Welcome to Alberta’s 2008 provincial election campaign!
Before I get started on some serious election coverage, here’s a quick recap of yesterday’s Speech from the Throne. Though I don’t think Tory leader Ed Stelmach‘s campaign launch throne speech was as fabulous as one of my fellow bloggers has gushed, I don’t think it was really anything awful either. It felt like a typical Ed Stelmach-sytle Throne Speech – inoffensive, filled with re-announcements, and promises to continue projects that are already underway. Because of this, I’ll focus on some key points that I piqued my interest…
– Though there was nearly no mention of Alberta’s municipalities in the speech, there was a lot of talk of catching up and building modern infrastructure. I’m assuming this means that Ed Stelmach had nothing to do with Alberta falling behind on infrastructure development while he was Minister of Infrastructure & Transportation from 1999 to 2004.
– As had been previously semi-announced, Health Care Premiums are on the chopping block within four years. I’m not sure why it’s going to take four years (I assume a 37-year-old government can only move so fast), but this is generally a positive step that Alberta’s opposition parties and public interest groups been advocating for over the past decade.
– Ed Stelmach has made a commitment to remain vigilant in his fight the Pine Beetle. I’m not sure how Stelmach is planning to fight the beetles, but I can’t help but imagine Ed Stelmach and Ray Danyluk running around the forest dressed up like Batman and Robin and squishing thousands of helpless little Pine Beetles with the bottoms of their boots. Go get ’em, Ed!
The Edmonton Journal’s Graham Thomsons picked up a good point raised by Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft as to why Ed Stelmach was using the taxpayer provided Legislature Media Conference room for what was essentially a campaign launch announcement (equipped with PC Campaign Staff). I was standing in the back of the room during the media conference and it was interesting to see Stelmach is slowly beginning to improve his public speaking skills compared to when he became Premier a year ago.
Ed Stelmach may be slowly improving his public speaking skills, but he’ll need to do better than he did yesterday if he’s serious about communicating with Albertans in a meaningful way over the next 28 days.