Former Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams traveled to Fort McMurray this week to support Alberta PC leadership candidate Gary Mar and to give the candidate a boost in support from Newfoundland’s diaspora in the northern Alberta community.
The endorsement could play well among regular conservative voters, who could respect Mr. Williams as a crusader for provincial-rights, but his battles with Ottawa also pitted him against Calgary-based Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Mr. Williams led the charge against Prime Minister Harper’s Conservatives in the 2008 federal election, which ended with the Conservatives being shut out of that province. They failed to elect any Members of Parliament on the island again in the 2011 federal election [edit: Peter Penashue was elected as the Conservative MP for Labrador, on the mainland portion of that province].
Seen by many as Mr. Mar’s main competition, former Finance Minister Ted Morton has a photo of Prime Minister Harper and himself prominently placed on the front-page of his website. Earlier in the race, online conservative pundits piled on Mr. Mar’s campaign for gaining the support of Federal Liberal fundraiser Daryl Fridhandler.
This is not the first time that Alberta’s political parties have tried to use a Newfoundland connection to get votes in Fort McMurray. In 2007, former Premier Brian Tobin was expected to join then-Liberal leader Kevin Taft at a fundraiser in Fort McMurray. Mr. Tobin had to cancel at the last minute.