Friday, April 20, 2012

Alberta Votes Day 26: Problem Solved

A blast from the past. Graham Thompson's February 14th article for your reading enjoyment:

Do Tories a favour: Vote against them

Alberta Conservatives are beginning to worry about the number of seats they'll win in the upcoming provincial election.

Not because they'll get too few, but because they'll get too many.

If recent public opinion polls prove prescient, the Alberta Conservatives could win somewhere between 70 and 80 seats - that's out of 87 seats total. One poll even suggests they could win 82 seats, the most for any government in Alberta history.

After the election, there could be so many Conservative MLAs they'll need a double-decker bus to take them to their next caucus retreat at the Jasper Park Lodge.

Tories of course want to win as many seats as possible but there is a pragmatic downside to a huge majority that is causing some government officials to worry. They won't know what to do with so many MLAs. Really.

About 20 will become cabinet ministers and maybe half a dozen could become parliamentary secretaries. One will become legislative Speaker and others will be appointed to various executive committees. But there could be several dozen with no real work to do other than getting themselves into trouble. In politics, idle backbenchers are the devil's playthings.

Then there's the logistical problem of dealing with seven dozen outsized egos, many of them bruised after being shut out of cabinet.

I am not being facetious. When you talk to Conservative government officials about a gigantic electoral victory for the Conservatives, they roll their eyes and shake their heads and mutter about the headache of herding so many cats. They are not being facetious, either. They want a huge victory but they also see the cloud in this silver lining.

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