Alberta Politics

liberal party tries to raid alberta party staff with promise of job and nomination.

The New Liberals: Raj Sherman leads the Liberal Party on a morning raid against the Alberta Party staff.
The New Liberals: Raj Sherman leads his Liberal Party on a morning raid, hoping to pillage the Alberta Party staff.

Outgoing Liberal Party executive director Corey Hogan and Liberal Caucus strategist Jonathan Huckabay offered Alberta Party provincial organizer Michael Walters a job as their party’s executive director, sources close to both parties have told this blogger.

The offer was made over the phone earlier this week. Sources say that Mr. Walters, the nominated Alberta Party candidate in Edmonton-Rutherford, was also offered a candidate nomination in the constituency of his choice if he would join the Liberals.

Sources say that the offer was sweetened when it was strongly implied that the Liberals would reopen the nomination process in Edmonton-Rutherford, to allow Mr. Walters to compete against already nominated candidate and former Liberal MLA Rick Miller.

When contacted by this blogger, Mr. Walters, the former lead organizer for the Greater Edmonton Alliance, said that he declined both offers and remains committed to the Alberta Party.

Kent Hehr is new deputy leader

New leader Raj Sherman is attempting to shake-up his eight MLA Liberal Caucus. One of his first moves was to appoint Calgary-Buffalo MLA Kent Hehr as the party’s Deputy Leader, a position recently held by Edmonton-Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman. Mr. Hehr is a strong MLA and a rising star in the opposition benches, but the job of deputy leader is a minor-lead in a caucus of nine MLAs.

MacDonald retiring?

Also emerging from the Liberal ranks is speculation that long-time MLA Hugh MacDonald might not seek re-election when the writ is dropped for the next provincial general election. Mr. MacDonald has represented Edmonton-Gold Bar since 1997 and placed second to Dr. Sherman in his party’s recent leadership contest.

It is also being reported that two other Liberals may sit out the next election. In Edmonton-Ellerslie, former MLA and nominated candidate Bharat Agnihotri and in Calgary, past federal Liberal candidate Josipa Petrunic, may take a pass in the next campaign if it interferes with approaching commitments in their personal and professional lives.

37 replies on “liberal party tries to raid alberta party staff with promise of job and nomination.”

Well, the liberals have some fight… good on ’em. It is obvious to me that something has to give in this crowded centre. There are passionate progressives/centrists in the Ablibs and abparty. My hope is that however this plays out, it also captures the energy of many of those increasingly disalusioned PCers currently working their tails off for change. I see very little difference in the values and hopes of many fighting for change in these three parties (and even a few in WRP&NDP). If all of that positive energy could be harnessed together in one place… well, I can only imagine. But I’m sure we will carry on has happy little partisans as Gary leads us into more of the same.

The Liberals prove that even if you have already jumped the shark, that’s no reason you can’t go back and jump it a few more times.

No wonder Hugh is getting out.

Michael is a very talented man, and from the rumors he won’t have a job with the Alberta Party by the end of the month. Its not surprising that other parties are trying to poach him.

As for Hugh, talk about a good thing for the Alberta Liberal Party. Who needs the negativity that he adds to the organization. If he can’t get onside with the way the party is moving forward it is time for him to step out.

The Alberta Party is broke, in the basement of the polls, and despite valiant efforts from talented people, failing to get any traction.

Walters might want to reconsider. Time to bring the band back together, guys.


It’s not really a rumour that Michael won’t have a job; he is leaving that job to focus on being a candidate, something which was decided months ago and which he’s been open about for a while.

I think it’s hilarious that the Liberals would try to poach him, especially after all they say about the Alberta Party, and that they’d even be willing to overturn a nomination for him; so much for the democratic purity they often espouse.

As for Hugh, if he didn’t run it would be quite something; he’s guaranteed to win and who knows if they’d hold that riding. He seems like a decent and hardworking MLA but I think he’s definitely part of the attitude problem the Liberals have.

Michael is one of the most innovative political thinkers in this Province. He is not doping this for the money, but to change the way politics are done for Alberta.

Going to the Alberta Liberal Party would be like Steve Jobs picking up a shift at the Radio Shack.

(Some Friday Jest for my friends at Radio Shack)

I’m struck by the promise of “a candidate nomination in the constituency of his choice” if Walters joined the Liberals.


I hope for Hogan and Huckabay’s reputation that this is a misrepresentation of their approach to Walters. I can’t imagine the nominated candidates (not to mention MLAs) would be too thrilled to learn about being pushed aside in such a manner.

AP is just a side show experiment, made by Tory friends as a bear trap designed to claw away political support from the Liberals to strengthen the Tories and keep Tories in power. I guess, the Tory experiment of the AP has worked so far.

Hi All,

Michael Walters is a talented organizer who shares the values of the Alberta Liberal Party. We had heard that he may be available soon and decided to give him a call to see if he has any interest – there’s some exciting things going on over here that we’d like all good Albertans to be a part of.

That position of Executive Director is not mine or Jonathan’s to give away (it is up to the Alberta Liberal Board of Directors), but if he’s interested, he would be an intriguing choice.

He was also told that being ED would not preclude him from running for office under the Alberta Liberal Party banner in one of our open constituencies.

I look forward to a day when Michael and I work on the same team, because for the life of me I can’t see the differences in our desires for Alberta.

Corey Hogan
Executive Director
Alberta Liberal Party


Good of you to update. I appreciate that you have to clarify the position being presented by Dave; but I hope it will be Michael who clarifies if he “shares the Values of the Alberta Liberal Party”.

Also, I respect greatly the work and passion you put into the Alberta Liberal Party. You are a bright start indeed for them.

A someone who left the PC Party, I can say with much conviction that the value of having a new party, with no political baggage, is the only way forward for the hordes of “Red Tories” like me, who would feel welcome in the Alberta Party.

Beyond that, there are an alarming number of Albertans who simply didn’t like ANY of the traditional parties from the last election. Again, I think something new is the only way to get them up off their apathy and get involved.

Combining “teams” would offend Albertans as a contrived opportunistic stunt, and 1 + 1 would equal 0.5.

Ha, not to point out the obvious, but the loaded word “poached” should be used with caution from a party that’s pulled its fair shares of organizers and staff from other parties. We all know this is part of the business. Seriously, heaven forbid we become so blindly partisan that we can’t see common ground and recognize talent when it arises.

Funny photo and caption though.

Corey and Michael both want a long list of things to change for Alberta. People like Michael include the political parties on the list.

And I agree with Matt. It’s only poaching if the AP has some right to Michael, which they don’t. That’s good news for the AP, because it means the ALP doesn’t have any right to Corey, either.

I don’t find the article surprising to say the least.

Since finishing the Leadership Campaign with Raj Sherman, I have had offers from every party except the Alberta Party and oddly the Liberal Party. Jonathan Huckabay had offers as well. Jonathan obviously chose to stay with the Liberals while my hand looks forced to move on to another.

It’s not “poaching” at all. It is about getting the right people in place to make your Party’s run for leadership of the province.

It’s the game we play and love…


I hope Hugh is thinking of leaving. He’s done nothing but tear down Dr. Raj Sherman for having the temerity to bring thousands of new supporters to the Liberal party. We’re lucky to have such a great leader – and people like Hugh represent everything that is wrong with the ALP of the past.

The Liberals were popular under Laurence Decore when we were a centrist party. People like Hugh MacDonald, Laurie Blakeman, and Kevin Taft have moved us so far to the left Brian Mason looks like Preston Manning. If Hugh is leaving, maybe it’s a sign we can get back to the centre, where we belong, and where we might find more supporters than you can cram into a mini-van.

@Grant @Don’t let the door…

Hugh MacDonald, Laurie Blakeman, Kevin Taft, things are getting crowded under the Liberal bus. Great time to be an ablib indeed, unless you supported one of those guys, then get the hell out, door meet arse, we’re with Raj now.

Reminds me of the scene in The Knight’s Tale when the coins are tossed and the poor fight over the small pieces of money. We need more intelligent, more focused, more mature responses to politics in Alberta.

There is general political voting apathy in Alberta far worse than before. The NEW ALP is re-energized, slightly more blue and shifting away from the stagnation that has kept it handcuffed and stifled. It would be better to use talents from veteran Liberals like Hugh, but they have to see themselves working in a dynamic team, participating and growing the party with the intent of forming govt and become happy seeing the party prosper and capturing themimagination of Albertans. There IS NO more room for back biting, negativity and relentless unwavering rigid text book descriptions of what the philosophical direction of what the party should be. This same airing of dirty laundry is exactly what has dogged the public image of this party. Every member should strive with the intent of collaboratively growing and evolving the party with a flexible mindset and to be any other way is further enabling Tory rule and giving them a free ride.

Anyone who thinks losing Hugh, Kevin, and having two candidates (rumored) step down isn’t a sign that Raj cannot unite the party needs to go visit Dr. Drew for a couple of weeks.

A cleaning out is a good thing too Allison. The ALP needs new vision, young, intelligent, engaged people who have the drive to grow the party. The stagnated intelligentsia of the ALP, while it has spent a great deal of energy being intelligent, has not done much at the polls, nor has it engaged enough Albertans, especially ruralites to think differently. The new young energy of the ALP will break the mold and finally bring about a re-invigorated direction and far stronger opposition. The old ALP guard are talented and intelligent individuals and if they in their wisdom can realize that working together, more can be achieved, they will be enablers of their own success and happiness and of the party’s as well.

I heard that Michael Walters approached the AbLibs about similar matters six months ago and that they agreed to stay in touch.

There is nothing inherently wrong with one party trying to recruit staffers from another. Political party staff are to a large extent professionals, who can often successfully migrate from employment by one party to employment by another, although there is usually the need for at least some degree of political compatibility. (I could not imagine a Wildrose staffer being able to successfully migrate to the NDP office, for example; the ideological gap is just too wide).

The recruitment incentive here, however, is a bit problematic. If the Libs claim to be democratic in how they operate, how can they guarantee a nomination to anybody?

@casual observer

I didn’t see a lot of love coming from Hugh towards Raj over the last little while. If you live by the sword, you die by the sword.

I hope he goes.

@The door

I’m not going to get on Hugh’s case for not fawning over a one issue party flipper who’s political career experience is limited to being a Tory parachute candidate in 08.

The libs are done unless somehow they convince the Alberta party to merge. Hugh knows it, Kevin knows it, and Raj knows it. That is probably why he is recruiting from the Alberta party, trying to get some leverage, info or momentum for such a move.

@Henderson, while it does not surprise me in the least that Michael Walters would have approached the Liberals for a job six months ago, it does surprise me they would consider him.

Here’s what he wrote (back in 2000 when he was still a New Democrat) in a letter to the editor of the Edmonton Journal:

“The Liberals only act like New Democrats during election times anyway, and as soon as they get elected they slip into that lazy and obscure type of conservative politics, similar to the Canadian Alliance, which is based not on citizens, but on wealth and power and which endangers the whole beauty of democracy.”

New Democrats with long memories and the ability to perform a 30 second news archive search look forward to the probability of Mr. Walters carrying the Liberal banner in the future. Okay, at least one does, anyway.

@Mimi Williams

And the Alberta Party officially tried to poach Laurie Blakeman, and if only the vote wasn’t split the Liberals would form government, and….

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