Mackin’ Ft. Mac

Money may not be enough to buy Ed Stelmach the affections of the oil sands mecca—or anyone else’s

A few days ago, former Alberta premier Ralph Klein did what he does best—he blew the lid off the province’s normally dull-as-Prairie-dust political discussion with some frank talk. In a note to Canadian Press, Klein suggested that current Premier Ed Stelmach should really step down if he gets anything less than a 70 per cent approval rating in next month’s Progressive Conservative leadership review. Normally a fairly routine part of the party’s annual general meetings, the review has taken on new depth thanks to growing concern over Stelmach’s policies. (A similar vote led to Klein’s ouster in 2006.) The hope this year is that the vote could gives the Tories a chance to re-calibrate as the upstart right-of-centre Wildrose Alliance Party swoops in for an advantage. “Ralph is just saying what people are whispering,” says Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Guy Boutilier, who Stelmach booted from caucus this summer after his increasingly shrill calls for a long-term care facility in Fort McMurray. Last night, Stelmach appeared for a premier’s dinner in Fort McMurray, dropping a load of cash on the boom-strained oil sands mecca. It won’t help, writes indefatigable Calgary Sun columnist Rick Bell, outlining Stelmach’s woes, which now include the aftermath of Boutilier’s ouster. According to Bell, Stelmach never dreamed Boutilier’s dismissal would resonate with Albertans across the province and become a rallying cry for the right.

Calgary Sun

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