Alberta Politics

Winners and losers on Wildrose Saturday

March 28, 2015 was a big day in Alberta politics. Here is a quick look at the winners and losers from this weekend’s political activities.

Loser: Former Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith was defeated by Okotoks Town Councillor Carrie Fischer in her bid to win the Progressive Conservative nomination in the Highwood constituency. First elected as MLA in 2012, Ms. Smith crossed the floor to the PCs in December 2014. She was widely expected to be in line for a cabinet appointment after the next election, if she had secured the nomination.

Winner: Former Member of Parliament Brian Jean was selected as the new leader of the Wildrose Party. The former federal politician represented the Athabasca-Fort McMurray riding in Ottawa from 2004 to 2014. He has been critical of the PC Party during the  leadership race, but will still face questions about why his company donated $10,000 to Jim Prentice‘s leadership campaign in 2014.

Loser: First-term MLA Gary Bikman was unsuccessful in his bid to win the PC nomination in Cardston-Taber-Warner. Mr. Bikman left the Wildrose Party and crossed the floor to the PC Party in December 2014. He was defeated in the nomination contest by Taber Reeve Brian Brewin.

Winners: Ms. Fischer in Highwood, Mr. Brewin in Cardston-Taber-Warner, Lawyer Susan Billington won the PC nomination in Calgary-Varsity, former Cypress County Reeve Bob Olson won the PC nomination in Cypress-Medicine Hat, and Peter DeWit won the PC nomination in Lacombe-Ponoka.

Loser: First-term MLA Rod Fox was defeated in his bid to win the PC nomination in Lacombe-Ponoka. Mr. Fox was one of eleven former Wildrose MLAs who crossed the floor to the PC Caucus in late 2014. He was defeated by Mr. DeWit.

Winner: NDP leader Rachel Notley. This weekend’s ‘Rally for Rachel’ saw NDP volunteers and candidates knock on 10,000 doors in a province-wide canvassing blitz. The NDP have nominated more than 70 candidates and are feeling optimistic about their chances of snatching the Official Opposition away from the Wildrose in the upcoming election.

16 replies on “Winners and losers on Wildrose Saturday”

It is a good day. Danielle Smith got what she deserved. We got an excellent leader for our party. Lorne Gunter changed his mind. He believes that our party will get 12 to 15 seats. I do believe that we could get from 20 to 30 seats. The NDP could get 12 to 15 seats. The PC Party could get as little as 43 Seats. Time will tell what this election will bring

But Dave. On your twitter you said that Danielle would win because she was “protected” by the establishment.

It seems entirely likely that Danielle Smith will still be rewarded with a relatively high profile appointment because of her obsequiousness and acquiescence, like running one of the Alberta foreign offices we still have left. I wouldn’t expect that to happen for at least a few months, once the dust settles. Regardless, she and the other WRA floor crossers clearly underestimated the ensuing rebuke from Alberta voters, which does create some cautious optimism about how much of gain the NDP will make in the election.

The PC “establishment” set up Smith to lose, bury her once and for all and decimate the WRP. Job well done…

Highwood was an anti- danielle vote. I cannot see the highwwood voters voting and standing behind the tax hikes in the Prentice budget. These are young families, another $2500 estimated out of their pockets will hurt! There is no justification for tax increase- borrowing and taxing your way out of a problem has never worked!

On Smith: couldn’t have happened to a nicer/worser person. Made my day.
On Jean: his company donated to Jimbo just like pretty much every other company who wants favours post-election from the expected ruler.

And you heard it here first: PC-led minority government. (Which, in actuality might be the best thing to ever happen to this province)

Pre Budget talk from Prentice- economic diversification – just a “generalization” in the budget ! No details … it seems the PCs have place a new meaning to “diversification” .. its “diverting ” the tax to middle income /high income Albertans !!

Danielle lost for four reasons:

1) She had zero political instinct. You can only get that by actually being involved on CA boards, nominations, campaigns, etc., and learning about all the moving parts. None of that can be learned by rote. Added to that, her naivete didn’t serve her well, either.

2) People can be good at policy or politics. Just because they are good at one, doesn’t mean they are good at the other.

3) Danielle underestimated how much of politics is based on personal relationship, trust, and loyalty. Political organizations are “families.” There is a reason why there is the saying, “You dance with the one that brung ya!”

4) When Danielle attended the 2007 PC Campaign Training School in Calgary she was more concerned about being at the podium in front of the microphone speaking to her subjects than she was in hearing about campaign strategy, etc.

There was tremendous potential for the WR under Danielle. So hard to believe that all of that was completely blown up 1 year and two weeks after Redford’s resignation. But, I’m sure she will land on her feet with some high profile position somewhere.


I’m interested to know a little more about why you are surprised the PCs allowed Danielle Smith to lose.

The PCs vicious treatment of Redford lead me to believe the party wouldn’t be protecting any of these floor crossers.

Open nominations is in line with the federal Conservatives approach as well.

Probably the most principled floor crosser was Dr. Sherman. He never really cared for power or plush appointment$. He spoke up on ethical grounds and sat as an ind. for 1 yr. before going Liberal. Albertan voters do not reward righteous or virtuous politicians…only ones that wield power, influence and money. Then those same ones get just as easily tossed aside like Stelmach, Redford, Smith and Mr. Prentice will be next. If the WR plays it right and avoid any bozo eruptions, they may get 20 to 30 seats as an anti pc vote. The flat tax increase dressed up as a health fee increase will not be popular, it will cost votes. Jim WILL NOT prove to be the the overblown leader he has been made out to be. Reality will dictate.

Now that Brian Jean has won the WRP leadership race some “sore losers” are using the “latrine vine” in attempt to discredit the result. The main problem with the “latrine vine” is that none of the suppositions are validated ! I think that ALL 3 candidates had something to offer to the WRP and my intention right along was and is to support the new leader regardless of how I voted . THAT is what a TRUE WRP member should do.

Oops – got sidetracked and didn’t complete my thought on Point 4 in prior post. Point 4 backs up exactly what Dean Leask and Vitor Marciano said about Danielle. Leask, “She lived out there for 4 years and didn’t make an effort. I tried to get her into the gang and she just wasn’t interested.” And, Marciano, “She was great at policy but she just didn’t connect with voters.” She didn’t want to mingle with the “unwashed” – she wanted to be looking down from the podium at them.

And, to clarify my final point, I think Redford AND Smith will both end up with plum jobs or appointments….eventually.

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