An online headline in the Edmonton Journal this morning says it all: “Stelmach may comment on new Wildrose leader.” Such is the anticipation of hearing what Premier Ed Stelmach has to say about Danielle Smith’s decisive leadership victory this Saturday at the Wildrose Alliance’s leadership convention that the merest hint he may comment is enough for a story. Stelmach, writes the Journal‘s Trish Audette, “is scheduled to greet participants in a Venture 100 Business Forum in Edmonton today, his first public appearance since the right-wing Wildrose Alliance Party selected its new leader on the weekend.” Golly! Though a number of Tory MLAs have already attempted to downplay what’s being billed as an Alberta politics “game changer” (“Wildrose no thorn: Tories,” reads a Calgary Sun headline), Stelmach’s silence on the issue is his most eloquent utterance yet: The Tories are scared and don’t appear to have a clue what to do. The Wildrose Alliance has outpaced the Liberals in polls as Alberta’s second choice for governing the province and it’s growing fast. The Tories, meanwhile, continue to sink.
UPDATE: Stelmach told reporters on Monday that Danielle Smith’s victory in the Wildrose Alliance Party’s leadership race didn’t faze him one bit. “We’re still focused on our plan for Alberta,” he said. “We still have a sizeable majority. The people gave us a strong mandate to do what’s right for Albertans.”