This Week in Alberta - Flanagan Gets Back in the Saddle
Since his exit from politics, Flanagan has writen a well-received book and several candid and fascinating articles on Canadian politics. Among his observations are that political attacks "don't have to be true, they just have to be plausible" - so I think that should give you an idea of the type of campaign the Wildrosers are gearing up for.
As for how that campaign goes, the latest poll shows Flanagan with a 9 point gap to overcome:
Alberta Party 3%
Or...errr...a 37 point one:
Given the media seems to have quickly recovered from their case of Danielle-mania that plagued them throughout 2010, this is being spun as part of the "PCs cruising" narrative. It's starting to look like the Wildrose Party is merely playing for second place.
I'm not so convinced.
Of course, the smart money is on PCs winning a majority, but these polls reflect the level of uncertainty out there, which is to be expected when the top three parties enter the campaign with rookie leaders. And considering Danielle Smith remains the most impressive politician in this field, it would be foolish to count her out completely - just as it was foolish to assume she was unstoppable two years ago, after an unproven party won a single by election by the skin of its teeth.
The fact of the matter is, Alberta politics have become highly unpredictable and unstable in recent years, and campaigns matter. Give me long enough odds, and I'd gladly put some money down on Danielle and Dr. Tom giving the PCs a run this spring.