So, Dave Taylor has become the Alberta Party’s first MLA.
This does not come as a surprise. Taylor, the former Alberta Liberal, is the kind of guy who craves a platform. He was, after all, a radio talk show host, and these guys are traditionally not shrinking violets. Taylor wants to be heard — no, MUST be heard — and the opinions of one lone independent MLA don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world (unless you’re Raj Sherman).
The Alberta Party is crowing about their coup. They may end up regretting their decision.
The Alberta Party is supposedly all about doing politics differently. They decry the traditional us-versus-them mentality of old school politics, and have pledged civility in the Legislature. Taylor is an odd choice for a poster boy for the new politics.
Taylor is as partisan as they come. His questions in the Legislature were often written with a pen dipped in venom. And I can tell you that Taylor is not the kind of guy who plays nicely with others, even if the others are on his own team.
Taylor comes with more baggage than a loaded 747. He quit the Liberals not over policy, but because the party saw fit not to choose him as their leader. His departure from the Liberals was utterly classless. He sent out an email at 11:30 on a Sunday night informing leader David Swann that he was leaving. The newspapers knew about it before Swann did. To top it all off, Taylor said Swann “seems to be living on another planet”, which is hardly an example of the kind of civil discourse the Alberta Party is promising. Since Taylor’s departure, I heard from people who were supporters of his during the Liberal leadership race who told me that, based on his actions after losing the leadership, the party dodged a bullet. There is real animosity towards Taylor, and I suspect that a lot of Alberta Liberals who have been flirting with the idea of joining the Alberta Party will be very disappointed with this decision.
It didn’t take long for one of Taylor’s past comments to come back to haunt him. Taylor told FastForward in Calgary: “If I were to make a decision that I thought I would want to run as a member of some other party, then I would wait until the next election or resign and go through a byelection. Nobody voted for Dave Taylor as a candidate for another party.”
So in Dave Taylor, the Alberta Party has chosen a notorious sore loser who burned bridges with his former party in a colossally classless manner, a loud partisan, and a guy who is anathema to the many of the same people the party wants to attract.
Unless there’s a new and improved Dave Taylor out there, the Alberta Party may live to rue this day.