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Monday, June 25, 2007

take two.

In reaction to the Alberta Liberal victory in the June 12 Calgary Elbow by-election, Ed Stelmach has added three Associate Ministers to his cabinet. Here are my thoughts on the move:

- A cabinet shuffle this early is a very odd move for a Premier that has yet to receive a mandate from the electorate.

- Appointing Gene Zwozdesky (Edmonton Mill Creek) puts two of three Edmonton Tory MLAs at the cabinet table (does Zwozdesky get a ‘half-seat?’). Zwozdesky’s responsibilities surround “capital planning,” something that suffered greatly over the past decade under the Tories. This may also give Zwozdesky a boost if he decides to run for re-election next Spring (Zwozdesky was re-elected by 781 votes in 2004).

In a related position, Yvonne Fritz (Calgary Cross) becomes Associate Minister of Affordable Housing and Urban Development. I’m not convinced that these two new Associate Minister appointments will actually solve the problems facing Albertans (ie: municipal funding, infrastructure, affordable housing) as what is needed is action and policy change – not the creation of new political jobs with hefty pay increases.

- In an odd move, Cindy Ady (Calgary Shaw) becomes Associate Minister of Tourism Promotion (with responsibility for Alberta’s participation in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver). I’m not quite sure why Alberta needs an Associate Minister of Olympics, but Hector Goudreau needs all the help he can get. I wonder how Mark Norris is feeling this week...

- All three newly appointed Associate Ministers supported Jim Dinning in the PC Leadership selection.

- Both Fritz and Zwozdesky were Ministers in Ralph Klein’s cabinets. All three supported Jim Dinning in the 2006 PC Leadership selection.

- These appointments raise serious concerns about the effectiveness of the Cabinet Policy Committees created after Stelmach became Premier.

- Appointing Justice Minister Ron Stevens as Deputy Premier is substantial only in a superficial manner. Considering that no one noticed when no Deputy Premier was appointed in December, it’s hard to say that this is anything more than bestowing another title. That said, Stelmach would be smart to move closer to veteran Ministers like Stevens and Dave Hancock - as surrounding himself with rookie rural Ministers Ray Danyluk, Lloyd Snelgrove, and Luke Ouellette hasn’t done him much good.

This all occurred the day before the release of a new Ipsos poll released on Saturday that shows party support sitting near 2004 levels (the more things change…).


Anonymous said...

Again. Ed Stelmach is not a Leader.

Anonymous said...

Good take on the situation, Dave. This reminds me of Getty 1991/92. The only difference is that Taft is no Laurence Decore and never will be. If Decore was alive today and was Liberal leader, the Stelmach government would be in huge trouble. The PCs are in enough trouble as it is.

Anonymous said...

"Taft is no Laurence Decore and never will be."

You're right. The difference is that Decore never won.

Premier Kevin Taft is sounding better every day.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it funny how the junior cabinet posts are supposed to deal with all the issues the "senior" 18 cabinet ministers can't get done? This government is looking and being more ridiculous day by day! We just might have an associate minister for the folk fest or the fringe festival next, instead of dealing with the environnment, and oh yeah, health care for all the aging boomers.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:09 pm

"Taft is no Laurence Decore and never will be"

You're a youngster, who needs to brush up on his Alberta political history.

In 1992, Decore was running over 50% in the polls, had over $1 million in the bank, had extensive policies, and had candidates nominated and door knocking in virutally every consistuency in the province.

In 2007, Taft is running at 29% in the polls, has a $600,000 debt, has policies that have not fully been exposed by good opp research, and has less than half of their candidates nominated and doorknocking.

Arguably, Stelmach's first six months in office have been more of a disaster than any six months under Getty, yet Taft is still 17 points behind Stelmach.

The PCs have over $3 million in the bank and growing. That'a a lot of money for an election, and to run an effective election campaign, it costs money.

Do you really think that Taft is going to continue to get a free ride with the media as we move closer to an election?

Maybe you should have a chat with Alex MacDonald.

Anonymous said...

And yet Decore didn't win. Taft is not Laurence Decore, he's Kevin Taft. And Ed Stelmach isn't Don Getty, he's Harry Strom.

Ed Stelmach is not a Leader.

Anonymous said...

Michael, Michael, Michael:

Actually, using your analogy would make Taft a Peter Lougheed since Stelmach is Harry Strom.

Don't make me laugh. I am old enough to remember Peter Lougheed, I have met Peter Lougheed and I still call him Mr. Premier. I would think your leader Kevin Taft evens calls Peter Lougheed Mr. Premier when he sees him.

Oh by the way, Taft worked for Premier Getty under Seniors Minister Roy Brassard.

I set out some compelling facts for you to mull over and the best you can come up with is that Taft is Taft and Ed Stelmach is Harry Strom.

Is that what passes for informed political discourse in your estimation?

BTW. If you want to get into an in-depth discussion of the period preceding the 1993 election and the 1993 election itself, I would be more than willing to do so. I was right in the middle of it and probably know more about that period of time than any of your Liberal friends.

daveberta said...

It's not 1993, it's 2007. Kevin Taft isn't Laurence Decore and Ed Stelmach isn't Ralph Klein.

It's doesn't make much sense to me to compare the next election to an election that happened 13 years ago under completely different circumstances and personalities.

Anonymous said...


You're right...How can you compare a Liberal party under Taft riding at 29 percent in the polls in 2007 versus a Liberal Party under Decore riding at over 50% in 1992. Different circumstances and different personalities.