If I were the comms guy, my response to the video put together by the Alberta Liberals would perhaps be more nuanced than that of our party spokesman in that I would say that a challenge to be fiscally conservative in more than just name is entirely legitimate, but add that Danielle Smith has never shown the slightest inclination to waver in the face of such a challenge, in stark contrast to the P"C" Party's rule of this decade which has consisted of headlong retreat whenever forces staking claims on taxpayer resources are encountered. In the coming weeks you'll be finding me making the case here for policy moves which if adopted by the Wildrose Alliance would dispel doubts about the party's commitment to fiscal conservatism because they would create structural impediments to fiscal profligacy as opposed to just rhetorical.
In any case Shawn Howard is a current holder of public office, and accordingly knows how to win an election. This is the sort of candidate we need to run for the party provincially, especially in extremely winnable ridings like Airdrie - Chestermere. As part of his responsibilities on Airdrie City Council, Shawn has exhibited a concern for taxpayer value. He's also shown sensitivity for the interests of business, something that is well placed in the view of most economists but typically takes a lot of political courage since although the benefits of attracting business to a jurisdiction are very real, they typically benefit voters indirectly. Although I was a Mike Nickel supporter for Edmonton City Council, on occasion Mike's behavior did not whet one's appetite for more, something I don't believe can be readily said about Shawn's work for the City of Airdrie given his collaborative and judicious approach.
There may be some who say that the party has enough communications and media people at this point and that going forward we need more economists and business executives from fields other than energy lest the party end up more concerned about the sizzle than the steak or act as a Trojan Horse for a particular industry. OK, maybe just I am saying that. But like anything it is far more constructive to get active and move the party in the direction you want it to go than to complain about where people who are passionate enough to get involved are taking it.
We aren't going to be able to cover up the fact that the party's centre of gravity is currently closer to the south than the north and I don't think we want to. It's rather a manageable challenge and I'm sure Danielle is just as concerned about ensuring a balance as I am. Our problem in Edmonton is not discrimination but a shortage of volunteers in general and distinguished personnel in particular. We need to work together and perhaps start by electing someone like Shawn Howard in what will be the new Edmonton Ward 9 in a year's time. It currently appears that there will not be an incumbent running in this ward and it should be favourable territory for a candidate who is interested in ensuring Edmonton's taxpayers get value for their money. The new ward system puts Tony Caterina's re-election prospects into considerable doubt, which could create the situation whereby none of the 12 councilors would be known for being fiscally conservative. This neither serves the interests of Edmonton nor is it democratically representative. By getting involving in civic politics and by sounding out local business and community leaders for their possible involvement in the party we'll ensure that the capital region maintains its voice.