Its another busy week in the Alberta PC party as the slate of candidates for the next election is nearing completion.
Last night in Calgary Mackay, Social Worker Teresa Woo-Paw beat Community Activist Marnie Marr for the right to replace Gary Mar as the PC candidate. I, admittedly, don't know a great deal about these women personally. I checked out both their backgrounds and who was supporting whom, and came to the conclusion that I still don't know who I would have voted for. Party members had two excellent choices on their hands. Congrats to Ms. Woo-Paw on her victory, and to Ms. Marr for throwing her hat in the ring. I hope both of these exceptional women remain involved in the party for many years to come.
Tonight, PC members in Wetaskiwin-Camrose will choose their standard bearer to replace retiring MLA LeRoy Johnson. LeRoy was a very able MLA and quite possibly the nicest man ever elected to the Alberta Legislature. He has served his constituents with the highest level of honour and integrity for the past 10 years and has every reason to look back on his career with pride. In terms of candidates running to replace LeRoy, I have only been able to find out about one person running, Verlyn Olsen. Mr. Olsen seems to be an excellent candidate but, in the interests of fairness, I would have liked to hear about who else is running. I guess we'll know about any other candidates if one of them wins tonight!
Looking further down the road, we'll see contests this weekend in Athabasca-Redwater, Bonnyville-Cold Lake, Lethbridge West, Grande Prairie-Wapiti, and Edmonton Ellerslie.
Of these 5 races, there are two which I am particularily interested in.
Athabasca-Redwater was one of the constituencies I represented during my term on the PC Alberta Executive Committee. With long-time MLA Mike Cardinal set to retire, PC members will choose between Monty Bauer of Redwater, Jeff Johnson of Athabasca, or Richard Dubetz of Smoky Lake.
If I had a vote, it would go to Monty Bauer. I had the chance to talk with Monty on several occaisions during my term on the executive and was always impressed by his straight talk and sincerety. Monty is also part of a younger generation who, much like myself, grew up in PC Alberta. For someone who still qualifies as a "young guy", he sure brings a lot of historical knowledge to the table.
To be fair, I will say that I know a few people who are supporting Jeff Johnson and, after some research, I will say that he also seems to be a worthy candidate for the position. My searches for information on Mr. Dubetz haven't turned up any substantive information.
The other race i'm watching this weekend is in Lethbridge West. With Clint Dunford stepping down at the end of this term, Justin (JC) Penny and Greg Weadick are lined up to compete for the nomination. My support is 110% with JC.
JC is the kind of person we need more of in the Legislature. As another member of the under-40 crowd, he brings a much-needed perspective that has been lacking in Edmonton. He's a former student leader who understands what post-secondary students are facing today (and, more importantly, that there are institutions OUTSIDE Edmonton and Calgary). He has experience working on behalf of Albertans in Ottawa as a Senatorial Assistant. He's a committed member of our party who is well known beyond his hometown in Southern Alberta. Most importantly, he's just a damn good person who listens carefully and has a passion for helping people. If that doesn't qualify you to be an MLA, I don't know what does.
Between now and Saturday i'm going to do some digging and try and find out about some of the folks running in the other races this weekend. If you've got any info you'd like to send along, its always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before I go, a couple items from the federal world:
-I have long been supportive of more "Blake" in conservative politics in Alberta. With that in mind, I was pleased to hear about Blake Richards, the man who will be filling Myron Thompson's shoes as the Conservative candidate in the federal riding of Wild Rose. I don't know the man, but he certainly seems to be an excellent candidate.
-Three cheers to Justice Minister Rob Nicholson for introducing measures to crack down on drugs and the despicable thugs who sell them. Naturally, this is going over like a lead balloon in parts of British Columbia (including the one in which I live). What the spineless drug-addict apologists fail to understand is that we need MORE prosecution of drug pushers, not less.
Reading this article, I was appalled to find that fewer than 1 in 7 criminals who are charged with growing pot ever see a prison. I have to pass by the results of a lax attitude towards illegal drugs every day and am continually baffled that there are so many leaders in BC communities who want to make these drugs even more available.
Its enough to drive a guy who still has some common sense right out of the province...