This Week in Alberta

Admittedly, it’s only slightly more interesting than the Ontario NDP leadership race to most people. But, for Liberals in Alberta, it’s where the action will be this fall. I’ve decided the best way to cover the race is with weekly updates, so welcome to your very first Friday edition of “This Week in Alberta”.

Swann Dives Into The Race: David Swann has declared his intentions to run for ALP leadership, setting up the biggest David versus David showdown since the American Idol finale. Swann is staking out the anti-establishment terrain, musing about drastic changes to the ALP, and Alberta politics:

“We’ve got to change the way we make decisions — it is a middle-age, white male organization,” said Swann [ed note: aged 58, white, and male], adding the party needs to be more inclusive by reaching out to youth and minorities. He also said ditching the name Liberal from party banners must be on the table.

Swann is kind of the Ted Morton of the left, drawing huge amounts of support from environmentalists, activists, and Green/NDP types. His candidacy will bring a lot of new people into the party and he’s a force to be reckoned with in a one-member-one-vote leadership contest.

The other David responded by sending out a press release yesterday in an attempt to define the clash as a centre/left fight:

I’ve come out and argued that we need to align ourselves firmly in the center. I want to position the Party as business friendly and as a subject of conversation at the local coffee shop. David Swann meanwhile has been attractive to those on the left of the political spectrum. So it should allow people a clear indication of which path each of us would take the Party down. Liberals will have a choice of continuing to fight for the left or making a stand for the center.

Tayl-Air Takes Off: Dave Taylor has taken off for a cross-Alberta tour, and let me say it’s a smart thing to do. In a one member one vote leadership, there’s hardly anything to be gained from spending time in rural Alberta but, in the long run, the Liberals need to be seen as a party that represents all Albertans.

Whoever winds up leading the ALP/party-to-be-named-later should announce that they’re tearing up the party platform and going on a cross-province tour to listen to Albertans. It’s all optics, but optics are important.

The Third Stooge Speaks: Mo’s website has been re-done and now contains priorities and a platform.

Blakeman Bows Out: Laurie Blakeman, citing fundraising difficulties (Laurie gets full marks for honesty), has decided to take a pass at the ALP leadership. Hugh MacDonald and Rick Miller remain possibilities from Edmonton but, barring a wild card entry, this one may very well be a three man race.

In Springfield, Alberta: Mutant Fish!

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in 2011 ALP leadership race

About CalgaryGrit

A former Calgary Liberal, now living in Toronto. My writings on politics can be found at www.calgarygrit.ca and online at the National Post.

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