After a stellar showing at their AGM over the weekend, the Alberta Party officially announced Tuesday it would not be running a candidate in the Calgary-Lougheed by-election this Christmas season. A statement from the Party said they would instead abide by parliamentary tradition and allow three opposition leaders without a seat in the legislature, and the government, to duke it out while they prepared for a leadership race. While one UCP supporter claimed announcing the outcome of the by-election was a “foregone conclusion” was defeatist, does anyone really believe Jason Kenney picked Calgary-Lougheed because he might have to work for it? While this author took a stab at predicting who would step down for Kenney earlier this year, I missed the obvious benefit of removing the longest serving Calgary MLA, Dave Rodney; my bad.
|Photo Credit: Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press|
Referred to as a “stronghold”, incumbents have the best chance of re-election, especially those who have been re-elected three times. Naturally, if not an incumbent, the incumbent’s party leader. The NDP had to run a candidate because they are the government and it’s quite likely they held back from announcing the date of the by-election until they found someone who could be everything that Kenney wasn’t (and also take away some bragging rights from the AB Libs).
When fighting a social conservative college drop out who “served” his country by grandstanding on decades old belief systems, there’s few better to enter the ring than a happily married gay doctor. Dr. Phillip van der Merwe takes the edge on a single gay lawyer by having already made a lifetime commitment to another in the eyes of the law and of course God, who witnesses all marital unions. Oh, and the Alberta Green Party leader is running as well.
The Alberta Party can happily leave this definite hot mess alone. Kenney only has good old faith in traditional marriage, anti-carbon tax, anti-socialism, anti-compassion and a pie-in-the-sky promise that economic miracles will abound if he forms government in 2019. The NDP will run on policy, GSAs and the fact that the economy is getting better even without Jason Kenney’s magic conservative wand. David Khan will run on his anti-PAC advocacy and hope that Trudeau shows up to knock on a door or two. I imagine Kenney is hoping for the same since it seems he’d rather be facing off with Trudeau anyway.
While some are trying to set the narrative that the Alberta Party was either too weak or lonesome to run a candidate, UCP supporters on social media are obsessing about the Alberta Party and not the by-election. It would appear the Alberta Party doesn’t have to enter a by-election to take headlines or energy away from the UCP and it’s highly probable that annoys them more than anything else.