Thursday, October 12, 2006

Good thing I moved to avoid all this, isn't it?

There's a lot of news vis a vis the leadership race that I need to catch up on. Here goes:

  1. ALANA DELONG QUITS RACE. While this doesn't seem to have surprised anyone, myself included, my reaction is somewhat mixed. Its unfortunate that Alana won't be on the ballot because it would have been nice to have a woman in the race, particularily since we have so many qualified women within the ranks of the PC Party of Alberta. It was probably a smart move on Alana's part, though, given that staying in the race would have cost her a lot of time and money for what likely would have been little in return. As a Dinning supporter, i'm pleased to see that she has chosen to join our ranks. With Alana onboard, this now means (as Daveberta's list shows) that every Calgary PC MLA with the exception of Hung Pham is backing Jim.
  2. ALBERTA ALLIANCE LEADER ENDORSES TED MORTON. This is a bizarre story. Myself and William were having a conversation about the PC Leadership with Paul Hinman this summer at the PNWER summit in Edmonton. Not surprisingly, Paul expressed a strong preference for Ted Morton to become Premier. It isn't uncommon for opposition MLAs to have a personal preference in another party's leadership race... Liberal MLA Bridget Pastoor once told me that she her heart was with Dave Hancock. It would be quite another thing, though, for Bridget to come out and endorse Hancock openly, and to encourage members of her party to buy memberships and support him. I'm not denying that cross-party membership purchases aren't happening, but Paul Hinman and the Alliance are certainly being more open and explicit about it than one would expect. Hatrock's post on renewingtheonepartystate suggests similarities between the Morton-Hinman alliance (no pun intended) and the necessity of the merger of the Canadian Alliance and PC Party of Canada. I, for one, disagree with the notion that the Alberta Alliance is as relevant a political force as Hatrock and others would have you believe. Paul Hinman is a nice fellow, but sometimes his judgement gets the better of him.
  3. POLL SHOWS VIRTUAL THREE-WAY TIE. A poll conducted by the Progressive Group for Independent Business shows that Ted Morton and Lyle Oberg are tied for first place at 17.2%, with Jim Dinning close behind at 16%. Ken Chapman does a much better job debunking this poll than I can, but there are a couple of points worth repeating. First off, i'd like to know how the PGIB obtained a complete PC Alberta membership list? I sat on the PC executive as Youth President for almost 2 years without being able to obtain a list of only the members which I represented (youth). My guess is that they put together a smattering of old lists from PGIB-friendly sources, in which case the objectivity of the sample is brought into question. Second, as Ken points out, the geographic distribution of this poll is sketchy at best. While its true that regions are not equally weighted in a one member-one vote system, the poll cannot claim to be very reflective of the mood of PC supporters across the province. Before the Mortonites get on me for dismissing the poll simply because it puts Morton ahead of Dinning, let me say this: in this race, there will be all kinds of polls that will be dismissed for all kinds of reasons by all kinds of people. The only two polls that matter are on November 25th and December 2nd, and I don't think any team (mine included) is being presumptuous about the results.
  4. LOUGHEED PREFERS DELEGATED CONVENTION. Peter Lougheed is a man whom I deeply respect and admire. On this issue, though, he's wrong. While a one member-one vote does not create the drama or suspense of a delegated convention, it is a far more democratic and a far less messy affair. Delegated conventions are more prone to manipulation by either ex-officios or organizers with a partisan stance (I speak from experience), while one member-one vote removes most of the influence from those forces. It is not a flawless system, especially given the overall lack of checks and balances in place for this particular vote, but it IS a far better way of choosing our new Premier.


  1. In your third point you seem to suggest that there is no master-list of PC members. How will the party ensure a valid leadership vote if they don't know who's current and who's not?

  2. Oh there is most definetly a master list, but it is guarded tighter than Fort Knox. There are bits and pieces of it out in toryland (just ask some folks at the Norris camp), but I couldn't imagine the folks down at the politboro releasing a membership list to the PGIB (or any other group) for a poll.

  3. I don't think William and I are saying that the AA is a political force, but they did come 2nd place in many ridings in 2004, and so we're saying more so that true conservatives found a home with the AA and now with Ted Morton.

  4. Hey BR:

    Like you, I was long-time supporter of Jim Dinning, particularly admired him during his days as Provincial Treasurer. But I've been disappointed by his campaign to date. A lot of promises, very few costed out to this point. I'm a fiscal conservative and I thought Jim was too. But I'm worried that with all the promises he's made we may go back into structural deficit rather quickly. What are your thoughts on this?

  5. You do not need master list to run this leadership process...just proof of age, residence and membership - all done at the door of the poling station on election day. The master list comes out of that process.

    As for the PGIB "polling" methodology...I hear rumours that Alana might of done a poll just before she quit of 600 PC Party members selected from a current list of her "random" nominators. She was leading with almost 100% support but decided to withdraw anyway. Just as valid a result as the PGIB "poll" methinks.

  6. As if she could have found 600 nominators...

  7. For the record B, there should be way more than one woman in the race. The gender ratio in the provincial Tory and federal Liberal leadership races is ebarassing.

  8. No one is stopping women from running.

  9. Yes, the fact that there was only one woman in the race - and not a particularly strong example of caucus bench-strength - is due to personal choice. This idea of gender ratios is disturbing to me. Taking it to extremes, should we force leaders to be alternatively be men/women, white/black, Ed/Cal/rural, etc? I think not. Face it, public life is long hours, for less pay than some could make in the private sector, and the possibility that your private life comes under the microscope. The question should not be "how do we get more women participate in politics", but "how do we get more people with diverse backgrounds to participate in politics".

    As far as the leadership is concerned, Shirley McClellan could have run if she wished, and as current Deputy Premier would have had a solid campaign. So too would Health Minister Iris Evans, but she chose not to and instead to support Ed Stelmach.

  10. Beware McBeath, beware.

    PC youth. Terrible. You supporting Jim Dinning validates my choice.

  11. Roger, not sure what you mean about the PC Youth?

  12. Also, one of the many anonymous posters asked me what I thought about Jim's financial plan.

    The short answer is I trust him.

    We have yet to hear all of the policy specifics from Jim. No doubt this is a strategy to maximize media exposure, much like Stephen Harper did during the last federal election.

    The spending plan that does worry is Mark Norris'. His campaign seems far more in tune with the Paul Martin style of 56 #1 priorities. Other than the Ministry of Community Development, I have yet to hear about any substantial spending he'd bring into line.

  13. BR:

    My short answer is that without Paul Taylor to run the show and keep the spending taps off, I don't trust him.

    Who do you really think was responsible for eliminating the deficit in the mid 1990s, Jim Dinning or Paul Taylor, EA? My money is on the second all the way.

  14. This is a Dinning quote about keeping the "bad guys" out of the province. He's such a disaster:

    HARLEY RICHARDS, Advocate business editor: "It's something the province has to get serious about, because as the prosperity grows, so comes the bad guys, and we want to throw them out of the province and make Alberta a very inhospitable place for bad guys," said Dinning while speaking at a luncheon meeting of the Red Deer East Rotary Club.

  15. Blake

    No process is "more" or "less" democratic. You've bought into the direct democracy zealots lines on this but they are wrong.

    I guess if everyone had a vote, everyone informed their vote and everyone used their vote, that would be the best. But to imply that a "one member, one vote" system is a "more democratic" solution is lunacy.

    It can and will still be perverted by the backroom. It will deliver a result but that result will be manipulated by the people with their hands on the levers of power.

    All that to say, watch out for Morton. He is pushing hard a la Stockwell Day.

  16. Alberta ConservativeOctober 31, 2006

    The Alberta Alliance picked up a lot of votes in the rural ridings.

    If corporate Calgary Dinning wins the leadership, you can certainly expect 5-10 A-A seats next election. Granted there is a chance he could make this up in Edmonton as Dinning is much, much more liberal than Klein. Would Klein ever donate money to the Liberal Party of Canada, yet alone Landslide Annie? Dinning did!

  17. I'm not sure where the Alliance party is going to pick up 5 or 10 seats if Dinning wins. For one thing, Morton has pledged that he'll remain in the party no matter who wins the leadership (something he should consider passing along to his campaign team)... you can forget about Foothills-Rockyview going "green". Beyond that, I don't think Hinman and Co. have a hope in hell of winning more seats. Hinman, although nice in person, does not have the presence necessary to make any serious impact in the next election.

  18. AB ConservativeNovember 02, 2006

    Funny thing - Dinning has not stated whether or not he will run in the next election is he isn't voted leader of the Party - the similarities between Dinning and Martin are again very disturbing.

    It is not Morton's riding that concerns me (it's just outside of Calgary and has the highest income per capita in Alberta); it's the rural ridings outside of the Edmonton area. They are sick of corporate Calgary.

    5-10 A-A seats is not a significant impact BUT it does illustrate a potential weakness of the PCs that can be exploited. The PCs have almost been guaranteed victories by combining Calgary-rural ridings (with no req't to win ED).