Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Byelection upset condemns policies of Alberta Tories, Liberals

Even though this is primarily a right wing victory it at least shows people can move out of the rut of the Tweedle Dee Tweedle Dum old parties. As the article notes there are some on the left dissatisfied too especially with what is happening at Alberta Health.
The Super Board gets super pay and has super power and consolidation has no doubt fanned the fires of local discontent. This will bolster support for the Wild Rose Alliance. Of course maybe I am wrong, maybe it is just some of the old Tory elite jumping ship and punishing the Tories because they do not like Stelmach and bringing the sheep along with them.

Byelection upset condemns policies of Alberta Tories, Liberals

By Don Braid, Calgary HeraldSeptember 15, 2009 6:55 AM

CALGARY - The Liberals wanted Wildrose Alliance candidate Paul Hinman to do well in Calgary-Glenmore --but not this well.
Hinman didn't just shave a few points off the Tory vote, he robbed it blind, winning the byelection and dumping Tory Diane Colley-Urquhart deep into third place.
It was a shocking defeat for the Tories, who counted on Colley-Urquhart's solid name as a city alderman to offset public unease with the government and Premier Ed Stelmach.
Colley-Urquhart kept her distance from the premier throughout the campaign, hoping to impress the voters with her independence.
It didn't work, for her or Stelmach. In fact, it was a fiasco.
Any connection with the premier now looks like trouble in the city. Colley-Urquhart goes back to city council a severely discredited alderman.
The Liberals, after winning a steady 30 per cent of the Glenmore vote over several elections, never imagined any alternative to the Tories but themselves.
But Avalon Roberts--a tough and determined candidate-- couldn't pull it off on her third try.
Like Colley-Urquhart, she fell victim to the first major sign of a right-wing backlash in Alberta.
Byelections rarely portend general trouble for the Tories, but this is the one result that could seriously jolt them.
Hinman's victory
shows the political danger of Stelmach's free-spending policy during the recession.
With the deficit set to hit $6.9 billion, even as the government begins serious cuts, the Tories now face discontent from both the left and right.
Hinman becomes a rarity in Alberta politics, an MLA elected to serve in more than one riding.
He had held Cardston-Taber-Warner before being beaten by the Tories in 2008.
His win strengthens the Alliance enormously just as it's on the verge of picking a new leader.
Stelmach's Tories will be tempted to see the result as just more rabble-rousing from the city that lost its homebody premier when the party dumped Ralph Klein.
That would be a mistake. Hinman ran a smart,
aggressive campaign and hit the public mood bang-on with his slogan; send a message to Ed Stelmach.
And there could be another threat to the premier --from inside his own party.
The Alliance victory increases the chance of a subsantial negative vote in a mandatory leadership review at the party's annual convention in November.
For the Liberals, the loss is a serious slap at party Leader David Swann, who had virtually no impact on a campaign in his own city.
The devastating truth for the Liberals and Tories is that they lost to the only party with no leader at all.
Hinman was surely helped by bad news on fronts like health care. And there's more to come.
Wednesday will bring a major announcement from the Alberta Health Services Board about "re-distribution" of hospital beds.
What this involves, according to sources, is shifts in bed use that will eventually provide more long-term care beds.
In this process, some acute care beds will be lost --a move sure to spark outrage.
The bed shuffling will take place in at least two stages with most benefits coming later, the sources say.
The measures aren't about cost-saving, the sources say. But they're sure to be portrayed that way by the unions.
All this means more discontent with the Tories.
And now, every step they take has to be measured against hostility from both the left and the right.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

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