Alberta Alliance Calgary-Egmont Cathie Williams Craig Chandler Jonathan Denis Paul Hinman Wild Rose Alliance Wildrose Party

wrap enters stage right.

The Wild Rose Alliance Party (WRAP) was formed this weekend with Paul Hinman as their leader. With only 3 or 4 weeks to organize and nominate candidates, I think it’s a little too tell what sort of an effect the merger (or reuniting) of the Alberta Alliance and Wild Rose Party will have in the next election. I’ll try to post something more in depth on this in the near future.

Calgary-Egmont Take Two: Paul Jackson-endorsed Jonathan Denis defeated Vicki Engel and Don Middleton in the Progressive Conservative nomination. In December 2007, Denis was defeated by Craig Chandler for the Calgary-Egmont Tory nomination before Chandler was booted from the PC nomination by Ed Stelmach and the PC executive for his extreme views. Denis will face off against former Calgary Catholic School District Chair and Alberta Liberal candidate Cathie Williams, and now-Independent candidate Craig Chandler.

Alberta Alliance Craig Chandler Paul Hinman Randy Thorsteinson Wildrose Party

uniting the right in alberta?

I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with the non-Progressive Conservative political right in Alberta and the future merger of the Wild Rose Party and the Alberta Alliance into the superparty Wild Rose Alliance is no exception.

I think it will be quite interesting to see the impact that a merger between these two parties will have in the next election. One of the quirks of Alberta politics seems to be the far-right’s inability to keep organized between elections only to coalesce in time for the election period.

In the 2004 election, the Alberta Alliance, led by Randy Thorsteinson, ran a full slate of 83 candidates. Though the majority of Alberta Alliance candidates didn’t come even close to victory, a few finished with strong second- or third- place finishes. Only Cardston-Taber-Warner candidate Paul Hinman (and now leader) was elected while Thorsteinson was unable to topple Tory MLA Luke Ouellette in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake. With former Tory Broyce Jacobs once again challenging Hinman in Cardston-Taber-Warner, the Alliance leader Paul Hinman’s chances of re-election are questionable.

Of course, a couple of questions still remain about the Alliance-Wild Rose Unite the Right initiative such as… will they have time to register with Elections Alberta as a formal party or will they run under an unofficial slate? Will they really have time to organize candidates and campaigns before the next election? Will they hold a leadership race or will Alliance Leader Paul Hinman take the reins as has been suggested? What role will Craig Chandler and his merry band of supporters play in this new party/alliance?

Here’s a look back at some of the past-ventures of the non-PC far-right in Alberta electoral politics…

Alberta Alliance (83 candidates) – 77,466 votes (8.7%)
Social Credit (42 candidates) – 10,998 votes (1.23%)

Alberta First Party (16 candidates) – 8,851 votes (.87%)
Social Credit (12 candidates) – 5,361 votes (.53%)

Social Credit (70 candidates) – 64,667 votes (6.84%)

Confederation of Regions Party of Alberta (12 candidates) – 3,556 votes (.36%)
Social Credit (39 candidates) – 23,885 votes (2.41%)

Social Credit (6 candidates) – 3,939 votes (.47%)

Confederation of Regions Party of Alberta (6 candidates) – 2,866 votes (.40%)
Heritage Party of Alberta (6 candidates) – 601 votes (.08%)
Representative Party of Alberta (46 candidates) – 36,656 votes (5.14%)
Western Canada Concept Party of Alberta (20 candidates) – 4,615 votes (.65%)

Alberta Reform Movement (14 candidates) – 6,258 votes (.66%)
Social Credit (23 candidates) – 7,843 votes (.83%)
Western Canada Concept Party of Alberta (78 candidates) – 111,131 votes (11.76%)

(Also, has anyone registered, or do we need to go through this again…)

Alberta Alliance Alberta Liberals Alberta NDP Alberta Tories Dan Backs Edmonton Manning

criss-crossing the floor.

Dan Backs, the Independent MLA from Edmonton Manning who was kicked out of the Alberta Liberal caucus last November is seeking the Tory nomination in that riding. Backs will be running against former PC MLA Tony Vandermeer for the nomination (Backs narrowly defeated Vandermeer in 2004).

MacEwan College Political Science Professor Chaldeans Mensah described the situation perfectly:

Chaldeans Mensah, who teaches political science at MacEwan College, said Backs is “a bit opportunistic” since his prospects of re-election are slim as an independent.

The Alberta Liberals will soon nominate Edmonton Lawyer Sandeep Dhir in Edmonton Manning. I was actually quite excited when I heard Sandeep was running as I know he will be a great candidate and MLA. His community experience includes serving as President of the Edmonton Inner City Housing Society, and involvement with the Theatre Network Society and the Law Society of Alberta.

Rumour has it that Ward 3 City Councillor Janice Melnychuk is considering carrying the New Democrat flag. But more recent rumours suggest Melnychuk is having second thoughts about jumping to the provincial scene to attempt to join the four-man New Democrat caucus. Melnychuk would be a strong candidate, but I wouldn’t blame her for wanting to stick to City Council.

The area covered by Edmonton Manning has been represented by three parties over the past 21 years. As Edmonton Belmont it elected NDP MLA Tom Sigurdson (1986-1993). Since being created in 1993, Edmonton Manning has elected one Tory MLA – Tony Vandermeer (2001-2004) – and three Liberal MLA’s – Peter Sekulic (1993-1997), Ed Gibbons (1997-2001), and the breifly Liberal Dan Backs (2004-2006). Regardless, Edmonton Manning will be a hard fought race as it will likely be hotly contested by all three parites.

On another note, it’s been rumoured that Alberta Alliance leader Paul Hinman is trying to negotiate his way into the PC caucus…

Alberta Alliance Alberta Legislature Alberta Tories

in the land of oil.

Come and listen to a story about a man named…

The Calgary Sun is reporting that Alberta PC MLA’s have received over $1,000,000 in extra salary for Government Members committee work over the past year on top of their MLA base salary of $74,000. Here’s a list of some PC MLA’s and their extra collection:

Ray Danyluk – $47,132
Youth Secretariat
Advanced Education Comm.
N. Alberta Dev. Council
Court Workers Program Review

Doug Griffiths – $46,998
Standing Committees of the Legislature
Agenda and Priorities Comm.
Adv. Education Comm.
MLA Task Force to launch Rural Development

Carol Haley – $47,496
Standing Policy Comm.
Treasury Board

Denis Herard – $47,106
Comm. on Workers Compensation
Alberta Mental Health Advisory Comm.
Standing Policy Comm.

Ron Liepert – $40,381
Standing Policy Comm.
Trade and Transp. Comm.
Local Authorities Election Act Review
Regulatory Review Steering Comm.
Public Affairs Bureau Review
Alberta Film Commission

Rob Lougheed – $48,872
Standing Policy Comm.
Council of Status of Persons with Disabilities
MLA AISH Review Comm.
Treasury Board

Richard Magnus – $42,666
Standing Policy Comm.
Alberta Economic Development Authority
Treasury Board

Ivan Strang – $42,407
Standing Policy Committees
Endangered Species Conservation Comm.
Treasury Board

Len Webber – $40,500
P.I. and Security Guard Review
Healthy Aging and Continuing Care Comm.
Task Force on Continuing Care Standards
Alaska-Alberta Bilateral Council

You can take a look at all Government MLA committee appointments here.

This pointed out, I don’t believe that we pay our elected officials enough. With the current base salary looking like so…
MLA Indemnity – $49,836.00
MLA Tax Free Allowance – $24,918.00
(Total) – $74,754.00

…and MLA’s expectations to attend many upon many functions in their ridings and communities during their terms, the $24,000 tax free allowance disappears very fast. This said, I don’t think loading PC MLA’s with committee work or extra perks available only to Government Members is the solution to this problem. I would be very interested to know what type of work many of these committees have produced and if this work is actually worth the extra salary only available to Alberta PC MLA’s.

On a completely different note, the floundering Alberta Alliance held it’s AGM last weekend and elected a new executive headed by a familiar face. Randy Thorsteinson, founding leader of the Alberta Alliance and former leader of the Alberta Social Credit Party, is back as President. Thorsteinson left the Alberta Alliance leadership following his defeat against Innisfail-Sylvan Lake PC MLA Luke Ouellette in the 2004 provincial election. Cardston-Taber-Warner (and lone) Alliance MLA Paul Hinman was elected leader shortly thereafter.