Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chequing Back In

Well, the big news of the past week appears to be the stimulus cheques with Tory logos plastered all over them. Given what we know of Harper and the way the stimulus funds have been spent, this shouldn't come as a huge surprise to anyone.

Back in Alberta...

Danielle Smith took the Wildrose Alliance leadership race 6,295 to 1,905. With the spoiled ballots, that means there were about 8,300 votes cast, more than the 4,500 who voted in the ALP leadership race last year, but a far cry from the close to 100,000 who voted in the 2006 PC leadership race. Mind you, PC leadership races are the only time Albertans actually get to vote for a Premier, so the interest in that race is understandable.

As I wrote last month, the challenge for Smith becomes one of building up credibility. Smith's credibility won't be a problem - despite not having a day of elected political experience, she's already a more credible Premier than Ed Stelmach. The real challenge will be making the Wildrose Alliance credible. Sure, defections of PC MLAs will help, but it's really all about finding credible candidates and quieting the crazies.

For all intents in purposes, Alberta has its own version of Mario Dumont and the ADQ...and we all know how that ended.

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  • Interesting ADQ analogy.

    I often find myself cheering for the underdog in elections like these. Even though the ADQ and the WRA are hugely different from my political beliefs, there is something alluring about the David vs Goliath narrative.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:53 p.m.  

  • I'm the opposite. I always have a soft spot for the guy who takes over an all-powerful regime that has been in power so long it is due for a loss... like poor poor Gordon Brown.

    That said I am interested to see how Danielle Smith does. The west tends to be the breeding ground of new parties - the CCF/NDP, Progressives, United Farmers, Social Credit and Reform/Alliance
    were all western-based parties, who gained national prominence (except United Farmers, but they governed multiple provinces).

    In a sense, cg's two topics may be related. Smith's crusade against one corrupt (and not-really-that-conservative) incumbent could energize a lot of folks who would like to turn their hate rays on Stephen Harper, but who lack an alternative. I would be interested to see how libertarianism would play nationally.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 11:05 p.m.  

  • I have a feeling that there wouldn't be much of a support base for libertarianism federally, or even provincially.. remember, libertarianism is one of those many groups that feels public health care should basically be scrapped. That isn't something that will go over well, even in Alberta. Not to mention that as a general rule, especially in our current environment, even some Conservative supporters are afraid of loosening any more government regulation of the economy, and well, guess what libertarians love to do the most....

    They'll end up like Reform/Alliance if they're successful, and will eventually have to moderate their views before they get elected anywhere. Or, as CG said, they can go the route of the ADQ and win popularity, but lose it pretty quickly.

    By Anonymous Kyle H, at 11:26 p.m.  

  • The Conservatives are now even less shy about making it well known that the Government of Canada's money is their own money.

    By Anonymous Saskboy, at 12:02 a.m.  

  • Yes, the Conservatives appear *in front* of the cameras apparently creating confusion as to who the money is *from*.

    Yes, so much worse than certain folks we won't name apparently *hiding* from the cameras, creating confusion as to who the money was paid *to*.

    By Blogger Paul, at 1:02 a.m.  

  • The media certainly seem to be jumping on the WRA fringe party bandwagon. I guess 'equal coverage' doesn't apply as much to a leadership race compared to a full-blown election campaign.

    By Blogger lyrical, at 1:19 a.m.  

  • Despite the good momentum the WRAP party's got goin', I remain skeptical to see how Smith handles being able to oppose Stelmach other than platitudes, but with real solid, pragmatic policies. More especially, how will she handle criticism... not just from media and other MLAs, but from within her own party. There's a tendency in right-wing Alberta party politics to simply break-off and form a new party whenever a group doesn't like the leader or the powers that be get taken over by non-pragmatists (read: table setting without the plate).

    By Blogger Mike B., at 4:44 a.m.  

  • I wonder if the federal Tories realise that their recent actions are effectively eliminating their ONLY advantage over Liberals?

    Canada is not a very conservative country. The only reason many Canadians even entertained the notion of supporting their party was because the Liberals were acting as if they were entitled to power and our money.

    Now that the Conservatives are acting the same way (e.g. loading the senate with partisans, putting their logo on cheques, etc), what possible reason remains for most Canadians to support them?

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:22 a.m.  

  • To answer Vollman:

    Um ... the fact that the Liberals haven't shown why they would be any better?

    Really, Canadians only switch parties when there is a reason to scrap the incumbent. Unless Iggy comes up with a reason, Canadians will continue to support Harper.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:39 a.m.  

  • With four by-elections coming up, it's a brillant strategy by the Liberals to focus on the cheques, announcing to voters if they vote Conservative their riding will be showered with goodies.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 12:01 p.m.  

  • Intents *and* purposes, CG.

    Also! It was just one cheque with the Tory logo, the one with Keddy... Every other one has the action plan logo, the government of Canada logo, etc, or simply the name of the MP.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:25 p.m.  

  • With over 14,000 memberships (incidentally, the PC Party of Alberta had 18,000 in 2008)the WAP definitely has definitely had momentum and the right conditions up until now.

    However, there are going to have to be some major changes to the organization for the WAP to be seen as the next opposition party in waiting.

    The WAP is going to begin facing a lot more scrutiny and using growing pains as to why there are problems is only going to last for so long.

    The most important things that have to be addressed are choosing an Executive director and setting the course for the party for the coming six months.

    The PC's have until Christmas to make drastic changes. In that same time frame the WAP is going to have clearly demonstrate they can be a contender in Alberta politics.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:44 p.m.  

  • It strikes me that the Wild Rose party is enjoying rather excessive hype. Sure, it may have just won a by-election and seems to be eating into PC support, but its polling results so far are not that impressive. I don't think that "Marginally ahead of the Liberals" is saying all that much.

    By Blogger JG, at 11:09 p.m.  

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