In what I expect to be a steady stream over the next few months, long-time Tory backbencher Richard Magnus joined the current as he announced that he won’t be seeking a fifth term in office.
That brings the official MLA retirement list to eight:
Progressive Conservative MLAs
Victor Doerksen (Red Deer-South)
Clint Dunford (Lethbridge-West)
Carol Haley (Airdrie-Chestermere)
Denis Herard (Calgary-Egmont)
Rob Lougheed (Strathcona)
Richard Magnus (Calgary-North Hill)
Alberta Liberal MLA
Maurice Tougas (Edmonton-Meadowlark)
New Democrat MLA
Raj Pannu (Edmonton-Strathcona)
On the Tory retirements, comments are abound:
“A lot of MLAs see the writing on the wall that people are not happy with the party and the way it’s run,” says Jim Stevenson, who chaired Alberta Renewal, founded during last fall’s leadership race in an effort to reconnect the party with its grassroots.
“There’s so many things that need to be changed to bring some democracy back into the party and I don’t see that happening.”
David Taras, a political analyst at the University of Calgary, agrees a number of factors affect the decision whether to run again, but says Stelmach has to wear some of the responsibility.
“There are a lot of factors at work here and some are not the kind of factors the premier likes to talk about,” he said. “Klein had enormous coat tails. With those coat tails gone, and the argument that Stelmach has very short coat tails, or none at all, could be a drag on some of these candidates.
“If you do the basic math, some of them could be in tough re-election battles and some could lose.”