Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Stelmach vs. Strom

Yesterday, I put out a Let's Talk Taxes column comparing the last Social Credit government of Harry Strom to the current PC government of Ed Stelmach.

It can be found here.

As I was doing my research I found a few other similarities that were interesting, but didn't really fit into the point I was trying to make in the column:

Strom was a farmer from Burdett, Alberta who before becoming Premier was a municipal councillor in the MD of Forty Mile, as well as a school board trustee. Strom also served as Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Municipal Affairs under the previous Manning government.

Stelmach is a farmer from Lamont, Alberta who before becoming Premier was a county councillor and Reeve of the County of Lamont, as well as a school board trustee. Stelmach also served as Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Infrastructure, Minister of Transportation and Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations under the previous Klein government.

Also, both took over their family farms when they were in their 20's...

Interestingly, the Social Credit Party at the time was very popular in the rural areas and were losing support in the cities. According to the last poll, the PC Party in Alberta is still very popular in rural areas and losing support in the cities.

The biggest difference is that of the opposition. For Harry Strom, the opposition leader was Peter Lougheed, a young, exciting leader with growing support. For Ed Stelmach, the opposition leader is Kevin Taft, who (again according to the polls) is not growing in support right now.

Lougheed also was on the right of Strom, whereas Taft is on the left of Stelmach. And in Alberta's history, there has not really been a shift to a new party on the left only on the right.

The Liberals lost to the United Farmers of Alberta (on the right). The UFA lost to the Social Credit Party (not really on the left or right at the time, but eventually on the right). The SoCreds lost to the PCs (on the right).

Also, no party having lost power has ever come back to regain it. So history is not really on Kevin Taft's side.

If a new party on the right shows up with a dynamic leader and makes some significant gains, Stelmach could be in trouble.

I'm not holding my breath.

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