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Thursday, April 10, 2008

suiting up for spring session #4: laurie blakeman v. ken kowalski.

Get ready for the clash of two very different political worlds as two of Alberta's arguably most opposite MLAs vie for the Speakers chair.

In the right corner, you have incumbent Ken Kowalski. As previously mentioned, after 29 years in the Legislature Kowalski is returning for his 9th term as the Tory MLA for the Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock area. Kowalski is also the type of rural conservative who campaigns for re-election on hard hitting points like "while human beings can create laws, the laws of God must take precedence" (which is totally appropriate for someone who has been the Speaker of the Assembly since 1997...).

In the left corner, you have the challenger, Laurie Blakeman. Blakeman is the Alberta Liberal MLA for the very urban downtown constituency of Edmonton-Centre. Returning for her fourth-term in the legislature since 1997, Blakeman is tough, outspoken, and a strong advocate of the arts, GLBTQ issues, and women in politics. Blakeman is probably the closest to an anti-thesis to the type of rural politics that Kowalski practices that you can find.

Though it won't be a surprise when the 71 members of the Tory caucus jump to vote for the good old boy when Ed Stelmach and Kowalski give them the signal, Blakeman will be challenging Kowalski with the express intent of opening new horizons for women MLAs. Bridget Pastoor (Lethbridge-East) will be joining Blakeman in challenging the Tory majority by running for Deputy Speaker.


eh said...

"So, taking the advice of the premier, I am putting my name forward for consideration for election as Speaker of the Alberta Legislature."
-Laurie Blakeman

She is a very smart politician and would make an excellent Speaker. Too bad Stelmach will never let that happen, irrespective of his rhetoric about women in politics.

Anonymous said...

The PC's should let them both win, this is the classic example of being careful what you wish for, because you might get it. Blakeman would collapse under the pressure of being would almost be worth it.

Anonymous said...

Good to see the Liberals learned their lesson from the election and have decided to focus on winnable battles.

Oh wait...

Anonymous said...

Kowalski obviously isn't the model of impartiality ("Mr. Premier, I give you your Conservative caucus!", etc.). But the job of Speaker shouldn't be a means to prove some kind of point about a certain group's participation in politics. If the only reason Blakeman can come up with that she's better than Kowalski is that she's a woman, she either has a very dim imagination or a very low opinion of herself. Her candidacy should be based on a belief she has superior skills as an impartial arbiter of disputes, who can look out for the best interests of the assembly in a non-partisan fashion. Framing it as some kind of a gender issue just signals that she's running to make a statement, not running because she thinks she'd do a better job. Which is kind of a piss-poor reason to run for Speaker.

kodos said...

Blakeman won't win but good for her for making a point and standing up against an old boy like Kowalski.

To give Stelmach credit he has appointed a number of strong women to high profile positions in his cabinet including Allison Redford and Iris Evans.

But there is still a lot of room to go before Alberta can say that it is leading the nation in women involved in politics.

Feynman and Coulter's Love Child said...

But there is still a lot of room to go before Alberta can say that it is leading the nation in women involved in politics.

We've also got a long way to go before we can say we're leading the nation in Bon Jovi concerts, shipwrecks, or unemployment.

Anonymous said...

There are rumors that Blakeman approached the lone female NDP MLA, Rachel Notley, saying she should also run for Speaker in hopes of having a full slate of female Opposition MLAs after the seat.

Does it strike anyone even slightly silly that the decimated Opposition are looking for an opportunity to have their voices/votes count even less by having one of their own act as Speaker?