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Friday, September 25, 2009

Alberta PC MLAs ready to jump ship for Smith-led Wildrose Alliance?

Apparently, that's the rumour currently circulating around the provincial capital. The Edmonton Journal's Trish Audette reports:

Paul McLoughlin, a veteran in the halls of the Alberta Legislature Press Gallery, knows what's going on.

Every week, Capital Notebook HQ receives a copy of his newsletter, Alberta Scan, and we frankly celebrate his insight. Now, you can't find Scan online because it's subscription-only. But I can tell you you have to track down today's copy and give it a read. McLoughlin is reporting as many as 10 Tory MLAs could join the Wildrose Alliance Party if Danielle Smith takes the reins. That's a big shake-up that could place the Wildrose Alliance as the new Official Opposition. McLoughlin attributes his information to credible sources.

Mark your calendars for Oct. 17, the date of the Wildrose Alliance leadership convention, when members will select Smith or Mark Dyrholm.

This is getting awfully interesting.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on September 25, 2009 in Canadian Provincial Politics | Permalink


I do not doubt this story.

Both Mark and Danielle are attracting large amounts of Tory money and an incredible amount of Tory MLA's

We can be certain this party will be well led with either one of them leading.

Posted by: Craig B. Chandler | 2009-09-25 11:06:52 AM

McLoughlin is reporting as many as 10 Tory MLAs could join the Wildrose Alliance Party if Danielle Smith takes the reins.

Where does it say Mark ???

Posted by: waiting to see | 2009-09-25 11:26:38 AM

this would be a great thing for all true conservatives in Alberta, I just hope those that may jump do not poison the WAP with "liberal" type policies that have destroyed the conservative (in name only) party of Alberta

Posted by: JohnnieOil | 2009-09-25 11:34:21 AM

That's what people said in 2004, too. Gary Masyk was the only one who actually did - mostly in protest of the boundary changes in his constituency. Only one other MLA actually talked about it and after doing all of the research, decided not to do so. Supposedly there were also MP's that were jumping aboard and in following up with a few of them, that very clearly wasn't the case.

Danielle may well end up leading the party but I would be surprised if MLA's starting jumping the PC ship before watching her in the leadership role for at least a good six months.

She would be a new and untested leader with no seat in the house and a huge job to move the party forward.

Sure - there are principled conservative MLA's out there who are upset with the PC's - but these decisions will affect their livelihood. They are not going to make them quickly, lightly or without evidence that the party is going to be successful. No matter how much muscle she has with her kitchen cabinet, no one is going to jump ship only because she becomes the leader.

Posted by: libertybelle | 2009-09-25 1:30:49 PM

Craig Chandler never saw a set of coat tails he did not wish to ride.

I think Craig Chandler knows the Chandler Dyrholm campaign peaked long ago, that Danielle is very, very close to closing the membership sales gap, and that this kind of credible news is the death knell of his ambitions.

Posted by: John Collison | 2009-09-25 2:14:30 PM

The main consideration, however, is WHICH PCs are ready to jump?

It may not be good for the party if they are simply rats, suddenly professing small-c conservative values, looking to escape not only Stelmach, but their own responsibility for the mess the province is in.

Too many Tories on board could sink the party, as people might see it becoming simply another Tory faction...

Posted by: John Collison | 2009-09-25 2:16:20 PM

Both Mark and Danielle are attracting large amounts of Tory money and an incredible amount of Tory MLA's
Posted by:Craig B. Chandler | 2009-09-25 11:06:52 AM

By Tory money you really mean oil money. Looks to me like the oil companies own the Wildrose Alliance lock, stock and barrel. Who ever wins will be taking their orders from Dallas.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-09-25 2:51:03 PM

Energy is important to Alberta but is not all of Alberta. Whoever wins will clearly be run by Dallas as the Stig said - hardly someone we want in government.

Posted by: The Bide | 2009-09-25 3:05:21 PM

Yes, you guys are right.

Clearly since the oilpatch has taken a turn south Alberta has been much better off. Better to run them all out of the province. Saskatchewan is already just about ruined.

Oh wait.......

Posted by: Q | 2009-09-25 3:14:48 PM

Danielle Smith, with her foundational belief in Property Rights, has as much, or more, support from ranchers, farmers and other land ownners as she does from Oil, Big or otherwise.

The Chandler Dyrholm campaign may be another story altogether, but it will be very tough to paint Danielle Smith as a stooge for any industry, despite her goal of restoring oil as a viable enterprise in Alberta...

Posted by: John Collison | 2009-09-25 3:22:02 PM

You may recall, from the Calgary debates, that is was the Chandler Dyrholm candidate, Mark, who said he would "incentivize" Big Oil... Danielle made no such pandering pledge....

Posted by: John Collison | 2009-09-25 3:23:34 PM

The writing should be clear to see for any of the current PC MLA's that if they don't follow like sheep the the slaughter they are kicked out.

Even if this means to represent your riding, something politicians have forgotten, that the voters are starting to wake up from, this nightmare of dictatorship representations by MLA's and MP's.

The Calgary by-election was a loud and clear statement by the numbers, not that didn't show up, but changed their vote to a WAP member. So it's no wonder those 10 are starting to see the sinking ship they are sailing in.

Posted by: Richard F. Guyon | 2009-09-25 6:26:52 PM

I hope that Danielle Smith wins the Leadership of the Wild Rose Party. Danielle Smith's idea's are the only one's of the leaders that seem palpable. It is time that there is a true conservative party even in one region of Canada. I mean one that is fiscally conservative and will not use the hammer of the state to enforce their views.

Posted by: Doug Gilchrist | 2009-09-25 6:58:52 PM

This is a fascinating time in AB politics as we watch a potential changing of the political guard. Whatever happens over the next while though, the best situation that AB could end up with is diversity - parties of all striped being represented in the Legislature. A healthy democracy is one that represents all views on the right and on the left.

Posted by: Craig | 2009-09-25 10:08:43 PM

It could spread across Canada. Its happened before. Maybe this time the conservatives won't re-merge with the PC Party. This time just wipe out the PCP for good.

Posted by: GeronL | 2009-09-26 1:55:41 AM

Dallas isn't the player it used to be.

Alberta's population in 2009 is around 3.5 million. Without oil and gas, the (employed) population would be around 2 million. Talk all you want about the diversity of Alberta's economy, but most of Canada is relying on Alberta's oilpatch for their standard of living.

If the Wildrose party is going to be thrown together with a bunch of turncoat, opportunistic conservatives, I doubt they'll elect many members. If they take the high road, and wait for an election to switch parties, maybe they'll have a good showing.

Posted by: dp | 2009-09-26 7:04:22 AM

Collision proves the earlier point. Smith is too ideological to be elected.

Posted by: C B | 2009-09-26 11:19:01 AM

@ C B:

I am fairly certain I have not proven any point you are trying to make.

While "ideology" has become a dirty word for aimless, opportunistic, brain dead politicians and their serfs, it really only refers to a coherent, consistent set of beliefs.

It is the ABSENCE of any ideology other than social dumbocracy and power mongering that has seen the PC's run Alberta into the ditch.

And as far as "ideological" goes, Danielle Smith does not quite qualify there, either: while she brings a set of rational, coherent, consistent, well thought out public policy ideas to the table her over arching philosophy is one of Live and Let Live -- the very thing that made Alberta great in the first place.

Posted by: John Collison | 2009-09-26 7:35:13 PM

I would like just one person in Dainielle's camp to tell me if she would de-fund abortion if she became Premier?
I asked the Q at the Calgary forum and she ignored it. Its a simple Q really and I would like an answer.

Posted by: Merle Terlesky | 2009-09-27 12:07:37 AM


As you really ought to know, Danielle has consistently said, and long before she entered politics, that abortion should be DEFUNDED in Alberta. As premier, she would do exactly that.

Posted by: John Collison | 2009-09-27 12:27:28 AM

Why can't the Wildrose Alliance just be fiscal conservatives and leave issues like abortion and gay marriage alone?

Try to cram social conservatism down the electorate's throat and you won't win...not even in Alberta.

Posted by: Derek | 2009-09-27 1:21:28 PM

How do lawmakers just leave these issues alone?

Posted by: dp | 2009-09-27 2:34:41 PM

@ dp, Derek: Lawmakers CAN leave so-called "socon" issues alone by getting out of the marriage and abortion businesses. If Danielle Smith becomes leader of WRA, abortion will be defunded in Alberta once she is premier.

Posted by: John Collison | 2009-09-27 3:02:47 PM


I think you are misrepresenting Danielle's position. As I heard it she said she would raise the issue of defunding abortion to a referendum if it continued to be a large concern to anyone but the most social conservatives.

I don't beleive Albertan's as a whole would support such a move, and Danielle is not interested in legislating morality.

Posted by: Q | 2009-09-28 12:16:14 PM

Where did the the number 10 come from? Danielle Smith had the same number in mind at least three months ago:

There are about 10 Tory MLAs in total who are genuinely conservative and would fit right in with the Wildrose Alliance. As Wildrose gets stronger, I'm sure some of them will be seriously considering crossing the floor or running for our party in the next election. As a side note, it's pretty sad that only 10 out of 71 Progressive Conservatives can actually be called conservative. That's why we need a new centre-right party.

This Danielle Smith quote was posted by the same Trish Audette in her Jun 18, 2009 post, "getting to know the Wildrose Alliance candidates...," on the Capital Notebook blog.

Posted by: Vegard McFadzean | 2009-10-01 5:47:40 PM

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