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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

shuffling the political deck.

From Andrew Cohen in today's Ottawa Citizen:

If Saskatchewan is poised for change, so is Alberta, where the Conservatives have been in office since 1971. The loss of Ralph Klein's seat -- which the Conservatives held for years -- in a recent byelection in Calgary may well be the first knock on the door of their undoing.

Led by the intelligent Kevin Taft, the Liberals offer a government-in-waiting. Mr. Taft's provocative new book, Democracy Derailed, is a searing indictment of a government that he calls unaccountable and unimaginative in a province coping with explosive growth.

Alberta, like Saskatchewan, is on the cusp of change.


Bob McInnis said...

Seems you have a different definition of 'cusp'. Nodice shows the latest poll in Alberta by Ipsos-Reid (06.22)still has PC's well within the majority range at 47% vs Liberals 29% and ND's 10%. Whereas, the Saskatchewan Party has 55%, Nd's 29% with Liberals at 10% from the Sigma polling in April.
I don't see that Albertans are nearly as ready or anxious for change. The results in Cgy-Elbow where 16% voter turnout determined the results doesn't give us that indication either.

BR said...

The fact that the words of an Ottawa-based "expert" are being taken seriously prove that the Alberta Liberals remain blissfully unready for primetime.

Anonymous said...

"The fact that the words of an Ottawa-based "expert" are being taken seriously prove that the Alberta Liberals remain blissfully unready for primetime."

BR: I remember when people were saying the same thing about Stephen Harper. "He can't win,""He will never win," and "the Conservatives need a new leader to win." Don't underestimate the undercurrent of disatisfaction in Alberta right now.

Cohen is on to something. Times are a changin' on the Prairies.

BR said...

The situations in Saskatchewan and Alberta are entirely different.

Brad Wall really does lead a government in waiting. His caucus has a broad base of experience and they are well-tested in the legislature. Moreover, Mr. Cohen gets it wrong when he suggests that the Saskatchewan Party is not a conservative alternative to the NDP.

In Alberta, on the other hand, the Taft caucus is a pretty shoddy opposition. Only one of them can be considered a performer in Question Period... when he manages to be heard over Laurie Blakeman's ramblings, that is. As far as government-in-waiting credentials, there's only one person in the ALP caucus that I would be even remotely comfortable with in a provincial cabinet.

I'd be a little more concerned about an Alberta Liberal threat if it were still the party of Laurence Decore, Mike Percy, and Adam Germain... rather than the party of Kevin Taft, Hugh MacDonald and Jack Flaherty.

Allie said...

No one in Ottawa is in touch with anything in Alberta. They like to think they are (and thats where the disconnect occurs).

The Liberal Party is not a "government-in-waiting..." It's been an opposition party for a very long time and it's really, really, good at it. But thats not a Government in Waiting.

michael said...

I'd be a little more concerned about an Alberta PC threat of staying in power if it were still the party of Peter Lougheed, Lou Hyndman, and Allan Warrack... rather than the party of Ed Stelmach, Lyle Oberg, and Ray Danyluk.

And Allie any party will have been in opposition for a while when the governing party has been in power for 36 years. The Socreds said the same thing about the Lougheed Tories in 1971.

Psychols said...

The one bi-election in Calgary is pretty flimsy evidence of pending change. I wonder if it is little more than anger about Stelmach's prior unwillingness to appoint cabinet members from Calgary.

Personally I think Alberta is in for gradual change this time. There will be no rush to a new dynasty just the slow shift of support to the Liberals and the Dippers. Eventually we will be treated to a provincial election in which the predicted government will be uncertain until election night.

Alex said...

Would BR and Allie care to elaborate on what would make the Liberals (or anyone else) a government-in-waiting as opposed to just an opposition party?

I think Coyne is bang on with his point about their being an appetite for change. The difference is that in Alberta the opposition hasn't convinced voters that they are a better alternative. But if they saw a good option, most Albertans I know would be all too happy to turf the PCs.

Ken Chapman said...

I say Coyne last week on the CBC news At Issue Panel - with them commenting with incredulousness about "When was the last time a Liberal was elected in Calgary?"

There were more Liberals elected in Calgary in the 2004 election than there were PCs elected in Edmonton.

The ignorance the central MSM media about Alberta - at all levels, issues and concerns is breathtaking.