Alberta politics just got more interesting

I have limited personal experience in the political arena. My last and only experience was in Grade 11 when I was coerced into a run for school vice-president by a bevy of comely cheerleaders

I have limited personal experience in the political arena.

My last and only experience was in Grade 11 when I was coerced into a run for school vice-president by a bevy of comely cheerleaders.

Raging hormones influenced my decision and I realized very quickly that I had no chance to win, and even less motivation for the job, but I had to tough it out.

The only question I had was the reason behind my recruitment into this political misadventure. I knew why I was in the race (attempted popularity with cheerleaders), but I never understood what motivated the girls into selling me the unsellable. I suspect boredom and amusement.

Over the years I have become a political junkie and I like to understand the game from an informed point of view.

In short, there will be no more cheerleader inspired campaigns to get me on a personal campaign trail, but I still like the vibe of the political world even if I am not in love with many of the players.

I have always been interested in candidates that enhance the character of politics and offer an unsullied position of moral high ground to the position. That is a very difficult gig in politics where the party line is written in granite for most players.

Any attempt to veer from the path usually results in political suicide and life in the hinterlands unless another mainstream party accepts you into the fold, even without your personal scruples.

As a result, I have dabbled in party membership in conventional political parties simply because I believe in the candidate far more than the party.

This has rarely worked out for me with the exception of one provincial mainstream candidate in the early 80s who was a personal friend of the family and a federal candidate who also was my former teacher. Both won their races and that is my only claim to fame with winners in the bloody world of politics.

At this point in my life I believe that I have a better handle on the political pulse based solely upon observation of the road to the top for the past several decades.

I also believe that we may witness a change in Alberta politics in the next three years.

I wrote a column about Danielle Smith a few months ago in which I attached the term “premier” to her name as a possibility in future Alberta politics. Right now the PC party is probably in the midst of a backroom civil war about Ed Stelmach’s successor because the party has lost much of its curb appeal for Albertans.

The new PC leader choice will be a pivotal component of their future battle with Wild Rose-Alliance and their charismatic young leader.

We don’t change horses often enough in Alberta politics but, when it happens, it is swift and merciless. The X factor for the Conservatives is a new leader who comes without baggage, and that may be a very tall order indeed.

The challenge for Ms. Smith is a credible field of candidates that will resist the urge to veer into extreme right dogma on the campaign trail.

Either way, Alberta politics just got more interesting and less predictable.

Jim Sutherland may be reached at

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