Alberta Politics

a first ballot victory for gary mar?


A photo of Alberta PC candidate Gary Mar's campaign bus.
Gary Mar's campaign bus.

First ballot voting for Alberta’s Progressive Conservative leadership does not take place until September 17, but a show of force has led some politicos to begin speculating that former cabinet minister Gary Mar could be steamrolling towards a first ballot victory against his five opponents. With a flashy campaign launch, a deep war-chest, and a strong showing of support at a fundraiser attended by around 1500 supporters in Edmonton, it may not be far fetched speculation.

Attracting the endorsements of the PC Party establishment, including cabinet minister Iris Evans, Ron Liepert, Mel Knight, Lloyd Snelgrove, and Thomas Lukazsuk, as well as growing bevy of MLAs including Ray Prins and George Rogers. According to the newsletter Insight into Government, long-time Calgary Liberal fundraiser Daryl Fridhandler is supporting Mr. Mar’s candidacy.

Questions that were initially raised about his connections to mismanagement while Health & Wellness Minister in the late 1990s have been swept aside by Mr. Mar’s General Election-style campaign. Even the Alberta Medical Association, which has spent a considerable amount of time in the past cozying up to the Progressive Conservatives (perhaps with questionable results for its members) is promoting Mr. Mar.

His main opponents will do their best to stop Mr. Mar from rolling to a first-ballot victory. Right-wing standard bearer and former Finance Minister Ted Morton has attracted the support of Housing Minister Jonathan Denis and MLAs George Groenveld and Dave Rodney. While his campaign should not be underestimated, Mr. Morton is either on vacation or campaigning in a stealth plane. He has barely made news headlines since a highly-public row with Premier Ed Stelmach over the provincial budget led to his resignation earlier this year.

Former Deputy Premier Doug Horner is criss-crossing the province, and as the only candidate from northern Alberta (and the Edmonton region), he is likely to draw considerable regional support that Mr. Mar may find difficult to tap into. The endorsement of Lac La Biche-St. Paul MLA Ray Danyluk and more expected MLA endorsements may position Mr. Horner as the de-facto “northern opposition” to the Calgary-based Mr. Mar.

Rick Orman, a Calgary oil-man and former cabinet minister who left politics in 1993, is said to be well-funded and eating away at Mr. Morton’s support. For all his good intentions, Battle River-Wainwright MLA Doug Griffiths is said to be struggling financially, which must be disappointing for the young MLAs enthusiastic supporters, which include Calgary-North Hill MLA Kyle Fawcett.

Former Justice Minister Alison Redford may be the biggest obstacle standing between Mr. Mar’s and a first-ballot victory on September 17. A fellow Calgarian with considerable financial support and an aggressive campaign to distance herself from the unpopular administration of Premier Stelmach, Ms. Redford may challenge Mr. Mar for the support of moderates in the PC Party. Challenging Mr. Mar for the votes of these moderate PC members could deny him the base he needs to mount an early victory.

11 replies on “a first ballot victory for gary mar?”

The PC Party is crazy if they go with Gary Mar. He’s the perfect opponent for both the WildRose, who can paint him as a lifetime politico who rides the gravy train everywhere he goes, and for the Liberals who under new leader Dr Sherman will make every effort to highlight Mr. Mar’s connections as health minister to the queue jumping and other abuses.

The PCs might finally be too blind to see the best path before them. Most of the current ministers are supporting the person who they think will keep them in their cushy jobs. But that doesn’t work if they go on to lose the general election due to a poor choice for leader.

The fact that a Liberal like Darryl Fridhandler is supporting Mar should make PC’s worry: Mar is not a conservative.

The Ted Morton campaign called me and almost everyone else that I know. When they called I renewed my membership to vote for Ted. Sounds like Ted’s doing the work on the ground while Mar tries to run an air war and win over community leaders. It didn’t work for either of them last time – but we’ll see how it does this time.

I’ve heard a rumour that Dave Hancock is also supporting Gary Mar. Do you know if there’s any truth to this?

If the PCs choose Mar, along with the old boys club that support him, we will have made a total of ZERO progress toward better government in this province.

These folks are all the root of the problem, with their arrogant, entitled attitudes to the people in Alberta, only 20% of which, by the way, elected them last time in our outdated, archaic democratic process.

If Mar doesn’t win on the first ballot, just like Dinning – he will lose. He has no second ballot support and then Morton wins on the 2nd ballot runoff.

The losers can go to WRA. Actually, either way, Albertans end up the big losers. But they got/get what they deserve.

The Wildrose Party remains the most viable alternative to what has become “tired old politics as usual”. We’ve all suffered from too many years of single party rule. Albertans will do what’s best for them at the polls in the next general election. No new leader can/will change the way the PC party governs. They owe too many favors and will likely never do what’s right for average Albertans.

If people had any sense. They would realize we need a resetting of politics in this province. Let’s give this regime a huge middle finger pink slip with a catastrophic electoral demise. It is absolutely achievable with a sustained effort and change in attitude, we ca vote these c-orrupt mental midgets put of office. The fiscal liberals are a good balanced choice for Albertans.

@Neal, u made a very good point. If Mar wins first ballot and moves on for second, he comes with a checkered past and a very weak mandate. Redford is the least evil of a tainted bunch of mental midgets. She could have taken some more principled stands on healthcare in Nov., transmission lines, land rights abuses, education, all that time, but never did once, until an election rolled around, so she could reactively opportunise a leadership possibility, better late than never. She is the better of a crappy bunch, for sure and is the best chance of improving the party’s popularity.

I am still voting Liberal.

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