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Friday, January 27, 2006

is ted morton the first victim of a harper government?

One of the things we've been pondering in the week since the Federal Election delivered us the election of a Conservative Government, is the effects it may have on the current Alberta PC Leadership Race.

Though the race to replace Ralph Klein as leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Association has been on for sometime, the election of a Calgary-based Conservative Prime Minister throws a new dynamic into the race.

For instance, Dr. Ted Morton, the MLA for Foothills-Rockyview, Alberta segregationist, and darkhorse in the race has used every opportunity to promote his leadership campaign through vehement and slobberingly rabid attacks on our Federal Liberal overlords in Ottawa.

Running on the slogan "More Alberta, Less Ottawa," Morton struck fear into Alberta's Tory elite by winning a hotly contested Tory nomination for the 2004 election. He was elected.

But will his supporters still be enthralled and mesmerized with attacks against a Calgary-based Conservative Ottawa? Can Morton shift the focus of his campaign against Ottawa or has Dr. Morton revealed himself to be a one-trick pony?

Does he actually have the substance to carry a "real" issues-based campaign? One only has to look at Dr. Morton's maiden speech to the Alberta Legislature to wonder if he has the ability to run a campaign based on "real issues" (ie: Health Care, Post-Secondary Education, the Environment, Agriculture, etc).

Though we're sure the change in government in Ottawa will have a major effect on the efforts of the ConnecTed group, we're undecided about its effect on the other leadership candidates: Paul Jim Dinning, Ed Stelmach, Lyle Oberg, Dave Hancock, and Mark Norris.

The major question we're asking is: if the "West is in now" as Prime Minister-Elect Stephen Harper announced in the late hours of January 23, is Ted Morton now out?


"Steve Smith" said...

Morton wasn't going to win before, and he won't win now. He wasn't going to be kingmaker before, and he won't be now. Will it cost him some votes? Only if Stephen Harper's much more successful than I anticipate him being at quelling Western alienation.

Jim said...

Morton apparently sold a ton of memberships. I wouldn't be that dismissive of him, Steve.

That said, this takes him off the table. Tory governments in Ottawa in general are a bad thing for Tory governments in Alberta--it takes away the Liberal "boogeyman" and shines the spotlight more on the government's own performance, not on its relations with Ottawa. It's no coincidence that the Liberals and New Democrats peaked in Alberta during the Getty/Mulroney era of incompetence.

Duncan said...

Whether it takes Dr. Morton on or off the table is now more up to Dr. Morton. The offshoot of the election might allow Morton, who to some degree is friendlier with the federal CPC to raise more money and gain a higher profile than the other candidates. The question is can Harper continue to be very popular in Alberta - eclipsing Klein in that category and can Morton then translate that into being the candidate closest to Harper. Both are possibilities. Of the remaining leadership candidates, who is closer to Harper? Morton has an infrastructure and popularity that the other candidates don't and one that is outside of the Provincial party. I agree 100% with Jim, Morton has more of a shot that Steve is giving him credit for, and a Harper government might make him better. Less Ottawa in the provinces is a slogan of the current federal government, at least in speech. Whether it will be in action, and how popular that is with Albertans may define Morton to Alberta.

Robert McBean. said...

I think Morton will start a war within the Tory party. I think this has been brewing for some time. The urban vs rural, calgary vs edmonton, blue vs red tory is really quite glaring. I sometimes wonder how they've kept that party together so long. (Then I remember the answer: cronyism and influence peddling.) Morton could do a lot of internal damage to the party, or at least thats what I hope for.