08 December 2010

Who isn’t running in 2011?

While lots of things can change between now and next October, here are the current members of the House of Assembly who your humble e-scribbler thinks will take the pension (if they qualify) and head for the door before the next election:
  • Roland Butler
  • Kathy Dunderdale
  • Roger Fitzgerald
  • Tom Hedderson
  • John Hickey
  • Clyde Jackman
  • Tom Marshall
  • Sheila Osborne
  • Patty Pottle
  • Bob Ridgley
There are a few more who have enough service to be pensionable and who have no real promise of better days ahead.  For now, though, there’s the list to work with.

Think of it this way.  When Danny took off, the Tories went from having five seats they could focus their attacks on to having about 15 seats where they could face a bit of fight to hang onto the seat.  Now that doesn’t mean all the seats likely to be vacated above are likely to change hands.  The 15 or so include seats where the Conservative incumbent is likely to seek re-election but where there is a certain level of local discontent.

Of the crew listed above, John Hickey has had his five best years to fatten up the pension and there’d be no real reason for him stick around anyway.  Future premiers might be less inclined to keep him in cabinet.  Doesn’t matter, though, since Hickey’s apparently got his sights on going federal in the next federal election.
Just think about that for a second.  If the federal election comes in the spring, we could be seeing a provincial Conservative leadership racket and all the fund-raising that entails with a federal election and all the fund-raising that entails.

Then pull John Hickey and Tom Osborne off to run as federals and you potentially have a couple of seats coming up for grabs.  Depending on the timing of the leadership and the general election, Danny’s electoral reform legacy could force the Conservatives into having by-elections at a very inconvenient time both for cash and for volunteers.

And before anyone chimes in that the two could just Beaton up and try to Tulk their seats back, there is simply the question of why would they.  Both Hickey and Osborne are pensionable. At least in Osborne’s case, there are some other members of the clan with political ambitions ready to step into the seat.

But in Hickey’s case?

The seat could be up for grabs before the next provincial election.

More than a few provincial Conservatives are hoping Jack Layton doesn’t pick an inconvenient time to keep his promise to vote against the federal Conservatives on a confidence motion.

Anyway you look at it, 2011 is going to be a fascinating year in local politics.

- srbp -