Sorry to be so late with this … was busy with the federal election … Alberta Party candidates announced!

These bloodhounds had no luck searching for signs of Alberta Party leadership candidates. There were just too many false federal trails. Below: Glenn Taylor, Tammy Maloney, Lee Easton and Randy Royer.

Uh, the Alberta Party leadership race… there are no big names … not even Dave Taylor’s.

Whatever you thought was going to happen, whoever you thought might be about to run, the fledgling Alberta Party has now announced its official list of leadership candidates and there are no big names. Nada.

If there is any news other than the obvious associated with this development, it is only that one of the previously declared candidates has dropped out – energy sector consultant Chris Tesarski announced in a blog post that he was gonzo because of a policy disagreement with the party’s establishment, such as it is. However, he noted, his struggle to lose 50 pounds will continue.

In addition, there’s no sign on the list of official candidates, for which nominations closed at noon on Monday, of the party’s sole MLA in the Legislature, former Liberal and Independent Dave Taylor. Presumably that’s news of a negative sort too.

There’s also no sign of Chima Nkemdirim, the Calgary lawyer who once enjoyed a relatively high profile as Alberta Party president and spokesman. He is now working in the office of Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. One wonders if this suggests the party’s previous prime movers are losing interest.

Acting Leader Sue Huff is prevented by the party’s constitution from running.

The four candidates who remain in the race are:

  • Hinton Mayor Glenn Taylor, an ambitious former New Democrat who is the closest thing the party has to a high-profile candidate.
  • Tammy Maloney, who has worked for a number of charitable organizations in various parts of the world.
  • Lee Easton, a Mount Royal College English instructor and faculty association activist who identifies himself as a “passionate comic book geek.”
  • Randy Royer, a service industry executive with an interest in ending religious strife.

All of these are fine, sincere people. Only Mr. Taylor, however, seems at first glance like the kind of politician who actually might have the chops to make a go of it in the rough and tumble world of the Legislature. None of them, including Mr. Taylor, have much profile with Albertans.

Now, if the middle of a hotly contested and news intensive federal election campaign seems to you like an odd moment to make this announcement, well, it does to most observers.

The party’s leadership convention will take place in Edmonton on May 28 – less than a month after the federal election when the media will either still be full of scuttlebutt on new cabinet ministers or, even more exciting, a historic Parliamentary bun-fight over who will form the next government of Canada.

Such timing certainly does the Alberta Party no good in terms of generating publicity – which would seem to be a necessity for a political entity that is flying below the radar as far as most rank-and-file Alberta voters are concerned, although it has a relatively high profile in the blogosphere and among the Twittering classes.

Then again, in its most recent incarnation, the Alberta Party has rarely done things by the political book – as more than a year of trying to define its likely policy direction through a series of kitchen kaffeeklatches termed “the Big Listen” clearly illustrates.

Moreover, in defence of the new party, its timetable is driven to some extent by the timing of the Alberta provincial Progressive Conservative leadership race, which is already well under way with plenty of very high-profile candidates.

At least this is true if they really intend to run a full slate of candidates in the next provincial general election – which is likely to happen swiftly once the governing Conservatives have chosen a leader.

All this said, Albertans are still awaiting some sign that the Alberta Party intends to do something that will show it is prepared to do the nitty-gritty political work that no party can succeed without doing. There’s precious little evidence of it in this announcement.

The party’s ill-timed announcement of its official candidates suggests that the next really important date in its development will be the leadership vote – that is, the one planned by the Alberta Liberals after the Legislative session ends.

If the Liberal Party picks an effective leader, it is said here, that will be the end of the Alberta Party. If it does not, the Alberta Party and its new leader may get an unexpected lease on life as disillusioned Alberta Liberals look for a place to park their votes until they decide what to do next.

This post also appears on rabble.ca.

4 Comments on "Sorry to be so late with this … was busy with the federal election … Alberta Party candidates announced!"

  1. Edwin Mundt says:

    The Alberta Party is choosing leadership on their own timetable. It was in the plans before the other party leadership announcements.

    And yes, fine and sincere people are running. Is that an issue?

    Oh, and Chima is living large with the Alberta Party. Full steam ahead.

  2. Edwin Mundt says:

    Mind you, nothing against Brian Mason the bus driver. I'm sure he's fine and sincere as a person.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Very disapointed with the Alberta Party. The first couple of years for a new political organization must ofcus entirely on branding. Afterall that is why parties have more electoral power and sway than individual candidates.
    The first Leader must create that brand and be that brand. Preston Manning, Danielle Smith, Rene Levesque are examples of Party leaders that used there own personal attributes to craft a paty brand.
    None of the mentioned leadership candidates have the acumen to get the Alberta party to the next level. Look for them to fold within the net few years.

  4. Edwin Mundt says:

    Okay then, so then the Alberta Party has a "name" leader like, let's say, Raj Sherman or Dave Taylor. Then they're labelled a Cult of Personality.

    I think they're fielding a pretty good slate. A professor and former credit union executive, a business analyst and youth worker, a small town mayor and industrial safety executive, and a hotelier.

    Up against a farmer and rural municipality reeve, a former junior Calgary Herald editorialist and think tank researcher, a bus driver and a doctor turned administrator.

    Even adding the newest pile of candidates from other parties, the Alberta Party roster stacks up as comparable.

    Being well-known can be a detriment. That's why voters toss governments out.

    Bring it on.

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