Sunday, November 26, 2006
EDMONTON - The Alberta Report's lessons on the virtues of committed grassroots membership can not go unheeded in light of early returns from the Tory leadership contest in Alberta.
Dinning's machine will stage no conquest this night; Oberg's uprising will go no further.
However, Ted Morton's metric-hating, frenchmen-baiting, churchy bake-sale-making reformers are committed. It could be minus a million and one. These people will line up.
Steady Ed Stelmach may be the compromise candidate. The charge that Stelmach is soft on urban issues is not likely to stick - don't forget who were the kingmakers last time out; they didn't boast postal codes from Edmonton or Calgary.
As for Dinning, his big blue machine was great for speed, but how is it for stamina and longevity?
This Alberta Insider would love to be able to predict a Ted Morton victory. After all, I've got $20 riding on a Jim Dinning second-ballot loss (to Morton or Stelmach). But given the intrinsically democratic nature of the Alberta Report, I won't be allowed to do so.
I will say this, however. The Fletcher Kents of this world who laud this process as an achievement for democracy in Alberta are sorely mistaken. A hundred thousand voters does not a democracy make, and no matter how many disillusioned lefties join the PCs, this big tent isn't big enough. Stick with your own party, folks, this is the Conservatives. Don't like it? Perhaps Ted Morton will buy another round of one-way Greyhound tickets to the left-coast, just for you. Enjoy.