Breaking down the by-election.

Jason Kenney’s win in the Calgary Lougheed by-election hardly came as a shock to anybody. The seat was a safe conservative one and Kenney’s campaign abilities are renowned.

Still, some were hoping to see some cracks and weaknesses in the Kenney steamroller which has powered through four of the five steps Jason listed in his plan to take back Alberta. Those with such hopes were bitterly disappointed last night as the results flew in (credit to Elections Alberta by the way for the speedy results with the new system).

Some of what gave the anti-Kenney folks in Alberta some hope was based on the disastrous fall legislative session. While traditionally in Alberta it is the government that is eager to end a session and go into the holidays in order to lick their wounds, this time it was the UCP scrambling for the exit. The UCP lurched from one legislative trap to another during the session and the official opposition seemed to spend more time on the defensive in question period than the government did. Icing on the cake was a pair of issues that emerged just last week with Jason Nixon and Derek Fildebrandt getting into the soup. Despite all that, hopes of cracks emerging in the Kenney armor were dashed last night as he posted a near record victory in Lougheed with 71.5% support.

With the next general election scheduled for the spring of 2019 (I think Notley will push it to 2020), any number of political happenings and changes could happen between now and then. It would be dangerous to assume that the mood among the electorate will remain as it was last night when they resoundingly rejected Phillip van der Merwe of the NDP. That said, we can still read a lot into the snapshot that the election last night provided.

THE WINNERS:

 United Conservative Party

The only party that can declare last night as a win is the United Conservative Party.

This was the first electoral test for the newly merged UCP. Some had speculated (hoped) that the merger between the Progressive Conservatives and the Wildrose Party would not translate into an automatic combined vote. Not only did the new UCP retain the combined vote from the two parties, they increased it by nearly 9%! This is huge in what it signifies and anybody trying to dismiss this is either delusional or simply spreading BS. Kenney not only kept the traditional conservative support, he increased it.

This was a hard fought campaign and nearly 72% of the constituency voted for the UCP. The campaign of fear and smear led by the Notley NDP not only failed dismally but has been defused. The NDP are many things but stupid is typically not one of them. If they continue to try to label all supporters of the UCP as being extreme and bigoted as they have been, they will be gravely insulting upwards of 3/4 of voters in suburban Calgary constituencies and likely even a higher number of people in rural constituencies.

The NDP will have to try and up their fiscal management record rather than throwing shit like aggrieved monkeys if they are to have any hope of staying in government in the next election. That means they have to play on Kenney’s turf and it is doubtful that they are capable of it.

THE LOSERS:

THE NDP

Governing parties traditionally have a tough time in by-elections. That said, despite throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Jason Kenney in the by-election the NDP support utterly collapsed.

The Notley NDP chose to run a strong candidate with Phillip van der Merwe who is a respected local doctor. This was a strategic choice as well since van der Merwe is openly gay. The NDP hoped to keep the campaign focused on social issues and perhaps draw out some extreme reactions against their candidate in hopes of playing victims.

It simply didn’t work.

Despite weeks of hard campaigning and constant hyperbole about Kenney and his supporters, the NDP support dropped by nearly half to finish with a sad 16.79%.

While nobody rational expected the NDP to win this race, this was still a huge blow to the party.

While this doesn’t guarantee a loss for the NDP in the next general election, when combined with two other by-election losses it makes it pretty clear that Albertans do indeed see the NDP as an accidental government in need of replacement.

The Green Party

The Greens are considered something of a moderate middle or acceptable left of center alternative in BC and many other jurisdictions. In Alberta, they don’t even register on the political radar.

Green Party leader Romy Tittel gathered a scant 60 votes in total for 0.55% support. This is nothing less than crushing for anybody who had any hope that the Greens were going to fill any kind of electoral void.

The Alberta Liberal Party

David Khan worked hard to gather what he could from the soft left. He was hoping that disenfranchised red tories from the PC party and perhaps some less than hard left supporters from the NDP would come his way. With the increase to the UCP vote, it looks unlikely that he pulled any traditional PC supporters. Khan may have drawn some from the NDP though and he did increase the Liberal vote share by 4.5% from the last election. Momentum is important and he gained some ground in trying to position his party as an alternative.

All the same, I suspect that the Liberals hoped to at least beat the NDP and score higher than 9.3%

The Alberta Party

The Alberta Party had a chance to represent themselves in the by-election but instead sat it out as they remained embroiled with internal turmoil. A loss with a good effort would still have looked better than their complete absence. The party’s lame excuse for not entering was that they needed to focus on the leadership race that they triggered when they pressured Greg Clark from the role. When it is considered that they haven’t drawn any contenders for that race to date, their excuse looks a tad hollow.

The Redford era Progressive Conservative strategists who flooded into the Alberta Party after the creation of the UCP have proven themselves to be the unprincipled, party destroyers that we all thought they were.

It will be at least another election cycle or two before the Alberta Party registers on the electoral horizon if ever.

Randy Thorsteinson’s Reform Party

Randy Thorsteinson was the leader of the Social Credit Party in Alberta in the 1990s. Randy later founded the Alberta Alliance Party which changed to the Wildrose Alliance and has evolved/merged into the UCP of today.

Thorsteinson is smart, works hard and is a very successful businessman. He puts his money where his mouth is as he backstops these political ventures with his own cash. This led to some very big problems with the Wildrose Party in the past that I will have to write about one of these days

The problem with Thorsteinson is that he is incapable of acting as a team player. He has to run the show and will invariably take his ball (money) and go home if he has anything less than total control of a party.

Randy’s latest creation is the Alberta Reform Party through which he ran his daughter Lauren Thorsteinson in the Calgary Lougheed by-election. Despite a well funded campaign with plenty of expensive signs and literature, Lauren finished with a lackluster 137 votes for a 1.26% showing.

The run did bring back memories of the 2007 Calgary by-election where Jane Greydanus (now Jane Morgan & yes she is my wife), ran under the Alberta Alliance banner. Randy Thorsteinson was the party president at that time and he pumped a lot of resources into the campaign. Jane finished with 456 votes for 4% which hardly threatened the powers that be but it was an important step (among so many) in our building of that movement that led to the UCP of today.

Randy has his personal, unabashedly social conservative party to play with and it will never become anything more than that.

The independents

Marilyn Burns has always specialized in representing the sour grapes in the conservative movement. She has jumped in and out of multiple provincial political parties only to organize bitter campaigns against them from the outside looking in. A common syndrome in alternative parties.

Since the UCP merger, Burns and a few other chronic malcontents have been trying to form the “Alberta Advantage Party”. By most accounts they won’t manage to get registered as a party and will likely fade away soon.

The “Alberta Advantage” bunch did combine their brainpower and resources to field a candidate as an independent. His name was Wayne Leslie and he gathered a whopping 42 votes for .39% of the vote. Truly insignificant.

Last and definitely least was Crazy Larry Heather who has run in countless elections on his platform of intolerant religious fervor and general insanity.

While clearly being touched by the gods, Larry doesn’t appear to have their support. Heather garnered a whopping 22 votes for 0.2% of the vote. That number was likely people who made errors with the voting machine.

This by-election was an excellent way to cap off a year for the UCP. After a chain of victories followed by a weak legislative session, the party is off to a bright and strong start for 2018.

Jason Kenney has been in campaign mode for over 18 months with one race after another. Kenney can now finally focus on leading and managing the UCP so that it truly can be turned into the government in waiting that Albertans want. With Kenney’s formidable work ethic and organizational skills focused on the party rather than outside campaigns, I expect that we will see a much stronger and better prepared UCP going into the next legislative session.

Another factor that made things difficult for the UCP in the fall session was a lack of legislative budget due to the last leader of the opposition having pissed it away in hopes of retaining his position. The clock is reset and this fiscal handicap will not be in play for the unified UCP in 2018. With a full research and support team in the legislature I expect we will see a stronger presence as bills are properly vetted and amendments created. Committee work should improve too.

2018 is looking like a good year for the UCP and Alberta.

 

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The Alberta Party. They’re just not ready.

It is hardly news to any that Jacob the Hurricane Huffman is miles ahead of the pack in the race to lead the Alberta Party. Jacob exploded on to the scene and has finally generated that buzz and excitement that Alberta Party claims to have wanted to generate.

New memberships have been sold and people are committing to signing Huffman’s nomination papers to ensure he is all set to go.

Fundraising has been brisk as people scramble to support this young visionary on his quest to make the Alberta Party great again. 

Alas, despite all of this hard work and preparation by Huffman it appears that the powers that be still are not actually ready to hold a leadership race as can be seen in the email below.

How is it that a party that won’t even run a candidate in a by-election can’t seem to find the time in putting together an application form with nearly a month to work on it?

With a veteran Redford organizer such as Susan Elliott at the helm, it is astounding that they can’t somehow accomplish even this simple little task.

What is keeping the Alberta Party so busy? No campaign in the by-election and no rush of candidates aside from Hurricane Huffman’s fantastic run. Can they not cobble together a basic application form? Apparently not.

Just tossing a guess out there that perhaps Team Redford should have thought a little harder before pressuring Greg Clark out of the leadership.

Thankfully, Jacob Huffman is undeterred and is marching right along with his campaign.

Get behind Jacob today! With him at the helm of the Alberta Party, there is no limit on what can be done! 

 

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Meet Alberta’s next Premier!

There is just no doubt about it. Jacob Huffman has taken the Alberta Party leadership race by storm and so far looks utterly unstoppable.

Huffman, also known as “The Hurricane” or “The Lemmy Kilmister” of Alberta politics has taken a commanding lead over all other candidates with the bold release of his platform today.

Huffman pays homage to the mushy middle nature of the Alberta Party with his brilliant insertion of the term “possible” right in the title of his platform release.

While playing to the roots of the party about nothing, Huffman also brilliantly dedicates his unabashed support for bringing about the return to power for past supporters of Alison Redford thus leaving his competitors who have beaten around this bush in the political dust.

Along with some fantastic plans for economic stimulus while still recognizing that math is indeed hard, Huffman has fleshed out a fantastic, possible plan for the Alberta Party.

The addition of a puppy picture has ensured that this will indeed be one of the strongest and most popular political platforms that Albertans have ever seen.

All polls conducted since Huffman’s meteoric arrival in the hotly contested race for the leadership of the Alberta Party have clearly indicated that his lead is so strong that his competitors can’t even been seen (or heard or named for that matter).

With scant months remaining in this race, Huffman has set the bar high for all aspiring for that coveted throne enjoyed by the Leader of the Alberta Party (though that throne was recently something of an ejection seat).

Huffman has told me: “I plan on running a fair, and solid campaign, that I’m in it to win it, and will hold people accountable to democratic principals.”

I am quite excited to have purchased a membership in the Alberta Party in anticipation of voting for this visionary young man.

Memberships can be purchased here. 

We are seeing history in the making today.

A top politician indeed.

 

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Sometimes, smaller is better.

I live in the community of Priddis Alberta. It is a small bedroom community about 10 km West of the Calgary city limits just south of the Tsuu T’ina native reserve.

We are a region more than a town. Over about 20 square kilometers there are about 2000 people in various small subdivisions, acreages and farms. There is a hamlet in the middle of it all where we have a community center, a small mall with a gas station, and a number of small businesses such as the pub and business center.

Pictured below is the Priddis curling team playing a game on Fish Creek in 1895. The rink was soon built nearby along with the community center. Winter activity has long been important here.

Aside from the community center, the true hub of the community is the modest but popular outdoor skating rink. It has been there in one form or another for well over one hundred years now.

Multiple generations have learned to skate here as it is very popular with families during the day and hockey players at night. It is a gathering place where community members can meet and establish a relationship as a true community rather than simply being a loose collection of residences.

At night after closing the pub, I often walk past the rink on the way home and see a number of young folks from the Tsuu T’ina reserve out playing informal shinny with other locals. Our communities unfortunately rarely interact directly but the rink does provide a place (aside from my pub) where people from both communities can interact and have a good time.

As a growing community we have many young families here. Our local “Priddis Panthers” hockey needed to be divided into nine teams.

The rink is funded by donors and maintained by volunteers. Whenever weather permits, volunteers are out in the wee hours flooding the ice and in summer they are repairing and painting the boards. It is a fun community activity just keeping the rink up to shape.

All that said, resources are always tight and the weather is our biggest enemy. Below I have taken a picture of the rink just today. Two weeks of warm weather have melted the ice down to the pavement and until we get some cold nights to re-flood, we will go without a functional rink.

A small Zamboni would add many many precious weeks of rink time to our community as a much thicker layer of ice can be built and maintained in much less time. Refrigeration systems can aid as well. A small used Zamboni can be found for anywhere from $20,000-$40,000. I don’t know what refrigeration costs but I suspect it is dear. We are always fundraising and may get these things eventually.

OK. I know you are thinking: “So what? Canada has hundreds of communities in the same boat.”

Well, that is my point. Outdoor rinks are a true Canadian tradition from coast to coast and there are hundreds of them. Most if all of them are always in need of more funding to keep as functional as possible. They provide healthy activity that bonds communities. What better place could there be for funding from our Canada 150 celebrations?

The Trudeau Liberals decided to spend $5.6 million dollars for a temporary rink on Parliament Hill that will last perhaps 8 weeks at tops. The public will have to book in advance to use the rink and will be barraged with a pile of rules for time and allowed activity. It should be noted that the Rideau Canal is right there and has provided public skating for over a century as well.

The reason to ignore Canadian communities while spending millions on this temporary rink is obvious. It is pure political vanity.

Justin Trudeau can never get enough opportunities to take selfies, show off his socks and do publicity stunts (as opposed to trying to run our nation).

We can rest assured that Pierre Jr. will do a grand ribbon cutting with his hair styled perfectly along with an entourage of photographers to ensure that every angle is covered. They can’t have the grimy backdrop of some small town! They must have the Parliament buildings in the background as they worship Canada’s child-king.

Ohh the “impulsive” follies will be beautiful to behold as Canada’s tax funded personal paparazzi catch Justin helping children learn to skate just after kissing their mom’s cheeks with just the right angle from the sun. Justin will surely take a gleeful tumble or two on the ice which will just happen to be perfectly photographed just as his little faux-kayak turnover was.

The cameras will make love to Justin and he will surely climax for them in return. Let’s hope it is discrete but who knows what lengths Trudeau will go to to try and distract from Morneau’s mess?

A rink that will only last a few weeks is well worth $5.6 million for such a public relations bliss as our Prime Minister is determined to be our most vain leader in history (following daddy’s footsteps closely).

If the Liberals really wanted to leave a Canada 150 legacy that was appreciated, they could have given grants of $50,000 to 112 small town rinks in Canada. They could have randomly drawn from applicants. Hell, I am sure that the rinks would all be happy to put up a plaque with a picture of and thanking Trudeau for the grant. A small price to pay and we know damn well that volunteers would make that $50,000 stretch infinitely farther than the fools in Ottawa did. The benefits would be felt for generations.

Alas, Trudeau will always think bigger is better.

If that was not the case, then why not stop giving Bombardier billions and instead give out thousands of $100,000 business startup grants? Hell, if only 10% of the startups survived we would still see more benefit and employment than we get in pissing it into Bombardier only to have them come back begging for more every year.

Yes, smaller is better indeed. Unless you are of old stock money and vanity such as those members of Canadian aristocracy such as Morneau and Trudeau. In that case, the spending can never be big enough.

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What if you held a race and nobody showed up?

The bizarre saga of the hapless Alberta Party continues.

It has been eighteen days since Greg Clark was pushed out as leader of the Alberta Party due to a sudden influx of ambitious but unprincipled Progressive Conservative party members from the Redford era. Having gotten their hands on a fresh new party to play with, one would have thought that the tall foreheads behind this putsch would have had the foresight to ensure that their prospective leadership candidates for the upcoming race were solid. Alas, it appears that common sense was lost in their zeal.

Now the odd little party is finishing a legislative session leaderless, can’t even find the means to run a candidate in the Calgary Lougheed by-election and is losing what little credibility it had remaining as the days in what is going to be a very short leadership race tick by with not even a sign of a candidate vying for the position.

Surely the Redford Refugees had a person or persons in mind for the role when they kicked Greg Clark to the curb so ignominiously not so long ago. Party insiders have described the internal workings of the Alberta Party since the takeover as “a train wreck”.

I am guessing that the prospective candidates took a look at the moribund little party with no money in the bank that & now wracked with internal discord due to the weaselry involved in punting Greg Clark and they wisely headed the hell to the hills.

In any real leadership contest, prospective candidates begin voicing their public interest as soon as a vacancy presents itself. One can’t start too early in order to raise funds, build a team and sell memberships in order to win the race. Even tire kickers will at least air some interest into the public to gauge potential support for a run.

The silence regarding the leadership vacancy with the Alberta Party is truly deafening. They haven’t even drawn fringe crackpots to the race yet. This is truly a singular situation in politics.

The Christmas season is looming. That is a campaign dead zone from about December 15 until into the new year. That leaves about seven viable campaign weeks remaining if a candidate should throw their hat into the ring today.

I expect that they will scrape together a candidate or two by the time a deadline is reached. Hardly a position of strength when they have to work so hard to find one or two people who even want the job.

While the Alberta Party is clearly no threat on the electoral scene, this unique situation still makes it an interesting and unfolding story to behold. The machinations of the remnants of the once mighty Redford machine while as unprincipled as ever clearly don’t maintain the strategic wisdom of the past nor any real fiscal backing. The Alberta Party had just doubled its caucus and was actually gaining a bit of momentum. They then let their legs get cut out from under them by some homeless Progressive Conservatives who clearly knew so much better than the stalwarts running the party.

Perhaps the old Alberta Party guard will rally under Greg Clark and he can win back the role that he was pushed from. That looks like the best hope for the party right now. Then maybe they will have a hope of retaining a single seat in the next general election. Otherwise they are looking pretty dead.

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A must listen audio recording.

To begin with, I must thank Lindsay Shepard for not only refusing to be a victim of this sick culture in our post-secondary institutions. She not only didn’t cower to their intimidating crap, but had the foresight and presence of mind to record the entire repugnant interrogation that she had to endure from officials at Wilfrid Laurier University.

This has been in the news for some time but I feel that it is important to post this in as many places as possible as this issue is so critical and in need of broad exposure.

Lindsay Shepard is a teaching assistant who dared to show her class a simple video debate that had been aired on Ontario public television that had a University of Toronto professor representing a side that social justice warriors disagree with.

For this crime, Shepard was dragged before a kangaroo court where she was essentially accused of hate crimes and (they really did falsely say she had broken a law). She has since been sanctioned.

This audio truly has to be listened to in order to believe it. These interrogators should be fired and public funding for this university should be reconsidered. True critical and free thought is utterly impossible in the environment created by these fascist “academics” and the gravity of this situation can’t be understated.

Shepard was accused of creating a toxic environment, supporting “alt-right”, Hitler came up (of course), white nationalism came up and she was of course accused of breaking school policy. ALL SHE DID WAS SHOW A FUCKING VIDEO THAT HAD RECENTLY BEEN AIRED ON PUBLIC TELEVISION!

This sickness is happening in our post-secondary institutions across the nation and it takes listening to this audio in order to understand just how disturbed and disconnected from reality these “academics” are. Nobody can come from such guidance with any realistic concept of critical thought.

Find some time and give this horrifying audio a full listen.

We need some heavy duty educational reform and need to take control from these insane social justice warriors or we will be educating an entire generation of dysfunctional snowflakes such as we could never imagine.

 

Truly mad. The names of two of these interrogators are Herbert Pimlott and Nathan Rambukkana.

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Rejuvenated Alberta Party already dead in the water.

The first strategically questionable move made by the Redford era management who have taken over the Alberta Party was to push out the personable leader Greg Clark and to trigger a sudden leadership race. The next move was the choice to refuse to run a candidate in the Calgary Lougheed by-election.

The flaccid rationale for forcing a leadership race was that they needed it to create buzz and sell memberships. Isn’t that exactly what running a candidate in a high profile by-election would do too? The reality is that those who took over simply want Clark out. While leadership races do indeed create buzz and sell memberships, they are terribly expensive for the party to run and party donations dry up for months while leadership candidates tap traditional party donors for their own campaigns. Somebody like Stephen Carter already knows this of course.

By-elections tend to be good for the party. Running a campaign means regular media opportunities and ongoing activity while galvanizing volunteers and members as they participate on the ground. Profile is raised and memberships are sold as people knock on doors throughout the community. Valuable campaign experience for party members is gained in these events. Even without a win there is a clear net-benefit for a party in running in by-elections.

In an absurd release, the Alberta Party has said that they will not run in the Calgary Lougheed by-election because it is “a foregone conclusion”. 

With the logic demonstrated in this choice to deny voters a chance to vote for them in Calgary Lougheed, it only stands to reason that the Alberta Party will only run a candidate in Calgary Elbow in the general election. The party has difficulty passing the 5% support range in pretty much every other constituency in Alberta.

It is somewhat ironic that while the Alberta Party has been pushing the theme of being “A party for everyone” when that everyone apparently does not include the electors in Calgary Lougheed.

In what universe does a party only run candidates when they know they will have 100% chance of winning? The only parties that could possibly take such a bizarre stance are those that already enjoy some pretty broad popular support throughout the province. The Alberta Party certainly doesn’t enjoy that status at this time (nor will they as long as they are too callow to contest elections).

For political wonks like myself, it will be interesting to watch the strange actions of this party that is now built on a mound of sour grapes. The whole raison d’être of a political party is to run candidates in an election. I guess until the Alberta Party finds it in itself to do so, it will simply be a social club where they will reminisce about the good old days under the Redford Regime before she fell in disgrace.

So far no leadership candidates have burst on to the scene vying for the leadership of the Alberta Party. Not too shocking I guess when they so openly display electoral impotence right out of the gate.  I expect that Team Redford already has somebody they intend to anoint in the role that they forced Greg Clark to vacate last week. One has to wonder if the race will have more than one candidate running.

While the party constantly demands to be taken seriously, they seem to go out of their way to ensure that people can’t take it seriously. Greg Clark just said last weekend that he anticipates the Alberta Party will win the 2019 general election. Rather bold statement to make when they are too weak to even run a single candidate in a by-election.

It is sort of sad to watch. While never managing to set the electoral world on fire, the Alberta Party held a somewhat unique niche in our provincial list of parties. Now they seem to be determined to become little more than a footnote.

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The Alberta Party coup.

If you really believe the spin that Greg Clark willingly stepped aside from the leadership of the Alberta Party in order to help create buzz for the party, I have a bridge to sell you.

Let’s look at the facts in the matter.

With the polarization of provincial politics in Alberta, the Alberta Party may very well have found their opportunity to cut a niche for themselves on the provincial scene. Despite years of hard work, they have languished in the realm of 5% support and have never been able to quite catch the eye of Albertans. With the NDP using all of the fiscal acumen of Venezuela and with the UCP jumping head first into a social issue quagmire in Bill 24, the timing is perfect for the Alberta Party to jump into the scene and round up the people who find themselves frustrated with both the NDP and UCP. In light of this Clark decides now is a good time to resign and leave the Alberta Party leaderless for months? Bullshit.

The Alberta Party is scheduled to hold its annual general meeting in Red Deer on November 18. In something of an irony, the theme of the AGM is “A party for all of us”. I am saying this is ironic because the AGM has apparently sold out and will not accept any new attendees. Word is that the number is 396 and that was after expanding their venue once. With people paying $99 each and with such demand, it is very well possible though admittedly challenging to seek a larger venue even if a deposit is lost. If the true goal is grassroots democracy even a gymnasium will do. While VP policy of the Wildrose Party I organized an AGM at the Bearspaw Community center. It was a nightmare but with a lot of volunteer help we pulled it off. Somehow though, it is impossible to hold an AGM for the Alberta Party with more than a few hundred people.

This AGM will be important as a very important change is being proposed to the constitution of the party. 

There is a proposal to empower the provincial board with a 75% majority of attendees in a meeting to unilaterally force a leadership vote. This is a huge amount of power to bestow on a provincial board where they could bypass caucus and the membership at large in order to toss out a leader. Why the sudden need to bring about this change?

Another interesting part with this AGM is that half of the provincial board positions are up for election. These are 12 spots and there are 35 people vying for them.

With this sudden need to change the constitution coupled with this unprecedented surge of members who registered for an AGM, it simply reeks of an organized takeover.

Less than a year ago, the Alberta Party had less than 400 members in total according to their financials. Now they have more than 400 who want to pay $99 and go to Red Deer to attend an AGM? Astounding indeed.

The tiny membership base made the Alberta Party ripe for a takeover. While it still is no small task to gather a few hundred dedicated folks, it certainly is doable. Hell, Jason Kenney can pull that many to a simple town hall meeting. With the combined effort of politically homeless Redford era PCs working under a PAC such as Alberta Together, such a coup isn’t all that tough to pull off.

The influx of new and experienced faces must have looked great to the original Alberta Party organizers initially. Alas, the Alberta Party has always been the party of nice guys and they really weren’t prepared to handle the way the old PC organizers do things. They don’t pull punches and they don’t play nice. It wasn’t long before the party was dominated.

While bright and personable, Greg Clark was spinning his wheels provincially. The Mr. Rogers approach while appreciated, tends to leave one sitting on the sidelines as pressing issues come and go. The Redford refugees could not abide by that approach any longer. One of the most immediately evident signs of the new blood has been in the attitude of party communications as can be seen below.

While I am not all opposed to rough play in political communications, it sure is a change in tone from the party.

As a side note, I am not sure if the Alberta Party really wants to get into labeling other parties based on the actions of lone candidates. We would be forced to keep bringing up how the Alberta Party had not one but two different fellows who were charged as pedophiles run for them. One of them even ran in their last leadership race. They were Troy Millington and Terry Lo . 

Despite his best efforts, Greg Clark simply did not fit the mold for what the old Redford gang wanted to see. Clark is a nice guy, but he is no fool. Clark resigned rather than being forced out when he could see the writing on the wall. Being nice, he took one for the team and continues to do so.

Anybody in politics knows that when you want to release something bad, you do it on a Friday afternoon in hopes that it gets forgotten and lost from the news cycle over the weekend. If it is something really bad, you do it on the Friday before a long weekend. You can rest assured, if Clark was pumped and happy about his resignation and looked at it as a great rejuvenating move for his party he would not have meekly put it out there on a Facebook post on the Friday afternoon before Remembrance Day.

Clearly the new team taking the reins of the Alberta Party has a person or two in mind for the coming leadership. We likely will see hints at the AGM next week if not open campaigning already. The proposed campaign period is not terribly long by leadership standards. If they really wanted to build the party through a leadership race, they would have a long campaign period where they would solicit a large number of candidates. This is rushed as they don’t want to actually compete something.

Its too bad that the AGM is so full to the rafters. I would have been happy to spend the fee just to attend and watch the fireworks from the floor.

A sad end for a party that tried to do things the nice way.

 

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The new face of the Redford Progressives

Did you really think that the old operators who ran the Redford Progressive Conservative Party into the ground were going to sit on their hands forever? Of course not.

The likes of Thomas Lukaszuk won’t be forever satisfied just beaking from the political sidelines as he has been doing for the last couple years.

Stephen Carter has been homeless as a partisan operator since Sandra Jansen decided that a leadership run for the PCs was simply too tough to manage and subsequently fled to the NDP to finish out her final term in politics. You know he has been chomping on the bit for a new party project.

To their credit, Troy Wason and Katherine O’neill waited until the end of the last PC leadership race before heading for the political hinterland.

The old Redford guard naturally found themselves drawn to the only partisan bridge that they hadn’t burned yet with the Alberta Party. They needed a new home and with its mushy mix of self proclaimed “centrist” principles, the party was ready to be molded into whatever a person in control wanted to make it into.

It really wasn’t hard to dominate the Alberta Party. Despite their having a seat and having made a relatively decent splash for their size, their membership was tiny along with their management team. If the financials are to be believed, the Alberta Party had less than 400 members at the end of 2016. Perhaps more if some had purchased multi-year memberships in prior years but there really was not much of a base. The strength of the party executive is always a reflection of the member base.

A handful of determined, experienced operatives suddenly entered the Alberta Party scene and they brought all of the principles that they used to practice within the Redford Regime with them. The small, well meaning and idealistic group who ran the Alberta Party never had a chance.

The Redford refugees faced one obstacle however. The one shining point of strength within the Alberta Party was its congenial and bright leader, Greg Clark. While Clark made great inroads in his own constituency, he simply couldn’t break out from his niche and the Alberta Party remained in its moribund state of low poll numbers, funds and membership levels.

According to Don Braid with the Calgary Herald, Alberta Party executive meetings were held where the discussion point was on how to change the rules in order to force a leadership race. As pressure mounted, Greg Clark resigned as leader rather than finding himself forced out of his role.

Nice guys do finish last.

Ever the team player, Greg Clark refuses to lob bombs back at the party though he surely must be feeling pretty used. Clark even kindly did his resignation on a Friday afternoon in hopes of keeping it out of the larger news cycle. While Clark and others are trying to claim he is doing this to create buzz for the party, the timing puts lie to this. It would have been a Monday morning release in that case and would be much more than a quick resignation.

Surely Team Redford has a candidate or two in mind to lead the new incarnation of their old PC  party. These kind of backroom operatives won’t open a party void without a plan to fill it. It will be interesting to see who pops out of the woodwork in the pending Alberta Party AGM. It will be even more interesting to see who is backing the aspiring leaders.

Its ironic that Kenney is so often accused of wanting to turn the provincial clock back when we see such an organized movement trying to bring about the return of the disgraced Redford Regime.

A sad end for a party and its leader that tried so hard to do politics the nice way.

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Let this one go.

I get it. I know. Bill 24 is a crass action on the part of the Notley government to create a wedge issue and to distract from her horrific fiscal management in Alberta. I understand that Notley is using children as a tool to try and preserve her inept government’s power in Alberta. Bill 24 is a solution looking for a problem.   GSAs have been here for years now and there has been no crisis of children being “outed” by schools. Bill 24 is modeled to label even people who have rational concerns about the wording has being terrible bigots even when its terribly unfair.

I get it!

All the above being said, we have to let this one go. Bill 24 was created for purely political purposes for the advantage of the NDP party and its working like a charm!

Alberta’s unemployment rate remains mired in the shitter. Our deficits and growing debt are nothing less than appalling. We have become a pariah as far as international investment is concerned as we watch an increasing number of multinational companies divest themselves from this socialist run government that tried and failed to tax us into getting outward bound pipelines. It will take generations to fix the damned mess the NDP are creating.

Are we hearing anything about the above issues right now though?

No!

The news is dominated by what is really actually a minor social issue and policy. The legislature sits precious few days as it is and the debate is all focused on Bill 24 while so many other issues are withering away on the wayside and out of the public eye. This just isn’t worth it.

Tension is growing within the United Conservative Party caucus over this too. We are a newly created party and need to form solid bonds within the leadership, membership and caucus. This is pretty damned tough to do when the legislative session is immersed in this hornet’s nest of a bill.

I used the picture of Notley laughing because that is exactly what she is doing today. The NDP had been on the ropes for months. The reek of fear and desperation from them was palpable in every hysteric tweet and news release. The UCP was taking Alberta by storm and the future of the NDP looked pretty damned bleak. The only possible out for Notley was for the UCP to mire itself in a no-win social issue. Well, the UCP jumped right into that issue in the first week of the first session of the legislature that they came to as a new party and Notley is giggling herself to sleep over it.

We need to pick our battles and this hill simply isn’t worth dying on.

Attempted amendments came today and they were of course shot down. That effort showed at least a little cooperativeness and bending by the UCP. Better late than never.

We know that the NDP will not grant the UCP a victory so small as an amendment changing the placement of a comma within the legislation. Send out a few more good proposals and then let it go guys.

Vote for the damned bill and get on with important business.

I know that Notley will find some other social issue to dump in front of the legislature in the next session. This tactic won’t stop simply because the UCP capitulated on this one. That said, if Bill 24 is the toughest social legislation that Notley could find to toss in front of the nascent UCP, I don’t think we need to worry much. She will have to really stretch for the next one and the electorate will tire of her constant pulling of the social issue fire alarm.

The UCP needs to dominate the agenda in the next couple years and they will never be able to do so if they are constantly bogged down in these kinds of issues.

If (and this is a big if) Bill 24 somehow is found to cause damage in the next couple years, the UCP can address it when they have a majority government in a couple years. If they insist on jumping in neck deep every time Notley tosses a social issue at them though, we won’t see an end to the accidental Notley Regime and by the time the next general election rolls around the great grandchildren of our grandchildren will be in debt. Its just not worth it.

Let this one go.

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