Everyone is quite shocked today to hear of Premier Ed Stelmach's pending resignation. I know I am. I actually admired his quiet, yet ruthless approach to politics, but as readers of my blog know, although he was my 2nd choice on the PC leadership ballot, it wasn't soon after, save a few good cabinet ministers, I stopped supporting this directionless, anti-fun, anti-libertarian government.
Now, with another PC leadership race to begin, who will the candidates be? And once he or she becomes premier, when will the election be? Ed said 2012 but indicated his successor is not bound by that. Will we then have to wait until 2013 as mandated by law?
Potential candidates (well, why not start the speculation?):
- Ted Morton (current finance minister) -- How many on his former team have jumped to the Wildrose Alliance? Will Wildrose folks buy memberships and support or stop him considering that he is strongly considering running against Wildrose leader Danielle Smith? If you ask me, a former Morton supporter, I'd probably stop him in his tracks. I have disliked his tenure as finance minister. So to begin, I'd like to mention that Ted was born in the U.S.
- Jim Dinning (former finance minister) -- As the dauphin from the last race which he lost the vote to Ed, would he give it another go? How many in the current PC party are supporting him? I'm also wondering if this is where the pressure on Ed to step down originated from... just like it happened when Ralph Klein got a lower than expected approval rating by his own party.
- Dave Hancock (current education minister) -- Well respected by the remaining 'progressive' side, would he siphon the potential Alberta Party supporters?
- Monte Solberg (former federal Conservative Party cabinet minister) -- Just throwing a name out there being that I told him face-to-face that he should run and he didn't balk. I know I'd be torn between the Wildrose and the PCs if Monte were in the game.
- Jim Prentice (former federal Conservative Party cabinet minister) -- After recently resigning as MP in Calgary, would he take a run provincially? I think this is less likely, but I've heard rumours.
In the new fledgling Alberta Party, could we have Dave Taylor, latest independent MLA and former Liberal leadership candidate running and winning that party's leadership? I also guess that Raj Sherman will join. Then, will the Liberal party then implode? If the next election isn't until 2013, that buys the the AP time to their advantage. Could they pull votes from the NDP as well?
Speaking of the NDP ... my guess is that this will be Brian Mason's last go of it and it's obvious that Rachel Notley will take the reigns from there. But will it be too late? Will all the 'progressives' from the Liberals and NDP support the Alberta Party (which has good momentum now)?
But let's ask, will the PCs implode? Not likely, but they were directionless before, so with a lame duck leader, will they care to make decisions at all? The PCs have lost MLAs to the Wildrose Alliance, so the question is will the Alberta Party draw PC votes as well? Even I considered supporting the Alberta Liberals if Dave Taylor won the leadership.
You see where I'm going with this? I think this all bodes well for Danielle Smith, whose party Ed directly attacked today.
With THREE viable parties on the centre-left, and a weak PC party, will they split the vote? You betcha!
Not too long ago, I predicted the Wildrose would get maybe 12-18 seats in a 2012 election.
That just doubled, at least.
That is if Wildrose and Alberta Party supporters play this smart, they should buy PC memberships and vote in droves for the least electable candidate.
Then it'll be a former media personality showdown between Danielle Smith vs. Dave Taylor. Now THAT combination would be an interesting debate.