New LG?: On January 20, the traditional 5-year term of Lieutenant Governor Norman Kwong will come to an end. With a lower profile than his predecessor, Lois Hole, Kwong brought a different personality to the office of Alberta’s viceroy. All of Alberta’s LGs appointed since Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne have been former attempted or elected politicians (including Helen Huntley, Gordon Towers, and Bud Olsen). If Kwong does not continue in the office I am at a loss to name who the next LG might be, but I can think of someone who might be an interesting pick.
Cabinet shuffle: Premier Ed Stelmach is expected to shuffle the provincial cabinet early in the new year. I have laid out my thoughts here
Manning Centre: The conservative politics institute formed by former Reform Party leader Preston Manning has taken an interest in provincial politics and will be holding a ‘Conference on Alberta’s Future‘ on February 5 in Edmonton.
Speech from the Throne: This year’s Sessional Calendar has not yet been posted on the Legislative Assembly website, but all indications point to a Speech from the Throne on the week of February 8. If a new LG is appointed in January, this will be their first high profile event.
Provincial Budget: Another tough economic times budget is expected to be tabled during the week of February 15. The Finance Minister at the time will wear this budget, whether it be Minister Iris Evans or a successor (odds are on Minister Doug Horner). Potential deep cuts to pubic health care have led some longtime PC supporters to question the longtime governing party.
Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission: The deadline for release of the interim report (including interim riding maps for the next election) is February 26 and the second round of public hearings are set to begin in April 2010. A final report will be released by July 2010.
Reboot Alberta 2.0: Following a highly successful first meeting in Red Deer in November 2009, a larger gathering of progressive Albertans is being planned for February 26 to 28 in Kananaskis. I reflected on the first Reboot Alberta meeting in early December 2009.
Alberta Liberal convention: Alberta’s Official Opposition Party will be holding their annual policy convention in Edmonton. There is not any information on their website, but I believe that it will be held in March 2010. Expect to hear more from the Liberals in the new year following David Swann‘s recent State of the Party Address.
Alberta Progressive Conservative convention: On April 30 and June 1, members of Alberta’s near 40-year governing party will gather in Edmonton. With low approval ratings and dropping party support in recent polls, expect Premier Stelmach to use the first four months of 2010 in an attempt to boost his political fortunes.
Wildrose Alliance convention: Since selecting Danielle Smith as their leader, the Wildrose Alliance has conveniently been able to avoid answering questions about social issues under the guise of self-described libertarianism. One of Smith’s largest challenges at their 2010 policy convention will be to moderate some of the more destructive social conservative elements within her party’s membership.
Municipal Elections: Monday October 18. More to come…