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Monday, October 29, 2007

stelmach tory revitalization? ask stephane dion.

There may have been some young folks at this weekend's Alberta PC convention in Calgary, but that doesn't mean that there's a new crew steering the S.S. Stelmach. You don't have to look too far to see that it's still the same stodgy crew running the show.

There are currently 61 Progressive Conservative MLA's in the Legislature and with 42 of those have been re-nominated (19 of the 42 re-nominated Tories have sat in the Legislature for a decade or more), it's going to be hard to make the case that the Alberta PC's are going through a 1993 Ralph Klein-style reinvention.

With Ed Stelmach failing to stand up for Albertans by compromising on resource royalties and continuing to refuse to fire Energy Minister Mel Knight after Auditor General Fred Dunn singled out Knight's Department of Energy for failing to collected billions of dollars in natural resource royalty revenues owed to Albertans, it's clear that it's business as usual in the halls of the Tory government.

With the likes of Lyle Oberg, Lloyd Snelgrove, Ray Danyluk, and Luke Ouellette running the show, a close look will reveal the same old stodgy Stelmach Tories.

Similar to the Liberal Party of Canada under Stephane Dion, the Alberta Progressive Conservatives failed to realize that simply changing your leader doesn't equal revitalization in the minds of voters. Like Dion's Federal Liberals, the Stelmach Tories have embraced institutional mediocrity and have clearly not begun to undertake the road to revitalization and re-branding that occurred under two previous 1990's-era leaders.


Bob McInnis said...

Revitalization or not, the PCs are poised to win another majority. The Royalty Review (whatever your opinion) only served to show that we have no credible opposition in Alberta. Tweedledee and tweeledum huffed and puffed but really demonstrated their incompetence and lack of understanding about the industry. Taft basically said - "Duh, I don't know but I'm sure it was wrong" and Mason blustered about " killing the golden goose" .
Even with 50-54 MLAs, Stlemach will have a mandate for four years. Maybe by then an opposition will rise up.

Anonymous said...

And what's happening to the right of the Tories is equally disturbing. We have no less than 3 parties all fighting for the same 5-10% of those votes; those being Social Credit, the Alberta Alliance, and the new Wild Rose Party. What is it about facists that they can't learn to get along with one another? :)

It seems like there is a lot of energy and groundswell around the New Democrats right now. I think people have taken a hard look at Kevin Taft and decided he's lacking. I think Mason's NDP has a good shot at being the next Official Opposition, even if it is with only 10-15 seats.

Anonymous said...

I agree, when the winds of change blow in Alberta, they blow hard - much like Brian Mason and his NDP revolution.

When the Brian Mason and the Socialist NDP Revolution inspires the Albertan proletariat to rise against the ruling bourgeoisie class, only then will Alberta realize its full potential and take its rightful place in the Canadian Confederation!

I am a PROUD SOCIALIST and I fully support the Brian Mason Revolution.

In Solidarity.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight...Dan Baird found people who support Premier Stelmach at a Tory Policy Convention? I can't wait for his next column where he emails the Public Affairs Bureau to ask for thoughts on how the government is performing.

Nastyboy said...

"The politics of failure have failed. We must find a way to make them work again!"

Glen said...

I'll bet $50 right here and now that the NDP doesn't win more than two more seats in the next election.

Anonymous said...

I'll take that bet. The Alberta NDP are ridiculously overrated, but assuming Ray Martin runs again I suspect they'll keep the seats they have.

Glen said...

"More than two more" - I meant an increase of two. I agree; they won't go down.

Anonymous said...

Really? I think they are more vulnerable then they would admit, Ray Martin especially.

Anonymous said...

Ray Martin is nominated to run again. I think they will win 7-8 seats, taking equally from the Tories and Liberals.

Anonymous said...

There were a lot of young people there Dave, and much more importantly, a lot of young people in important roles.

The MLA structure takes time to change of course, people don't want to give up their jobs and many have not had a chance to contribute.

If you look however at who's running the show, it's very different.

I hope the NDP enjoys getting the tar (har har!) beaten out of them this election.

BR said...

Given how blurred the lines between the Alberta Liberals and the NDP have become in recent years, I think it'll be fun to watch them go at each other :)

Anonymous said...

I am a PC-supporter, but I have to give credit to Brian Mason and the NDP. At least you know where they stand. The Alberta Liberals on the other hand.... well, let us just say they are "reference dependent". Which is a nice way of saying they will oppose whatever the government is advocating, but don't really stand for anything in particular.

A couple of months ago, Kevin Taft was out in Calgary raising some money from the oil suits. Then, after the royalty review panel report is released, he takes more than four weeks to say... not much. Other than an oblique reference to yes, 20% increases sounds ok and should be a base minimum starting point. Then, when the Premier takes a stand on royalties that is expected to generate a 20% increase (rounded), Taft balks. He looked like a deer-in-the-headlights when reporters asked him to respond - you could see him on TV trying to sidestep them. And this was AFTER the ALP sent a press release letting the media know he was available for comment.

For all his faults (and there are a few) at least Mason never dodges a microphone.

Anonymous said...

Fran in Medicine Hat says: Taft has rightly re-focused on the Auditor General's Report and this PC Government's culpability (criminal?) in failing to collect the royalties under the OLD EXISTING regime - estimated to be as high as $20 Billion over the last 7 years. It would be disingenuous and a mistake to follow Mason's quick response to the Royalty Review process with simplistic babble. This royalty regime has been so confusing, so difficult for civil servants to monitor and control (as evidenced in the Auditor General's report that when they. civil servants in the Energy Dept., came to the elected PC government asking for full implementation - they were "shut down" - why?) Taft's response has been appropriate and responsible. The oil patch has fallen silent realizing what a "sweet deal" they have under Stelmach and over 60% of Albertans as of a recent poll believe the Oil Patch was lying about the Royally Report's potential impact. Stelmach "caved" to the Oil Patch and Albertans have or will realize this. Mason and the NDP will be branded as "over reacting Socialists" just as the Oil Execs look like hysterical whiners complaining about the loss of 0.01% of their bottom line. Taft is hitting the right note on Stelmach's delayed sweet-heart delayed Royalty Plan - and he is going to the PCs most vulnerable position - that despite warnings from their own employees and the Opposition - they are culpable in leaving Billions of $s in the hands of the oil companies which belong to Albertans.

Anonymous said...

I like this:
"With the likes of Lyle Oberg, Lloyd Snelgrove, Ray Danyluk, and Luke Ouellette running the show, a close look will reveal the same old stodgy Stelmach Tories."

Umm. I am from Calgary, and the five Liberal MLAsthere are all middle-aged white men. Stodgy... Hmm, calling the kettle black are we?

Besides David, three of the four you mentioned (Snelgrove, Danyluk and Ouelette are all facial hair enthusiasts). I thought all "change the world" lefties like you were into that.

Anonymous said...

Do you really thing $20 billion in potential royalties was (a) collectable, and (b) if collectable, merely vaporized, and was not recoupled in other means (e.g. personal/corp income taxes, land sales proceeds, etc.)? Are you really so sure a massive amount like this could - literally - vanish into a black hole? If so, then give Tom Cruise a call - he has a cult to sell you.

Frankly, Fran (or Frank Dunn, for that matter) I question the abilities - and professional civil servant conduct - of a man who would extrapolate $1 or $2 billion (itself his own estimate) into "possibly up to $20 billion. Hell, why not one-thousand-million-zillions? [fell free to stick your pinky finger out just-so ala Dr. Evil]