Saturday, June 23, 2007

Let's Try That One Again

Two women? Three Jim Dinning supporters? Two Calgarians? My, how it must have pained Ed Stelmach to announce this Cabinet shuffle.

Cindy Ady becomes Hector Goudreau's parliamentary secretary associate minister in tourism - presumably he'll still handle the booming Grimshaw tourism industry while she focuses on the less important Calgary efforts. She's also responsible for the Vancouver Olympics which is kind of a burn for Mark Norris, if you think about it. Yvonne Fritz becomes Ray Danyluk's parliamentary secretary associate minister for urban and housing issues. Once again, Ray will work hard to get Elk Lake its second traffic light, while Yvonne will focus on that boring housing issue that Ed keeps hearing people from Calgary whine about.

This was obviously a move of desperation because you'd have to look long and hard for the last time a Canadian Premier shuffled his Cabinet before getting a mandate to govern from provincial voters (educated guess - Harry Strom was the last one to do it). And while it's going to look like a panicked move, politically speaking, burning his promise of a smaller Cabinet was likely worth it to try and stop the bleeding in Calgary.

In a related story, a new Ipsos poll has the voting intentions right where they were at the last provincial election but this still marks a noticeable fall for Stelmach since taking over, and should be somewhat disconcerting for him given that the Alberta Liberals always poll low between elections when those being phoned get a little confused between the provincial and federal parties. The regional breakdowns are also quite interesting since the Tories are actually doing better in Redmonton than in Calgary. Go figure.

Finally, Link Byfield is planning to start yet another fringe party in Alberta since “If we don't create one, the Liberals will win by default.” If the right in Alberta had its act together, they'd merge the four or five right wing parties into one viable entity and go to Preston Manning on bended knee asking him to be their leader. If that happened, Alberta would probably be set up for the same type of three way race we saw in Quebec this spring.

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