Susan Riley writes an interesting take on Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff's possibilities in a forthcoming by-election in Calgary. With the sudden and unexpected departure of Jim Prentice, the last progressive voice in the Harper government, there is a need for a by-election by May 2011. There may be a general election before then but I doubt it will happen until the fall of 2011. The Liberals should wait for Canadians to see the continuing failure of integrity the hardcore Harper Cons to live up to their fundamental political ideology. Harper's hypocritical character flaws will show again as he will retreat even further from what he touts as sound and conservative fiscal management in their upcoming budget.
Could Calgary send a message for the rest of Alberta in this by-election and elect a Liberal in protest to the indifference and disdain Harper has shown for his home province and his home city? Harper has been increasingly estranged from Albertans ever since he got all that personal political power and his iron-fist control over everything that happens in the federal government.
Nenshi's election as Mayor last October give us hope. He won handily over two variations conventional Conservatism. One rejected candidate was run by the Harper machine and the other had her strings pulled by the old Klein crowd. Provincially there are now more Liberals elected in Calgary than in Edmonton and they used to call us Redmonton back in the day when that was reversed. Stranger things have happened is all I am saying.
I am not making any political predictions but we know from our conjoint research last May that only 17% of Albertans are in any way satisfied with the way Alberta's federal MPs protect and promote our interests in Ottawa. That indicates changes could happen and a by-election that elects a Liberal is just the ticket to send Harper a much overdue "we are not amused" political message.
When Premier Klein was kicked out by the PC rank and file his "safe" seat was lost to a Liberal in a by-election. Klein was a lot more popular in Alberta then than Harper can ever hope to be. When Deputy Premier Stevens quit provincial politics, as quickly and mysteriously as Prentice, the by election that followed went to the Wildrose Alliance as a way to send Premier Stelmach a "we are not amused" political message. The Liberal vote stayed the same but the protest vote went to the Wildrose Alliance in that by-election.
So stay tuned Alberta and consider the strategic opportunity to send a wake up call to the Harper-Cons in the soon to be announced by-election. And if there is a general election beforehand, the opportunity is even greater to ensure Alberta is not taken for granted by the presumptive arrogance of the Harper political machine that we are all mindless sheep without voting or political options.
Welcome to one small piece of the new narrative that is being written about the next Alberta by a revived sense of citizenship that is happening all over the province.