Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Strategic Voting and What is Best for Alberta

I have come to the conclusion that Jim Dinning has run the best campaign and is a shoe-in for the second ballot. He has the best organization; the most money, the most MLA support, a group of professional campaigners working for him and a network of volunteers throughout the province.

He has campaigned for years and has proven experience and capabilities. He is obviously going to be on the second ballot. That is no surprise. The question now is who are the best candidates to share the second ballot with Jim for the sake of the PC party and the province?

If we want a medieval morality play Morton and Oberg would be on the second ballot with Dinning. The social conservatives would press their boys – the “good Doctors” - to promote the “family values” agenda. That agenda is anti-gay, anti-abortion and a pro-God fearing culture that is tough on crime and big on punishment despite proven ineffectivness. It is a society where the government is the stern father figure that we fear and merely feign respect. It is an agenda that wants to make Albertans as close to being Bush Republicans as they can possibly get us.

I say that the 35% undecided Albertans and soft PC supporters who have joined or intend to join so they can vote in the leadership campaign can forget about voting Jim Dinning – he has the second ballot status in the bag.

I also say they should not forget about Oberg and Morton, especially if they love freedom and choice and respect, and inclusion and diversity. If they value and desire a nurturing caring society with leaders who see themselve, not as sources and forces of power, but as servants of the public good.

To defeat Oberg and Morton and keep them off the second ballot I say vote Stelmach or Hancock on November 25th as the best way to do that.

Imagine the synergy of the talent, experience and skills of Dinning, Hancock and Stelmach as Alberta's three key politicians working together. Imagine how they could help design the preferred future for the province and guide and govern us in ways that will get us there.

I have Hancock as my preference for Premier but at the end of the day I could see the Progressive Conservative party brand survive with any one of Hancock, Stelmach or Dinning as leader and Premier. I could see the province thrive with the combined skills, energy and experience of all three of them working together under the PC political brand, regardless of which one ends up in the Premier’s office.

People have to understand what is at stake here and be prepred to engage. They must show up to elect a Progressive Conservative slate to the second ballot, and not allow, by benign neglect, a fundamentalist republican opposition on to the second ballot.

I do not want a Premier that is a dictatorial bully. I know Dr. Oberg to be just that and have had my opinions confirmed dozens of times by people who also have first hand experiences with him.

Nor do I want a fundamentalist religious agenda as the lens through which Alberta sets its social, economic and environmental policy. I fear that perspective would be the point of view of Dr. Morton because, in the end, he “has to dance with those who brung him.” Prime Minister Mulroney knew that dynamic all too well.

Dining has done it. He is a given to be on the second ballot. Now, if you are concerned about the future of the province and the viability of the PC Party, if you want enlightened government and informed intelligent change then Hancock and Stelmach are the best choices to join Dinning on the second ballot.

I encourage Albertans who are social progressives and fiscal conservatives, and that is the vast majority of us, to show up November 25 and vote for Hancock or Stelmach to be sure they are both on the second ballot with Dinning.

That is the best was to make sure the best man wins. More importantly that makes sure that Alberta wins too. With a choice between Hancock, Stelmach and Dinning on December 2nd, Alberta wins no matter who ends up as Leader/Premier.