Friday, October 23, 2009

Alberta PC Party...Be Careful What You Wish For!

  What a great time to be interested in politics!  The political developments over the past few months have produced a cornucopia of political stories and introduced a wealth of scenarios that never existed even six months ago.  The election of Daniele Smith as leader of the Wildrose Alliance Party has brought provincial political issues back to the water coolers and dining room tables in Alberta, which I believe is excellent for citizen engagement.  The constant media attention to politics lately has now moved towards Premier Stelmach's popularity in Alberta and his future as the leader of the PC Party.

  With the Alberta PC Party's convention approaching on November 7, many people are wondering how the Premier will fare in his mandatory leadership review?  Former Premier Ralph Klein set a pretty high standard when he commented publicly that anything less than a 70% approval rate will be unacceptable.  (Mr.Klein knows a thing or two about leadership reviews, having been "dumped" by his own party in a 2006 review.)   For all the talk in the media and the blogs about "turfing" Premier Stelmach by ensuring he receives less than 50% support, I must say..." Be careful what you wish for"!

 IF...and I must say IF... Mr Stelmach were to receive a low support level and resign as leader, who is going to replace him?  I cannot think of any one candidate that jumps out as the logical choice, but then again, who predicted that Ed would replace Ralph? 

 Lets look at some of the potential replacements..

  Now, I am sure that there are many, many others that may fall into the rumour mill list!  I am not going to comment on the list above, as I want to know your thoughts? 

 Personally, I believe that Mr. Stelmach will survive the leadership review this year.  I cannot see the PC party dumping the leader at this point.  This will look like a "reactionary" move and with a Provincial election still at least 3 years away, a "panic" move is so unnecessary.  Slow down...take a few breaths...think things through folks.  Perhaps Mr.Stelmach is not the only problem here? 

Many people think that a new leader will solve all of the image problems with the PC Party.  Others think that the party is beyond repair and doomed to failure.  I believe the problem lies with the Governments ability to effectively communicate with the people of Alberta.   I think that all party members should take a long look in the mirror and work together over next year to fix these problems internally first.

 What are your thoughts?  Do you think the Premier will survive the leadership review?  If not, who do you think will replace him as the next leader of the Alberta PC Party? 


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  1. Shane,
    I think we all can conclude that with the majority win in the last election Stelmach will keep the numbers necessary to remain leader. I have always liked Morton but am sure the progressives would never let him run the party. Ed still has time to turn his party around by the next election and if the WAP pressures good government all the better, still a win for WAP. Myself I do not think he is capable of acheiving this with the amount of discontent, which would be favorable for all opposing parties, I hope he remains in power as multi party government is needed here.

  2. Shane, our Premier will survive the leadership review, that is a fact, as for the number he will be receive that is a mystery. I have heard numbers as high as 80% and as low as 65%. Personally I believe he needs to get between 68% and 72%. I will be attending the AGM but I am unsure as to how I will vote as of right now.

    As for your list of replacements.

    Minister Redford would be great, she has great experience and overall is a fantastic person who can hold her own and go head to head with Danielle Smith.

    Dave Rodney - Are you actually serious? That guy has done NOTHING as an MLA, when you meet him the first thing he will say is "Hi I'm Dave Rodney and I have climbed Mount Everest twice" ew gag no thanks

    Brett Wilson - Before he even dreams of running he needs to do something WITHIN the party, run as an MLA, or join a ridding board but get his feet wet somehow. Just because he has money doesn't mean he's going to win.

    Dave Hancock - Been there done that, he is a great Minister and has done well is every portfolio he has held but he is not leadership activity.

    Ron Liepert - I could support Ron but I don't think the average Albertan could stomach him becoming Premier

    Jim Dinning - Again been there done that.

    Ted Morton - As much as I don't agree with his social conservative views he may be what the party needs to woe back the Wildrose defectors.

    Jim Prentice - I would support Jim in a heart beat.

    Some names however that you left off that I think need consideration are

    Len Webber
    Doug Griffiths

    Two great MLAs and two great guys.

    That's just my two sense.

    I would love to out my name to this blog post but I simply can't, I'm sure you understand ;)

  3. Alt & Anon 12:48- Thanks for your posts. Interesting points.

  4. How about Janis Tarchuk for leader?

    Just kidding.

  5. It's interesting analysis, and for some reason it's always fun to speculate who we'd like to see and who would put their names forward for leadership consideration. But I think you're right in suggesting we may be getting ahead of ourselves.

    You're right. Ed probably isn't going anywhere. But I'm surprised there hasn't been more talk or speculation of a cabinet shuffle or a change in the premier's inner circle. There are areas where it's obvious, even to loyal Tories, where the messaging isn't getting across.

    What I'm curious to see is whether the premier makes any changes or has any greater success defining his government in the two weeks the legislature sits before the leadership review.

  6. Re: Jim Prentice - I'm not sure that replacing Stelmach, who is growingly percieved as too 'progressive', with Prentice, who is well-known as the Reddest Tory in the AB CPC caucus, would be a wise move. It certainly won't staunch the bleeding internally, and would confirm to those that have left that they made the right decision.

  7. Breakenridge..thanks for your comment. I hear that there is/was a shuffle discussed on Thursday so I will be watching to see when this is announced.

  8. Shane and Dave:

    A cabinet shuffle is the most disruptive thing you can do. It generates lasting hard feelings and ill-will in Caucus. So, don't expect one before the leadership review, or even before the end of the year.

  9. You forgot Diane Ablonczy. She's also on the list of potential candidates. (according to CTV)

  10. The biggest risk for the Tories is far more general than any threat from WAP or upheaval in their own party. It's the general breakdown in respect and trust for both the ruling elite and the party itself. Voters seem to have had it and don't believe anything can win them back. Sometimes angry people do drift back, but there has never been an anti-Tory mood like this in nearly 40 years, not even in the early '80s when the separatist movement briefly arose. The government and the party had some adjusting to do in those days, not being seen as tough enough on Ottawa, but there was always a reservoir of trust and respect for Peter Lougheed. Now that bond appears to have snapped for large numbers of voters. That is hard to repair. In such a climate, WAP or something like it was inevitable. The bad news for the Tories is that Smith might actually turn out to be the voter magnet they've always dreaded.
    Don Braid, Herald scribbler.

  11. I agree with Mr. Braid. Klien's last election saw a number of seats turn red or orange. While some seemed suprised that Stelmach won the leadership people gave him a chance because they ( or at least I did) though he would not be a corporate puppet. Whether the average voter still feels that way is to be seen. For some reason the PC party still wants to rule the same old way.

    As far as the WRA goes I am not totally sold on it. How will they appeal to the red or orange seats that turned blue for this last election?

    I think voters are tired of the unstable form of government we have. Boom or bust, over and over. This is the second bust I have had to live through and quite frankly am tired of it. As a voter I would like to see health care, education and basic services stablize. If a new revenue stream such as a sales tax of a few extra points of income tax is required then so be it.