I truly believe that history will be kinder to Ed Stelmach than most people think – He is a compassionate, caring and humble individual who wanted nothing more than the best for every citizen in Alberta. Despite some shortfalls of his leadership; I would be hard pressed to name a single person who knows him that wouldn’t agree that he the type of individual that every one of us strives to be like.
Ed’s chances of political survival were challenged from the day he took office. At the end of the day, he wasn’t everybody’s first choice for leader and he won by coming up the middle. He did his best to rally the troops and get the team singing from the same song sheet, but some pretty bitter divisions made that an extremely difficult task.
I want to thank Premier Stelmach for his leadership and his commitment to Alberta, and I want to thank both him and Marie for making me personally feel like I am part of their family. I’m extremely saddened by the announcement yesterday and I wish the Stelmach’s all the best going forward!
However, with change comes opportunity – and I will be looking forward to being an active participant in the upcoming leadership race in one way, shape or form. Of course, it’s far too early to speculate who will participate in the race to shape the future of our great province.
Whether people believe that the PC party can redefine itself or whether they have decided that they will be a part of a new party – for the time being; the race to pick the new leader of the PC Party will be the race to pick the 14th Premier for the Province of Alberta.
As such, the decision is one that people from all political stripes and parties will take part in.
I have no doubt that forces from both the far left and the far right will do what they can to make this leadership race a bitter and nasty contest complete with character assassinations and personality battles.
But Progressive Conservatives need to unite in the middle and coalesce around a movement of positive change. From the perspective of the PC Party of Alberta, the necessary result of this next leadership race is a reuniting of party supporters behind a leader and a team that most of us can agree on.
PC loyalists need to demand something better than the “anybody but” race that we saw last time. We need to listen to the dreams and desires of Albertans and pick a team that can deliver. We don’t need a leader that will tell us what he or she will do – we need a leader who will listen and build a plan accordingly.
Most importantly, we need to make a positive choice rather than a negative one.
I can’t help but get excited by this opportunity. I truly believe that we have it in us to redefine the way politics can be done in the province of Alberta and I’m confident the Alberta PC Party will do just that.
I look forward to watching what happens next – and I encourage the amazing potential leaders we have amongst our ranks and beyond to step up and usher in the change so many Albertans want to see.