Wednesday, June 25, 2008

If At First You Don't Succeed

Try, try again -- unless you're Kevin Taft

It's probably unlikely that Alberta Liberal leader Kevin Taft is a Nexus reader.

But if he were, he'd find some of the best political advice he's ever recieved here: quit as leader of the Alberta Liberals.

It shouldn't be all that hard to understand: during two elections serving as leader of the Alberta Liberals, Kevin Taft has yet to achieve that big knockout blow to the provincial Tories that he's clearly been yearning to deliver.

In lieu of this, Taft has resorted to some rather typical sour grapes politics: "if you can't beat 'em, write mean things about 'em".

In fact, during his tenure as leader of the Albertan Grits, Taft has demonstrated himself to be so inept as a political leader that he can't even peddle fluff effectively. His recent suggestion that rodeo be made Alberta's official sport elicited nothing more than a disinterested yawn from Albertans, who judged the very suggestion to be disingenuous.

It's time for new leadership in the Alberta Liberal party. If the Liberals ever do manage to defeat the Stelmach Tories -- or the Tories under their next leader -- it certainly won't be with Taft at the helm.

It certainly isn't fair to pretend that Kevin Taft has nothing to offer Albertan politics. In fact, quite the contrary. His most recent book, Democracy Derailed, while often awash in the aforementioned sour-grapes politics that has become his personal trademark, proposes various important systematic reforms for the Albertan government, including legislative protection for whistle blowers and non-partisan methods of making key government appointments, including that of the Auditor General.

But Taft himself is simply in no position to put any of these reforms in place. A leadership review, at the very least, is clearly in order for the Alberta Liberals. But unfortunately, they have another problem:

A near complete lack of credible alternatives.

In fact, of all the individuals who could, potentially, at least save the party from complete irrelevance, only one -- Calgary mayor and often-suggested Liberal leadership contender Dave Bronconnier -- comes to mind. And he certainly won't leave his comfy perch in Calgary's mayor's office until he can be certain he can win.

But the fact of the matter is the Alberta Liberals are in desperate need of a nearly complete overhaul from the top down. Even a merger with the provincial NDP -- a hot topic lately in Albertan politics -- could provide such an overhaul, and in time prove to be nothing short of revolutionary.

But Taft's best place in Albertan politics will likely remain where it has always been: working behind the scenes, generating ideas that could potentially transform Alberta's government, making it as transparent and accountable as any government needs to be.


  1. It appears that one Dion might be out of a job within the next 7 mos, so maybe he could come and do something with the AB liberals. What better place to sell his plan.

  2. I think Anne McClelland could be a very strong candidate, personally. I haven't heard anything about her expressing interest, but I legitimately think she should.

    I've had a couple of encounters with her myself, and I've found her to be -- if a little abrasive -- quite a classy lady. I don't agree with all her politics, but I respect her, and would respect her as opposition leader.

    But we simply need a stronger democracy in Alberta. We need the Liberals and NDP here to get their houses in order and remember that their responsibility to the Albertan electorate is to be a strong alternative to the sitting government, so that Albertans have an alternative come election time. Right now, they simply don't.


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