(All Photos by the Alberta Report)
EDMONTON - "Thank you all."
With those words an uncharacturistically succinct Honourable Ralph Klein ceded power to the incoming Premier. It was a study in contrasts: Old Klein and relatively new Ed Stelmach, the steady opposite of the former Premier.
The faithful held off the coronation a full hour waiting for the former preem to return from his Chateau Louis excursion. They were rewarded with just three words, "thank you all," the ultimate expression of ingratitude and sore-loserness, a la Klein.
Ed Stelmach and his blue-scarved throng crowed with the adoration due to their run-up-the-middle leadership candidate's run up the middle. Even a long time staffer had trouble articulating Ed's vision - "he's got integrity," she offered, as though "integrity" were some unknown, Venutian element as yet unwitnessed in Alberta politics.
Meanwhile, Klein perched on the arm of the formidable Colleen, while a long queue of lap-topped hacks filed stories into the ether of disinterested Alberta viewership. The stalwarts paced frantically; trying to inject excitement into a story that was, at best, a profoundly boring one.
Such was life at this evening's Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta leadership convention.
Everyone who was anyone was there. From the ink-stained wretch's corner, Dave Rutherford, Graham Thompson, Fletcher Kent, Tom Olsen, Linda Steele, Larry Johnsrude, Sudha Krishnan, Mark Lisaac, Darcy Henton, et al.
From the Liberals: Taft's chief of staff, Taft's caucus outreach coordinator, two other staff flunkies, and what looked like the blogger from Daveberta. Not to mention Taft himself, who looked flushed, aged, and opportunistic in his drive to press the flesh via his personally most unflattering medium, television. One has to wonder: Did he cast a ballot?
No Brian Mason this night, but an anonymous NDP cabal milled about near the cameras, oblivious to their compromising camera position (congrats on being Iris Evans' back-drop, folks).
In the oft chance that Taft did not cast a ballot, a young Jim Dinning supporter (and former student "leader" from the College students' advocacy group) freely admitted to voting twice this day, giving credence to the oft-mentioned creed: "vote early, vote often."
Another flack told our Alberta Report operative that: "Jim Dinning would be there for the next leadership review," presumably one resulting in a poor showing for Stelmach.
There was no such optimism amongst Morton supporters; the first to bolt for the door. Aside from a fervent passion for bible-study, these leather-clad neo-Calvinists have also fervently taken up the role of scorned lovers to the dull new Tory Dauphin. Will they congregate behind the Cardinal of Cardston-Taber? Time will tell.
Who else in the who's who: Dave Hancock, Mark Norris, Victor Doerksen, Gary McPherson, Lyle Oberg (pictured), Huong Pham, Ken Chapman, Gene Zwozdeksy, Iris Evans, former St. Albert player Mary O'Neill. Well, they were all there, prancing in anticipation of the new piper. But what tunes will Stelmach pipe? What tunes will the Tories tap to?
If it's nothing more than the old 4/4, the Tories are in trouble babe, cuz this shit sucks, and it is way past its due date.
- The Xtian Solder. Email me at email@example.com.
TRUE COLOURS: Former contender Oberg shows off the Stelmach scarf with MLA Huong Pham.