This Week in Alberta - Extra! Extra! Man Joins Alliance!
My sources have learned that Edward Johnson, a long-time PC member, will be announcing his defection to the Wildrose Alliance this weekend. Johnson was the Bonnyville-Cold Lake riding association policy chair from 1996 to 1998, and was a poll captain during the most recent election (he won the poll, I might add).
His defection is just yet another in long line of high profile PCs who have jumped ship to the Alliance in recent months. The fact that he shares a first name with Ed Stelmach only makes this defection more significant. We can certainly consider Bonnyville-Cold Lake in play now, since Johnson will only need to convince 2,043 of his friends to join him for the Alliance to take the riding.
OK. Deep breath everyone.
The above was satirical, but it’s not far off from what we’ve seen of late as the Danielle Smith love-train continues to ride through Alberta (fun fact: The Vatican is considering waiving their waiting period to speed through her canonization). Don’t get me wrong – the PCs are in trouble and I’ve been saying so for a long time. MLA and large-scale membership defections are a big deal.
But is it really worth writing a whole column on how Ed Stelmach’s brother-in-law is planning to vote? Can we really call Rob Anders “Conservative talent”? Do we really need to go apeshit every time anyone who has ever held any sort of position in the PCs defects?
I mean, last election we had stories of Preston Manning’s old press secretary voting Liberal and Ralph Klein’s dad going Alliance. And, despite this, Steady Eddie didn’t do too shabby.
Despite these defections, the PCs are still miles ahead of the Alliance organizationally. Hell, the Alberta Liberals are miles ahead of the Alliance organizationally. I don’t doubt the Wildrosers are closing this gap, but let’s not let a good media narrative cloud reality.