77.4% - Macleans.ca



…. for Alberta’s Ed Stelmach. Is it enough?

INSTANT WISDOM: Perhaps the perfect result for the Wildrose Alliance: tepid enough to leave Stelmach limping, but not so bad as to force him out.



  1. It is enough to stay in charge of the sinking ship named Progressive Conservatives.

  2. "Perhaps the perfect result for the Wildrose Alliance: tepid enough to leave Stelmach limping, but not so bad as to force him out."

    I was just reading Kohler's blog and at 4:30 he wrote "Less than 70 per cent support for Stelmach, say many Tories, and he is in trouble. More than 80 per cent, and the party is in trouble—out of touch, disconnected, tin-eared."

    Stelmach's people make it sound like he's goldilocks: too much support is bad, too little support is bad but seventy something is just right. I am more inclined to go with Coyne's wisdom on this one.

  3. Who cares? If Wild Rose took over all of the same people would just find their way there in 5 years anyway.

    • You meant 5 weeks, no ?

    • Yeah, a bit like the Socred-BC Liberal migration in BC in the 1990s.

  4. Yes, the perfect result for the Wildrose Alliance, Alberta's next ruling dynasty.

    • Followed closely by the Pink Daffodil ?

      These people lean right because they have no spines.

      • You got that wrong. Lefties are the ones without spines (and brains)

        • Alberta that shininig beacon of democracy. A one party state for the better part of 40years. Filled with democrats like you.

        • More nuggets of wisdom from Werner, Okotoks own Glenn Beck, or is it Gallagher the watermelon smasher?

        • And jaunty hats.

  5. Horizontal drilling coupled with multi-stage fracs applied to aging conventional oilfields in Alberta will bring back the oil boom to Alberta in a couple of years. And Stelmach has a couple of years.

    Horizontal drillilng with multi-stage fracs is making BC a force in natural gas, and Saskatchewan a force in light oil. The technology is now being applied to aging conventional oil fields in Alberta, and will be a game-changer bringing back the drilling jobs to rural Alberta before the next election, and to the investment bankers and fast oil financiers in Calgary.

    Oilsands development will also be occuring at a much more modest pace. Imperial Oil with Kearl, and the new stronger Suncor will be able to proceed with some of the projects it slowed last year.

    Wildrose is a product of grumpy Calgary financiers because of the natural gas bust, and grumpy rural areas, with natural gas drilling and infrastructure jobs gone wanting because of the natural gas bust. But the next oil boom is already starting.

  6. "Who cares? If Wild Rose took over all of the same people would just find their way there in 5 years anyway."


  7. The province has structural problems. The Wildrose Alliance is doing to Dishwater Ed (royalty reform) what the Ralph Klein crowd did to the legacy of the NEP. Ignoring/postponing diversification. The basket of eggs is full.

    • Exactly. What happens to Alberta when the U.S. starts getting serious about the environment and does something to restrict or tax tarsands oil ? Big trouble.

      Of course, it bears mentioning that there would be no tarsands without the NEP.

      • Not sure I agree with your closing point. How so?

        • The whole tarsands project was only started with the NEP. In fact, the Alberta Premier at the time, Peter Lougheed, was actually grateful for the assistance to development of the oil patch. Huge amounts of federal subsidy (i.e. the tax dollars of all Canadians) went into developing the tarsands. Lougheed eventually reached an agreement with Trudeau over revenue sharing, which was Alberta's main beef concerning the NEP. Since then, everybody has bought into the silly Alberta-centric propaganda about the NEP. Personally, I wish Trudeau would have just had done with it and nationalized the whole oil and gas industry. That would have solved a lot of problems at the same time.

          • Close Mulletaur. Take a look at Trudeau's interview with Lougheed on T's memoirs. I'll think you'll find AB had a legitimate grip with the NEP. But essentially you're right about the assistance Ab received, including help to set up the original boom in the sixties. Much of the wailing coming out of AB ever since has been self serving – many cons aren't aware that half of the NEP ran on under mulroney – but that would spoil the story, right. Trudeau = evil easterner.

          • No it wouldn't mess with the narrative since they think Mulroney was an evil easterner too.

          • We really do.

            Interesting little tidbit about the tar sands only being viable because of initial government assistance. I hadn't realized that, but it doesn't really go against my ideological beliefs that government money to force economic growth usually causes more problems than it solves.

            After all, I don't think the development of the tar sands would have been put off forever (since it becomes more viable the higher oil prices go) but it probably would have just started to be developed recently, rather than selling a good chunk of it on the cheap, essentially subsidized with tax dollars.

          • The whole tarsands project was only started with the NEP.

            Suncor (previously Great Canadian Oil Sands) came onstream in 1967. Syncrude in 1978. NEP was announced in the fall of 1980, and finally eliminated completely around 1986.

            Suncor/Syncrude only became profitable in the early 90s due to a change iin technology (bucket/monster trucks), favourable tax/royalty rates, and increasing oil prices. Key milestones are not NEP related

          • All very good points. Mulletaur's "NEP" claim is absurd.

          • Nope. The federal government paid for all that technology and subsidized tarsands production until it became viable.

          • You keep on that tinfoil hat.

          • They're both words.

          • Technically, "obstinateness" is a word. It's old-fashioned and mostly unused, but scf used it correctly. "Obstinancy" is also a word – it's in the OED and was used by Dickens, among others.

          • Obtoose? One "o" or two?

          • Ah, cute.

          • Maybe he was talking about some form of earlier tax help. As you say most of the federal help came under Chretien.

      • Oh yes. The US is going to stop using so much of our oil, and turn instead to reliable sources in the Mideast.

  8. I believe in free speech, but Easterners (anyone east of Sask/Manit.) should have their mouths taped over permanently.

    • “I believe in free speech, but Easterners (anyone east of Sask/Manit.) should have their mouths taped over permanently’

      And your just stupid enough to believe there’s no contridiction between what you say you believe and what you’ve written. Cretin!

  9. Why not? The middle east has to sell their oil. So it's a buyer's market. Besides they have the cheapest recoverable reserverves on the planet. They need us to buy their oil – without us they starve.

    • The fact that Middle East oil is cheaper to produce is besides the point. Global demand sets the price, not production. Do you honestly think the Americans will buy all their oil from the Middle East (probably at a premium if they decide to forgo Canadian oil) so that we would simply turn around and sell our oil to China (perhaps at a discount)? It's clearly not in the economic interest of the United States so the odds of them actually going through with it are slim to none.

      • Global demand sets the price, not production

        Actually, the price is determined by supply and demand: economics 101. And the price will be the same no matter where it comes from, so I agree that it makes absolutely no sense for the US to stop buying our oil, unless of course, as Ranter says, for some reason, the supply is not reliable, in which case they will switch in a heartbeat.

  10. The bad news: a Wildrose Alliance government would mean even more tedious whining and Central-Canada-bashing than we ever saw under Klein/Stelmach.

    The good news: with Alberta carrying a five billion dollar deficit, we're unlikely to see the Alliance initiate a referendum on secession, despite the party's separatist roots.

    On second thought, perhaps that's the bad news…. ;)

    • as opposed to the 30 plus billion deficit in Ont. with a rotting industrial base, growing welfare state, crumbling gang ravaged inner cities and no hope of producing anything competitive anytime soon in any market, except whining.

      • …crumbling gang ravaged inner cities…

        That's hilarious. Back here on planet Earth, DPT, Ontario has some of the lowest urban crime rates in the country, and Alberta has some of the highest. Check the stats, mate.

        …and no hope of producing anything competitive anytime soon in any market…

        And Alberta actually produces something? I always thought Albertans (meaning "displaced Newfoundlanders") were just grunts used by American companies to extract the oil which they then sell to fellow Americans. Does something get produced along the way? Do tell…

        • It's really rich of Albertans to make the whole "We're really rich because we have a can-do attitude unlike you lazy Central Canadians." Alberta is a "have" province for the simple reason that millions of years ago a lots of things died and turned into oil. As opposed to Ontario and Quebec that are more than one trick ponies and actually built up diversified economies and vibrant cities without the crutch of oil.

  11. How can 77.4% be described as "tepid"? I think "out of touch" is the better description since Stelmach is obviously a dud. I guess they're counting on fear of vote-splitting saving their bacon. Course that won't be a problem for the Neocons if everyone who normally votes PC just switches to the Wildrose.

    It's also hard to see how it would make any difference since really how much father right can Alberta politics go?

    All this just so the oilpatch can get a better royalty deal? I mean what else is Wildrose going to do that's markedly different than the Conservatives?

    • "All this just so the oilpatch can get a better royalty deal?"

      The problem is that steady Ed changed the royalty structure repeatedly. It created uncertainty in planning long term projects (which almost all of these are) so the companies just took their money somewhere else and created jobs in Sask.

    • "…really how much father right can Alberta politics go? "

      People grossly overstate, or overestimate, how "right wing" Alberta is compared to the rest of Canada. And to the extent that there are differences, they are really shades of difference rather than sharp divisions.

      First of all, on the fiscal side, Alberta governments generally/historically have been quite free-spending compared to their provincial counterparts. About the only time the Alberta gov't really took an axe to spending was during Klein's first term, and that was a quasi-fiscal emergency. Yes, taxes are comparatively low, but they can be, as a result of oil revenue.

      Then on the social side — I've lived there, and a woman can get an abortion in Alberta about easily as she can go buy a pair of socks at Wal Mart. You go to a party in Calgary full of yuppie professionals in their 30s and 40s, and people are conspicuously smoking dope. Alberta ain't the Annex, but it ain't exactly some social conservative dystopia either.

      • Yet.

        • Right. Any day now, women in Alberta are going to be frog-marched out of abortion clinics and forced to breed by the theocracy in power, and all pot smokers will be apprehended and jailed for life.

          I'm guessing you're one of the Liberal Party of Canada strategists who is routinely counted on to provide insight into Alberta society. You're doin' a swell job.

          • And I'm guessing you don't live here now, like I do.

            I'm guessing you weren't watching the Wildrose party during the last provincial election, or questioned any of their candidates as to some of their beliefs and things they'd vote for. This was a party that was proposing a tax rebate for couples where the woman (specifically) stayed home to take care of the kids. Not a tax rebate for any parent, whether a single parent or not, not a tax rebate for a father, but specifically a tax rebate for the mother.

            And they're now more popular in Calgary than the conservatives.

            And, for what it's worth, I support local candidates, based on their responses to the questions I ask them.
            If I was forced to put my name to a party, at one point it would have been the Greens, but then May came in and their policies started to swing leftward out of my comfort zone. So these days it'd probably be the Rhino party.

          • I have no doubt that some people in the Wildrose Party, and in the Alberta PC party, are quite socially conservative and espouse socially conservative positions. And BTW I was born & raised in Alberta and lived there for 23 years, and the rest of my family still lives there, so I know a bit about the place.

            But my point is that you could espouse those same socially conservative positions in most other regions of Canada and there would be a certain amount of support for them. All I'm saying is the degree of difference in the outlook of most ordinary Albertans on social issues, as compared to other Canadians, tends to be grossly exaggerated.

            Another way of looking at the phenomenon is this: if you took the views on social issues of the people in Calgary Southwest, and those in the Annex, which set of views do you think would be more representative of the views of all Canadians from coast to coast? My guess would be Calgary Southwest. I happen to be very liberal on social issues, but I have no illusions that my views are close to those of the average Canadian with a minivan and a mortgage.

  12. I mean what else is Wildrose going to do that's markedly different than the Conservatives?

    Well, they can mandate that Grade Eleven History classes be supplemented with Flintstones episodes…

  13. 77% was a good result for the P-C Party. It saves the obvious embarassment of having to throw Stelmach out, so soon, yet sends a clear message that 1 in 4 of their own are unhappy with a hayseed at the helm. A message they desperately need to hear, with the WRA doing well in the polls, with a leader who is the polar opposite of aw shucks eddy. Maybe Stelmach will read his own tea leaves and do the right thing before it makes things worse, though his stickhandling of the royalty fiasco doesn't offer up much hope of that.

  14. This is a party that is so out of touch with ordinary Albertans that it's not terribly surprising that they support their dud of a leader … this win translates to a win for Wildrose next electoral cycle … watch the surge …

  15. What are the WRA's positions on social issues?

    • They're against them.