Night of the Underdogs

Huh. I wasn’t expecting this result.

Overshadowed by the hoopla of the Liberal leadership convention this weekend, Albertans took to the polls in a wide-open race to choose the next leader of the Alberta Conservative party, the party that has governed the province for the past thirty-five years. Any Albertan could vote, even for the second ballot, simply by paying $5 to purchase a Conservative party membership. Reports were that a number of Alberta Liberals had bought memberships to try and pick the most odious leader, one who would be the best for their party fortunes (a dishonest practice that I wish people would stop doing).

After the first ballot, the front runners were: Jim Dinning — a longstanding middle-of-the-road cabinet minister and heir-apparent who was seen as the safest choice (sort of the Paul Martin candidate of the provincial Tories); and Ted Morton, a hard-right social conservative and rookie backbench MP who stridently opposed same sex marriage and proposed such provocative Alberta-first policies as organizing Alberta’s own police force and pension plan (actually, these policies aren’t all that out there, since Ontario and Quebec both have their own police force, and Quebec has its own pension plan, but the tone of the campaign was such that it appeared that a vote for Morton was a vote for a more provocative stance against the perceived Central Canadian control of Ottawa).

The two candidates went at it tooth and nail, with non-Tories buying up memberships at a tremendous rate in order to get their preferred candidate in. And after a day of counting, the winner is:

Ed Stelmach.


Well, “Honest Ed” is also a longtime MP, respected and somewhat to the middle of the road. And, clearly, just like Stephane Dion, he was everybody’s second choice for the leadership. He’s seen as a consensus builder, and he rose above the mudslinging that characterized the Dinning and Morton camps. This may have been key to his success. The ballot was structured so that the top three finishers would end up in the final round, and voters were then asked to rank their choices so that these rankings could come into play if no one candidate won a majority of first-choice votes.

The national political scene appears to have been presented with an enigma, but I think I join others in congratulating Ed on his startling victory, and I look forward to seeing what his premiership brings.

The Canadian Blog Awards

The results are in, and I was shut out. I took fourth place on Best Entertainment Blog, and I brought up the rear for Best Blog Post Series. Oh, well. I was simply beaten by better blogs, and it was an honour to participate in the second round of voting.

Congratulations to the winners, especially Bound by Gravity who took Best Conservative Blog even though his own modesty led him to endorse Prairie Wranglers. And thanks to Robert McLelland for again putting in a lot of work to make this happen, and giving a showcase to many worthy Canadian blogs.

Warning to Conservatives: Frat Boys Make Bad Leaders

I agree with Crawl Across the Ocean on this: individuals acting in an immature fashion unbecoming of government officials make it less likely that the Conservatives can win my vote the next time around.

Cut the crap, boys. Canadians deserve better.

On Leaving Vivian in the Care of Strangers

I’m typing this in the library of a former Catholic school called St. Louis, not too far from my home. It plays host to the Ontario Early Years program. This wonderful program allows parents to bring their children — newborns all the way up to age six — to participate in a number of supervised activities. I take Vivian here so she can get some intensive play time with toddlers her own age. The program is taxpayer supported is thus free to use.

There are a number of rooms, structured by age group, where kids of a certain age can play, do crafts, snack, all under the careful supervision of experienced caregivers. Parents can drop off their kids (they’re encouraged to stay the first few times to get their children used to the environment) and go off somewhere in the building, using the school’s library, getting a cup of coffee in the kitchen, or attending one of a number of parental seminars.

Where the parent is to be is written up on a sticker, along with the parent’s name and the child’s name, and stuck somewhere on the child’s clothing, where it can’t be easily peeled off — just one step short of tattooing a barcode on Vivian, but a practice I wholeheartedly support in this case.

Today is the first time I actually left Vivian in the room and went off elsewhere to do… something. It was hard going out the door, but Vivian seems to be doing fine. Certainly, nobody has come bearing a howling bundle for me to pick up, and that does happens. Here in the library, new parents are checking out books, using the Internet or, in one case, sprawled on the couch, snoring.

I think the snoring parent especially is grateful that this program exists.

Watch Doctor Who Tonight!

Finally, if you haven’t yet caught an episode of the second season of the revived Doctor Who, do so tonight at 8 p.m. on the CBC. The first part of a wonderful two-parter is set to debut, and let me tell you that it is excellent. You will enjoy it. I expect to gush during my review tomorrow.

My only complaint (and it’s a big one) is that the CBC is making a stupid decision to put the program on a Christmas hiatus, along with the rest of its current shows, returning with part two in the middle of January. It’s a shame, but it appears as though, after giving Doctor Who star treatment last year, the current publicity staff have been replaced by individuals who seem intent on burying the program. There’s been very little publicity surrounding this season, and poor treatment like this.

Despite this, and despite being up against some very strong competition for the timeslot, the new Doctor Who remains one of the CBC’s most popular shows, with ratings of over half a million.

Get with the program, guys!

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