Outgoing mayor of Cochrane Truper McBride has raised questions about the involvement of Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson in the ‘Team Airdrie United’ slate of candidates running in the October municipal elections. Mayor McBride alleged that Mr. Anderson’s involvement stems from his opposition to density requirements for new development bring implemented by the Calgary Regional Partnership. Mayor McBride is the chairperson of the CRP.
Responding quickly to the accusations, four Calgary-area Wildrose MLAs, Mr. Anderson of Airdrie, Bruce Rowe of Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills, Pat Stier of Livingstone-MacLeod and Jason Hale of Strathmore-Brooks, were quoted in a press release dening the allegations and condemned Mayor McBride as “a failed PC nomination candidate.”
Mayor McBride contested the Progressive Conservative nomination in Banff-Cochrane before the 2012 election. The nomination was won by Canmore Mayor Ron Casey and is the only rural constituency in southern Alberta that elected a PC MLA in last year’s election.
Whether Mr. Anderson is involved or not, it appears there could be a deeper level of personality politics influencing this quarrel (one of the candidates in the Team Airdrie United slate is Jane Anderson, Mr. Anderson’s mother). But there is also an undeniable push by some conservatives to have a concerted influence in this year’s municipal elections by organizing slates of candidates.
While Conservatives of varying stripes dominate the federal and provincial levels of government in Alberta, voters have been friendlier to moderate centrist and centre-left inclined candidates in the municipal sphere. Many politicians identified with the Liberal and New Democratic Parties have had successful political careers at the municipal level in Alberta.
One conservative-slate, Red Deer First has emerged in central Alberta’s largest city. Sources tell this blogger that many of the key figures behind this group have ties to the Wildrose Party.
The new lobby group Common Sense Calgary, funded by the conservative Manning Centre, emerged on Calgary’s political scene last week. While it is no surprise that the Manning Centre is aiming to influence municipal politics, the lobby group had a rough start when it was forced to remove Calgary Real Estate Board as a supporter after the board’s CEO was surprised to find his name attached to a group that decried housing affordability in the city.
In April 2013, a video leaked to Global Calgary showing a large group of prominent wealthy developers – known to some as the Sprawl Cabal – plotting to stack Calgary City Council with sympathetic candidates made waves in Alberta’s largest city. The video showed a prominent developer presenting a plan to defeat certain members of City Council who he perceived to be anti-urban sprawl.