Well here we go, Alberta.
The plan is laid out. The signs are printed. The writ is dropped.
Over the next 28 days we'll be hearing a lot about competing visions of the province. We'll also be learning about the men and women who wish to represent us in the Alberta Legislature.
As one of the millions of citizen journalists in the blogosphere, I will do my best to keep on top of it all and offer comment from my admittedly partisan point of view. I suppose that makes me more of a citizen columnist, but I digress.
I am in a unique position during this campaign in that I'm in the process of moving back to Alberta. As such, the frequency of my postings may not be quite up to par for election junkies. I apologize in advance, but an apartment full of stuff doesn't move itself across the rockies.
Thankfully, there are many outlets of both the mainstream and non-mainstream variety. I think you would be remiss if you didn't make Daveberta, Ken Chapman, and the Enlightened Savage a part of your regular election reads. I suspect that even our old friend the Calgary Grit will have things to say from his new post in Toronto.
The mainstream media also have their election websites up and running. The Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal will likely be sharing much of the same coverage. Breaking political news, although not very indepth, will also be found coming from Alberta's two main news radio stations QR77 in Calgary and 630 CHED in Edmonton. Some of the best election coverage will likely be found on CBC's Alberta Votes page. Still, its important to take everything we read with a grain of salt. In addition to keeping our political opponents accountable, we bloggers should also keep an eye on the mainstream media.
And the CBC, bless them, have done an excellent job outlining the horrendous start of Kevin Taft's Liberal campaign... its already a two-part item in the Reporters' Notebook section (1 here, 2 here). In it, John Archer does a masterful job of describing the gaffes... I highly recommend reading it.
Fellow CBC reporter Kim Trynacity tries to do some dirty work for the Liberals with thinly veiled (and unverified) shots at two PC incumbents in Edmonton coming from their Liberal opponents.
"Speaking of Edmonton's male Tory incumbents, two female candidates running against them have passed on some unsolicited stories to me. They told me how the men approached them and suggested: "This is not your time [in politics]." The men added that the women's time might be better spent at home with their school-aged children."
Now there are only 3 Tory incumbents in Edmonton. The two of them that have female opponents are Gene Zwozdesky and Dave Hancock. Kim suggests that they're both making these accusations against their Tory opponents.
Gene Zwozdesky is used to Liberal trickery in his Edmonton Mill Creek campaigns. Remember that during the 2001 election, his opponent Bharat Agnihotri (now running for reelection in Edmonton Ellerslie) had Global TV news crew follow him around to document a reported wave of change in the riding. After visiting several homes, Global found out that they weren't random houses at all but documented Liberal supporters and caught him in the act.
As for the other accusee, I'd like to see Nancy Cavanaugh come out in public and say that Dave Hancock made these sexist remarks. Its almost as ridiculous as when Liberal MLA Hugh MacDonald accused then-MLA Drew Hutton, whose wife and children are Jewish, of spreading anti-Semitic hate literature in the Legislature.
Either way, the battle lines are already being clearly drawn.
On one hand we see a clear plan with a positive message being promoted by Premier Stelmach and the PC Party.
On the other we see disorganization, negative messaging (essentially calling the voters stupid), and gutter politics from the shadows coming from Kevin Taft and the Liberals.
Change is fine, but I'll be opting for change that works for Albertans.