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Saturday, September 06, 2008

rich tories, poor liberals, ndp.

Elections Alberta financial statements from the March 3, 2008 election campaign now show that Ed Stelmach's Progressive Conseravtives spent a record $3 million to sustain their 37-year old majority in the Alberta Legislature (with $1.7 million sitting in their coffers).

The four opposition parties raised and spent much less than the Tories. During the campaign period the Alberta Liberals netted $440,000 in contributions and spent $650,000, the New Democrats netted $465,000 in contributions and spent $816,000, the Wild Rose Alliance netted $513,000 in contributions and spent $464,000, and the Alberta Greens netted $27,000 in contributions and spent $50,000. The 2008 campaign left both the Liberals and NDP in some pretty deep financial debt.

Though I knew it was coming, I was sad to read that my former boss, Kieran Leblanc, will be let go by the Alberta Liberals due to lack of funds. A former public education advocate, Leblanc jumped into politics before the 2001 provincial election when she sought the Edmonton-Mill Creek Liberal nomination against Bharat Agnihotri. She later joined the Liberal central campaign and became Executive Director in 2001 and saw the Liberal Party through the 2004 and 2008 election campaigns. Leblanc, who Calgary Herald columnist Don Braid described as an "excellent executive director" was a great boss and has been a great friend to me over the years. She is a passionate fighter and the Liberals will feel her loss.

The loss of Leblanc will leave the Alberta Liberals with a skeleton staff of two in the party office. With an election loss fresh in their minds and a leadership race underway, candidates Mo Eslalhy, David Swann, and Dave Taylor are going to have to figure out how to raise a lot of money to fix this sinking ship if they are serious about challenging the current Tory dynasty in the next election.


George said...

I was sorry to hear about Kieran too. She is extremely capable -- in fact, I found her to be more knowledgeable about things than Taft. I remember one face-to-face with Taft over coffee in his Calgary office, and Kieran was present as well, and she and I knew more about ridings and issues than her boss (at this point, I formed my opinion of Taft that he is not right for the job).

I hope she'll land on her feet soon.

Anonymous said...

The 2008 campaign left both the Liberals and NDP in some pretty deep financial debt.

I don't quite follow this analysis, which also appeared in some media.

The Alberta NDP, after running a much more expensive campaign than last time, has about the same debt it did after 2004.

But it's annual revenue is up by over $100,000. They are not laying off any of their five staff, and are in fact talking about hiring a third field organizer to work out of their Calgary office.

Obviously they are poor compared to the Tories, but in spite of the fact they lost two seats, their financial position has never been as good.

Anonymous said...

I like Kevin. I think he would have made a great Premier.

However, I worked on the ALP campaign earlier this year, and from my limited brush with fundraising during those hectic five weeks, it was pretty clear that Kevin did not enjoy asking for money. He did not enjoy or want to have fundraising solicitations sent out to supporters in his name.

Look, no one enjoys asking other people for money, but it's a pretty crucial part of Politics 101. Just look at American politics -- before Labor Day, any serious politician spends about 4-5 hours a day on calling prospective donors and straight-up ASKING them to donate. How much calltime did Kevin Taft make in 2007? I'm guessing it wasn't much, but I suppose I really couldn't say for certain.

One thing is clear: he obviously wasn't doing enough to 'beg, borrow, and steal' his way into providing the ALP with a respectable war chest for the 2008 campaign. And you can't expect to have people take your illusions of 43 seats seriously on a $600,000 campaign budget.

Patrick Ross said...

Money alone will never make the Alberta Liberals competitive against the Tories, sad to say.

This party needs a solid reworking from top to bottom: from policy right up to its very identity.

It also needs to have a realistic gameplan: it's far beyond unlikely that this party will waltz into the next provincial election and form the government. What it can hope for, however, is to form a stronger opposition, and build itself up to the point where it can contend to be the government.

It won't change overnight. It won't even change in a single election.

The Liberals blew a huge opportunity to set the table for a challenge to the sitting government in the last election. They're going to have to stop following steps forward with two steps backward.