Clearly hoping to get his restive and factionalized backbenchers into line, Premier Ed Stelmach today fired Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Guy Boutilier out of the Conservative caucus.
The CBC reported today that Mr. Boutilier was “asked to leave” the caucus Friday evening after discussing his complaints with Premier Stelmach. For his disobedience, Mr. Boutilier was also skidded from his post on the Alberta Treasury Board. Liberal blogger Dave Cournoyer reports the deed was done over the phone, and adds interesting details.
“It was clear to the premier that the MLA is not prepared to support government policy,” the premier’s spokesman, former Edmonton Sun publisher Paul Stanway, told the national public broadcaster.
As noted earlier in this blog, Mr. Boutilier’s frank comments about how his boss is doing his job is another sign that, despite its massive majority, all is not well aboard HMS Stelmach.
Arguably, being tossed out of the Conservative caucus does not bode well for Mr. Boutilier’s political future in Alberta. His removal from Treasury Board will reduce his paycheque a little.
However, the Fort Mac MLA with a reputation as a caucus maverick is mad enough at Mr. Stelmach (at right) that he doesn’t much seem to care.
Since the premier can throw him out of caucus, but only voters can fire him as their MLA, Mr. Boutilier still has options. He could sit as an independent, join one of the Opposition parties (unlikely), or grovel and eventually be readmitted to the Conservative fold. He could complete his term and retire well, thanks to the generosity of the Alberta taxpayer.
Or, intriguingly, perhaps he could become the Wildrose Alliance representative in the House. …