Alberta Politics

january kick-off: big changes or status-quo in 2012?

Fresh back into the new year, it would be easy to assume that January would be a slow month for most of Alberta’s elected officials as they ease back into their regular 80 hour work week. If the first month of recent years are any indication, January has tendency of becoming one of the most tulmoltuoust political months of the year.

In January 2011, Alberta’s political establishment was rocked when Premier Ed Stelmach announces his plans to resign after his party’s political fortunes sagged in the polls and Finance Minister Ted Morton resigned over a dispute about the provincial budget. A week later, Liberal leader David Swann announced his resignation. The day before Premier Stelmach’s resignation, former Liberal MLA Dave Taylor became the first Alberta Party MLA.

In January 2010, backbench Tory MLAs Rob Anderson and Heather Forsyth crossed the floor to join the Wildrose Alliance, and were soon joined by a long-time Tory insider. The changes in political alllegences were followed by a smooth cabinet shuffle that moved the controversial bulldog Health Minister Ron Liepert with the sweet talking Gene Zwozdesky.

(And of course, in January 2008, an expected slow news week turned into a media firestorm for this political blogger.)

January 2010 kicked-off a year of political instability (as much as can be imagined in Alberta politics) and January 2011 kicked-off a year of returning to stability (with the replacement of Premier Stelmach with Premier Alison Redford). Will January 2012 kick-off a year of status-quo or big changes on Alberta’s political scene?

In an attempt to avoid the wrath of whatever from high atop the thing, I will not be as bold as other political watchers to predict the exact outcome of the next election. I will predict that the big political change of 2012 will come in the form of new names on the ballot rather than a new party in office. After forty years in office, the Progressives Conservatives have a tight grip on the biggest political stick in Alberta.

“Change from within” is what my Tory friends said when Premier Stelmach led them into the 2008 election and “change from within” is what they are saying as Premier Redford leads them in this year’s election.

4 replies on “january kick-off: big changes or status-quo in 2012?”

After the next election, Albertans will find out what many Tory insiders already know. That Alison Redford is as far to the right as any of her predecessors and only marginally less fascist than that creation/puppet of the Fraser Institute Danielle Smith. She bamboozled the ATA into thinking there’d be another $107 million for teachers. Only now are they finding out that most of the loot went to the boards who aren’t hiring new teachers with the money. She brought in that draconian unimpaired driving law – earning her kudos from defence lawyers, tow companies and MADD but which will do nothing to make Alberta’s roads safer. It’s a tax and nothing more. She fought long and hard against laws designed to acknowledge Métis rights as equal to other Aboriginal rights. And when it comes to the oilsands and the environment, she’s so far up Harper’s ass she can almost see Peter kent’s shoes.

Despite my feeling that the guy above may be a tad dotty, as my Mum used to say, I can’t believe anyone falls for the promise of change anymore. We sold it to you with Stelmach in 2008 and when we tried change, the hacks yanked the leash. Nenshi sold it to you in 2010 an the hacks yanked his leash. Now, from a Premier who promised change, we see: recycled Joe Clark hacks running the government (which they proved conclusively some time ago they are not capable of doing); a man leading an organization the Premier promised to investigate being named to her transition team and then running for a Tory nomination and an absolute disdain for the party rank and file. Alison will wi the next election (big), just like Ed did. But that’ll be the high water mark of her time in office.

That long-term tory insider you refer to was an “active” member of the Party for 13 months – I use quotes beccause he held a card, not because he did anything. We miss him though – he was great comedic relief with his zany ideas of how we could pretend to care about members’ policy ideas without ever acting on them. Ah Shayne, we miss ye, ye wee ball o’ fluff, as the current person has no sense of humour (inadvertent or otherwise).

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