Alberta Politics

Can Stephen Mandel save Alberta’s Tories from a Wildrose win in 2016?

Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel and Finance Minister Doug Horner
Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel and Finance Minister Doug Horner

Facing internal strife after a rough spring of budget cuts and deflating bitumen bubbles, Premier Alison Redford is desperately searching for political wins that will win-over Albertans in advance of the Progressive Conservatives mandatory leadership review in November.

When the Premier and her entourage hit the road for their summer Winnebago tour, they will avoid talk of unpopular cuts or broken election promises, and instead boast around the campfires and picnic tables that they were finally able to settle the long-standing labour disputes with Alberta’s teachers and doctors (and maybe a new Keystone XL Pipeline to Texas). But will this be enough?

Premier Alison Redford
Premier Alison Redford

Could the Tories look to Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel to set their party back on course?

The popular three-term mayor has yet to announce whether he will seek election later this year, and a poor showing by Premier Redford in November’s leadership review could give Mayor Mandel an opportunity to jump onto the provincial stage. As a moderate conservative with liberal social views and an independent-streak, many Tories were disappointed that Mayor Mandel sat out their party’s leadership race in 2011.

Already well-versed in municipal issues, Mayor Mandel’s recent lambasting of Premier Redford’s cuts to post-secondary education in front of a crowd of 2,000 of Edmonton’s business community has given him a topical issue that differentiates him from the current Tory leadership.

Danielle Smith Wildrose Party Alberta Election 2012
Danielle Smith

This week’s ThinkHQ Voice of Alberta online panel included questions about Mayor Mandel’s and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi‘s future prospects in provincial and federal politics, fuelling speculation that supporters of the two mayors are testing public opinion.

His age, lack of experience in partisan politics, and weakness for expensive sports arenas may be reasons Mayor Mandel would not make the jump, but he would bring with him nine-years of governance experience and an extensive political organization and broad fundraising network. Mayor Mandel may not be seen as a viable long-term party leader, due to his age, but as an ‘elder-statesman’ in Alberta politics, he could serve as an experienced hand to steer the PC Party through the next provincial election.

Wildose on the move

Intent on moderating its image and flush with cash, the Wildrose Party attracted a big turnout of constituency-level organizers at its annual Leader’s Congress in Calgary earlier this month and is expecting a significant turnout at its Edmonton event on April 20.

As Leader of the Official Opposition, media-savvy Danielle Smith is sounding more moderate by avoiding issues that could alienate her from potential conservative voters who supported Premier Redford’s Tories in the 2012 election.

Serious about avoiding the mistakes that cost her party the election in 2012, Ms. Smith has toned down her skepticism of climate change and will try to avoid vouching for any future “Lake of Fire“-type candidates. While the more extreme conservatives will still be part of the Wildrose Party’s base, their activities will be more tightly controlled and relegated to the background.

At this weekend’s Leader’s Congress in Edmonton, Ms. Smith’s party will launch “Wildrose 2016 Club,” a new fundraising initiative which, presumably, is geared towards helping her party form government in the 2016 election.

25 replies on “Can Stephen Mandel save Alberta’s Tories from a Wildrose win in 2016?”

Great post, Dave. Mandel would be the PCs best choice to become Premier and defeat the nutty Wildrose in 2015/16. Too bad the Tories aren’t smart enough to see they are heading down the road to defeat with Alison “Broken Promises” Redford.

Too bad that the Calgary Tory Mafia will never allow a Premier from Edmonton. Mandel would win Edmonton and appeal to voters in Calgary in ways that Redford can’t again.

You can feel it on the streets here in Calgary. Danielle Smith will be Calgary’s choice in the next election if Redford doesn’t leave. With rural Alberta supporting the Wildrose, Redford is toast.

Colin, although it may be fashionable to slag the Wildrose, these trying times require a more reasoned analysis of party policy. All policy for all parties is constantly in a state of flux. Although I will grant that several Wildrose policies in the last election were not popular, for the most part policy was based on sound fiscal management and philosophy of reducing the size of the bureaucracy. It’s hard to imagine anyone or any other party not supporting the latter two policy planks. I encourage everyone to put aside the petty partisanship that has tainted Alberta politics of late and look to getting involved in rebuilding Alberta for the benefit of all.

Well since he is liberal already should he not lead the provincial liberals into government? I would support him and so would many other Liberals across the province. Mr Mandel has been by far Edmonton’s best Mayor to date and would be a great Premier.

Rick, I truly wish that people COULD “put aside the petty partisanship that has tainted Alberta politics of late and look to getting involved in rebuilding Alberta for the benefit of all”, but I don’t think that any party has historically done anything DELIBERATELY for the benefit of “all”.

Instead, our party system and our party funding models lead to a distortion in the political process whereby those who provide funding and/or logistical support to parties most often get their perspectives on issues listened to. Yes, lip service is paid to commitment to democratic values, but that’s about it.

Voting once every four or five years is NOT democracy, it’s merely validating the current system. If you think about it, there are many, many decisions made on a daily basis that effect the electorate that only a small proportion of people have the time and money resources to inform themselves about. Those with more time, and resouces (including organizations like businesses, or unions) tend to have a lot more influence in decision making than the “average” citizen.

Once in office, politicians don’t spend a meaningful amount of time listening to constituents who can’t help them get re-elected.

As for Mr. Mandel, I think he’s got other fish to fry. And ANY party that starts looking around for a “saviour” is in trouble, by definition.

Why are people so quick to assume that those disgrunted with the present conservative party would stoop so low as to vote Wildrose? They may just vote Liberal, or NDP, or Alberta Party rather than see Wildrose take power. The far right is just too far……right!!

Although I am a fan of both the Mayors of Calgary and Edmonton, I don’t think that anyone will be saving this province from Wildrose running it after the next election. To say that the PC party has been extremely disappointing thus far is an understatement and that will be the end of them next election. I don’t agree with many of the extremist right wing philosophy that Danielle brings to the table, but it might be interesting to see if she’d be able to kill some sacred cows and clean up house a bit, especially AHS coorporate and that gong show. It doesn’t matter who is in office though when the oil money is good they’re a hero and when its not they’re zero, until we can cut that umbilical chord nothing will change.

There’s no way the Wildrose will ever be Calgary’s choice. Out of touch, extreme, ideological. Danielle Smith herself is unfit for elected office of any kind.

Great posting again Dave. Fake Joe Albertan: That sure was one insightful, creative, and well-thought out comment; it’s great when people back up their writing with hard evidence.

I agree with Lou. Mandel would fit well into the arrogant, “I’m right, you’re wrong”, “Edmontonians/Albertans told us to” type of attitude.

Folks, the fact of the matter, is this establishment, that keeps electing a new Tory puppet every 4 years is propagating the same damn corruption year after year. It does not matter who becomes the new Tory leader.

The real discussion, Dave Berta, should be, how can we turn over the establishment.

Some of you folks, have long term memory loss issues: illegal political donations, political interference, bullying intimidation, political whitewash inquiries and coverups, falsely created deficits during a hot economy, a failing grades on healthcare access and entry times, failing grades on graduate rates, failing grade on university rankings, a seamless corrupt system between party and gov’t where public funds are used to donate to th party, ineffective independent public officers, used to whitewashing ever transgression, hack media and hack academica, extolling the virtues of a corrupted political system, willing and actively looking the other way.

Sorry folks, but what is so much worse than Pierre Trudeau is the voting style and attention span of some of you and the average Albertan bumpkin.

Now we have proof of an AHS execs and Past CEO’s actively engaging in public health care queue jumping, using public funds, even the Preem’s own sister using gov’t money to fund the Tory party.

The only discussion, that includes you Dave Berta, is how to strengthen our democracy and bring back, honest, effective, productive governent that balance the needs of society and keep Alberta economically productive and the best place to do business.

Sadly, not one of you have even expressed a yearning for a new party to take office.

The Health Care inquiry, let’s see if they put their money where their mouth is and bring justice to the Health executives who have abused the public purse and our trust.

@Levenson, you are correct, its time corporations dump this stenchy establishment and make a new one, under a new flag.

I don’t like Dippers or WR’s, but the Libs are moderate, socially fair, environmentally pragmatic, sensible, intelligent, pro-business and centrist. Their policies are sound and bold. Regardless of what leader they ever have, there is no reason to not embrace those ideals. To not, is to perpetuate the same corruption.

I would be the most shocked person around if Mandel ran for a position within the provincial PC government.

While Redford is struggling with governing issues now, turning that PC ship around would require a whole new level of ability. Mandel is capible, but not a superman. And he knows that he is no Clinton.

Rest assured the Tory Corporate trash bin will generate a new/recycled and willing gum flapping, waffling, doublespeaking, backtracking deceiver as a leadership candidate. Tories are incapable of generating an honest, pragmatic, ethical, strong leader that can balance the books and govern with balance, moderation and intelligence. WR, Libs or even ND’s would a welcome change. Thank God the Dinosaurs left enough oil in the ground to make Tories look good and they still can’t balance the books.

Lets see now, Dave. Mandel’s a bankrupt businessman, hasn’t balanced a budget since he got on council, is willing to sell taxpayers out to a Vancouver bully boy billionaire for no obvious return and he’s willing to play north vs. south, ur ban vs. rural. Yup, he ticks all the boxes for the next Tory leader. Of course, he’ll have to wait until after the Wildrose dynasty is turfed brefore he can be premier and that may be several elections down the road.

“While the more extreme conservatives will still be part of the Wildrose Party’s base, their activities will be more tightly controlled and relegated to the background.”

So, just like their political brethren in Dear Leader’s™ party and government.

I like Stephen Mandel. He is the kind of person that when he sets his mind to something does it well.

I think he could save the Tories. Timing in politics is everything. The timing is all wrong for him.

The P.C’s only hope is to stick with Redford and hope the economy is great in 2016. The can not do a toss the leader under the bus hat trick and expect to win again.

It’s become a habit in these parts hasn’t it? I refer to that too rich for his own good Mayor Mandel.
I suggest that there maybe more in this man’s head than the Scribes have thought through.
Cannnibalising yet to be ascertained Municipal Grant money–that may not have been enough to cover potholes let alone spend this amount of it for an Arena whose end cost is unknowable–then castigating the Premier for cutting back on Education allocations, and by extension not putting across $100M that will not be enough to pay for the Arena—this man is now a Public Menace.
The public had better confront the apparent deviousness here, and not stop there.
There are Councillors who count on the Public Purse for supplementing taxes collected, so that they may ingratiate themselves with constituents. These constituents must ridicule their Reps into a posture more sane and hence agreable with current circumstances.

Mandel would obviously clean up Edmonton, Northern Alberta and Calgary. His ability to maintain popularity could truly make him a viable Premier.

Also, given the history between Mandel & Smith, I would LOVE to watch him insult her and the WRP in debate, as Mandel often does with his political opponents. Yes, I’m all for Mandel being Premier.

That being said, let’s not count of chickens before they hatch. I like Redford and I believe, despite the polls, she would easily win another mandate in 2016.

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