Monday, June 6, 2011

Who Will Lead Alberta?

This is a critical time for Alberta.  With our voice finally being heard in Ottawa (and Canada's voice increasingly heard around the world), who will be Alberta's voice be after Premier Ed Stelmach retires?  "Steady Eddie" has been an admittedly ho-hum premier in the eyes of most Albertans, sort of a caretaker Premier.  His one big "error" - especially in the eyes of oil-patch reliant Calgarians - was to raise oil/gas royalties.  It happened at an inopportune time, coinciding with the global financial meltdown, and eventually the government was forced to modify (read "chuck") that legislation.  Our next leader needs to be more charismatic, to say the least.  The declared candidates thus far include two standouts in my view, Gary Mar, our current trade boss in Washington, and Rick Orman, the very competent and engaging one-time Energy Minister.  On the other hand, the most dangerous candidate is American fundagelical Ted Morton, whose major accomplishment to date has been to knife Eddie in the back.  There is a developing rift between northern (Edmonton) and southern (Calgary) tories that could make things interesting too.  The advantage may thus go to Doug Horner, the best candidate in the north.  What we really need to avoid - as the good conservatives we all are - is another split decision like 2006 when Morton and Jim Dinning cancelled each other out and allowed bronze medalist Stelmach to come up the middle and claim gold.  (Although I would argue anybody but Morton was - and will be again - a triumph for sanity.)  Hmm, should be interesting.  Well at least they all have the good sense to keep the leadership campaign quiet until after the Stanley Cup playoffs.