Friday, August 19, 2011

This Week in Alberta - Premier Mar?

We're under a month away from the first round of voting in the PC leadership race, and it's still difficult to get a handle on the contest. I'd assumed it was Ted Morton's race to lose, but the media has crowned Gary Mar the frontrunner, thanks to some favourable polls and the vaunted Ralph Klein endorsement.

So, like any good frontrunner, Mar has sat back, promising nothing more than sunshine and puppies and...wait...he said what?!?

Alberta Tory leadership hopeful Mar touts private health care

EDMONTON - Alberta Conservative leadership candidate Gary Mar says the province must offer private health-care options for wealthy baby boomers or risk losing an economic opportunity.

“The thickness of your wallet should not govern your access to medically necessary health services,... but that does not mean there aren’t people who are willing to pay for services themselves,” Mar said Tuesday.

“I don’t want to stand in the way between somebody who is willing to do that and a health service they feel that they need.”

Yes, a leadership front runner coming out for two-tier health care. How about that?

Most have been shocked Mar would enter this minefield, but I like this move from a purely strategic point of view (even if I disagree with Mar 100%). Playing it safe never works for front runners, a lesson everyone in Alberta learned during the Magnificent Implosion of Jim Dinning in 2006. Moreover, I'm still not fully convinced Mar even is the front runner in terms of membership sales and, even if he is, he's nowhere near far enough ahead to coast to the finish line.

The real benefit for Mar, beyond showing people he stands for something, is that it positions him a bit further to the right on the spectrum. Mar is seen to be on the Progressive side of the PCs, and he needed this to shore up his right flank - first against Morton for the leadership and, should he win, against Danielle Smith in the general election.

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  • Anyone I talk to in my area (south Calgary) is supporting Morton and thinks Mar has too much baggage. Probably up to the two of them on the second ballot.

    Either are way better than Danielle Smith.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:51 AM  

  • I liked Mar but started to think he may be to progressive, but this policy changes that. I'm glad to hear it, I'm a supporter of allowing private health care to operate in Canada.

    If Morton wins the leadership I'd rather see Smith win the election.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:58 AM  

  • The question no one wants to raise: "Do we want a leader who will give over $400,000 in taxpayer dollars to a political pal without any contract tender and without the requirement of producing any work product to support that payment?

    By Blogger R. G. Harvie, at 12:01 PM  

  • Premier Mar? Maybe, but don't count Morton out yet.

    By Anonymous daveberta, at 2:49 PM  

  • Mar's negatives are so high that right now it's Morton's to lose.

    This video says it all:

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:24 PM  

  • When Gary Mar was health minister he didn't bring in anything private to the system. His record smacks of opportunism.

    No thanks, Gary.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:28 PM  

  • Dave - Yup, I'd still put money on Morton if I had to wager at this point. He proved last time he can sell membership forms, and started the race with an organization in place.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 4:46 PM  

  • Is that the same team (Armstrong and Iversen) who drove McIver over the cliff? What I have seen of Ted so far smacks of that old Bugs bunny cartoon, "Steve's (Spike's) my hero because he's so big and strong." That, and knifing Ed in the back will kill him. He finishes fourth, just like Oberg. If you're going to shoot at the king, you better kill him, not give him eight more months on the throne. As for Mar and Charlebois, Rob, it is laughable to me when a lawyer tries to make a case that verbal advice isn't work product. Most lawyers I know avoid writing anything down, because a) they never learn to write a proper English sentence, and b) they don't want documentary proof of their bad advice. Spare me your manufactured righteous anger.

    By Anonymous Oh the humanity, at 7:46 PM  

  • Morton's run a very lacklustre campaign, and his big policy initiative - new plates! - was laughed out of contention. I don't know where people get the sense that Mar's a progressive candidate. His recent statement on private health options doesn't surprise me at all (I was only surprised he spoke out on it during a leadership campaign). There's a reason Klein endorsed him over Morton or Orman, and it ain't because he's a progressive.

    Ironically, despite Morton's far-right reputation, I'd say he's far more of a pragmatist than his rivals (except for Redford). Even Horner, who's seen as Stelmach's guy, is farther to the right than Morton would ever be.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:53 PM  

  • Mar won't even make it on the second ballot. He picks fights with candidates like Alison Redford who has a strong record.

    Mar finishes fourth. On the second ballot you will see Redford, Morton, Horner.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:37 AM  

  • Dan,

    The overall race deserves more than your simple "right flank" argument. I mean, this isn't just about delicious and nutritious flank steak marinated in a lovely sauce...

    Ummm, just checked Gary's site and that is all it seems to be...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:59 PM  

  • Oh my god, there is a great deal of helpful data above!

    By Anonymous sexshop espana, at 2:27 PM  

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