differently, Mr. Koziak trumpeted the construction of more “interchanges and wider roads.” Toronto Mayor Rob Ford would be proud.

- Edmonton-Castle Downs candidate John Oplanich, kicked off his campaign by offering to raffle a free big screen televisionto voters who would support him.

Andrew Constantinidis Wildrose Calgary-West
Andrew Constantinidis

- A number of Wildrose candidates running in Edmonton constituencies have indicated over the past year that they would re-open the acrimonious City Centre Airport debate, even though elected City Councillors have already made the decision to phase out operations of the tiny downtown airport.

- As I have already written, a few Wildrose candidates from Calgary have strong connections with controversial Conservative MP Rob Anders. This includes Calgary-West candidate Andrew Constantinidis, who served as Mr. Anders’ local constituency president and media coordinator during the 2011 federal election.

These are the highest profile stories around these candidates, the truth is that outside of Ms. Smith and the four established Wildrose MLA’s running for re-election, surprisingly little is known about the party’s candidates. And the Wildrose Party has done a superb job of focusing the media’s and voters attention on what they want, namely Ms. Smith and ensuring that she, rather than their candidates are the ones making headlines.

157 thoughts on “thorny candidates could be the wildrose party’s biggest liability.”

  1. Gay right’s.
    Women’s rights.
    If wildrose gets elected, im shure those will be almost nonexistant.

    I for one do not welcome our new radical christian overlords.

  2. Not bad Dave from a hand full of candidates you are capable of discerning the entire Wildrose membership …… Dam you and your readers are amazing social scientist’s. Don’t they say that painting a group as a whole based upon a few members Narrow thinking? All Albertan’s are members of the Wildrose that is is what makes us different. The candidate is chosen at the CA level and the party has very little say out side of enforcing violations of selection rules. If a CA as a whole votes some one in and they get elected by the voters then do they not represent the views and ideals of the riding as a whole? How else would they be elected to the ledge? In our party it would take 51% of the membership to push our policies over the edge and I can say I know more than that and “star candidates” are few and far between. Most are educated successful working stiffs who have strong back grounds in a number of your aforementioned skill sets. Are they Politicians? I dare say not and for now that’s a good thing.

    Oh BTW I have been involved with the Wildrose from organizing and forming a CA three years ago right up until today with a candidate of good standing and a strong Social/Ethical background ………. And she will unseat the PC incumbent and represent her constituent’s first and her party second as will most others I know. And Dave just like I agree with most of what you say I also agree with most members of the Wildrose and some I don’t. That’s the real world Dave ….not the perfect world

  3. I think I like the lack of experience
    No experience intimidating others such as docs or school boards
    Voting their own raises
    Money for nothing
    Inability to pass a budget and stick to it
    Call the party,not of my fathers, and then call in “father Lougheed
    So bye bye Ms Redford

  4. It is amazing that the Cons have shifted to the left and offended the right wing radicals that in the past during elections have made comments that have taken Alberta’s international image back to the stone age.

  5. It is predicted that ther will be a massive bleed of PC votes going to the Alberta Liberals and thus Sherman may form a minority government.

  6. Dennis Prager, principal at a high school in Toronto, on the first day of classes in 2011.

    To: The students and faculty of our high school.

    I am your new principal, and honoured to be so. There is no greater calling than to teach young people.

    I would like to apprise you of some important changes coming to our school. I am making these changes because I am convinced that most of the ideas that have dominated public education in Canada have worked against you, against your teachers, against your parents, and against our country. Therefore:

    First, this school will no longer honour race or ethnicity. I could not care less if your racial makeup is black, brown, red, yellow, or white. I could not care less if your origins areAfrican, Latin American, Asian, or European, or if your ancestors arrived here on the Mayflower, leaky SE Asian refugee ships, or on slave ships. The only identity I care about, the only one this school will recognize, is your individual identity — your character, your scholarship, your humanity. And the only national identity this school will care about is Canadian. This is a Canadian public school, and Canadian public schools were created to make better Canadians.

    If you wish to affirm an ethnic, racial, religious identity through your school, you will have to go to another one. We will end all ethnicity – race – and non-Canadian-nationality-based celebrations. They undermine the motto of Canada.Everyone is equal, coast to coast.

    And this school will be guided by Canadian values. That includes all after-school clubs. I will not authorize clubs that divide students based on any identities. This includes gender, race, language, religion, sexual orientation, or whatever else may become in vogue in a society divided by political correctness. Your clubs will be based on interests and passions — not blood, ethnic, tribal, racial or other physically defined ties. Those clubs just cultivate narcissism — an unhealthy preoccupation with the self — while the purpose of education is to get you to think beyond yourself. So, we will have clubs that transport you to the wonders and glories of art, music, sport, debating, astronomy, languages you do not already speak, math, carpentry, and many many more. If the only extracurricular activities you can imagine being interested in, are those based on ethnic or racial or sexual identity, that means that little outside of yourself really interests you, and that means you don’t belong in this school.

    Second, I am not interested in whether or not English is your native language. My only interest in terms of language is that you leave this school speaking and writing English as fluently as possible. The English language has united Canadian citizens for more than 200 years, and it will unite us at this school. It is one of the indispensable reasons this country of immigrants has always come to be one country.And if you leave this school without excellent English-language skills, your teachers and I will have been remiss in our duty to ensure that you are prepared to compete successfully in the Canadian employment market. You will learn other languages here — it is deplorable that most Canadians only speak English. But if you want classes taught in your native language rather than in English, this is not the school for you.

    Third, because I regard learning as a sacred endeavour, everything in this school will reflect learning’s elevated status. This means, among other things, that you and your teachers will dress accordingly. Many people in our society dress more formally for a meal at a nice restaurant than they do for church or school. Those people have their priorities backwards. Therefore, there will be a formal dress code at this school.

    Fourth, no obscene language will be tolerated anywhere on this school’s property — whether in class, in the hallways or at athletic events. If you can’t speak without using the “F-word,” you can’t speak. By obscene language I mean the words banned by the Federal Communications Commission plus epithets such as the “N-word,” even when used by one black student to address another, or “bitch,” even when addressed by a girl to a girlfriend. It is my intent that by the time you leave this school, you will be among the few of your age to distinguish instinctively between the elevated and the degraded, the holy and the obscene, the educated and the non-educated.

    Fifth, we will end all self-esteem programmes. In this school, self-esteem will be attained in only one way — the way people attain it will be by earning it from their fellow students and teachers. One immediate consequence of this is that there will be only one class valedictorian, not eight.

    Sixth, and last, I am reorienting the school programme toward academics, scholarship, and away from politics and propaganda. No more time will be devoted to scaring you about smoking and caffeine, or terrifying you about sexual harassment or global warming. No more semesters will be devoted to condom-wearing and teaching you to regard sexual relations as only, or primarily a health issue. There will be no more attempts to convince you that you are a victim because you are not white, or not male, or not heterosexual, or not Christian. We will have failed, if any one of you graduates from this school does not consider himself or herself inordinately lucky — lucky to be alive, lucky to be well educated, and lucky to be a Canadian.

    Now, please stand and join me in singing, O’ CANADA to the only flag in Canada.

    Perhaps some of WildRose candidates should read this article, as I see it we are in Canada and all are supposed to be equal and PASTORS of all people should not sit in JUDGEMENT

    Fed up with BIGETS

    J Lane

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