Tag Archives: Hal Walker

calgary-centre conservatives and liberals choosing their by-election candidates.

On Saturday, August 25, Conservative Party members in the riding of Calgary-Centre will choose a candidate to carry their party’s banner in an upcoming and yet-to-be called by-election. Six candidates are contesting the nomination. The Conservative candidate is widely expected to win the by-election in this moderate conservative voting downtown Calgary riding. Here is a quick look at the Conservative Party nomination candidates:

Rick Billington: Lawyer and Conservative Party insider. Endorsed by Alberta Progressive Conservative Party president Bill Smith, Manitoba Senator Don Plett, Manitoba MP Joy Smith and former PC MP for Calgary-Centre Harvie Andre, former Calgary-Southwest PC MP Bobbie Sparrow.

Joan Crockatt Stephen Harper Calgary Centre

Joan Crockatt and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Joan Crockatt: Political commentator and former managing editor of the Calgary Herald. Ms. Crockatt was spokesperson for candidate Barb Higgins during the 2010 mayoral election. She has been endorsed by Prince Edward Island Senator Mike Duffy.

Jon Lord Calgary Centre Conservative

Jon Lord

Jon Lord: Former PC MLA for Calgary-Currie (2001-2004) and Alderman (1995-2001). Owner of Casablanca Video and active in the Marda Loop community. Mr. Lord ran unsuccessfully to become mayor of Calgary in 2010 and for the PC nomination in Calgary-Currie in 2012. In the past, Mr. Lord has been connected to the socially conservative Progressive Group for Independent Business and its leader Craig Chandler. He has been endorsed by Calgary Alderman Peter Demong. In a message on his Facebook Page, Mr. Lord recently accused his opponents of vandalizing his Wikipedia biography.

Greg McLean: Former president of the Calgary-Centre Conservative District Association. Campaign manager for former MP Lee Richardson, who endorsed Mr. McLean last week. Mr. McLean is also said to have the support of Calgary-Currie PC MLA and Tourism Minister Christine Cusanelli. On twitter, former Wildrose president Jeff Calloway called Mr. McLean “a strong conservative”.

Mr. McLean’s campaign manager is Dustin Franks, who served as Mr. Richardson’s executive assistant until his recent resignation. Mr. Franks was also campaign manager to Aldermanic candidate Sean Chu during the 2010 municipal election and has worked for PC MLAs Doug Griffiths and Manmeet Bhullar.

 

Joe Soares Thomas Mulcair

Joe Soares attacks Thomas Mulcair.

Joe Soares (aka “Calgary Joe”): Quebec political organizer and Conservative Party activist. Has accused NDP leader Thomas Mulcair of wanting to destroy Alberta’s economy and has criticized his opponent Ms. Crockatt for political columns she penned in the Calgary Herald. Endorsed by Ontario’s Senator Doug Finley and Manitoba MP Rod Bruinooge.

Stefan Spargo Stephen Harper Calgary Centre

Stefan Spargo and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Stefan Spargo: Former campaign manager for MP Mr. Richardson and Conservative official in Calgary-Centre. Mr. Spargo made an unsuccessful bid for the PC nomination in Calgary-Currie before the 2012 provincial election.

The Liberal Party is unlikely to place any higher than their traditional second place in this downtown Calgary constituency. In 2011, candidate Jennifer Pollock earned 17% of the vote to Mr. Richardson’s 57%. Privately, one Liberal organizer suggested to this blogger that 35% may be the optimistic ceiling for Liberal candidate in this by-election (note, optimistic). There are two officially approved candidates seeking the Liberal Party nomination on September 15. A third candidate is said to have entered the race, but has yet to be approved by the central party. Here is a look at the Liberal Party candidates:

Harvey Locke: Lawyer, well-known conservationist, and former president of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. Mr. Locke ran as a Liberal candidate in the 1989 provincial election in Calgary-Foothills. Word on the street is that he has the support of popular Calgary-Mountain View MLA David Swann (who, at one point, was suspected to be eying the NDP nomination).

Rahim Sajan: Educator and organizer of TEDxCalgary. Mr. Sajan’s supporters include Zain Velji, who was 2012 campaign manager for Calgary-Varsity PC MLA Donna Kennedy-Glans.

Steve Turner: A former supporter of Manitoba Conservative MP Mr. Bruinooge. A Liberal insider told this blogger that Mr. Turner is seeking the Liberal nomination because he “decided that the conservatives are not progressive on social issues.” His nomination papers have yet to be approved by the Liberal Party.

Meanwhile, a poll of Calgary-Centre voters conducted by Forum Research for the Huffington Post showed the Conservatives with 44% support, the Liberals with 21%, the New Democrats with 14% and the Green Party with 12%.

did danielle smith’s wildrose peak too early?

Wildrose leader Danielle Smith and Wildrose Alliance MLAs Paul Hinman, Heather Forsyth, and Rob Anderson. January 2010.

Wildrose leader Danielle Smith and Wildrose MLAs Paul Hinman, Heather Forsyth, and Rob Anderson in January 2010.

With the departure of Premier Ed Stelmach soon upon us, and the Tories choosing a new leader this fall, has the wave that carried the Wildrose high in the polls in 2010 crested in 2011?

In 2010, the Wildrose benefited greatly from a number of high-profile Tory defections. Convinced they were riding the next wave after a narrow by-election victory in a Tory stronghold saw Paul Hinman return to the Assembly, floor-crossing Tory MLAs Rob Anderson and Heather Forsyth joined Danielle Smith‘s party in January 2010. The next month, the Wildrose were riding higher than the Tories in public opinion polls. Soon after they were joined by former PC organizer Hal Walker and banished former Tory cabinet minister Guy Boutilier. Rumours of more Tory defections were spreading like wildfire.

The high tide that was 2010 for the Wildrose led to a much more reality-based and sober 2011. Without the weather vane that was the unpopular Premier Stelmach, Ms. Smith’s Wildrose will be facing a new Progressive Conservative leader in the next general election.

Following a policy convention that reaffirmed the party’s commitment to a number of fringe conservative pet issues, a number of Tory-cum-Wildrose supporters returned to the PC Party. Dean Leask, Wildrose’s former vice-president of policy has returned to the Tory ranks, describing his now former party as “an antigrassroots movement.”

Mr. Leask is now supporting former Finance Minister Ted Morton‘s bid for the PC leadership. A number of other Wildrosers are said to have returned to the Tories to support Rick Orman‘s leadership bid.

Is the Wildrose an “anti-grassroots movement?” This is difficult to confirm, but evidence suggests that the party has handled internal disputes with a heavy-hand. Conflicts with the central party over the candidate nomination process led to the resignations of members of the board of directors in the Medicine Hat and Little Bow constituencies. Some disgruntled Wildrose supporters have put the blame on professional political operatives like Vitor Marciano, while others have complained to this blogger than MLA Mr. Anderson is “micro-managing” party affairs.

While much of the Wildrose’s future depends on who becomes the next leader of the PC Party, the high hopes of competing tête-à-tête with the PCs in the next general election may be dashed. The Wildrose have begun trending below the Tories in more reputable polls and are substantially behind the governing party in fundraising (though they are far ahead of the opposition NDP, Alberta Party, and Liberals).

The forecast of forming government anytime soon may be less optimistic, but Ms. Smith’s cadre of disgruntled conservatives appear to have positioned themselves as a permanent fixture on Alberta’s political scene, with the growing possibility that they may form the Official Opposition after the next election.

Even the once starry-eyed optimist, Ms. Smith appears to be shifting into the mode of managing the expectations of her party faithful. Instead of reaffirming previous comments that Albertans were ready to elect her party to government, she settled on a more modest comment at the Calgary Stampede this weekend, telling the Canadian Press that “after the next election there will be a large contingent of Wildrosers.”

nominations update: a bloom off the wildrose in little bow.

A little bit of the bloom came off the Wildrose this week as the entire executive committee of that party’s Little Bow Constituency Association resigned in protest central party interference of their recent nomination contest. The resignations come as local members nominated Vulcan County Councillor Ian Donovan, who defeated 2008 candidate Kevin Kinahan (a comment on Mr. Kinahan’s Facebook Page indicated that the vote was 209 to 204).

Wildrose Alliance support in Little Bow jumped from 857 votes (9.4%) in 2004 to 2,051 votes (23.1%) in 2008, making this one of that party’s best showings in the last election.

Leader Danielle Smith was quick to declare on Twitter that “I stay neutral in these contests” and provided a link to a statement by Party President Hal Walker.

UPDATE: The former Little Bow Constituency Association executive have responded to Mr. Walker’s statement.

The internal turmoil was not limited to Little Bow. Earlier this week, Bobbie Dearborn, the Secretary of the Medicine Hat Wildrose Constituency Association resigned after a heated board meeting. According to the Medicine Hat News, some local members are apparently unhappy about a dispute over local finances and the quick nomination process that selected candidate Milva Bauman earlier this year.

It might be too soon to call them a wilting rose, but these are certainly the largest round of internal resignations to hit the Wildrose Alliance since Ms. Smith became party leader in late 2009.

NDP and Liberal nominations
The other parties had more smooth experiences with recent candidate nominations. The NDP nominated former MLA David Eggen in Edmonton-Calder. Mr. Eggen represented Calder from 2004 to 2008, when he was narrowly defeated by PC candidate Doug Elniski. The NDP also recently nominated Ali Haymour in Edmonton-Decore. Mr. Haymour stood for election in neighbouring Edmonton-Castle Downs in 2008, placing third with 13% of the vote.

The Liberals nominated former MLA Rick Miller in Edmonton-Rutherford. Mr. Miller served as the MLA for Rutherford and Official Opposition Finance critic from 2004 and 2008. He was narrowly defeated by PC candidate Fred Horne in 2008 and has since served as the Chief of Staff at the Official Opposition Caucus. The next election will be Mr. Miller’s fourth time standing as a Liberal candidate in that constituency (he stood against former Reform Party MP and PC candidate Ian McClelland in 2001 and defeated him in 2004). Other candidates already nominated in Rutherford are the NDPs Melanie Samaroden and the Wildroses Kyle Macleod.

View an updated list of declared and nominated candidates.

alberta politics: 3 things more important than hal walker that happened today.

Today’s much hyped Wildrose Alliance news conference in Calgary did not live up to expectations. When announced yesterday that leader Danielle Smith would “be making an important political announcement” about the her party, the speculation was rampant. Was Preston Manning signing his endorsement pledge? Was Tom Flanagan going be their campaign manager? Was Calgary-Fish Creek MLA Heather Forsyth going to step down to let Ms. Smith to run in a by-election? Were more PC MLAs going to cross the floor?

The news turned out to be ever so underwhelming. Party president Jeff Calloway has stepped down to allow disenchanted former Ralph Klein advisor Hal Walker to enter the role. Last September, Mr. Walker let it be known to the world that he strongly disliked Premier Ed Stelmach when he widely circulated an email that oozed the with entitlement of a longtime-insder who no longer had the ear of the powerful. The underwhelming announcement sparked a some very entertaining social media satire from the political crowd on Twitter this afternoon (follow #waptopstory to see what I mean).

While the underwhelming story of Mr. Walker and the hilarious online reaction grabbed headlines, do not be convinced that nothing important happened today in Alberta politics. Here are three things that you should be paying attention to:

1) Edmonton-Rutherford PC MLA Fred Horne has announced the start of consultations for a new Alberta Health Act. The Act would seek to merge currently existing health care laws under one piece of mega-legislation. As was the case when the PCs created the Post-secondary Learning Act in 2003, the devil will be in the details of what is left in legislation and what will be moved into regulation (or just left out). In a media release, Friends of Medicare‘s David Eggen said: “The Alberta Hospitals Act, and the Alberta Health Care Insurance Act both provide core legal underpinnings for our public system. If they are repealed and not strengthened under the new legislation, it could open the doors wide for a full two-tiered, parallel private health market in the province immediately.”

2) Premier Stelmach announced on the Rutherford Show this morning that Alberta will not be holding a Senate election anytime soon. The terms of Alberta’s current three Senators-in-Waiting will expire in November 2010, but instead of holding an election to replace them, Premier Stelmach and his cabinet will decide in a closed door cabinet meeting to extend their terms. Aside from being anti-democratic, the move also undercuts the opposition parties who were preparing for a Senate election to coincide with the October municipal elections. The Wildrose Alliance began seeking Senate candidates last week and I am told that the new Alberta Party was also organizing a campaign to support a candidate this fall. At this point, Premier Stelmach might as well appoint the Senators-in-Waiting.

3) Alberta’s new Mental Health Patient Advocate is longtime PC-insider Fay Orr. Ms. Orr worked as a media relation advisor to now Senator Elaine McCoy in the early 1990s and in the 1993 election she was the PC candidate in Edmonton-Norwood (she placed third behind Liberal Andrew Beniuk and New Democrat Ray Martin). Following the election, she served as Premier Klein’s spokesperson and was appointed as managing director of the Public Affairs Bureau in 2000 (a position where current PAB Director of New Media and Internet Communications Tom Olsen described her as ‘the chief of all Alberta government talking heads‘). Soon after that, Ms. Orr served as Deputy Minister for a number of Departments, including Community Development; and Government Services, and until today, the Department of Children and Youth Services.