|Wildrose Party experts test a new communication strategy.|
First the demographics. All of the candidates except one, are from southern Alberta. There are only two urban members, both in Calgary. Of the 16 official opposition members, 13 are male, 3 female. I don't know about their average age, but I don't think anyone will refer to the Wildrose party as a 'brat pack' or 'up and comers'.
Starting with Smith, she will take on the role of representing the official opposition to the cities. It was no secret in the campaign that the mayors of Edmonton and Calgary were less than warm to the idea of a Wildrose victory. Part of it was the vulgar comments about gays and caucasian power. But really, it was more about funding, taxes and infrastructure.
Also, Smith will represent the opposition on international, intergovernmental and aboriginal issues.
Rob Anderson will be house leader and Finance and Treasury Board critic. He will also be in charge of theatrics and insane rhetoric.
Joe Anglin will be the environment critic. He really got under the Stelmach government's skin over rural land owner issues. But in this Legislature he won't have Luke Ouellette or Mel Knight to interupt his presentations. Anglin is a grenade, with a wobbly pin. He may or may not be manageable.
Gary Bickman will be the Advanced Education critic. Bickman believes that city folk just don't get it. Irony is a gift that we should always be thankful for.
As for the rest of the caucus, I'm really not familiar with them, so I won't comment. I'm sure they will make headlines.
I don't believe that the Wildrose Party planned on sitting in opposition, and probably didn't prepare for it. Also, they probably didn't expect such a small caucus. It will not take them a long time to figure out that the PC Party micro-manages everything in the Legislature. I don't know how happy they will be knowing that the opposition parties, in practical terms, don't really exist.
With two conservative parties dominating the Legislature, and the media in Alberta almost universally openly supporting one of the two conservative parties, don't expect any progress on issues that matter to liberals and progressives.
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