Saturday, July 11, 2009

Leadership Race Highlights a Tory Schism in Alberta?

Last Thursday Kevin Libin wrote an article Wildrose party sets sights on Alberta conservatives that was published in the National Post. The author correctly points out that the party's leadership race has been attracting support from many federal Conservatives in the province. Even the Conservative Prime Minister's old mentor, Tom Flanagan, took out a Wildrose Alliance membership at the party's AGM last month. Unlike here in Edmonton, Premier Stelmach has never been very popular in Calgary even before the New Royalty Framework came into place. And the fact that it was supporters of Wildrose Alliance leadership candidates who clearly visible at the Stampede BBQ with the Prime Minister Harper, and not Stelmach's PC entourage, further emphasizes the Edmonton-area premier's unpopularity in Calgary.

The article cites a growing "Tory vs. Tory schism in the heartland of Canadian conservatism." However, there has always been a division between federal Conservatives who tend to be those who are more conservative and provincial Progressive Conservatives who tend to be much less so. The only reason this division has never been so visible until now is because there was no alternative provincial party that federal Conservatives could support. What's less known is the potential schisms between the Wildrose Leadership candidates themselves that the PC Party might try to exploit. There is already some evidence that Stelmach supporters may try to capitalize on his old rivalries by painting Danielle Smith as "the Jim Dinning of the Wildrose Alliance" and Mark Dyrholm as "the Ted Morton of the Wildrose Alliance".

I suggest reading Kevin Libin's article in its entirety. It's a great read: