Alberta Politics

lyle oberg’s wildrose jump: connecting the dots.

Danielle Smith and Lyle Oberg at last night's Wildrose fundraising dinner in Edmonton. Photo via @wmcbeath.

Twelve years after he fired Trustee Danielle Smith by dissolving the Calgary Board of Education, former PC cabinet minister Lyle Oberg announced yesterday that he was joining the Wildrose Alliance and would be introducing Ms. Smith at her party’s fundraising dinner last night in Edmonton.

Attracting a high-profile Tory like Mr. Oberg is a public relations coup for the Wildrose, but it is not impossible to connect the dots that led to his decision. Mr. Oberg’s wife, Evelyn, works for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo Wildrose MLA Guy Boutilier and, in 2006, Mr. Boutilier was one of two PC MLAs who supported Mr. Oberg in his failed PC leadership bid (the other was Lesser Slave Lake PC MLA Pearl Calahasen).

Mr. Oberg served as Minister of various portfolios while Ralph Klein was Premier and was Finance Minister in Premier Ed Stelmach‘s first government from 2006 to 2008. After discovering that the real financial power rested not with the Finance Minister, but with Treasury Board President Lloyd Snelgrove, Mr. Oberg went out of his way to publicly contradict the Premier’s message on energy royalty review and a national securities regulator before announcing that he would not seek re-election in 2008.

Another former PC cabinet minister, Doug Main, was the Master of Ceremonies for last night’s fundraiser.

I thought that Premier Stelmach’s resignation announcement would have stemmed the flow of high-profile former PCs joining the Wildrose. I wonder who could be next?

16 replies on “lyle oberg’s wildrose jump: connecting the dots.”

I think the “coup” for the Wild Rose is not necessarily that Oberg joined the party, as he has confirmed that he will not be running, but that someone LIKE Lyle Oberg is supporting the Wild Rose Alliance.

Because of some of the early direction of party members, I admit that even I was not inclined to supopr them because the last thing Alberta needs is a “Republican” style conservative party.. however, after Danielle Smith became leader and as substantive police began to roll out, it has become apparent this is not the scary “tea party” type of conservative party that some made it out to be.

For Lyle Oberg to support Danielle Smith amplifies the growing message that the politics of fear being used against her by our current government and others is off base. Oberg is a doctor, and someone who during his term in office lead Alberta into some really decent effort at social reform in supporting a Canadian initiative to combat fetal alcohol syndrome, the development of the Protection of Children Involved in Prostitution Act, and the Alberta Child Health Benefit Program.

He is hardly some gun-crazed tea party advocate.

And the growing implied message that the Wild Rose is populated by thinking, compassionate conservatives who at the same time are not prepared to waste Alberta tax dollars on a bloated bureacracy should make the current government squirm.

As they are.

Hypothetically speaking, as long as Lyle promises not to seek private medical supply contracts from Danielle and Danielle promises not to grant private contracts to Lyle in exchange for his political support, Danielle may get my vote.

But right now the optics of these two don’t look good, its not hard to connect the dots. Everybody is dirty here. Every body wants money from the public purse.

You know what, Dave H., you’re exctly right.

The lining up at the trough for “repayment” of your support is a virus infecting politics throughout Canada and is principally why I left the PC Party.

If you’re right, I would also jump ship again.

I’m hoping you’re not and that Danielle will not be putting blinders on to hire an contract only with WRA supporters.

For what it’s worth, in my limited contact with her and others in the party, my sense is that they at last have good intentions to make things different.

Time will tell of the “walk” will truly match the “talk”.

I’m amazed that anyone would even consider running for office these days. It’s bad enough that they would have to read insults in a newspaper, but now anyone with a computer can write vitriol about them and call them dirty names and make crazy accusations about them. It’s funny how we consider ourselves to be so morally superior because we have the gift of hindsight. I wonder what has happened to tolerance and respect. As someone who once considered running for office, I now laugh at the thought of it. And yet in a way it’s kind of sad.

I sort of take your point, James, and, frankly, I’m in the process of considering a run myself. But, to be honest, I’m really not that concerned about “vitriol” because, the people that matter know me, and the people that don’t, can say whatever they like.. but, what keeps me from making the plunge is the question of whether the “machine” really can be saved, or whether I would just make myself crazy becoming a part of it.

Lyle Oberg’s crossing to the Wildrose Alliance is just the latest evidence that the Wildrose Party has become a home for people who see it as their meal ticket to get into power (or back into power) rather than a truly conservative alternative to the governing PCs.

The Edmonton Journal reported that Oberg stated that “since leaving politics, he said he offered to help the province by serving on two boards, but the government declined his help. So he joined the Wildrose”. That’s commitment.

The two former PC MLA’s who crossed the floor to the Wildrose Alliance are both career politicians who didn’t see any more room to move up in their own party. Before Rob Anderson jumped ship he was repeatedly blocked from joining cabinet. Before Heather Forsyth jumped she had been demoted from cabinet.

Real conservatives like myself have to wonder if we really want this “B” team of old politicians in charge.

Danielle Smith’s party is losing it’s luster. Fast.

From Vincent: “The two former PC MLA’s who crossed the floor to the Wildrose Alliance are both career politicians..”

Really Vincent?

Odd that “career politician” Rob Anderson wasn’t elected until 2008. Before that, he attended University, in 2003, he graduated Magna Cume Laude from Brigham Young University, and three years later, he obtained a law Alberta graduating ‘with Distinction’ honors.

During that time – when he was 19 he took he took time off from pursuing his university education to engage in mission service in Taiwan, where in addition to mission service, he learned to speak Mandarin Chinese fluently, to work as a caregiver for high-needs individuals, to teach English as a second language


A “career politician”.

Now – how about looking at the background of most PC MLA’s.

How about Cindy Ady. 3rd Term. Born into the PC Party as her father, Jack Ady, was also an MLA in this tired party.

How about Iris Evans. 18 years in municipal government followed by 11 years in as MLA for the PC Party.

Ken Kowalski? Has sat as MLA since 1979. 32 years.

32 years.

You want to talk about a team of “old politicians”?


You’re entitled to vote for the same old, same old group of obvious “old politicians” Vincent, that’s fine.. but if you want to criticize the Wild Rose, you might choose a better take – talk about their inexperience if you like, that they haven’t been “tried in battle”, that they haven’t had to “take the field”.

That would be fair.

But to suggest that the Wild Rose is a team of “old politicians” betrays the true fear the PC party supporters have of the “new kid on the block.”

This group of mental midgets are getting old, fat and haggly looking. Too many lunchtime date squares and fancy pasta lunches at meetings and they did nothing to improve goverance in the province.

Its time for fresh new ideas and faces to come forward in all parties.

The current set of PC’s are getting geriatric. They should spend more time with their grandchildren.

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