Metro column: Focusing on the individual, not the party

February 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Alberta, Metro Column, Politics 

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.

Calgary original: http://www.metronews.ca/calgary/local/article/769602–focusing-on-the-individual-not-the-party

Edmonton original: http://www.metronews.ca/edmonton/local/article/769602–focusing-on-the-individual-not-the-party

Who would you be proud to have as premier?

February 8, 2011 by · 11 Comments
Filed under: Alberta, Politics 

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.

Metro column: Griffiths right man at right time?

January 28, 2011 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Alberta, Metro Column 

It looks like Stelmach made the decision for us.

There’s no need for an election to make it happen. There will be a new premier by next year. And in the wake of Premier Stelmach’s resignation the long list of potential replacements is starting to pile up.

Ted Morton has to be the front-runner at this point — if not for the caucus budget brouhaha we’ve been reading about, then at least for the number of Wildrose Alliance members who could very well purchase a PC Party membership to install him as the next premier. (Consider this a hedging-your-bets play by more conservative-minded politicos.)

But behind the obvious choice of Morton, the pack starts getting very confusing. The other contenders may include Dave Hancock and Doug Horner, as well as “outsiders” Jim Dinning and Jim Prentice.

But it is 2011 now. The upcoming election campaign will be unlike any the Progressive Conservatives have faced in their 40-year run. It will take a different kind of leader to pull off another win over the upstart Wildrose Alliance and Alberta Party.

It’s going to be someone like Lindsay Blackett, Jonathan Denis, Thomas Lukaszuk, Alison Redford and their like who will have to lead the party forward. But sadly, the majority in this group have ended up in their seat by playing the “old” game well and don’t really represent a “new,” less partisan way forward.

The only man I can see in a position to be the right person at the right time is a little-known MLA from Hardisty: Doug Griffiths.

To begin with, he is Alberta. He fits in everywhere and everyone has an immense amount of respect for the man — north, south; rural, urban; conservative, liberal; the energy sector, farmers. He gets Alberta as a whole, and is the only person, regardless of party, who bridges all these traditional opposites.

Griffiths has tough decisions to make, too. The PCs have barely embraced him, let alone recognized him as the golden boy who could lead them into the next century by transcending the type of election every other party is going to run. Sources tell me that at this point, he’s just as likely to not run in 2012 and be closer to his young family, who will no doubt show him more appreciation.

The Alberta Party, which is entering into a leadership race of its own, sees Griffiths’s value.

Before Stelmach’s announcement, Griffiths was no doubt being pursued to run in the Alberta Party contest for the reasons I list and more.

I don’t want to put too fine a point on it, but the future of Alberta’s government could hinge on Griffiths’s decision. If he were to run, I think he would have a very good chance as a dark-horse candidate to put aside all the PC baggage others will inadvertently carry and win.

Because during leadership conventions the best candidate to lead the party into an election isn’t always the one who comes out on top (Stelmach?), I should stop short of saying Griffiths will be our next premier. But he would offer the Progressive Conservatives, and Albertans in general, a great choice.

Calgary Original: “Griffiths right man at right time?” http://www.metronews.ca/calgary/local/article/756489–dark-horse-griffiths-the-man-to-lead-tories
Edmonton Original: “Dark-horse Griffiths the man to lead Tories”  http://www.metronews.ca/edmonton/local/article/756489–dark-horse-griffiths-the-man-to-lead-tories