What’s an election without a couple of predictions? And to avoid any of that “I said that would happen!”/”No you didn’t!” stuff I thought I’d write down a few of mine. (And instead revel in the multiple “Boy, was that guy way off!” that will no doubt come my way.) So here are my thoughts as we head into the final hour of the Alberta provincial election every news outlet has already deemed “historic”.
Let’s start with the questions everyone will ask:
- Who will win? My bet is the Wildrose Party.
- Majority or minority? Minority.
- Seat breakdown? Your guess is probably as good as mine, but I’ll go:
- Wildrose: 40 (currently 4)
- Progressive Conservative: 38 (currently 66)
- Liberal: 5 (currently 8 ) – Some of those retiring seats won’t be replaced, many will go PC.
- NDP: 3 (currently 2) – Brian and Rachel get a new co-worker. Who? Could be a few tight races in Edmonton, but I’ll guess David Eggen squeaks this one out finally.
- Alberta Party: 1 (currently 1 who’s retiring) – I’ve got high hopes for Hinton mayor and party leader Glenn Taylor, so I’m willing to take a flyer on him.
- Yes, that shows either the Liberals OR the NDP holding the balance of power. I dream of a raucous session as you can see.
- Voter turnout? 65% (2008 was 40%, an all time low).
Now more fun predictions:
- Who ever wins my riding of Calgary-Klein will form the government.
- Win or lose Danielle Smith will take a shot at the PCs and their 41 years in government saying something like “FINALLY!” or “I’m disappointed we weren’t able to end it… yet.”
- Alison Redford will be gracious, all the while looking like she’d like to stick the knife in the Wildrose and twist it. Win or lose.
- Ron Leech doesn’t get the chance to speak for anyone other than himself.
- Allan Hunsperger won’t “suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire”, AKA the Legislature, as voters accept he was born this way. But it will be close.
- Tomorrow there will be a government. (A stretch, but after this campaign you’d be forgiven if you thought the opposite.)
- It will take a looooonnnnnng time before final results are in and Twitter will be lit up with whiners wanting to go to bed.
- Speaking of Twitter: someone will make a dumb mistake and click on one of the dozens of spam #abvote tweets that looks like it’s coming from a sexy lady who happens to tweet every 18 seconds.
There’s a couple of my predictions. I’ll add more if I think of them, but please add yours in the comments below. I’d love to hear them!
I’m not a big fan of party politics. I could care less which party is in charge. I care more about who the people in government are and what kinds of decisions they make. [Note: This last sentence was cut from the printed version, but I thought it was important so I added it back in for my blog.]
With three leadership races going on at the provincial level there is an immense possibility for new leadership, some names are even being touted as leader for more than one party.
To that end I posted a poll on my blog to find out which individuals would make Albertans proud to have as premier; regardless of party affiliation. I invited readers to pick one of the recently rumoured candidates or to pick several — after all I doubt there is just one and one alone we’d be happy with and I suspect there might be one in more than one party.
I would never tout the results of my unscientific poll as looking anything like the possible outcome of an election, but there were some interesting outcomes which could indicate some emerging trends and give some food for thought.
First, the parties with established leaders in Brian Mason and Danielle Smith didn’t outpace as many of the potential candidates of other parties as I thought they would. This should indicate to the Progressive Conservatives and Alberta Party that at this point their eventual leaders are not as far behind in public consciousness as one might think.
The news is not as good for the Liberal party however. Of the rumoured candidates for its leadership, none of them made much of a blip. Kent Hehr did okay. It’s clear he would be the only current Liberal with a chance of righting their ship. Of course rumours also say he’s being wooed by the Alberta Party and the poll tells me he’d probably have more success there.
My informal poll also shows that the two front runners for the Progressive Conservative leadership are Doug Griffiths and Alison Redford. Their support is solid enough I would be shocked if either don’t run.
The numbers also illustrate many PC hopefuls such as Doug Horner and Jim Dinning would run in the middle of the pack and not make much of an impact in a general election. (Don’t forget this is what they said about Ed Stelmach too though.) However the vote for rumoured candidates Gene Zwozdesky, Gary Mar, Jonathan Denis and Ken Hughes was so abysmal I’m confident in saying unless they have a big game changer in their playbook that no one else has they should save themselves the time and embarrassment.
The big surprise in the poll however was a name I had heard rumoured six months ago but not lately, which I included on a whim. Chima Nkemdirim, someone I thought would have polled near the bottom instead was right at the top. Nkemdirim is Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s chief of staff. If he were to run, I’m confident he’d make a big splash with broad based support from all areas of the political spectrum.
I’m not a fan of party politics. Quite frankly I could care less which “party” is in charge. I care more about who the people in government are and what kinds of decisions they make. With three leadership races going on at the provincial level there is an immense possibility for new leadership, some names are even being touted as leader for more than one party.
To that end I wanted to post a poll here on the blog to find out who would make you proud to have as our premier. Regardless of party affiliation. So have at it. Pick one or pick several. Who do you think would do a good job?
If you’d like me to add more names to the poll, just leave them in the comments.
This one threw me for a loop, I must admit. I thought oil companies were supposed to be big bad evil organizations. Sure, I wouldn’t be surprised if Suncor, Shell, Petro-Canada, Devon Canada, ConocoPhillps and Husky were calling for a slow down in oilsands (pronounced “tarsands” if you are Brian Mason) just because they wanted less competition, but none-the-less I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt here and believe that it really is out of concern for the environment, the infrastructure of Wood Buffalo, or to give more clarity around the lands available etc. Besides, they actually seem to be very serious in their tone.
Given all this, here’s where I start to get confused: Are these evil oil companies really telling our government they aren’t doing enough in any of these areas? If so, what the hell is wrong with our government?! I thought Ed met with oil execs repeatedly during the royalty review. Didn’t the topic of oilsands development come up? I find that hard to believe. Did he really miss the boat that much on such an important issue?
I’m shocked, to say the least, that our own government appears to be the bad guy in all this. How did this happen?
Oh, I think I know now. Earlier today Ed Stelmach said, “Governments do not control the economy.” Well, Ed, um, actually they kinda do. That’s what the Bank of Canada is designed to do. And you know those budgets that you do every year? Those affect people and businesses and how they spend their money. Social programs and all that? Does this ring a bell? That’s pretty much “the economy” in a nutshell.
As if that wasn’t enough to prove our leader is out to lunch on this issue he followed up his answer to the question about these compaies requesting an oilsands development moratorium by bringing up the NEP. Again. *sigh* This pains me Ed. So for your benefit, I’ll try to make my position on bitching about the NEP very clear:
The NEP is old news! Get over it and please move on! The younger generation has. And it pisses us off every time a politician mentions it, or uses it as a crutch or excuse for sitting on their ass on any given issue.
This is important to know, Mr. Stlemach. This is the third time you have mentioned the NEP as an excuse for not doing something this election. So, here is fair warning: if you do it one more time I will not vote for you. And many others will probably feel similarly and follow suit.
Now, I think you should take a break from stumping to re-think your energy policies. It looks like they need some serious work…
Wooooooowwaaaaa… was that fun or what? Everybody loves a good shouting match. Dontcha? (Speaking of which, when are we ever going to find a debate format that allows for rebuttal but doesn’t involve mics being shut off and people talking over one another?)
Last night was the one and only (something we should apparently be thankful for) leadership debate of the 2008 Alberta Provincial election. Yesterday I offered my predictions for what would happen; today I get to gloat in how wrong I was. Actually, I was pretty close in my description but there were a few things I didn’t see coming.
Seems how education was a major topic last night I’ll offer up my opinions report card style with associated letter grades for each leader. (An A+ being reserved for a Barak Obama-esque net laid out to woo potential voters and the hearts of women everywhere.)
- Ed Stelmach didn’t suck. That was probably the biggest news story of the night coming out Edmonton. He was well poised and took his licks fairly well. And there were a lot of licks to take too. True, he was a little ridged and didn’t go off script at all – or seem to want to go off script really judging by his smartly staying out of arguments between Taft and Mason. He didn’t win it for the PC Party but he didn’t lose the election either. He offered some details of new plans but played it as the seasoned veteran. Based on expectations going in he probably deserves an A but the voting public doesn’t give out trophies for most improved player. Instead he gets a C+.
- Kevin Taft had a lot to lose in this debate and a lot to gain. He probably lost more than he gained. While we know Taft can be articulate last night he was off his game. He appeared more scattered in his thoughts than Stelmach and he surprisingly didn’t offer any details on any plan. This is not the way to poise yourself as the anti-Stelmach, boys and girls. While it looked like Stelmach spent a day and a half prepping for the debate to get things just right, it looked as though Taft didn’t do much prepping other than to get his suit dry-cleaned. The debate was there for Taft’s taking, he could have knocked Stelmach on his butt and become a front runner if he really, really tried. Instead he bickered too much and earns himself a C and another four years as leader of the opposition (if the Liberals will keep him as leader that long).
- Brian Mason pretty much behaved exactly as I predicted and was the most put together and articulate of the group. He attacked Stelmach and Taft just as I thought. What choice did he have I suppose? Still I would have rather seen him ignore Taft and offer solutions to each issue the Premier fuddled around. While it wasn’t enough to earn his party too many more seats, in my book he still earned a B for his performance in the debate.
- Paul Hinman’s performance could be considered a success right after the first question was asked to “Mr. Hinman” rather than to “that guy over there”. None the less he did a very good job staying on message (perhaps too good a job – I get it, I get it, you’ll bring “innovation”). While he was extremely short on details of what his party would do he did earn his right to be on the stage by holding his own and showing that if your politics swing to the right his party is a viable alternative. I suspect he managed to sway a number of voters, especially in rural areas, to change their vote. For that he earns a B+.
But who won the debate? That’s what everyone wants to know. Well, despite the fact I give Hinman the highest grade I don’t think anyone will argue he “won” the debate. Mason might come the closest to being the winner but I don’t think you gave give it to him either.
Well, who lost then? Certainly Stelmach could have, but the poor showing of Taft (is this a case of the tortoise and the hare?) has to take this title. It was his chance to show the province he is a better leader than Stelmach but he just didn’t do it.
More summaries of the debate are available via Alberta Election 2008, CBC’s Reporters Notebook, Alberta: Get Rich or Die Trying, albertatory, daveberta, Ken Chapman, Calgary Herald’s Pundits Corner, and The Enlightened Savage.