Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Let's look at the scenarios....

  Wow, it seems that some of the local blogs have slowed down since the end of the Calgary Glenmore by-election!  This seems odd, considering some of the crazy developments of late.  I thought I would run a quick rant on the random thoughts that have been running through my busy mind over the last few days:

  •  Up to 10 PC MLA's are rumoured to switch over to the Wildrose Alliance Party, following a Danielle Smith leadership victory. 
 Hmmm.... I don't know what to make of this one.  I know that the source of this piece is a respected writer so I do not doubt the integrity of the author. ( Its not like it came from Calgaryrants.com!)  I wonder if there is any truth to this and if so...who will they be?  I find the timing of the recent appointments of local Conservatives Rob Anderson, Len Weber and Jon Denis interesting, but well deserved.  Perhaps these appointments can be seen as peace offering to the Calgary caucus?

So then...who will the 10 be?  I would like to know.  In my opinion, it will definitely not be any cabinet ministers as they will not want to give up their additional pay and benefits to sit with another party.  Perhaps some local backbenchers or new MLA's?  Perhaps some young/urban MLA's that see that they might not fit in with the current leader?  Perhaps only a handful, say 2-3, will actually leave?   I cannot see this happening anytime soon, but what do you think?

  •    If Danielle Smith wins the Wildrose Alliance Leadership...what's next?
Once/if Danielle wins the leadership, what is the next step?  Ideally, she would want to get into the Legislature as soon as possible.  With the election 3-4 years off, the only option would be through a by-election.  How will this happen?  Politically, a party leader without a seat is not very effective in my opinion.  Its like having a fiery preacher without a church.  While Danielle can work the media wonderfully, and I am sure she will be a constant thorn in the PC's side, she would serve best as a sitting MLA.  So...who will "retire" to allow her to run in a by-election?  Personally, I cannot see any PC MLA's voluntarily stepping aside.  Perhaps a local Liberal will decide they have had enough and leave the Leg?  I doubt this also.  I bet a whole crop of PC MLA's may be disappointed to find that because of this scenario, any and all "appointments" just dried up until after the next election, which would keep all constituencies closed!

  • If the Wildrose Alliance can be rejuvenated by a new leader, maybe the PC's can as well?
 Would it not be heartbreaking for the WAP to find that Premier Stelmach decides to retire before the next election, only to be replaced by a new, energetic leader? ( I support the PC party, but lets be realistic here....) Perhaps if the current tide holds and his support continues to go down, he will show his true leadership and commitment to the party and step aside before the next election.  Perhaps the rumour of Brett Wilson running will energize the party.  Perhaps a Conservative leader like Ted Morton will appease the right of the party and kill the WAP's ambitions in its tracks.  Who knows?  Any other scenarios out there?

The party in power has the upper hand and can plan ahead for these scenarios.  Its called Risk Management and it works.


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  1. Hey. I can't see 10 mlas leaving. You look at the caucus and regardless if the "support" is there, it just does not seem realistic. You would have to hazard a guess that those MLAs would be loyal to their consituency and would not those people be PC supporters? How would they work that. All the names that have been floated are either Parliamentary Assistants, key board members or significant and influential backbenchers, none of which are going to give up significant committee pay to go cross the floor. I think that this might be a rumour started by the Danielle Smith campaign that is rumoured (all rumours) to be losing in the membership sales. I can't see why piss in from the outside instead of piss and get heard on the inside. Just doesn't add up.

  2. This story is total spin put out there by the Smith Campaign Team to give the impression that she is the heir apparent to the WAP throne and the only potential leader who can take the WAP from being an up-start to a full-fledged, legitimate party. They have been very effective in turning this one-day story into a 5-day saga and building (the appearance of?) momentum for Danielle. Given Danielle's husband is the Managing Editor/Executive Producer at CanWest Global Calgary and the media contacts they have between the two of them, I would expect nothing less.

    The recent appointments are merely token peace offerings to Calgary caucus, Calgarians and the right-of-centre base of the party. Unless the people around the Premier stop punishing those MLA's who didn't support Ed in the leadership race, the Government is going to potentially lose some very credible people to the WAP in time. If Ed wanted to seriously hamper Danielle's campaign he would make Ted Morton Deputy Premier as soon as possible!

    It seems unlikely that 10 MLA's would cross the floor at this point. The most obvious reason is that it would be very premature. (Think Martin, Dion and Iggy.) There may be 2 or 3 who do so because they feel they have nothing to lose but I suspect that most MLA's tempted to cross, will watch and observe the party over the next year to year-and-a-half before they would actually consider crossing the floor.

    I agree with you that a political leader without a seat is like a preacher without a church but a by-election may not be as unlikely as one would think. It was suggested as early as February 2009 that Ty Lund is definitely not happy with the current regime and may well be the next PC MLA to retire. Enter WAP leader, stage right.

    There is a lot of talk about Ed's impending leadership review. According the the PCAA's Constitution, the number Ed needs is 51%. Given how divisive the last leadership review was, I'm hearing that people don't want that again. The word is that Ed is expected to receive somewhere between 70 and 85% approval rating.

    There is no way the people around Ed will let him step down before the next election. Given that Conservative voters outweigh Liberal voters (70% - 30%) it's highly doubtful that Brett Wilson is going to gain much traction as a potential leadership candidate - well, maybe for the Alberta Liberals!!! Outside of his business acumen, it's hard to take him seriously in a political context. I'm always amazed at how many people think they can make good leaders just because they have money or are allowed to spend other people's money to become the leader (Danielle).

    Although I agree that the party in power has the upper hand and can plan ahead for these scenarios, it will only work if they are willing to do honest assessments of the situations/all potential outcomes. Randy Dawson, PC Alberta Elections Readiness Chair, didn't even have a clue as to the real political environment in Calgary-Glenmore or the extent of the potential loss. When his colleague was asked about this last weekend, they replied with, "We have a problem in Calgary." (Have they heard of SWOT analysis or a GANT chart??)

  3. It wouldn't make sense for this floor crossing rumour to have a Wildrose source because it would just set up expectations. Good politicians understand that they represent a movement of people and switching parties is generally not on unless the politician has an ego OR a significant fraction of their campaign workers and their constituency association have already switched parties or have indicated that they would support a switch. For there to be that much internal PC Party support within a riding for a defection, Stelmach would have to be in serious trouble going into November's review and to date there is no hard evidence that Stelmach is truly on the ropes.

  4. "According the the PCAA's Constitution, the number Ed needs is 51%"

    Today Klein told that Canadian Press that Stelmach should "step down if he does not reach 70 per cent" on Nov 7.

  5. It absolutely makes sense that the floor crossing rumour is from a Wildrose source! It has nothing to do with expectations and everything to do with convincing WAP members and potential WAP members that Danielle is the only one positioned to become leader of the party. This is all about optics, messaging and perception. (Besides, the membership sales aren't exactly a secret!)

  6. Shane,
    As much as I would enjoy watching Ed have 10 of his MLA's walk out on him and cross the floor, I really don't see this as an option. I personally believe that the people in our province vote for the party not the MLA. It would be political suicide to make such a decision without the support of your constituents. This however is not to say in the next election some of the incumbants won't fly a new banner. Danielle Smith needs to first win and I think it may be in her best interest to spend a couple years as leader on policy and figuring out how to get the 60% non-voters engaged.
    The PC party is already moving people around to try and please the Calgary electorate and I would not be surprised to see Ted Morton named deputy premier. I may not like Ed and his mismanagement, but he will work his hardest to retain power.
    One thing for sure is his leadership is being watched by the PC machine. Can't wait until November as nothing will tell the tale like the leadership review. If he is canned the WAP may find it's popularity diminish.

  7. The Medicine Hat News says the Wildrose leadership debate drew "nearly 200 spectators". That's significant for Medicine Hat.

  8. As the first anonymous poster pointed out the only reason Danielle Smith was ever behind in membership sales is because Craig Chandler went through all the church lists and bought all the memberships regardless of whether people on those lists knew they were getting a membership or not.

  9. I've heard Jonathan Denis is considering it.

  10. Who would want Jonathan Denis? He's not married and has no children. What kind of a conservative can a person like that be?