December 06, 2006



From a TV commercial I just saw for CBC Radio One:
Hear us at 99.1 FM or 1010 AM. The choice is yours.
Yes, you can now get the exact same content on two different stations! Isn't that the ultimate in "choice"?

I think this would qualify as a "mask slips" moment for the CBC brass...


December 04, 2006


Done like Dinning, part 2

So what does this result mean for the two losing contenders?

The way I see it, there are four possibilties as to what Jim Dinning will do:
  1. Run for office in the next election, and serve as a loyal and productive member of Ed Stelmach's cabinet. (C'mon, stop laughing. Let me finish.)
  2. Join the Liberal Party (provincial or federal).
  3. Use whatever's left of his support in the PC party to undermine Stelmach's leadership and try to force him out ASAP, so Jim can take another shot at it.
  4. Go back to the corporate world, never to be heard from again.

Number one is isn't very likely for two main reasons. For starters, this is Jim Dinning we're talking about. I think it's pretty obvious to all but his most die-hard supporters that Jim was in the race simply because he wanted to sit in the big chair, period. Secondly, even if Jim was willing to be just another member of the team, his history as Ralph Klein's finance minister and second-in-command would make this very difficult. Any cabinet job other than Finance would be an insulting demotion, and if he did get Finance again, everything he did would be (unflatteringly) compared with how he handled it in the 90's.

Options two is possible, but not for a few years at least. Option three is somewhat likely, and could be attempted whether or not Dinning runs for a seat in the Legislature.

Still, I think that number four is our best bet. Dinning's brand has just been too badly damaged by this loss. Not to push my favourite comparison again, but Paul Martin is considered a political loser today because he won a single minority government and then lost the follow-up election, instead of getting the massive 200 seat landslide he was expected to. Can you imagine how much more of a loser he'd be if he had ended up losing the 2003 leadership race to Sheila Copps? Well, that's essentially what Dinning did.

What about Ted Morton? His situation is quite different. Unlike Dinning, he's in the Alberta Conservatives because he has policy ideas that he wants to see implemented. This means that he will most likely be happy to serve in a Stelmach cabinet in a position where he can make a difference, and Ed would be wise to give Ted a prominent role in shaping the direction of his government. This is not just because it's good political manners to give your leadership rivals prominent placement, but because it's the best way to ensure a Stelmach victory in the next general election (more on that in a future post).

As a side note, I suspect that had Dinning won, he would have adopted the Paul Martin scorched-earch tactic towards his rival. Not only would he have left Morton out of Cabinet, he would have done everything possible to marginalize him within the party, up to and including sending in his minions to oust Morton at his next nomination meeting in Foothills-Rocky View.

PS- I apologize to Ed Stelmach if I inadvertently compared him to Sheila Copps. :)

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December 03, 2006


Done like Dinning

Congratulations, Premier Stelmach.

With Jim Dinning and Ed Stelmach virtually tied after the first count, it came down to the second choices of Ted Morton's supporters. It wasn't much of a contest. Over 60% of them picked Stelmach, with a paltry 10% going to Dinning. (Aren't you glad you spent the last week calling those voters a bunch of extremists, Jim?)

Ed finished with almost 78,000 votes and 58% of the final total.

So the best man didn't win... but neither did the worst man. Overall, I'm feeling surprisingly at peace with this result. I'll have some thoughts on what this means for the contenters and our province soon. For now, I'll leave you with the two best summaries of the results that I heard this evening:
"Better Ed than Red."

"Ted or Ed, it's the same expression on Rod Love's face."

Update: Listen to Jim's new theme song

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December 01, 2006


Who disrupts my coronation?

Jim Dinning isn't very happy about the threat to his quest for the Tory crown:
"It's been hijacked by issues."
Remind you of anyone?

To be fair, he goes on to say that these are "no doubt important issues, but not issues Albertans think about when they wake up every morning" and offers us "a buffet of the real issues." It's nice of you to decide for us what the "real issues" are, Jim.

I'm sorry if I sound overly snarky (and I'm even more sorry for causing you to read a Rick Bell column), but Dinning's patronizing attitude has really grated on me throughout this campaign. A little over a year ago, I asked him how he would deal with a government in Ottawa that was hostile to Alberta (not exactly a hypothetical question at the time). He responded that he wouldn't tell me, because "Vince Lombardi never revealed his playbook."

Wouldn't democracy be so much better if all politicians refused to release any platforms whatsoever, and we could just vote for them based on who had the fanciest web sites and nastiest attack ads?

It seems that Dinning has just received an endorsement of sorts from Anne McLellan. This shouldn't be a surprise; she probably sees Jim Dinning as the next best thing, what with his multitude of similarities to Mr. Dithers himself, as noted by the Globe and Mail:
Mr. Dinning, the former provincial treasurer who oversaw many of the cuts that defined the early years of the Klein government, has been widely described as Alberta's Paul Martin.
(Of course, they probably meant it as a compliment...)

You can sense the desperation in the Dinning camp this week, as they launch attacks on Ted Morton which are almost identical in style and content to the ones Martin ran against Stephen Harper. If that kind of scaremongering didn't work for the Liberals in the last federal election, what makes the Dinning campaign think it will work in a conservative leadership race in Alberta?

This is bad comedy.

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