Thursday, June 26, 2008

Taft Exits

Kevin Taft made it official today, announcing that he will step down as leader of the Alberta grits by January at the latest. I suspect the media evaluations of his time as leader will be mixed – after all, he leaves the party with only two more seats than he inherited and many members are talking openly about disbanding the Alberta Liberal Party altogether. But as someone who has been active at the party level during Kevin’s time as leader, I have nothing but good things to say about him.

Kevin and his wife Jeanette have poured their entire lives into the ALP, driving across Alberta and meeting with anyone who wanted to (or didn’t want to) talk with them. I’m not sure if the man has slept at all over the past four years. And, although some will disagree, I believe his accomplishments have been tangible. The party debt has been greatly reduced, while membership and fundraising numbers have increased significantly. The ALP was treated more seriously by the media during the last election than they have been at any time in the past decade, and the party’s leadership will be far more sought after this time than it was during the laughable 2004 race that gave Taft the top job. The man would have made a great Premier but, for a variety of reasons, just never connected with Albertans.

Even though I’m not in Alberta any more, I am curious to see how things play out there, which means I’m expecting e-mail updates from my Alberta readers to feed my cravings for leadership and party reform gossip. And since I know Albertans love nothing more than to have people from Ontario comment on Alberta politics in a know-it-all condescending tone, I’ll be sure to post frequently on the leadership race and will profile all the declared candidates.

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