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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

mo elsalhy's longshot run for the leader's chair.

As the ‘giant killer’ of 2004, pharmacist Mo Elsalhy entered his first foray into electoral politics by defeating PC Minister Mark Norris in Edmonton-McClung. Playing a significant role in Liberal mythology, the Edmonton-McClung area was held by former Liberal Leaders Grant Mitchell and Nancy MacBeth from 1986 to 2001. In March 2008, Elsalhy was unseated by PC David Xiao. Months later he launched his run for the leadership of the Alberta Liberal Party.

While in the Legislature, Elsahy had a reputation as a moderate MLA which earned him the respect from MLAs from all sides of the Legislature. He spent much of his time as MLA focusing on issues ranging from democratic reform (hosting town hall forums which included members of British Columbia’s Citizens’ Assembly) and youth issues (including the Young McClung group). Though he did get a B-grade from the dubious Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Elsalhy is an unmistakably common sense kind of guy.

Some may dismiss Elsalhy as an underdog candidate in this race (which would be accurate), but I wouldn’t be surprised if he places stronger than expected among ALP members when the results are released. He is enthusiastic and has the kind of energy that will be needed to build a viable alternative to the governing PCs as they approach forty years in office. As one of the youngest MLAs when he was elected four years ago, his age affords him the opportunity to work towards a future in Alberta politics, and he will likely use this leadership run to boost his profile for a rematch against Xiao in Edmonton-McClung.


z h zhang said...

This quote is from CalgaryGrit and I totally agree with it: "As a leader, (Mo would) be new, fresh, and different from anything the Alberta Liberals have offered Albertans before."

Part of the success for the Democrats south of the border, aside from their impressive organization and fundraising abilities, was that regardless of the outcome, they would have offered something new and exciting for America to think about, a strong woman or a strong black guy.

That could be it. We have always had great leaders, better than the Tories, but they were all terrible at marketing. Elsalhy gets marketing. He may not be the greatest leader the grits could have had going into this race but he's the best they've got today.

chester j said...

The way Elsalhy has "marketed" his campaign (see: website, literature, buttons), I would strongly argue he does NOT get marketing.

Anonymous said...

I was happy to see that Mo is running. He is an honest and focused person and the Liberals are lucky to have him in their ranks.

Anonymous said...

Mo's marketing sense extends far beyond his website which I find simple to navigate and always on message. He marketed himself well before the 2004 election which led to his significant win over Mark Norris who I didn't like.

And he marketed really well after getting elected, particularly among the youth and seniors. He lost his seat, yes, but his vote actually went up where almost all other incumbents and candidates went down. He remains liked and respected by even the Tories in Edmonton and I should know, I am one and I voted for him. And I personally know at least 3 other PCs who bought liberal memberships to support him in this thing.

Norris was arrogant and David Xiao is too in addition to being lazy. He won the PC nomination and later the 08 election by unethical, and illegal, means.

Mo was humble and genuinely warm and worked around the clock like the energizer bunny. That's what you Liberals need. I don't know the other 2 candidates and don't feel I need to. Win or lose as leader, I want him to run in McLung again and kick Xiao's behind.

Jeff J. said...

So Dave you're saying that if Mo wins he would actually not run for a seat in the Assembly for 4 years? Wow. How can you possibly expect any credibility as a leader or as a party without sitting as an MLA for that long? I could understand if it was 1 year, or 2, but 4? seriously? That is 8 sittings of the Assembly, and a thousand question periods, and no Mo?

Although I guess the flipside is that while Mo might have a chance in a Liberal leadership election his chances in an actual election would be significantly less. Even in Edmonton Riverview.

Steve said...

the reason so many PC's are supporting Mo is because it would be hilarious to see him try to win a seat in a by-election. It has nothing to do with him actually being credible.

Hate to burst your bubble.

Anonymous said...

Heard him say he won't run in any by-election as he wants McLung back. Now that's credible. Also smart as those who win by-elections typically lose the following elections, especially if they run in areas in which they're not as well known.

He can also use his time on the outside to focus on meeting people. That's what those my age remember about Lawrence Decore and he was liked by many, not just you liberals. Most PCs are objective, we appreciate hard work and civility when we see it. May be you should too or you will remain the opposition forever. It's funny I read this blog and get frustrated, wonder why!

red deer progressive said...

Be like Obama: Liberals, Red Deer Advocate

pat said...

"you're saying that if Mo wins he would actually not run for a seat in the Assembly for 4 years?"

With only three Edmonton Liberal MLAs it is unlikely that any of them would step down, and Mo is likely to run again in McClung. I don't think there's anything wrong with not being in the Legislature off the bat.

Anonymous said...

Pat: Both Blakeman and MacDonald have been MLAs for 11 years and Taft is likely not to run again in Riverview. An Elsalhy win would mean that the Libs wouldn't have a leader in the house which would give him the time to build the party outside the house for the next election. Harper didn't have a seat when he won the Canadian Alliance leadership and now he's Prime Minister.

chuck nordstrom said...

And Harper was the same age as Mo when he ascended to assume the Alliance/Reform top job and so was Peter Lougheed when he led the provincial conservatives to victory.

Anonymous said...

With a membership of only 6,000 anything can happen. Elsalhy is the only candidate from Edmonton and has been around the ALP just as long as Taylor and Swann.

The Liberal Party may be in bad shape but the Progressive Conservatives were in worse shape (eg: no shape) when Lougheed took over.

Anonymous said...

I am a liberal provincially and conservative federally and I like the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. They try to be common sense folk and are not intimidated by anyone or any government.

Anonymous said...

I was leaning toward supporting Mo anyway but two things sealed the deal for me:

1) His willingness to set his ego aside and cooperate with other opposition parties in a coalition format

2) I am concerned Taylor or Swann will just focus on Calgary and ignore Edmonton which has traditionally provided the liberal foundation of support - there was even talk of moving the party office to Calgary

Chester J said...

"there was even talk of moving the party office to Calgary"

From who?

Talk about a straw man argument. These anonymous comments are getting ridiculous. Will nobody stand behind what they say? There's a lot of flotsam on these comment boards lately.

Peter said...

Whether the talk is real or not, why can't Calgary now get its turn? We have 5 MLAs to Edmonton's 3 and 2 out of the 3 leadership candidates. I like the fact the vote counting and announcing the result will take place in Calgary. Edmonton is the past, Calgary is now and the future.