Alberta Politics

mla support in the alberta pc leadership contest (july 14, 2011)

Here is a preliminary list and map of MLAs who are supporting candidates in the 2011 Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership contest. Please comment below or send me an email at if there are additions or subtractions to be made to this list.


2011 Alberta PC leadership MLA support July 14 2011
Map of MLA support in the 2011 Alberta PC leadership contest.

Candidate: Doug Griffiths (1 MLA)
Kyle Fawcett (Calgary-North Hill)

Candidate: Doug Horner (12 MLAs)
Ray Danyluk (Lac La Biche-St. Paul)
Wayne Drysdale (Grande Prairie-Wapiti)
Hector Goudreau (Dunvegan-Central Peace)
Jack Hayden (Drumheller-Stettler)
Jeff Johnson (Athabasca-Redwater)
Ken Kowalski (Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock)
Genia Leskiw (Bonnyville-Cold Lake)
Len Mitzel (Cypress-Medicine Hat)
Frank Oberle (Peace River)
Luke Ouellette (Innisfail-Sylvan Lake)
Dave Quest (Strathcona)
Greg Weadick (Lethbridge-West)

Candidate: Gary Mar (11 MLAs)
Naresh Bhardwaj (Edmonton-Ellerslie)
Iris Evans (Sherwood Park)
Heather Klimchuk (Edmonton-Glenora)
Mel Knight (Grande Prairie-Smoky)
Diana McQueen (Drayton Valley-Calmar)
Ron Liepert (Calgary-West)
Thomas Lukaszuk (Edmonton-Castle Downs)
Ray Prins (Lacombe-Ponoka)
Rob Renner (Medicine Hat)
George Rogers (Leduc-Beaumont-Devon)
Lloyd Snelgrove (Vermilion-Lloydminster)

Candidate: Ted Morton (10 MLAs)
Moe Amery (Calgary-East)
Carl Benito (Edmonton-Mill Woods)
Evan Berger (Livingstone-Macleod)
Jonathan Denis (Calgary-Egmont)
Doug Elniski (Edmonton-Calder)
George Groenveld (Highwood)
Broyce Jacobs (Cardston-Taber-Warner)
Dave Rodney (Calgary-Lougheed)
Tony Vandermeer (Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview)
David Xiao (Edmonton-McClung)

Candidate: Rick Orman

Candidate: Alison Redford (1 MLA)
Art Johnston (Calgary-Hays)

Alberta Politics

john carpay to run wildrose, liberals target carl benito.

The Wildrose Alliance has attracted its first candidate who I would describe as at least having “medium-profile” presence among Alberta’s political wonk class. Current Constitution Foundation lawyer and former  Canadian Taxpayers Federation Director John Carpay announced in today’s Calgary Hearld that he intends to challenge Calgary-Lougheed Progressive Conservative MLA Dave Rodney as a Wildrose candidate in the next election. Mr. Carpay’s Calgary Herald mini-essay decried the PCs for a long grocery list of conservative pet issues.

This is not Mr. Carpay’s first attempt at elected office. As a Reform Party candidate in 1993 he unsuccessfully challenged New Democrat Member of Parliament Svend Robinson in the Burnaby-Kingsway riding. Along with the predictable Taxpayer Federation issues that end up on the public record, in 1994, Mr. Carpay penned an opinion-editorial in the National Post which criticized Premier Ralph Klein for not invoking the Notwithstanding Clause to block the Supreme Court decision which forced Alberta to include protection of homosexuals from discrimination.

In the capital city, the Liberal Party is targeting Edmonton-Mill Woods PC MLA Carl Benito in a weekend pamphlet drop. Mr. Benito’s actions (or lack thereof) have quite possibly made him the lowest-hanging fruit in the PC caucus and the Liberals hope to capitalize on that. Former MLA Weslyn Mather intends to seek the Liberal nomination in that riding and many Liberals are hoping that this call to action could spark a fire that will help the Liberals win back a few of the eight Edmonton-area constituencies they lost in the 2008 election. While the Liberals are facing a lot of serious internal challenges of their own, there is little evidence to suggest that Edmonton will be less electorally competitive as it traditionally has been.

Word on the street is that long-time Calgary federal Liberal organizer Pat Raymaker will be appointed campaign co-chair as her party prepares for the next election. I am told that the Liberals are having a more challenging time finding an Edmonton co-chair and that David Swann‘s Calgary-heavy brain-trust is having a difficult time tapping into the traditional base of loyal Edmonton lawyers and business people which their party have depended on for such roles in the past.

With Kevin Taft‘s retirement, the Liberals could be entering the next election with only two incumbent MLAs in Edmonton (assuming that Laurie Blakeman and Hugh MacDonald seek re-election). The presence of three to five former Liberal MLAs seeking a comeback could buoy their chances in the city, but the absence of an Edmonton-area leader for the first time since the 1970s could have an effect on that party’s support in the capital city.

Even if Mr. Benito’s promise contributes to the defeat of Edmonton PC MLAs in the next election, the political environment is too fluid to assume that the Liberals will be the main benefactor as they were in the 2004 election.


tory backbenchers sat silently, then voted to gag the public accounts committee.

Don Braid has published an excellent column in today’s Calgary Herald on the decision by Wetaskiwin-Camrose MLA Verlyn Olson and six other PC MLAs to vote in favor of weakening the power of the Public Accounts Committee to be a financial watchdog.

As I wrote last week, the powers of the committee were curtailed when PC MLAs voted to create a new rule forcing Committee Chairman MLA Hugh MacDonald to have all future committee correspondence approved by Deputy Chair PC MLA Dave Rodney. When the issue was raised by opposition MLAs in Question Period, Premier Ed Stelmach, Education Minister Dave Hancock, and Deputy Premier Doug Horner have scoffed at the complaints, citing how powerless they are when it comes to influencing their backbench MLAs.

As shown in Hansard transcripts of the April 14 Public Accounts Committee meeting, Only Mr. Olson and Mr. Rodney  spoke in favor of the motion. Both Liberal Harry Chase and New Democrat Brian Mason spoke and voted against the motion. Not one of the five other PC MLAs at the meeting spoke to the motion. Edmonton PC MLAs David Xiao, Tony Vandermeer, Peter Sandhu, Doug Elniski, and Red Deer MLA Cal Dallas all sat silently until it was time to vote on Mr. Olson’s motion and they all voted in favor of it.

UPDATE: After significant public pressure, it appears that Mr. Olson might introduce a new motion to withdraw his original motion at tomorrow’s meeting of the Public Accounts Committee.


more on the public un-accounts committee.

This afternoon, Liberal leader David Swann delivered a private members’ statement questioning changes that would dilute the power of the Public Accounts Committee, which acts as an important watchdog on public expenditures.

As I wrote yesterday, a motion introduced by Wetaskiwin-Camrose MLA Verlyn Olson now requires that “all future correspondence on behalf of the public accounts committee (must) be signed by both the chair and deputy chair.” The Deputy Chair is currently Calgary-Lougheed PC MLA Dave Rodney. The opposition MLAs called for an emergency debate on the issue, but were declined by Speaker Ken Kowalski.

I find it difficult to believe that Mr. Olson is a key player in a shady conspiracy to destroy democracy, but I do believe that a lack of leadership from his party’s leader has led to these kind of decisions being made.

As demonstrated by this Question Period exchange between Dr. Swann and Premier Ed Stelmach, it appears as though the Premier is unaware or has chosen to ignore the detrimental effects this motion could have on the Public Accounts Committee. I also believe that the biggest weakness of the Liberal opposition in the Assembly is their focus on daily tactics, rather than long-term strategy (calling Premier Stelmach a banana republic autocrat is not helpful).

It has been suggested that the Mr. Olsen and other PC MLAs on the committee were not pleased with Edmonton-Gold Bar MLA Hugh MacDonald‘s performance as Chairman. If this is the case, this is not a reason to weaken the authority of the committee which is charged with reviewing reports of the Auditor General of Alberta and the public accounts of the province, but a reason to replace the Chairman. There are other opposition MLAs on this committee would could fulfill this role.

Forcing the Chairman of the committee to seek approval from a Government MLA before sending correspondence, scheduling meetings, or requesting the attendence of government officials to answer questions about public accounts only serves to dilute the fiscal accountability of our government.

As noted in my previous post, I have contacted Mr. Olson’s office to seek an explanation as to why he introduced this motion, but I have yet to receive a response.