Alberta Politics

living in the one party state of alberta: “vote today. today is election day.”

Alberta PC Leadership
"Vote today. Today is election day."

Today is election day in Alberta, but not the kind of election day that would dominate the airwaves and twitter streams in most other provinces in a modern liberal democratic state like Canada. Today, Alberta’s forty-year governing Progressive Conservatives are casting their vote in the first ballot for their new leader, which has become in the minds of many long-time Conservative stalwarts and hoards of two-minute Tories, an event as important as a general election.

Does this sound scary? It is probably a confusing political environment for most Canadians, and while most Albertans will not participate in this internal party leadership contest, it will have a large effect on the direction that Alberta’s governing party will take in the months before (and most likely after) the next general election. Despite the lack of defining issues or real narrative during this campaign (aside from candidates reassuring party members that they are not Premier Ed Stelmach), it has been a fairly dull affair.

If you do decide to track down the location of your local PC Party voting station and pay the $5 to purchase a membership, who do you vote for? Over the past few months, and increasingly over the past few days, I have heard more plans for strategic voting than I had ever hoped to.

Vote for Gary Mar to stop Ted Morton from winning.
Vote for Alison Redford to stop Ted Morton from winning.
Vote Gary Mar to stop Frederick Lee from winning.
Vote for Ted Morton to stop Gary Mar from winning.
Vote for Alison Redford to stop Gary Mar from winning.
Vote for Doug Horner to stop Gary Mar from winning.
Vote for Doug Griffiths to stop Gary Mar from winning.
Vote for Rick Orman to stop Gary Mar from winning.
Vote for a Calgarian to stop Doug Horner from winning.
Vote for Doug Horner to stop a Calgarian from winning.
Vote for Rick Orman to split the right-wing Ted Morton vote.

What ever combination of results is achieved today, it could be an interesting next two weeks. If no candidate receives more than 50% tonight, then a second vote will be held on October 1. The results of the first ballot vote are expected to be announced at an event in Calgary at 7:30pm tonight. You will find the results posted on this blog around that time.

I will also have the pleasure of joining the Calgary Herald political commentary crew starting around 7:00pm on their Cover it Live feed. Feel free to stop by there and join the conversation.

Alberta Politics

ted morton aka frederick lee and the shredder.

 Ted Morton, Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership candidate
Ted Morton aka Frederick Lee

After a week of dodging questions from intrepid CBC reporter Charles Rusnell about a covert email alias and shredded ministerial documents, former Finance Minister Ted Morton‘s campaign for Alberta’s Progressive Conservative leadership has taken its first big hit with just more than a week before the first ballot vote.

After making ‘government transparency’ a key theme of his campaign, squeaky clean conservative Dr. Morton’s commitment to the pledge is being questioned when it was revealed that he used a covert email address under his little known full first- and middle-names “Frederick Lee” to conduct government business. It is being suggested that Dr. Morton’s covert email alias could have foiled Freedom of Information requests.

CBC discovered that correspondence and documents, including those connected to the covert email alias, were shredded or destroyed when Dr. Morton left his ministry to seek the PC leadership earlier this year.

A spokesperson for Alberta’s Information and Privacy Commissioner told the media that the Office would be launching an immediate investigation into the shredding allegations.

Dr. Morton downplayed the criticisms yesterday, but that did not stop his right-wing competitors Rick Orman and Wildrose leader Danielle Smith from tackling him in the media. Ms. Smith claimed that because the documents belonged to the people of Alberta, Dr. Morton’s staff had no right to feed them to the paper shredder on a whim.

Will these revelations hurt Dr. Morton’s chances in next week’s leadership vote? It is difficult to say. Dr. Morton has run a stealth campaign during this contest, which has focused on low-profile events and selling memberships. This is very different from his run in 2006, which publicly stressed his social conservative values on issues like same-sex marriage.

Watch for the other PC candidates to train their guns on Dr. Morton’s last minute weakness in the final week.