% The Flaming Right by Rudy de Haas

Unsolicited advice for Danielle Smith

9:47 Feb 13, 2015

The last time we met, at the Denny's near the University, I suggested you take the wildrose membership with you in a run for Mr. Stelmach's job when he stepped down - too bad you didn't do it then, or act on your own April Fools joke after Redford got lynched, huh?

I mention this, because you're probably not going like my new idea any better; at least, not for a year or two.

Right now you are, some word dad couldn't say in front of my mother, blued and tattooed; and mostly by your own doing too - so now what? Well, if you ever want to sit in the big chair, here's what you do.

First you get all the former WildroseAlliance MLAs now sitting as progressive conservatives to co-sponsor an amendment to the Elections Act requiring MLAs crossing the floor to either join, or form, a legislative majority to resign and seek re-nomination and re-election within 120 days of changing party allegiance. Then you all resign, seek re-nomination, and Mr. Prentice calls the byelections.

Second, you and your PC colleagues treat these by-elections as a mini-referendum on taking tough action to cut the budget without significantly raising taxes.

This works for everybody - and here are some of the more obvious reasons it does:

  1. Since seats held by WRA MLAs are hardly likely go NDP, and 10 or 11 wins will allow Mr. Prentice to claim a mandate to proceed, this gives him what he needs without incurring much electoral risk in those constituencies, without risking his majority, and without incurring the public backlash an off cycle election would produce.

  2. having Mr. Prentice and other senior PC MLAs campaign for a mandate on the basis of tough budget action without major tax increases would fully vindicate your actions in crossing the floor.

  3. for reasons ranging from the certainty of a proximate election to the worth of the candidate, this will largely clinch your re-nomination - and do a lot to help your colleagues win theirs.

  4. You personally, as the leader whose actions gave Mr. Prentice his mandate and Albertans a strong political barrier against significant new taxes, would come out of this as the hero of the hour: ready and politically qualified for a high profile cabinet post.

So why not do it? After all, if you try this and fail re-election what have you lost? a year of being the lame duck nobody wants to be seen next too? Life's too short for that, so go do what your constituents hired you to do: lead - and have fun doing it.