There’s more a-feudin’ and a-fussin’ in the Alberta Liberal ranks.
Here’s the background. Calgary MLA Kent Hehr posted a blog last week calling for the so-called ‘progressive’ parties (that would be the Liberals, the NDP, and I assume whatever is left of the Alberta Party) to unite as a single party. (The posting is at http://daveberta.ca/2012/12/kent-hehr/) A merger, Hehr believes, would be the best way for the progressive parties to gather enough strength to finally overturn the PC dynasty.
Hmmm, where have we heard this before? Oh yes, about a dozen times over the last few years.
I don’t know Kent Hehr well; I’ve met him, and I have a lot of respect for him, as do the voters in his riding of Calgary-Buffalo, who have elected him twice. He also asks some pretty pointed questions in the Legislature, and doesn’t seem to be the type who jumps on the bandwagon of the day. In short, he’s a very good MLA.
Still, he’s out to lunch completely on the merger idea. This has been discussed, played with, and rejected time and time again. The NDP will never agree to a merger as long as Brian Mason is in charge of the party, which is looking like forever. There are also plenty of old-school Dippers who harbor deep-seated hatred for Liberals, and would abandon the party before they would ever contemplate a merger. That, along with the core of Liberal supporters who feel pretty much the same way, ensures that a merger is never, ever going to happen. Talking about a merger again is a waste of time, and inflates the value of the NDP.
So Hehr is wrong to float this idea, in my view. It’s not a new argument, and while it has merit, but it ain’t gonna happen.
The Hehr comment might have gone unnoticed had it not been for a missive from Liberal party president Todd Van Vliet. http://us5.campaign-archive1.com/?u=409ac47d9e70600da358a3245&id=928b749be1&e=d5abeb08e0
Most of it is fine, with a bit of NDP bashing for the Liberal base, and a defense of Liberal values (which he conveniently lists). So far, so good. Hehr’s posting demanded some sort of response. But Van Vliet goes off the rails near the end. Consider this:
“As a final aside, one can’t help noting that the former Alberta Liberal executive director helping Mr. Hehr is a PR professional working with the local branch of one of the world’s larger PR firms. And one of his closest colleagues recently worked as Alison Redford’s leadership campaign manager and former Chief of Staff. Coincidence? Well, maybe.
At the end of the day this merger talk isn’t news. It’s just more back-room political engineering. To date, neither party’s leadership has picked up the phone to talk merger face-to-face, and I won’t be doing that.”
What the hell? Why the conspiracy theory mumblings? Why the high schoolish unnamed people? Why would Van Vliet insult one of his few MLAs? Remember, MLAs are the stars of the show. Without MLAs, you’re just, well, the Alberta Party.
Van Vliet was correct to defend the party and pour gallons of cold water on the merger idea, but openly impugning the motives of one of your few sitting MLAs is a recipe for discord.
As usual, the worst enemy of the Alberta Liberal party is the Alberta Liberal party.