Thursday, June 26, 2008

Taft Exits

Kevin Taft made it official today, announcing that he will step down as leader of the Alberta grits by January at the latest. I suspect the media evaluations of his time as leader will be mixed – after all, he leaves the party with only two more seats than he inherited and many members are talking openly about disbanding the Alberta Liberal Party altogether. But as someone who has been active at the party level during Kevin’s time as leader, I have nothing but good things to say about him.

Kevin and his wife Jeanette have poured their entire lives into the ALP, driving across Alberta and meeting with anyone who wanted to (or didn’t want to) talk with them. I’m not sure if the man has slept at all over the past four years. And, although some will disagree, I believe his accomplishments have been tangible. The party debt has been greatly reduced, while membership and fundraising numbers have increased significantly. The ALP was treated more seriously by the media during the last election than they have been at any time in the past decade, and the party’s leadership will be far more sought after this time than it was during the laughable 2004 race that gave Taft the top job. The man would have made a great Premier but, for a variety of reasons, just never connected with Albertans.

Even though I’m not in Alberta any more, I am curious to see how things play out there, which means I’m expecting e-mail updates from my Alberta readers to feed my cravings for leadership and party reform gossip. And since I know Albertans love nothing more than to have people from Ontario comment on Alberta politics in a know-it-all condescending tone, I’ll be sure to post frequently on the leadership race and will profile all the declared candidates.

Labels: ,

14 Comments:

  • I can tell you, as a Conservative, I always felt our party was safe with Mr. Taft at the helm - he has never really understood the electorate - and more broadly, has never understood what it took to win an election. His leaving will be a sad day for all true Conservatives.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:54 PM  

  • bring in fresh meat!

    from wence(sic) comes the next Decore

    By Blogger art, at 7:00 PM  

  • Good post, Dave. Too true.

    But alas, Bill Toycen is ready for the challenge.

    By Blogger daveberta, at 8:17 PM  

  • Can you persuade him to come to Ottawa? He will be a success in national politics.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 9:21 PM  

  • Good luck on Kevin Taft winning a seat in Alberta federally, especially with the carbon tax hanging around his neck.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 5:41 AM  

  • On the plus side, Alberta Liberals, successful or not, generally receive all the great federal postings (when the federal Liberals get back in power).

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 1:54 PM  

  • "On the plus side, Alberta Liberals, successful or not, generally receive all the great federal postings (when the federal Liberals get back in power)."

    And that's a good thing how? Isn't that attitude exactly why you guys aren't in power right now? Didn't you learn a thing from Dingwall?

    By Blogger The Rat, at 2:12 PM  

  • Taft will not get involved in federal politics. He's been very clear on that each one of the 283 times that esteemed Edmonton Sun scribe Neil "Wacky" Waugh has pressed him on the issue in scrums. In fact, Wacky Waugh was beating that drum again at Taft's press conference yesterday, and Taft made it abundantly clear that he has no interest in federal politics.

    Guy likes Alberta. Tried to fix it. Doesn't care much for the federal Libs anyway.

    By Anonymous Justin, at 6:47 PM  

  • Can you stop using that picture of Taft? It's awful!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:06 PM  

  • You were really my introduction to Taft, and I've had a very positive opinion of him thanks to you. Hope he does well in the next stage of his life.

    By Anonymous jason bo green, at 10:19 AM  

  • I really like Kevin and Jeanette, and I certainly thought they fought the good fight. Of course there were a lot of problems which even the best political minds would struggle with - the political electorate in Alberta is clearly disengaged. That being said, there were a lot of mistakes made in the last campaign by Kevin and his team, but these were small things in the grand scheme of things because of the huge hurdles needed to make progress in Alberta by any opposition. Fundraising difficulties is certainly one of them, among others. It would take a heck of a media campaign to get people off their butts and vote against the current gov. That would take big bucks and a political savvy that doesn't exist in Alberta yet.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:29 PM  

  • When I moved to Calgary in 2000, we had one Lib MLA. Then ZERO. Then three, then four, and now five. Inner city ridings (Currie, Buffalo and Mountain View) are all Liberal now and we actually have more Liberal MLAs than does Edmonton. Living in Currie (Bankview boys here, my partner and I) feels like living in a Canadian city at long last, and as far as I am concerned, Kevin Taft has a lot to do with this. I love the man. I'm not saying the ALP could not do better with a new leader, but every city I've ever lived in, in the US and Canada where I emigrated in 1997, has been a socially-liberal island in a conservative sea- and that included three years in Toronto under the Harris period. I like this. I like knowing that I live in the most progressive neighbourhood in the province.

    By OpenID jfmanzo, at 12:27 PM  

  • "I can tell you, as a Conservative, I always felt our party was safe with Mr. Taft at the helm - he has never really understood the electorate - and more broadly, has never understood what it took to win an election. His leaving will be a sad day for all true Conservatives."

    I've heard that before; I don't know the man, but I had heard from folks who had spoken with him on issues from the perspective of municipal politics. Their opinions were not positive, on the balance - a few were turned off the party altogether because Mr. Taft had rubbed them the wrong way.

    Which is, honestly, too bad. He did raise some good points and food for thought about how Alberta's government works -- or, rather, doesn't.

    By Anonymous Rhys Courtman, at 10:23 PM  

  • Really effective info, thanks so much for the post.

    By Anonymous www.murcia-3d.com, at 2:31 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home