26 January 2011

Same and different: Alberta and NL Conservatives’ leadership issues

Alberta premier Ed Stelmach is leaving politics in the face of a revolt within his caucus, according to the Globe and Mail.

Kyle Fawcett, a first-term MLA from Calgary and one of the more fiscally conservative in his party, acknowledged there were cracks in Mr. Stelmach’s cabinet.

“I do think that there was a bit of an issue in caucus,” he said. “There were some challenges around, obviously, this upcoming budget, and some promises that had been made. And I think the Premier saw that as an obstacle that maybe he didn’t want to tackle at this point in his life of public service.”

The unexpected news on Tuesday makes for some interesting comparisons with events in Newfoundland and Labrador over the past couple of months.

Danny Williams left politics unexpectedly in early December.  

Unlike Stelmach, Williams wasn’t facing any obvious internal political problems although he did drop hints of difficulties within his caucus.

Like Williams, Stelmach left politics with the accusation that the opposition parties would employ American-style political attacks in the upcoming provincial general election. Unlike Williams, Stelmach wasn’t a hypocrite in making such a comment.  Williams used Republican-style politics for his entire political career.

While the Conservatives in Newfoundland and Labrador cooked up a backroom deal to avoid a leadership contest, their Alberta brothers and sisters can look to a quick contest among several cabinet ministers that could be over by the end of March.

- srbp -