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Saturday, June 04, 2005

would be - wanna be

UPDATE (May 18, 2006) - Check out an updated Alberta PC leadership roster here.

**UPDATE (October 11, 2006) - Check out the entire list of MLA endorsements for the Alberta PC leadership race.**

Well, with yesterday’s prediction by Tory MLA Lloyd Snelgrove (Vermilion-Lloydminster) that Alberta's glorious and blessed leader, Premier Ralph Klein, is on his way out, I decided to take a look at some of the “would-be” Klein successors. Here are some of the old (mostly white) men stepping up to lead the 34 year-old Tory dynasty...

Jim Dinning – The 'Paul Martin' of the Alberta PC Leadership race. This former Provincial Treasurer (1992-97) has been bidding his time in the private sector since leaving electoral politics in 1997 (private sector, hmmm. Sounds more like the John Turner of this race). He’s looking to be the “everything-to-everyone” candidate. Under the “why Jim” category of his website, apparently one of his qualifiers for leader is: “He's been an active Party member since the 1970's.”

Lyle Oberg, MLA Strathmore-Brooks – Currently the Transport Minister, Oberg was affectionately known as “Lyle, Lyle, pants on fire” by teachers, parents, students, and trustees from across Alberta during his time as Learning Minister from 2001 to 2004. His arrogant style will no doubt help him fit in with many of the other candidates in this race.

Ed Stelmach, MLA Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville – Elected in 1993, after unseating two-term ND MLA Derek Fox, Stelmach quietly toiled as Transport Minister for years until being appointed Intergovernmental Affairs Minister last winter. He seems like a nice guy, but I really can’t name anything he's done in his past 12 years.

Gary Mar, MLA Calgary Mackay – Once considered a serious contender in the race to replace Ralph, Mar had a wrench thrown in the wheels of his machine after it was discovered that this former Health Minister paid almost $400,000 in an untendered contracts to his former Executive Assistant. Now toiling as the lowly Community Development Minister, Mar is cutting ribbons instead of talking Health Care-reform.

Dave Hancock, MLA Edmonton Whitemud – Currently the Advanced Education Minister, Hancock was only one of two Tories elected in Edmonton in 1997 and is now 1 of 3 Tory MLA’s in Edmonton. Probably the most decent Tory MLA in Alberta, unfortunately he’s from Liberal Edmonton and I’m sure this will have a negative effect on his leadership chances.

Mark Norris – In 2001, Mark Norris was called a “giant-killer” for unseating then Liberal leader Nancy MacBeth in Edmonton McClung. In 2004, Norris was “giant-killed” himself by Liberal Mo Elsalhy (sources tell me that Mr. Norris took a week off during the campaign to go on a golfing vacation). Currently with no seat, I really don’t consider him a serious candidate. But things got a lot more interesting last month when Mr. Norris joined Klein and his mafia on a trip to Klein’s BC Fishing lodge. Is Norris Klein’s padwan?? Hmmm. Sounds like a kiss of death to me.

Ted Morton, MLA Foothills-Rockyview – Ah yes, the dark horse of this race. Not terribly charismatic, Dr. Morton is a hard-line right-wing ideologue. The former “Senator-in-Waiting” was elected last November under the slogan of “More Alberta, Less Ottawa.” Though he is shunned by many in the Tory establishment, he may draw the support of the hard right-wingers that the other candidates cannot. If he wins, look for a lot of Tories to jump to the Liberals. One of the rumours going around is that if he looses the leadership, he’ll jump to the floundering Alberta Alliance Party.

So, there we have it. Pretty homogeneous, eh


calgarygrit said...

Good run-down of the field. I've also heard some rumours of a prominent businessman with no political experience jumping into the field, but those are just rumours.

I'd say it's Dinning versus Morton with Oberg as a pottential king-maker.

Aaron said...

Calgary grit: you are probably right. Alberta politics seems almost a matter of anointing and inevitability.

daveberta said...

CG - I agree with the Dinning vs Morton race. But on a deeper level it will be a rural vs urban battle, as opposed to the 1992 Tory Leadership race which was very much an Edmonton vs Calgary battle (Betkowski vs Klein) with rural Alberta playing the kingmaker on the second ballot.

It should be interesting to see if the Tories can again reinvent themselves. They're old and tired and it shows.

It's too bad we didn't have more electoral competiton in this province (known elsewhere as "democracy"), it would probably boost the quality of MLA's and debate in the Legislature (probably a higher than 48% voter turnout too!).

Senator Catalyst said...

I would say Norris is out. Although his consulting firm may have dished-out for some very expensive advertising in the Calgary Herald, he skipped-out on the last PC convention early; no hospitality suite, no nothing. A guy like him would've needed to use the convention to spin himself as a formidable candidate among the elites. But that didn't happen.

Stelmach's aspirations are a joke. And this most recent blunder with Ottawa - We want more...oh, wait, I guess we got enough - is pudding proof that the higher-ups do not, and will not endorse his candidacy.

Mar is a non-starter also. His upward mobility in the PC organisation is really expired. His dreams of one day jumping into the federal game (as a Liberal) are on indefinite hold. If I were him, I'd be looking at making a retrograde motion, and run for Mayor of Calgary.

I agree with you that Hancock is a good guy. But his chances in this thing (and maybe for that very reason) are somewheres in the range of 45-1.

Oberg's a douche bag, and I predict he will eventually side with Morton. Hence why he is a douche bag!

Ted "I forgot the words to the national anthem on purpose" Morton, may very well be the antichrist. Detested by the convention crowd, Morton opted for a 7:00am pancake breakfast instead of a hospitality suite. Thus, he should be able to shore up the temperance vote. His wife's name is Bambi. I don’t care who you are, that’s funny!

No, it’ll be Dinning by a mile and a half.

Zita Dube said...

Rumour has it we may also see a female in the running. Current Minister of Health Iris Evans has the gossip mill turning across the river.

daveberta said...

I also heard Evans as well. I didn't put her down because I also heard that she wasn't going to run again... that would be great to have a strong woman in the race though. Straighten those old white guys up a bit :P

daveberta said...

Senator - Yeah, I agree. From what I hear, Norris has also kept his Campaign office from 2004 to run his leadership out of. And yes, Oberg is a douchebag.

matt said...

Doin' research on these guys. Dinning's last speech sounded good. Really good: post-secondary, arts & culture, economic diversification.

And Norris has no website, but the premier's office has lots of photos of him. And he looks like the Family Guy: Which may or may not be a good thing.

daveberta said...

I never noticed that before! Mark Norris is sooo Peter Griffin!!!!

Candace said...

I haven't paid a lot of attention to the provincial politics (what's the point? we have no opposition that can do anything, anyway), but would suggest that the end result will depend far more on what happens federally.

If it looks like the Libs will remain for more than...maximum, IMHO, 6 months... Morton will be a slam dunk and the firewall will be built. People are pissed.

If, on the other hand, there is a federal election and the Libs are punted (as they should be), I haven't a clue, but Morton will lose significant steam.

tyler said...

oberg's a moron, dinning's a nerd, and morton is the antichrist.

that's my contribution.

iloveLaP said...

Stelmach came up with the idea to switch the passing lane to the right rather than the left about 3 years ago to save on infrastructure and wear and tear, but it never saw the light of day. I fully expect this will be a main plank of his platform

daveberta said...

I think the question to ask is: What are any of these guys going to do differently than Klein? The Tories have been in power since 1971 and ran out of ideas in 1992. Can any of these guys reinvigorate the PC Party with new ideas? My predictions is: no.

I really think the urban-rural split may be too much for this party. My off-hand prediction: Dinning wins. Morton joins the Alliance. Liberals make gains in Calgary and Edmonton. Alliance makes gains in rural Alberta. Tory minority government! Wow. Alberta's first minorty government EVER! 2007. wait and see. you heard it here first.

The tories will quickly disolve and the Liberals will form govenment in Alberta by 2011 with an Alliance opposition. Just wait and see.

Jim said...

God, I hope so. Taft is promising us the moon, but I dunno if this province will ever embrace anything named Liberal. But I suppose if we came close in the early 90s, it could be possible to do it again.

Socialist Swine said...

Hi everyone,

I actually don't think the Liberals will be able to take it with Taft as the leader. He doesn't appeal enough to the left and he isn't politically astute enough. He tends to say things that reconfirm right leaning Albertan's belief that everyone but the PCs are out to get their money.

I think the only way that the Liberals will be able to take it is if either Swann or Taylor were chief. However, that said, this is coming from a Dipper and really I can't imagine the NDP forming an Albertan government anytime soon (though it strikes me that Brian Mason is well received by even the right).

-Socialist Swine

Anonymous said...

Hello all,

I'm a real live poltical insider who found this site by pure accident. Fascinating comments one and all. And yes, as most all "under the dome" would agree, Lyle is a douche bag.