UPDATE (May 18, 2006) – Check out an updated Alberta PC leadership roster here.
**UPDATE (October 11, 2006) – Check out the entire list of MLA endorsements for the Alberta PC leadership race.**
Well, with yesterday’s prediction by Tory MLA Lloyd Snelgrove (Vermilion-Lloydminster) that Alberta‘s glorious and blessed leader, Premier Ralph Klein, is on his way out, I decided to take a look at some of the “would-be” Klein successors. Here are some of the old (mostly white) men stepping up to lead the 34 year-old Tory dynasty…
Jim Dinning – The ‘Paul Martin’ of the Alberta PC Leadership race. This former Provincial Treasurer (1992-97) has been bidding his time in the private sector since leaving electoral politics in 1997 (private sector, hmmm. Sounds more like the John Turner of this race). He’s looking to be the “everything-to-everyone” candidate. Under the “why Jim” category of his website, apparently one of his qualifiers for leader is: “He’s been an active Party member since the 1970’s.”
Lyle Oberg, MLA Strathmore-Brooks – Currently the Transport Minister, Oberg was affectionately known as “Lyle, Lyle, pants on fire” by teachers, parents, students, and trustees from across Alberta during his time as Learning Minister from 2001 to 2004. His arrogant style will no doubt help him fit in with many of the other candidates in this race.
Ed Stelmach, MLA Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville – Elected in 1993, after unseating two-term ND MLA Derek Fox, Stelmach quietly toiled as Transport Minister for years until being appointed Intergovernmental Affairs Minister last winter. He seems like a nice guy, but I really can’t name anything he’s done in his past 12 years.
Gary Mar, MLA Calgary Mackay – Once considered a serious contender in the race to replace Ralph, Mar had a wrench thrown in the wheels of his machine after it was discovered that this former Health Minister paid almost $400,000 in an untendered contracts to his former Executive Assistant. Now toiling as the lowly Community Development Minister, Mar is cutting ribbons instead of talking Health Care-reform.
Dave Hancock, MLA Edmonton Whitemud – Currently the Advanced Education Minister, Hancock was only one of two Tories elected in Edmonton in 1997 and is now 1 of 3 Tory MLA’s in Edmonton. Probably the most decent Tory MLA in Alberta, unfortunately he’s from Liberal Edmonton and I’m sure this will have a negative effect on his leadership chances.
Mark Norris – In 2001, Mark Norris was called a “giant-killer” for unseating then Liberal leader Nancy MacBeth in Edmonton McClung. In 2004, Norris was “giant-killed” himself by Liberal Mo Elsalhy (sources tell me that Mr. Norris took a week off during the campaign to go on a golfing vacation). Currently with no seat, I really don’t consider him a serious candidate. But things got a lot more interesting last month when Mr. Norris joined Klein and his mafia on a trip to Klein’s BC Fishing lodge. Is Norris Klein’s padwan?? Hmmm. Sounds like a kiss of death to me.
Ted Morton, MLA Foothills-Rockyview – Ah yes, the dark horse of this race. Not terribly charismatic, Dr. Morton is a hard-line right-wing ideologue. The former “Senator-in-Waiting” was elected last November under the slogan of “More Alberta, Less Ottawa.” Though he is shunned by many in the Tory establishment, he may draw the support of the hard right-wingers that the other candidates cannot. If he wins, look for a lot of Tories to jump to the Liberals. One of the rumours going around is that if he looses the leadership, he’ll jump to the floundering Alberta Alliance Party.
So, there we have it. Pretty homogeneous, eh