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Monday, June 08, 2009

wrapping up the right.

Wild Rose Alliance Party activist Travis Chase has a good write up of this weekend's WRAP AGM in Calgary where three candidates declared their intentions to seek the right-wing party's leadership.

Danielle Smith's candidacy hasn't exactly been a secret (as first written about here). While she is certainly not a typical angry hard-core conservative, her roots with the Fraser Institute, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, and the editorial pages of the Calgary Herald are sure to endear the well-spoken Smith to Alberta's libertarian circles. She has yet to seek provincial office, but Calgarians may remember Smith from her brief tenure on Calgary's dysfunctional Board of Education, which was soon-after fired by then-Education Minister Lyle Oberg. Two of Smith's early endorsements include Link Byfield and Libertarian Party of Canada leader Dennis Young.

Mark Dyrholm is the National Vice-President of the Progressive Group for Independent Business (PGIB), the former vice-president of the College of Chiropractors of Alberta, and was a PGIB-endorsed candidate during Calgary's 2004 municipal election (when he ran against Ward 13 Alderman and Calgary-Glenmore PC by-election candidate Diane Colley-Urquhart). Dyrholm made an unsuccessful bid for the Calgary-Lougheed PC nomination against Dave Rodney in 2004 and is reportedly the former President of the Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills PC association. Dyrholm's Strategy/Coalition Outreach manager is the always colourful Craig Chandler.

As reported by the Calgary Herald's Renata D'Aliesio, Jeff Willerton plans to enter the contest when he raises the $10,000 candidate fee. When not picking fights at Pride Parades, Willerton has run as a Social Credit candidate in Barrhead-Westlock (2001), an Alberta Party and WRAP candidate in Airdrie-Chestermere (2004 & 2008), an Independent candidate in the Calgary-Elbow by election (2007), and contested the leadership of the Social Credit Party (1999). In 2001, Willerton sparked a short-lived public feud between Alberta Speaker Ken Kowalski and then-Athabasca MP Dave Chatters.

Also speaking at the WRAP AGM was Calgary School member and former advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Professor Tom Flanagan.


Anonymous said...

Interesting how these WRAPpers are incensed at Alberta running a deficit, yet are not voicing audible discontent at Harper federally, for running a considerably larger one on borrowed money (versus cash set aside). Where's the federal protest party?... Oops, guess they went that way before.

Be interesting to see what expenditures they would cut, in order to get books to balance. Actual dollar amounts, by government department, not some ephemeral "expenditure review". Pretty easy to make individual promises when you don't have to actually table a budget and confront conflicting demands on a limited public purse.

But, it does provide a home for angry white guys, or oil & gas execs that would rather blame changes to royalties as the source of their problems, rather than their own complicity in industry cost inflation and the current low price of natural gas.

Fear and Loathing in Calgary said...

I heard that US Republican Governor Mike Huckabee the guest speaker at an upcoming Mark Dyrholm fundraiser.

Anonymous said...

This is Smith's for the taking. Like Craig Chander discovered in Calgary-Egmont, negative ultra-Conservative hollow separatist rhetoric doesn't play in Urban Alberta. It plays third place, behind a Liberal in Conservative Calgary.

It will sink Dyrholm.

Anonymous said...

Danielle Smith is the Allison Redford of the right.

Smart, quick on her feet, and respected for her thoughtfulness. She makes Tories shake in their booties.

Anonymous said...

Danielle Smith is a guest on the Rutherford Show right now. Listen live:

Anonymous said...

I have spoken with Danielle and she is smart and is taking Dyrholm seriously. It seems that the Dyrholm team is doing very well in membership sales in urban Alberta. This race is not over. Either way Dyrholm and Smith are both great candidates.

Jeff J. said...

I think it's more a testament to the sad state of the Opposition parties that the Wildrose-Alliance is even making news. It would almost be funny if it wasn't so pathetic.

I could probably start my own party this week and get front page spread of the Journal.

Worst economic crisis in decades, and yet things still are pretty good in Alberta. Let the angry folk have their rant, let the rest of us live our lives.

roblaw said...

As much as it will certainly bleed some votes from the PC party - in the long run, it's for the best.

The hard-right, to some degree irrational, conservative vote is best off outside the PC party.

Anonymous said...

This party won't go anywhere but third place, as someone pointed earlier.

Travis Chase said...

Thanks for the plug Dave!

I would just like to point out that many of us "WRAP"er's are incensed that the federal Conservative government is running a deficit.

Anonymous said...

The feds do, the province does - it's not great but don't create a whole new movement and split the vote. That will only result in more liberal seats.

Aden said...

Anon 11:21 brings up an interesting point: as the Wildrose Alliance gains in power and is seen as a viable alternative or a viable third party, how will this play out in the polls? Will it bring more Liberal seats or will it scare Liberal voters into strategic voting?
To draw a comparison, how has the rise of the federal Conservatives in Ontario and BC played out for the NDP? I haven't done the research yet, but I'd guess there are not many seats where a Liberal and a Conservative split the vote to let an NDP come from behind.


Brian Dell said...

"split the vote"? What vote is that? The "conservative" vote? Since when is the highest spending jurisdiction in North America, a jurisdiction that is furthermore hostile to business, "conservative"?

If you don't believe the Stelmach govt is business hostile, just wait and see which way business throws its support given the alternative of Danielle Smith's party. WA has been picking up investment bankers and oil execs as members at a fast clip these past few months, never mind corporate donations.

The Stelmach P"C"s can only play the "big oil is bad" populist card so many times before urban professionals get fed up with it and demand a more sophisticated argument.

Anonymous said...

So what do the "investment bankers" and urban profesionals hope to accomplish? How are they so hard done by?

Anonymous said...

Aden makes an assumption that is not true - that somehow the Wildrose Alliance will become a credible third party. I've yet to see anything credible from this party.

And to Brian - the Wildrose had a lot of money the last election. How many seats did they get? Was it somewhere around 0? Money doesn't necessarily translate into votes, especially with that party.

Chandler Kent said...

Hey Brian. Let's tell the truth, shall we? Twenty per cent of the WRAP's money in 2008 came from two individuals (through numerous family members and one company, of course, in order to avoid violating the EFCD Act). If it wasn't for Randy Thorsteinson and Murray Mullen, you guys would be hooped. They gave you $175,000 last year. Without that, you guys would still be trying to pay off a $177,000 deficit. Not to be cynical or anything, but did those two just do that out of the goodness of their hearts? As to the WRAP picking up investment bankers and oil execs, I wouldn't brag. It's not like they have the interests of average Albertans at heart. I guess it escaped your notice, but the outrage of investment bankers and oil execs meant exactly nothing in 2008, and the same holds true today.

Brian Dell said...

Of course it means nothing *directly*! If there is anyone for whom no one has sympathy, it is executive types. And everyone knows corporations do not get a vote. The point is rather that these people KNOW what the situation is, and the Stelmach govt is refusing to listen. Eventually it is going to hoop your economy (unless bailed out by oil royalties yet again). And it is not just business leaders. The Stelmach crew has been challenged by Jack Mintz and other academics to get it together and their reports just get sent to the round file. Calling for business friendly government has never been a successful strategy in and of itself. It is only because it overlaps with intelligent government that it is sometimes successful.

As for Thorsteinson, I would point out there wouldn't be a deficit if he hadn't spent hundreds of thousands in 2004 the authorization for which from the rest of the party was, shall we say, debatable.

Chandler Kent said...

I'm not sure I would agree that those people know what the situation is, Brian. After all, investment bankers aren't exactly known for their fiscal probity (I'm sure you're fine, though) and the Financial Times had a great piece yesterday speculating on the value of MBAs given the global financial meltdown caused by the geniuses who created the sub-prime mortgage fiasco. As for oil executives, they continue not to learn from the past. They don't bother to watch their cost base when times are good, and when the revenue side of the equation goes tits up, they blame anyone but themselves. And, I guess we'll see if the Stelmach government's attempts to cushion Alberta work. If you believe PwC, business and consumer confidence in Alberta is rising, for what it's worth.

I decided I needed to look a little further back at Thorsteinson's contributions to your party, since I wasn't sure what you might be referring to. So, here's what Randy Thorsteinsson has done for you guys (amounts include all Thorsteinssons who contributed and any amount from his company, Cascadia Motivations):

2004 campaign - $95,000 (of $130K raised overall)
2004 non-writ - $100,000 (of $133K raised overall)
2005 - $2,000
2006 - $0 (he must have been annoyed, huh?)
2007 campaign - $150,000 (of $150,450 raised) - boy, you guys made up in spades
2008 campaign - $120,000

So, he gave you $467,000 over the past five years, and you're slagging him?!? You may wish to reconsider, if you'll forgive me, killing the golden goose.

Brian Dell said...

"business and consumer confidence in Alberta is rising"

If that's true why did the last EKOS poll find that, of all the provinces, Albertans believe their govt is the worst economic managers? Anyway, I should think confidence should be rising by now in spite of Stelmach given the "green shoots" showing up in a variety of international indicators.

re donors, I don't know the full story as I was never a member, never mind an insider, of the Alberta Alliance. In any case, being a donor buys no influence. When it comes to what the party intends to advocate for, it all has to go to a binding membership vote where all votes are equal. Rather unlike the P"C" party, where the membership has no input at all into policy.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter what the full story from 2004 was - the fact of the matter was that Randy was the leader at that time and he and his team did what they thought was best given the resources they had.

The fact of the matter is, without the funds from Randy and/or his family, the party wouldn't have survived this long, nor would they have been in the black after this last election. (Ironically, as of March 31, 2009, the WAP had $166,000 in their kitty - that's $9,000 less than what Randy and his family donated!)

Give your head a shake - of course being a (large) donor buys influence!!!!!!

Btw, I would be very surprised if Jeff Willerton is in a position to enter the leadership race by September 1, 2009.

Travis Chase said...

With all due respect you lefties and PC'ers really don't get it do you?

The whole reason Randy and the founders founded the Alberta Alliance was steer the PC's back to some common sense. It was never about forming government or political self interest.

The PC party was starting to go off the rails well before Ralph was ever gone.

If the PC's had listened to what disgruntled members had told them and reformed themselves from within as we all heard so many times before, then we would have packed up our tent and rejoined along time ago.

The Alberta Alliance was formed to say, listen you twits start listening to the constituents and the membership or else.

Still to this day, this very day they don't listen and no sign of that changing.

Chandler Kent said...

With all due respect, Travis, us lefties and PC'ers really don't care. I thought your summary of last weekend's WRAP AGM was one of the bigger bj's I have ever read, and your statement that the founding of the Alberta Alliance "was never about forming government or political self-interest" is just unbelievably asinine.

And Brian, though you read the front page of the Herald today, I guessed you missed it on Monday morning, where the front page had the results of a Leger poll commissioned by PwC. I would have thought an investment banker like yourself would keep abreast of economic indicators, but maybe your research department missed it, huh?

Travis Chase said...

Chandler, if your man enough to phone Randy T and sit down and have a conversation. Why don't you ask him yourself what his philosophy was for forming the Alberta Alliance was.

The admission of the fact that you or the PC's really don't care is the fact that we exist. You just did a phenomenal job of representing my point entirely.

rc said...

"I would point out there wouldn't be a deficit if he hadn't spent hundreds of thousands in 2004 the authorization for which from the rest of the party was, shall we say, debatable."

The dump of money in 2004 is, arguably, what won the Alberta Alliance a seat in the Legislature. Whether they get back to that high-water mark or not is what's actually debatable.

And Jeff J. is right on; it speaks to a pretty sad state of affairs for the Opposition parties which are actually represented in the Legislature that the Wildrose Alliance seems to be earning more press.

Chandler Kent said...

Travis, what are you prattling on about? "If your (sic) man enough..."? What, is Randy going to beat me up? Strangely, I thought I was treating him pretty well in my comments, unlike your co-religionist Brian Dell. It was your statement that I commented on, my friend.

I can't even respond to your second paragraph, because the first sentence makes absolutely no sense to me.

Finally, anybody who wrote a post like you did about the WRAP AGM should really think twice before questioning anyone's masculinity. And why would you assume I am a man?