Liberals don’t owe the Alberta Party a free ride in Calgary-Elbow

A squabble between supporters of two opposition parties in Calgary-Elbow has attracted some media attention over the past few days. Supporters of the Alberta Party have taken to social media to voice their annoyance with Liberal Party plans to run a candidate, likely John Roggeveen, in Calgary-Elbow, where Alberta Party leader Greg Clark is also running.

Greg Clark Calgary-Elbow Alberta Party

Greg Clark

In an October 2014 by-election, Mr. Clark placed a strong second and came within 800 votes of defeating appointed Progressive Conservative Education Minister Gordon Dirks. Liberal candidate Susan Wright placed fourth with 1,519 votes, leading many of Mr. Clark’s supporters to lament the vote split among the two centrist opposition parties (Ms. Wright, aka Susan on the Soapbox, is supporting the NDP in the 2015 election).

Some supporters argued that because the Alberta Party is not nominating a candidate to run against interim Liberal leader David Swann in Calgary-Mountain View or candidate David Khan in Calgary-Buffalo, that the Liberals should not run a candidate against Mr. Clark in Calgary-Elbow.

David Swann Liberal MLA Calgary-Mountain View

David Swann

It is easy to understand their frustration.This election could be the Alberta Party’s first real shot at electing an MLA and defeating a sitting cabinet minister, and Liberals could play the role of spoiler.

Even if they do have almost identical policies and positions, it is not the responsibility of one party to help another elect candidates in an election. It may boggle the mind to think why the Liberal and Alberta parties refuse to merge, but the two parties are still opponents. Even if the Liberal Party has no chance of electing an MLA in Calgary-Elbow, the party has every right to run a candidate in that constituency.

Laurie Blakeman MLA Edmonton Centre Liberal

Laurie Blakeman

This situation puts Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman in a puzzling position. Seeking a sixth-term as MLA, Ms. Blakeman is running for re-election in Edmonton-Centre and has secured the nominations, or endorsements, of the Alberta Party and Green Party (and in Red Deer-North, Liberal candidate Michael Dawe has also secured the Green Party nomination). The initial response to Ms. Blakeman’s triple-nomination was mixed, but she defended her decision to work with the three centrist opposition parties as an attempt to unite progressive voters.

Ms. Blakeman tweeted her frustration about the Elbow squabble.

18 thoughts on “Liberals don’t owe the Alberta Party a free ride in Calgary-Elbow

  1. Barry Madsen

    While the Liberals and AB Party are busy bickering the NDP is showing what is possible with hard work, good policies and the right leader.

    Reply
  2. Ken Chapman

    Of course Ablibs don’t owe AbParty a “free ride” in Calgary Elbow.
    Greg Clark is running to defeat a hand-picked, heavily financed, blatantly & politically opportunistic “close” friend of Prentice.
    That is hardly a free ride.
    The volunteered time & talent from hundreds of progressive Albertans from all over the province who want real change are making real change a reality.
    They are all part of co-creating the new energy of the Alberta Party! That’s no free ride either! It is however a fantastic journey!

    Reply
  3. Burt

    Less testos more estra?

    As a male voter in Edmonton-Centre I can’t think of a more insulting thing to hear from my MLA.

    What would be the reaction if a male candidate had tweeted “Less estra more testos?”

    The misandry and hypcorisy is galling.

    Reply
  4. Nigel

    I blogged about this earlier, and of course, despite being an Alberta Party supporter, I do believe the ALP has every right to run a candidate. And for the record, many ALP supporters were just as upset about the decision to run. In the end, this just motivates me to work even harder.

    Reply
  5. Geoff Ball

    I completely agree with Ken.

    No one is claiming that the Liberal Party doesn’t have a right to post a candidate. The problem is that the Alberta Party has a real shot at defeating Dirks and the Liberal Party’s decision to put up a candidate could disrupt that. Roggeveen will not win—everyone knows that. This move is purely out of spite.

    It’s clear you like the move as an NDP supporter, but tell me: Even if their policies are similar, would you rather another Minister from the same ol’ PCAA or someone fresh (which might help voters realize we’re allowed to elect MLAs outside of the PCAA)?

    Reply
  6. Jordan

    Is the Alberta Party even that different than the PCs? Stephen Carter, Redford’s chief of staff and architect of the PC’s 2012, “campaign from the left, govern from the right,” strategy is working with the Alberta Party. So is a former Wildrose apparatchik.

    In terms of policy, to the extent the Alberta Party talk about concrete proposals, the Clark and Prentice teams seen very similar. Both are worship business and are okay with privatized healthcare delivery.

    I really struggle to see the need for the Alberta Party. What purpose do they serve? Its also unfortunate the media describes the Alberta Party as “progressive” or “left of centre,” when it is clearly pro-business, with a libertarian bent on social policies.

    Reply
  7. Beth

    I agree with the above comment on Ms. Blakeman’s ill advised tweet. Given the shambolic example set by Ms. Redford and Ms. Smith, I’d rather not point to gender as the best definer of good leadership. Having said that, I very much do hope Ms. Notley is rewarded for her astute and respectful campaign. My vote is with the NDP this time around.

    Reply
  8. Andre

    Jordan, please refrain from the ad hominem attacks, criticism of the Alberta Party is fair game, who knows what they would really do if they gained power, but please get straight to your policy critiques next time and skip the snide remarks about current or past figures.

    Reply
  9. Paul Doherty

    The last minute decision to parachute an Alberta Liberal candidate into Calgary Elbow makes little sense as an election strategy. It diverts funds and volunteers from other campaigns and highlights their inability to attract a local candidate. John Roggeveen brings neither money, followers nor profile to the table. The one thing he does have to offer is blind loyalty.

    The idea being put forward is that the Liberal goal is to play spoiler. I agree – but my question is whose campaign is actually being targeted to be spoiled? I would argue its not Greg Clark’s campaign for election – that’s just a happy side effect for them – but Laurie Blakeman’s campaign for cooperation.

    Recent events have highlighted there are two opposing camps in the ALP – those who promote cooperation with other parties and those who defend the status quo. Blakeman leads the former. Swann – whose actions speak far louder than his words – obviously leads the latter. In securing the nomination of not two but three parties Laurie Blakeman has become the biggest threat to the ALP’s status quo – not Greg Clark.

    By running a loyal party soldier in Elbow, the Swann camp have effectively undermined Blakeman’s position within her own party. Whether Greg Clark wins or loses, whether their ship continues to flounder or quickly sinks, by running a candidate in Elbow the defenders of the ALP status quo have ensured they will remain at the Liberal party helm.

    Reply
  10. Chris

    Unreal Laurie. If I said my office needed more testo and less estra I would be rightfully drawn and quartered.

    Reply
  11. steve

    Andre, I don’t understand your complaint that Jordans argument was adhominem He pointed out something I was not aware of. I do not have a representative of choice in my riding, I will consider the AB party as an alternative.

    Reply
  12. michael dawe

    Before people get carried away with their comments, I think they should have a close look at what happened in Red Deer North as an example of how things are not always as black and white as some people claim. All parties share at least some of the blame for the smozzle that we are seeing across Alberta in the current election. That includes the parties backed by some of the commentators above. In the meanwhile, those of us in the trenches will keep working hard to see if we can effect some real change in Alberta politics.

    Reply
  13. Fluffy the Cat

    Nothing a little 4th Century Sanskrit to liven up a riding election. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”. The PCs must be giddy with this one since it is likely to lead to the same sort of horse hockey that arose in the last Calgary civic election in Ward 7. There, perennial anti-car, anti-business, anti-intelligent think Duh (sic) Farrell won the day when two otherwise great candidates split the vote. And Ward 7 residents continue to be subjected to inanity from Druh.

    Reply
  14. Watson Smith

    @Andre: Jordan is well within reason to mention the behind the scenes architects of the Alberta Party’s campaign. Although Stephen Carter is a great strategist his views are also well known.

    I would also agree with his assessment of the party; it started out left of centre (this iteration anyways, as evergreen was very much right) but with its current leader is far closer to a PCAA stance than the libs or NDP. I have an Alberta Party Membership and will not be voting for them.

    The big listen idea was great, although only catered to the politically active but since then the party sounds closer to republican than liberal. I wonder if they want to define small business as <$100,000,000 a year income as well.

    Reply
  15. Watson Smith

    I appreciate what Laurie is attempting (regardless of her poorly thought out tweet) but it’s not enough. This election was the left of centre (or left of PCAA) party’s chance; if there was s single left wing party it could have made massive gains (either a win or forcing the PCAA to move left), instead we have two left wing and one somewhat left of PCAA (but not much) that are fighting over the same voters.

    In Edmonton the NDP have a clear shot but with no left wing opposition they could have carried the city. In Calgary pragmatic voters, who otherwise might have chosen the Left Alliance (if there were one), might be again forced to suck it up and vote PCAA to avoid the WRA winning in those ridings.

    Reply
  16. naive fools

    I think the Alberta Elbow Party’s idea of co-operation is have the Liberals run in no ridings at all. Any idiotic fool running in any of the progressive parties other than NDP or Liberal is handing a vote to the PC’S. It is simple math. Yes you are an idiot, if you are one of them. You are naive, lack vision, and playing a bigger part in ensuring further Tory Largesse, whether unintentionally or by true intention. Some of these folks have confused empowerment with naive self delusion. They have had 2 elections and still can’t even get one seat. The Tories thank you for splitting the progressive vote. You all deserve maximum rebuke and admonition, for a lack of basic common sense and failure to understand simple math. The very existence of these extra progressive parties and vote splitting is disenfranchising more Albertans than ever, as they keep holding their nose and voting tory again and again to avoid any progressive party. These extra progressive parties are throwing our elections sideways.

    Reply
  17. steve

    Realy, the tories aren’t a progressive party?
    Naive is believing big government will solve all of our problems with taxation and legislation. Prentice is only pretending to be a centralist. He has stated he is a progressive. This budget is the first of many tax grabs. I can’t see that any other Progressive party will perform differently.

    Reply
  18. BCBlue

    Dave, the parties you mention are not “centrist”. They are left leaning, hard left, and extreme left.

    Reply

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