April 30, 2010


Why did the chicken cancel the election?

Press release from the Government of Alberta:

Alberta continues to lead on Legislature reform

Province extends terms of existing MLAs

The Government of Alberta is extending the existing terms of Alberta’s Members of the Legislative Assembly until March 3, 2016 or an earlier time as provided under the Elections Act. The five-year terms were originally scheduled to expire in March 2013.

"The decision to extend the terms of our MLAs allows for and reaffirms the democratic will of Albertans who voted for them," said Premier Ed Stelmach. "Our province has shown leadership in holding elections and continually advocated that the will of the people must be reflected in the Legislature."

Ha ha. I'm just kidding, of course. No government would ever be so arrogant as to claim that canceling a planned election was actually an advancement of democracy... Wait, what?

Alberta continues to lead on Senate reform

Province extends terms of existing senators-in-waiting

The Government of Alberta is extending the existing terms of Alberta’s senators-in-waiting until December 2, 2013 or an earlier time as provided under the Senatorial Selection Act. The six-year terms were originally scheduled to expire this December.

"The decision to extend the terms of our senators-in-waiting allows for and reaffirms the democratic will of Albertans who voted for them," said Premier Ed Stelmach. "Our province has shown leadership in holding Senate elections and continually advocated that the will of the people must be reflected in the Senate."


So what brought this on? I think it's safe to say that Stelmach looked at the polls, saw that there was was a very real chance that his PC Senate candidates (assuming he could find any willing to run under that banner) would get trounced by the Wildrose, and decided that the damage he'd take from losing the Senate race would be greater that the fallout from killing the election altogether.

So the question is: Are we going to let him get away with it?

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August 23, 2007


Dogs know what to do with (media reporting on) polls: Alberta edition

There's been some media coverage of a recent poll by Cameron Strategy (anyone heard of these guys before?) which has the Stelmach-led PCs falling to 32% support, down from 54% seven months ago. According to Daveberta, the full results (with January number in parenthesis) are:

PC – 32% (54%)
Liberal – 16% (16%)
NDP – 11% (9%)
Alliance – 5% (3%)
Unsure/Won’t vote – 36% (18%)

Sound really bad for Stelmach... but wait a minute, this looks strangely familiar. Why, it's one of my favourite poll-torquing techniques: leaving in the undecideds, so as to drag down the apparent support for the party you're gunning for!

Here's the real support levels, for both August and January:

PC - 50% (66%)
Liberal - 25% (20%)
NDP - 17% (11%)
Alliance - 8% (4%)

So there's still a significant drop, but nowhere near as bad as it's being made out to be. In fact, Stelmach is slightly above what Klein got in the last election.

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January 15, 2007


You go, Ed

For some reason, I really enjoyed the end of this Edmonton Sun article, in particular the last line:
Dion also stopped at the legislature where he was kept waiting 20 minutes before meeting with Premier Ed Stelmach and Ted Morton, a former political science colleague he met years ago.

The new Liberal leader said he just wanted to pay Stelmach a courtesy call to congratulate him on winning the Tory leadership.

Stelmach declined to have his photo taken with Dion.

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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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November 25, 2006


Live leadership results

Dinning 29,470 (30.2%)
Morton 25,614 (26.2%)
Stelmach 14,967 (15.3%)
Oberg 11,638 (11.9%)
Hancock 7,595 (7.8%)
Norris 6,789 (6.9%)
Doerksen 873 (0.9%)
McPherson 744 (0.8%)
Total: 97,690

Dinning 24,688
Morton 22,796
Stelmach 13,948
Oberg 10,479
Hancock 6,970
Norris 5,960
Doerksen 816
McPherson 638
Total: 86,295

Dinning 20,837
Morton 18,897
Stelmach 11,523
Oberg 8,646
Hancock 6,387
Norris 5,324
Doerksen 764
McPherson 558

Dinning 13,659
Morton 10,781
Stelmach 9,241
Oberg 5,265
Norris 3,885
Hancock 3,595
Doerksen 579
McPherson 366

Dinning 10,281
Morton 8,364
Stelmach 5,747
Oberg 4,227
Norris 2,612
Hancock 2,269
Doerkson 526
McPherson 264

Dinning 5,545
Morton 4,406
Stelmach 3,193
Oberg 2,801
Norris 1,418
Hancock 1,324
Doerksen 144
McPherson 143

Dinning 2,724
Morton 2,573
Stelmach 1,689
Oberg 1,465
Norris 705
Hancock 496
Doerksen 97
McPherson 72

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