Anne McLellan Bridget Pastoor Dave Bronconnier David Dodge David Emerson Don Iveson Rahim Jaffer Stephen Mandel

alberta politics notes 2/24/2010

– As Bill 1, the Alberta Competitiveness Act is this sessions flagship piece of government legislation. With all the focus on “competitiveness,” has anyone wondered what happened to the Premier’s Economic Strategy Committee that was announced last summer? (their website has not been updated since July 2009) The committee included former Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan, former MP David Emerson, and former Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge.
– Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier announced that he will not be seeking re-election in October. Bronconnier was first elected as Mayor in 2001. Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel has yet to make his electoral intentions public.
– Alberta could hold its fourth Senate election since 1989 along-side the municipal elections this October.
– Edmonton City Council approved the Municipal Development Plan this week. Councillor Don Iveson has posted some remarks on his blog.
– Lethbridge-East MLA Bridget Pastoor scored a win for the Liberal Opposition this week when the Assembly approved her motion to “…urge the Government to establish an independent Commission to review the current salaries and benefits for Members of the Legislative Assembly…” It is important to note that as this was a Private Member’s Motion, it is non-binding.
– Facing charges of cocaine-possession and drunk-driving, former Edmonton-Strathcona Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer is expected to plea-bargain when his case reconvenes in March.
– In my previous post, I mentioned the low-voter turnout in the 2008 provincial election. Here is a map showing voter turnout in ridings across the province (only 4 out of 83 ridings had a turnout larger than 50%).

Canadian Politics David Emerson

david emerson for edmonton-east.

The Edmonton Journal ran an interesting piece this weekend speculating on the potential of Foreign Affairs Minister David Emerson to run in Edmonton in the next general election.

Infamous for joining Stephen Harper‘s Conservative Cabinet only days after being re-elected as a Liberal MP for Vancouver-Kingsway in 2006, Emerson is rumoured to be seeking a different seat to contest in the next election (the last time Vancouver-Kingsway elected a Conservative was in 1958). Though there was no shortage of backlash against Emerson’s crossing the floor from constituents and opposing partisans, I believe that Emerson’s lack of partisan loyalties is the point which they are missing.

It should have become pretty clear that David Emerson did not enter elected politics to join the “Liberal” or “Conservative” clubs, but to use his skills, experience, and knowledge to do the best job he could as an MP — and it is understandable that being a Cabinet Minister (be it Liberal or Conservative) would put him in a much more effective position to complete this goal. Unlike some politicians, who would cross the floor for more opportunistic reasons, it isn’t hard to see that Emerson isn’t interested in playing the game of petty partisanship.

Would Emerson be a good fit for Edmonton? Raised in Grande Prairie, Emerson earned his Bachelor and Masters in Economics from the University of Alberta, a Ph.D. in Economics from Queen’s University, and has served as British Columbia’s Deputy Minister of Finance, CEO of the Pacific & Western Bank of Canada, and CEO and President of the Canfor Corporation. A heavy weight who would inject as powerful amount of bench strength into Edmonton’s parliamentary delegation, Emerson could fill the high-profile political void left after Liberal Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan‘s defeat in 2006.

Which constituency would Emerson run in? With Reform-era MPs John Williams and Ken Epp retiring and the Conservatives having already nominated candidates in both Edmonton-St. Albert and Edmonton-Sherwood Park (Brent Rathgeber and Tim Uppal), and most of the remaining Conservative MPs on the younger edge of the Parliamentary age scale (under 50), the pool of available seats in Edmonton is narrow.

I’m left thinking Edmonton-East. After 11 years in the House of Commons, Conservative MP Peter Goldring is an unlikely pick for cabinet, and though I’m sure he served an extraordinary term as the co-chair of the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament, it’s not unreasonable to speculate that the 64-year old may have reached the height of his parliamentary career. Though Emerson would face a strong challenge from former NDP MLA Ray Martin, Edmonton could prove to be friendlier territory than Vancouver-Kingsway, should he choose to seek re-election here.

Overall, if he decided to contest the election in Edmonton-East, Emerson could represent Edmonton well in the next parliament if he decided to return to the city of his Alma mater.