Monday, October 25, 2004

And They're Off!

Tomorrow, Ralph will drop the write in what figures to be a very ho-hum election in Alberta. The thing is, Albertans change government once a generation and I'm not talking about Paul Martin's "a generation is 6 years long" generations either. There have been 3 government changes in this province's history and we're not going to get one this time out.

But even though this will be a fairly non-eventful election, I'm going to try and focus this blog on the contest for the next month. So I'll shut up about Sheila and Don Cherry for the next 28 days and try and focus on this incredibly boring election.

One reason this election is worth following if you're a Liberal in Alberta is that the provincial party is on the way up. Of course, when you have 7 seats, there's only one way to go. So here are some reasons for optimism:

1. Klein's bored: His heart won't be in this campaign.

2. Klein's past his prime: His melt-down with Laurie Blakeman earlier this year looked bad. His essay plagiarism would have hurt any other politician in Canada. He's snapping at the media. Add it all up and a lot of columnists have been comparing him to *gasp* the federal Liberals for his aimless drifting and arrogance.

3. Gary Marr's friends

4. The Alberta Alliance: They're polling at 10% right now. Of course, that's all in cattle country. But if they can get up to 10% in Edmonton or Calgary, watch out. They take votes away from the Tories which will help the Libs and NDP.

5. NDP is, well, the NDP: Don won't want me to say it, but the NDP isn't any better off than they were last election. And they won 2 seats last election. I can't see them doing much better and the less votes they get, the more the Grits get (and the Greens...let's not forget they polled in at 6% in AB last federal election).

6. The Doctor is in: Kevin Taft may not have the common man charisma of Klein but he's a bright guy. And he's not afraid to go after Klein. Ken Nicol would usually criticize Klein in the legislature by saying "I agree with 7 of your 8 points Ralph but I have a slight problem with the wording on that last point...". Taft will take Klein on.

7. Candidates: I'm not sure about Edmonton, but in Calgary, they've got a couple solid candidates. Dave Taylor and David Swann could both win their ridings.

8. Only one way to go: Nancy MacBeth was a disaster. This campaign can't go any worse than that.

Add it up and, things are looking up. Not way up, but up none the less. As for predictions...

Conservatives 64
Liberals 16
NDP 2
Alliance 1


7 Comments:

  • Maybe you can shed some light on this...Why is Ralph so popular in Alberta? While the Conservatives may have done some wonderful things in the past, I can't really think of a good reason to vote for Klein. I'm about as frustrated with Klein as most Albertans are with the federal Liberals. With all of Ralph's gaffes, I can't fathom why people would support him.

    Why-why-why?!

    By Blogger Jasen, at 3:41 PM  

  • Ditto.

    No matter what the federal Liberals do, most Albertans will vote Conservative.

    No matter what the provincial Tories do, most Albertans will vote Conservative.

    It could be the end of the world as we know it, and most Albertans will vote Conservative. Go figure.

    By Blogger DJC, at 6:48 AM  

  • I think it comes down to the fact that things are going well so people don't see the need for change...but then again, things are going well federally too...I really have no idea.

    For a province which has spawned so many protest parties, we're pretty stuck in our ways when it comes to provincial elections.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:32 AM  

  • Your seat prediction I suspect is too optimistic to the Liberals, and slightly too pessimistic to my party. I think Taft is a huge, huge asset, but unfortunately the provincial Liberals have no money. Your party is still paying back a debt Nancy ran up last election. That's going to have a huge negative impact the NDP won't be dealing with, because we're all squared up from last time.

    I don't think Brian Mason would, all else being equal, do even as well as Raj Pannu would, but the fact is that there's a whole bunch of seats in Edmonton that were Liberal seats since '93, that the NDP had no shot at. Now that the Tories hold a bunch of them, New Democrats have as good a chance to gather up the anti-Klien vote as the Liberals do.

    Of course, if you're right about even one Alberta Alliance seat, it may well spell disaster for Liberals and New Democrats. The AA will get media, get attention, and could easily get themselves in the position that Lougheed was in '71, facing off against an unpopular relatively new Premier (Harry Strom then, leading a Socred government that had stood for thirty-five years. This time, Steve West? Lyle Oberg?) with a party that looks shiny and new.

    A huge difference in situations is that Lougheed's PC party looked like a step into modernity. I don't think the AA will have quite the same cachet.

    By Blogger Don, at 2:20 PM  

  • I think it will be:

    NDP: 3
    2 Incumbents + Ray Martin

    Liberal: 11
    3 Incumbents + Maurice Tougas (Edm-Meadowlark) + Mo Elsalhy (Edm-McClung) + Dan Backs (Edm-Manning) + Bharat Agnhotri (Edm-Ellerslie) + Wes Mather (Edm-Mill Woods) + Bill Bonko (Edm-Decore) + Bridget Pastoor (Lethbridge-West) + Rick Miller (Edm-Rutherford)
    Tossups: Edmonton-Calder and Edmonton-Glenora

    PC: 57

    Toss Ups: Edmonton-Calder and Edmonton-Glenora could be very tight three way races.

    I doubt that the Alliance will pick up any seats. They might come close in a few constituencies, though. And if they do manage to siphon off a significant amount of Tory votes, this could boost the number of Liberal seats by a few more.

    By Blogger Jim, at 11:08 PM  

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