“Lately, friends have been asking me, “Munsey, are you crazy, running in Edmonton-Whitemud against Stephen Mandel?
Well, I don't think I’m crazy, and here’s why.
First of all, I didn’t intend to be the Alberta Party candidate in a 2014 by-election. I was looking ahead at throwing my name into the ring for the 2016 general election in the riding of Leduc-Beaumont.
Then, back in the winter and spring, the wheels started falling off the PC government bus. Alison Redford’s government was the focus of the ire of so many Albertans her caucus got scared and decided to pitch her under that same bus.
Enter Jim Prentice as our new as-yet-unelected premier. You would'a thought a fiscally conservative premier would have sought the already vacant seat in Calgary Elbow, but that’s not what’s happened. Nope. Mr Prentice appointed two unelected ministers to his new cabinet... and they PCs need to look for three seats.
Then, Whitemud MLA (and former premier), Dave Hancock stepped down, even though he had another 16 months to serve… even when no one was asking him to resign (well, not constituents, anyway).
Now we have a by-election in Whitemud so Stephen Mandel can sit in the legislative assembly (I've heard he's already moving into Mr Hancock's office). I admit that caught the Alberta Party a bit unprepared.
So as the PC party “renews” itself yet again, the rest of us have to dance to a tune we didn’t choose. The Alberta Party had a local resident-member interested in becoming the candidate for Whitemud in the 2016 election and another expression of interest from someone not yet a party member but our potential candidate was not in a position to put her name forward now. Our constitution requires potential candidates have to be members for 30 days prior to the nomination process so while we're interested in the person who expressed the interest, we were left us scrambling
As the president of the Alberta Party for the last two years, and having already decided to seek the nomination in near-by Leduc-Beaumont in 2016, I am well-positioned to fly the Alberta Party flag. I fully recognize I’m not a resident of Whitemud, but I suspect Whitemud voters recognize The Alberta Party is committed over the long-term to local fielding local candidates and accept that we’re simply adapting to another “rebuilding/rebranding” of the PC Party.
I will fly the Alberta Party colours with pride. Again, I recognize the importance of local people representing constituents and I’m not about to try to minimize that. However, if elected, I will work for the people of Whitemud from morning to night at least five days a week, knocking on every door in the constituency prior to the 2016 election and being available to any and all constituents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I’m a railroader, after all, and I’m ready to go to work day or night.
And as my wife assured me, “ Stephen Mandel probably puts his pants on two legs at a time… just like you do, dear.”