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Saturday, July 13 2024 @ 07:55 MDT

So we have a new premier.

Alberta PoliticsThis past weekend the members of the Alberta Progressive Conservatives elected a new leader. Since they're the party in power, Ed Stelmach will become premier. Of the three choices between Ted Morton, Jim Dinning and Ed Stelmach. Stelmach was probably the least offensive non-Calgary candidate. The fact that Stelmach wasn't from Calgary was probably a factor in the final ballot.

Of the final three candidates, only one wasn't from Calgary. Both Dinning and Morton are from Calgary and there's beginning to be a feel in the rest of the province that Calgary's getting too much voice in government. The irony here is that this is similar to the feeling Calgarians have towards Toronto. The arrogance of Calgary's MLA's and the oil companies that are based here has begun to leave a bad taste in the mouth of the rest of Alberta. This worked in Stelmach's favour in terms of second choices.

Now that's not the only thing that worked in Stelmach's favour. First and foremostly Jim Dinning, apart from being seen as the "Calgary candidate" was also seen as the corporate Calgary candidate as well as the candidate of the Tory establishment. Given that even long standing Tories want change in their party, this would work against Dinning. This is especially true in rural ridings where much of Morton's support was located and this translated into a large number of second choice votes for Stelmach.

The fact that, at least according to his website, Stelmach is more middle of the road than Morton probably helped Stelmach take second place when the first choices were counted. Though Morton resonates with many Albertans, his rhetoric is generally too far to the right for even members of the Alberta PC's and Stelmach made a good alternative to Dinning for these folks. How middle of the road Stelmach truly is remains to be seen of course. On the plus side, the oil companies are nervous since Dinning didn't win and are concerned that Stelmach may not let them have their way unfettered. Stelmach has promised a review of the royalty regime via a public commission. This would tend to make the back room deals the oil companies are used to a little more difficult to do. Of course Stelmach may decide to go back on this promise and cave in to the oil industry like every government since Lougheed.

More concerning for me are the rumors that Stelmach may adopt a firewall policy ala Morton. None of this is mentioned on his web site though and all other indications are that Stelmach is more of a conciliator than a confronter. So if he can stay off the firewall route, we should be ok.

An interesting, for me at least, side note about the leadership race is the folly that is Hung Pham. Now Pham, the infamous MIA-MLA, initially threw his support behind Lyle Olberg (possibly because Pham has a lot of skeletons buried out there) and then for the second ballot he through his support behind Morton. Now Pham claimed to have sold thousands of memberships. Now come voting day in his own riding of Calgary Montrose, Pham was really only able to deliver about 500 votes. Perhaps the party rule that you needed government issued ID as well as your membership card to vote slowed down the Pham machine. Either way, Pham appears to have been full of bluster. In any event it's also interesting that Pham would back Morton in the first place. Politics can be strange at times.

So we have a new premier. | 0 comments | Create New Account
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