A friend of mine pointed out that I got a bit of a request from Larry Johnsrude's blog to give an update on this humble website. So here goes...
The results on Saturday came as a huge surprise to some, but not to me. Anyone who has spoken with me knows i've been talking about the strength of Morton's campaign team and Stelmach's grassroots appeal, as well as the fact that we (Dinning et al.) didn't have this wrapped up like so many in the media would have had you believe.
From what I hear, this week has taken an expectedly nasty turn. While predictable, I don't intend to join in the volleys of mud being thrown back and forth. Here's why:
I have been deeply involved in PC Alberta for a number of years at all levels. I've been to AGMs and fundraising dinners and electoral campaigns in more ridings (75 at last count) than most people in this party. I know members of this party in every corner of this province and am happy to call them acquaintances, if not friends. I know their intentions are noble and their contributions to the process are essential even if we disagree on a candidate for Premier.
The political apathy in Alberta is breathtaking and, in the case of my own hometown of Fort McMurray, embarassing. In my humble corner of the province alone, we have seen voter turnouts BELOW 40% in provincial elections and a turnout of just 477 people in last Saturday's Leadership vote.
People who support a candidate do so because they genuinely believe in what their candidate is promoting. That kind of involvement, whether we agree with their candidate or not, needs to be supported and nurtured. Our party is already skating on thin ice and anything we do to shut out or shut down involvement is detrimental to the party's future. After this whole thing is said and done, there will be some fences to be mended by whoever becomes Premier... failing to do so would do a grave disservice to our party.
Now I realize that the tone that the two leading campaigns have taken this week do not reflect what I have just said. That's unfortunate, but I suppose is to be expected given the prize at stake.
Nevertheless, I pledged in an earlier post to try and take a big-picture look at things and that is what i'll do.
In the spirit of that big-picture view, i'll tell you what has driven my support for Jim Dinning from Day One.
I'm not from Edmonton or Calgary. I have lived in both places and they are both fine cities, but they do not represent all that is Alberta. I come from a place that is far removed from our major centres by geography (among other things). The issues we face are much different.
I have seen Jim at work in my community and in other places across the province trying to get answers to the questions that people have... not questions about ideology or constitutional battles with Ottawa, but questions about things that affect them in their backyards.
I have consistently seen Jim working to find solutions to improve the standard of living and the quality of life for all Albertans regardless of where they live.
I have seen and admired his ability to speak with a gathering of farmers, a meeting of university students, or a group of CEOs and be open, confident, and comfortable with all of them.
I know of his record in government... that he is not afraid to take on difficult issues... and that he surrounds himself with the best and brightest people available to achieve positive results.
I know of his record in the private sector, where he was a supurb corporate ambassador for TransAlta and the Western Financial Group... and that, even outside the Legislature, he maintained his ties and involvement with our party.
I have faith in his abilities as a Leader to build on this province's past success and make Alberta the economic and social Leader in Canada.
Don't get me wrong, Ted Morton and Ed Stelmach bring some valuable things to the table. Ted's push for electoral reforms should be an important plank in our next campaign platform. And Ed's service in government is a model for integrity and concensus-building which all elected officials should strive to follow.
But when it comes down to who can balance the interests of all Albertans and take them forward in a strong but diplomatic fashion, there is only one person I trust.