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Sunday, November 08, 2009

ed stelmach gets 77.4%.

Ah, the morning after. As Progressive Conservative convention delegates in Red Deer begin to experience the after-effects of last night's hospitality suites, a lot of people are probably wondering what the results of Premier Ed Stelmach's leadership review means for Alberta politics? Well, other than being lower than I had anticipated, Premier Stelmach had the support of the majority of delegates at this weekend's convention.

Boasting over 1,000 delegates, the PC Party unquestionably remains the largest partisan force in Alberta, but it also remains to be seen just how disgruntled the 22.6% of delegates who did not support Premier Stelmach are and if they will remain in the PC Party. Recent polls have shown the near 40-year governing PCs significantly dropping in public support with the Wildrose Alliance as its greatest beneficiary.

On Friday night, when answering a question from a convention delegate, Premier Stelmach told delegates that his biggest challenge isn't the economy, health care, crime, or the oilsands, but the media

"I really do feel that the policies we have are the right ones for Alberta, but it's difficult to get it through the present media that's available to us."
This follows the trend that began after the third place finish by PC candidate Diane Colley-Urquhart in the recent Calgary-Glenmore by-election - the belief by Premier Stelmach's administration that they have the right message and if Albertans aren't buying it, then they just need to say it louder. It seems to me that this was a challenge that was supposed to be addressed when Premier Stelmach hired four former reporters (Paul Stanway, Tom Olsen, Mike Jenkinsen, and David Heyman) to run his communications offices in Edmonton and Calgary as he stepped into office in December 2006.

Liberals: Leader David Swann hosted his first major fundraising dinner in Calgary on Friday night. The event drew over 530 attendees, the largest number at a Calgary Liberal fundraiser in recent memory. While the ticket prices were lower than in previous years (down to $250.00 from $350.00), the Liberals have fallen into third place in recent polls and it is critical for them to rally their troops to prove that they are a relevant force in Alberta politics.

Wildrose Alliance: Supporter Ezra Levant spent a decent amount of time criticizing the PC convention yesterday via Twitter (hastag #pcagm). Levant is a supporter of Danielle Smith, is a Reform Party alumni, and has lately been a strong critic of Stelmach's PCs. Smith commented on the results in a media statement last night:
The outcome of tonight's vote was exactly what we expected, but it goes against what I am hearing across the province. Albertans are upset with this government... Tonight's decision by the Alberta PC's doesn't change a single thing that the Wildrose Party will do in the coming months. We will work hard to show Albertans that we are the alternative to the PC's and that we will give Albertans the kind of government they expect and deserve."


Kevin Wright said...

Though I don't think Ed has the right policies, I do agree about the media, esspecialy canwest with all of smiths connections there. She's the new media darling, and next corperate tool of a premier because Stelmach couldn't keep the buisness community happy.

SD said...

Dave, I'm wondering what your thoughts are on what it means that the support level was substantially lower than you anticipated? How do you think the Premier will react to 77% in the coming weeks? Cabinet shuffle? Staff shakeup?

Feynman and Coulter's Love Child said...

As my ex-girlfriend (a news reporter and devout communist) used to say, Ralph Klein's media management team was incredible. She always surmised that after stepping down as Premier he would go on a lucrative consulting business teaching governments how to manipulate the media.

Ed does not have this skill, so in the end the media people are sort of "left to their own devices" with a few right-wing media outlets going pro-Wildrose and the remainder of the left-lib media suddenly rediscovering Mason/Swann.

Anonymous said...

Excellent comment Feynan... Ed needs to call Steve for some tips on media management. He needs to deliver the message to the messangers rather that let the messangers run the show.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe how arrogant Danielle Smith is. She will never be getting my vote at this rate.

Anonymous said...


530 people at the Swann dinner is well up from the approximately 300 to 350 at the last Calgary Leader's Dinner, in February 2008 (during the election!).

Also, while the ticket prices this year may seem lower at face value, I'm told in 2008 one hundred of those three hundred tickets were reduced in price to $100 per person in the last week - just to fill the venue and not embarrass the Alberta Liberals.

This year, all of the tickets sold were at full price. 530x$250 = $130k.

Not bad!

Anonymous said...

Anon At 1:31
That is actually good news. The more options available to the voter the better. Politics in Alberta are going to change but not in the way some suppose.

Holly Stick said...

I wonder if Levant is a welcome addition to her supporters. Last I heard he was suing some longtime Reform supporters who are not feeling too friendly towards him.

Berry Farmer said...

Heard from one friend who is a city councilor in a large Alberta center that he and many of his friends voted for Ed because to do anything else would have been to destroy the party. He can't wait for the chance to ditch him in a more media friendly way.

Way cool comment and one that might apply to more than one Ed 'supporter.'

Anonymous said...

Ezra Levant as the big man behind Danielle Smith? This is anything but the "A" team.

Anonymous said...

I don't know much about the WRA. Where do they stand on social issues? Abortion, religion, gay rights, disabilities, evolution,etc. Where on the political spectrum? I have taken a look at their website and I thought it was weak on policy, economic and social.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous, we all see you posting your same mindless attacks on the WRA on all the various blogs. Your attacks are completely lacking in substance.

Are you what Ed Stupid meant when he said that the PC's would begin to use social media in a attempt to get the Alberta voter to understand the PC message (whatever that is). If so, you are a typical example of an Alberta PC: lacking in substance and depth, utterly unimaginative and at best a source of pathetic humour.

Anonymous said...

Actually that sounds more like the WAP to me: lacking in substance and depth (not to mention policy), utterly unimaginative and at best a source of pathetic humour (and extreme ideologues).

Anonymous said...

Ed blaming the media. That's rich. It would be hard to find another government on the continent that's had an easier ride from the media than the Alberta PCs. Although maybe the premier made a strategic blunder (yes, another one) by hiring too many of the lapdogs to write his press releases, leaving too few to write the resulting "news" articles. In the past it's often been hard to tell the difference.

Anybody who thinks the mainstream Alberta media has been predominantly liberal-left has been reading too many Sarah Palin tweets.

Let's face it: Benoit has not had a good run at the PAB...and she can run circles around the likes of Stanway and Olsen. Not that making Stelmach look and sound good is an easy task. And no amount of artful spin can undo all the damage of bad political and policy decisions. For that, Ed is primarily responsible.

The support level at the convention is pretty mediocre. But it's high enough to send a clear signal that the real change required (no Ed, not just a different media tack) isn't going to come from within the PC Party or the current government.

Anonymous said...

I make it a point to never discuss Ezra Levant, but since you brought it up:

"You're Blackett's guy! How embarrassing! Ed sent him 2 the back of the bus over B44! RT @TPHogan: How is the view from the cheap seats Ezra?8:22 PM Nov 6th from UberTwitter

Yes, sending a black man to the back of the bus. The racial comments are sort of reflexive with him, aren't they? Is this the new WAP's first "Yahoo eruption"?

Anonymous said...

Look at the "B" team they have running the Wildrose Alliance. What a bunch of hullabaloo over nothing for that fringe party.

Calgary Patriot said...

Brett Wilson and First Energy Capital like Danielle Smith>>>

Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith is the featured guest at a sold-out fundraising breakfast today sponsored by FirstEnergy Capital, an energy industry investment bank, with a few hundred of Calgary's oil and gas players expected to attend. She's also scheduled to speak Tuesday at a heavy oil conference in the city and make a "major" energy-related policy announcement.

Earl J. Woods said...

Hey Dave,

Just FYI, Smith wasn't the only one to respond on Saturday night - David Swann offered a response too:

All the best,


Anonymous said...

Mr. Woods,
Are you trying to discredit or promote Swann by pointing out this release? Who writes this?