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Friday, October 09, 2009

save the date: alberta politics in fall 2009.


October 14: Premier Ed Stelmach will deliver a televised address on CTV and AccessTV.

It is no surprise that Stelmach has a difficult time articulating himself when speaking in public, so these kind of productions will allow the Premier to present a message that is pre-produced, edited, and heavily scripted. The address is being pitched as a talk on the economy titled "The Way Forward."  This avenue presents Stelmach with the opportunity to make bold announcements, but I expect that while making numerous references to tough economic times, he will focus on the government's legislative agenda, economic agreements with neighbouring provinces, public service salary freezes, the recently implemented lobbyist registry, and the international role of Alberta's oilsands. It is also difficult to imagine Stelmach not mentioning that the Governments of Alberta and Canada have provided a $865 million subsidy for carbon capture projects to Shell, one of the largest and most profitable oil companies in the world.

Stelmach's 2007 televised address cost taxpayers $145,000, and with internet ads already popping up, I wouldn't be surprised if the total cost was closer $200,000 this year. The Premier has already been booked on the Rutherford Show for the next morning, so expect a full court press.

October 17: Riding high in the polls, the Wildrose Alliance will announce the results of their leadership contest after over 11,000 members vote to choose either Danielle Smith or Mark Dyrholm as their new leader. It was first rumoured that ten, and now four PC MLAs are interested in chatting with Smith if she wins the contest. Since outgoing leader Paul Hinman was by-elected in Calgary-Glenmore, a number of former Progressive Conservative MLAs, including former cabinet minister Ernie Isley have joined that party.

Also on October 17 is ChangeCamp Edmonton, an event that invites Edmontonians and Albertans to re-imagine government in the age of participation. As citizens, we have a responsibility and opportunity to start redesigning the way that we participate in government. Interested? Register online for free and join the conversation on October 17!

October 26-December 3: The Alberta Legislature will sit for the first time since the spring session ended with widespread opposition to Bill 44. I anticipate the first two weeks of the fall session to be about positioning Stelmach and his cabinet in a positive light before the PC leadership review. There continues to be talk of a cabinet shuffle, and with the retirement of Ron Stevens, Stelmach has been left without a designated Calgary Lieutenant. Justice Minister Alison Redford appears to be a natural fit for this position, but with rumoured leadership ambitions herself, she may be cautious to how tight she tethers her horse to Stelmach's buggy.

I foresee the building conflict over Bill 50, the mess inside the Department of Children Services, staff pay hikes and bonuses, cuts to health care and education, and continuing anger over Bill 44 to dominate the debate. With the Copenhagen Conference happening in December, expect Greenpeace hold another round of oilsands actions. Also, with new allies (including Enmax and Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier), landowners rights advocate Joe Anglin will be out in full force against Bill 50.

November 6-7: Premier Stelmach will face delegates at the PC leadership review in Red Deer. There is a lot of talk about how unhappy some PC supporters are with Stelmach and I don't doubt it. Former PC insider Hal Walker has publicly dismissed the Premier, Ralph Klein has mused that the Premier should step down if he receives less than 70% support, and Calgary-North Hill PC MLA Kyle Fawcett has publicly said that Stelmach has "done very little" to convince Calgarians that he's capable of leading the province. There is also a rumoured behind-the-scenes campaign to draft Calgary philanthropist and media personality Brett Wilson to save the dynasty that Peter Lougheed built.

The critics are vocal, but when push comes to shove I believe that the delegates to this convention will heed to the party brass and rally to protect the brand by giving Stelmach the support he needs to continue to occupy his current office.

November 6 and 26: The Alberta Liberals will be hosting their annual leader's dinner in Calgary and Edmonton, the first since David Swann became leader of the Official Opposition in December 2008. While some Liberals remain optimistic, that party has been tied down by debt since their disasterous election campaign in 2001. The ticket sales and fundraising numbers from these two dinners will be a key indicator of the financial support that the Liberals are receiving from their traditional larger donors.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's the first I've heard of Alison Redford having leadership ambitions, however I think it's a great idea. She'd be a tremendous fit, and a lot better than that flakey oil tycoon from the Dragon's Den. I'd take out a PC membership to vote for Redford, something I'd never otherwise do.

How different would it be to see the 2012 elections be a contest between Redford as PC leader and Smith as the WRA leader? No one legitimately contesting for power in AB has ever fronted a woman before and now we could have a clash between two strong female leaders.

Anonymous said...

$250 to eat $10 worth of food and see Dr. Swann and the rest of the Liberal posse? Hmmm....Yaaahhhhh...in that sort of Peter Griffin tone.

Mack D. Male said...

Don't forget ChangeCamp on October 17th :)

daveberta said...

Thanks, Mack! How could I have forgotten ChangeCamp!?

daveberta said...

Thanks, Mack! How could I have forgotten ChangeCamp!?

Anonymous said...

Give Allison Redford another 5 years in cabinet. She will be the dawn of the rebirth of the Progressive Conservative Party.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the fantastically comprehensive post, Mr. Cournoyer!

alexabboud said...

CivicCamp Calgary is October 24.

Libarbarian said...

Just a quibble about your ChangeCamp intro at Pecha Kucha: The Charlottetown Conference took place in 1864, not 1867.

Denny said...

I've been told that the reason the province pays for these infomercials on private TV, rather than CBC who would air it for free, is that back when they started doing it, CBC told them that if they wanted to air it on CBC, CBC would have to provide time for an opposition rebuttal. So the province went the paid infomercial route, rather than the free route.
Has anyone else heard this? Is there any truth to that?

Colin said...

Ditto on Redford for Premier.
Now more than ever.

Anonymous said...

Civic Camp link: www.civiccamp.net

daveberta said...

Denny - I'm not sure if that is the case. Does anyone know? If so, it would certainly explain why the other party leaders don't buy airtime on CTV (even local TV is too expensive for the other parties to book). I seem to remember that the PC Party paid for one of Ralph Klein's final infomercials, though it was attempted to pass it off as a GOA address.

Can opposition leaders get airtime on CBC TV on their own? If so, I wonder why they wouldn't take more advantage of this (I know that CBC Radio offers public service airtime).

Libarbarian - thanks for the correction. I'll make sure to get the date right next time!

daveberta said...

On another note, this morning started out with four different people calling with rumours that Health Minister Ron Liepert was resigning due to health reasons, now I read/hear that he's going on tour...

CBC Edmonton Radio Interview

Capital Notebook

Anonymous said...

The blog has been awesome this week, Mr. Cournoyer. Keep up the great work!

Government of Alberta said...

Hi Denny, daveberta: The Government of Alberta got quotes for costs from all networks, including CBC. While CBC may offer political parties free air time (and I don't know that it does or not), it does not offer that to the Government of Alberta. Hope that answers your question.
- David Sands, for the Government of Alberta

Anonymous said...

We've seen the Federal Conservatives pretty blatantly violate advertising guidelines - at least the spirit of them - and with Alberta's less "mature" political culture, look for a message designed as much to prop up the Premier in his own party as to communicate anything meaningful to the public. Dual purpose for sure.

If this event is to be an annual event paid for by the tax payers (along the lines of the US State of the Union), it would be nice if there was a tax-payer funded opportunity for the Official Opposition (at least) to provide a competing perspective. But since when did Conservatives actually embrace "competition"?

Anonymous said...

I can't believe how hyperpatisan Dave Cornoyer is. Get a life and grow up!

Anonymous said...

The only saving grace is it will be the same people writing his tv address that has been advising Stelmach thus far. I am pretty sure the people of Alberta(and PC grassroots)have seen enough of him.Not sure the farmer gets it yet?Too little too late.Bye Bye Farmer

Anonymous said...

Wow "Government of Alberta" personally comments here now. That's like when God comes over the loudspeaker at church! Pretty powerful stuff.

lyrical said...

CBC Radio just gave the WAP one hour of airtime yesterday. It seems to be bending over backwards to promote a small group, that gets media coverage from private broadcasters and newspapers, at the expense of more widely-supported mainstream parties.

(It's a bit rich for Ralph Klein to lob poison darts at Honest Ed from afar. He left a lot of messes for Ed to take the rap for.)

As for the Premier's Oct. 14th speech, that's the day before Blog Action Day on climate change. Are you going to post on that, Dave?

Anonymous said...

The Wildrose Alliance is a joke.

Anonymous said...

OK Anon at 6:13 pm, would you care to share the punchline with us? If it is not 20% popularity then perhaps the punchline is 30%, which is where it will be when Smith gets elected as their leader.

So far the only jokes are Stelmach, Swann, Mason and probably you!

Anonymous said...

This from a party that's only ever elected one person MLA? I think 8:51 is the biggest joke here!

jerrymacgp said...

I think it's interesting that Stelmach doesn't take more heat for how inarticulate he is. Public speaking and the ability to communicate clearly and effectively are absolutely critical skills for a politician. An inability to show competence in these skills should disqualify someone from high public office as surely as a surgeon who can't stand the sight of blood.

Only in Alberta…

Anonymous said...

Why are we paying for such a blatantly political advertisement? This is clearly an attempt to influence voters in favour of the PC party, at the expense of taxpayers...and worse, at a time when we can't afford to pay for education and health care. I'd suggest that everyone flood the Premier's office with phone calls protesting this waste of money.

Anonymous said...

The biggest laugh is the whole Wildrose Alliance party. Extremist ideologues!

Anonymous said...

Did you check out the Capital Notebook blog today? It would seem that Mr. Hinman had himself sworn in on his own 'book of Mormon', from his days of missionary work.

Below is a fascinating cartoon that really does seem to have been produced by the Mormon church. If the link doesn't work, just do a youtube search for 'banned mormon cartoon' Enjoy! I wasn't sure what interested me more....the reason for black skinned people or the endless celestial nookie.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFZ1jVO3-OE

Colin F. Specter said...

Ed Stelmach will putz along until Ted Morton and his supporters have enough of the mushy middleground and they will strike and sell 100000 new members. Danielle Smith will join the PC Party and be Deputy Premier and Finance minister to Premier Morton.

Progressive Conservatives will unite behind Jim Prentice. It is our only hope.