this blog has moved to a new address:

Please update your RSS, bookmarks, and links to

Thursday, February 21, 2008

alberta election 2008: the leaders' debate.

Tonight is the only Leaders' Debate of the 2008 Alberta Provincial Election. The debate will be televised on CBC, CTV, and Global from 6:30-8pm. Here's my rundown of what to watch for from the party leaders:

Ed Stelmach, Progressive Conservatives: It is no secret that Ed Stelmach is not a strong public speaker. Many political watchers have been predicting that his debate performance will mirror the first week of the Tory campaign, I am going to disagree. Though I don't think Stelmach is a decent debater by any stretch of the imagination, I do think that because the expectations are so low for him that an even moderately okay performance by Stelmach will be seen as a win for him (regardless of how painful the experience is for both Stelmach and viewers).

This will be the only debate that Stelmach will participate in during this election. According to his campaign manager, George Sebest, “the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta, Premier Stelmach, will debate only other party leaders in provincial forums,” meaning that Stelmach will be a no-show at the all-candidate forums in his constituency of Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville.

Kevin Taft, Alberta Liberals: In the 2004 televised debate, Kevin Taft performed well against Ralph Klein and Brian Mason, but Ed Stelmach introduces is an untested dynamic in a televised debate. This debate is Kevin Taft's chance to shine and convince Albertans that he is indeed a Premier-in-waiting. If he can do this without falling into the trap of sounding too stiff and academic and he is able to connect with viewers in a confident Premier-like fashion, he just might be able to convince Albertans that, after 37-years of Tory rule, it's time.

Paul Hinman, Wildrose Alliance: After being excluded from the Leaders' Debate under his previous leader in in the 2004, Paul Hinman has won points by just being included in the debates. If Hinman is able to get a word in edge wise and communicate a competent message, this will be a personal win for him.

Brian Mason, New Democrats: Mason issued a challenge to the other party leaders to stick to the issues during the debate. I agree this is a great idea, but I'll be looking to see if Mason actually sticks to his challenge. Expect Mason to go after Kevin Taft as much or even more than he takes aim at Ed Stelmach. If his party is going to gain seats in this election it will be at the expense of the Taft Liberals in Edmonton, not of the Stelmach Tories.

George Read, Alberta Greens: Unfortunately, George Read was not invited to participate in the debates (I would have supported Read's inclusion in the debates). Instead, Read will be contributing to the debates through a YouTube video cast following the election. Make sure to check it out.

I will be live blogging the debates here on and blogging my reaction on CBC YouCast (you can also watch the debate on the internet thanks to CBC).


Anonymous said...

This debate is a joke, I'm embarassed by all these people

Anonymous said...

I'd love to put questions directly to the Premier about the performance of Guy Boutilier. This fella is a nasty piece of work!

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be better to hit these guys with the hard questions? For example, how can they really support a government that keeps largely manual records for the budget planning, forecasting and accounting procedures? What a waste of time and money that is!

Anonymous said...

What about the environment? How will the government support change in our environment? Alberta has no land use plan. We do not have the bodies to enforce environmental regulations. We do very little to help Albertans adopt positive environmental practices. WE NEED CHANGE!

Anonymous said...

Clearly the only leader that expressed that the goverment should be in place to serve the people rather than vise sersa is
Paul Hinman.

Anonymous said...

We need only to look at the economy of Saskatchewan under NDP leadership to see what it could very possible happen here. Alberta needs competitive and innovative government to correctly reflect the spirit of the people. The only leader and party that I see taking us in that direction is Paul Hinman and the Wildrose Alliance!

Anonymous said...

We must not forget, no matter how well the debate may go for the conservatives, that they put many infirm people on the street when they cut budgets. They took self respect away from the elderly and from people who could not work due to physical or mantal illness.
They let industry do irrepairable damage to our water and land.
They cut budgets on road maintenance that we now have to pay for and they put industry before the welfare of the people.
They let tuitions go up and then let industry import inexpensive labur from other countries.
Do not develop election amnesia, remember the past actions, how can we expect any different from Stelmach and his people.