Sunday, November 19, 2006

Leadership Candidate Profile - Lyle Oberg

Dr. Oberg has painted himself as "the outsider candidate" in this leadership campaign - easy enough to do, since he's running for the leadership of the caucus that, a few months ago, voted him onto Exile Island.

In my opinion, Dr. Oberg boasts the most detailed policy plans, in the most areas, of any of the leadership contenders. So let it not be said that Lyle Oberg has no plan - clearly, he has a plan. Whether or not it's a GOOD plan remains to be seen. His plan to make the final year of post-secondary tuition free for high achievers will win some youth votes, but the reality is that
many post-secondary students would BE high achievers if not for the 60-hour work-weeks they had to put in, on top of their full course load, just to pay for textbooks, tuition, and housing in Alberta's Big 2 Universities.
He'll stay the course on current Energy Resource Royalties, which should be popular with the oilpatch, and he'll stay the course on electricity deregulation (no great surprise there). He's a strong environmental candidate in some areas, pushing bio-fuels and other environmental research, but somewhat weak in others, such as forestry ("we need to get more value for our logs").

Dr. Oberg believes in guaranteed access, but also speaks of the need for patients to have choices and the ability to pay for optional services. He will eliminate Health-care premiums. He'll fast-track the ring roads in Edmonton and (about time!) Calgary, and keep pushing the use of P3's for infrastructure needs. He also wants to seriously consider the long-balleyhoo'd High Speed Rail link between Calgary and Edmonton. He wants to strengthen the role of municipalities in the province, and give them 75% of the Education property tax. The most forward-thinking candidate, in my opinion, on the issue of same-sex marriage.
"The over-riding principle Lyle Oberg would follow as Premier is to err on the side of personal freedoms and support the open and honest discussion of views from all Albertans on matters of religion and social conscience."
Tax breaks are also on the horizon under an Oberg government.

All in all, I like Lyle Oberg's platform. It's detailed, it's well thought-out, and there aren't many things in it that I don't agree with. That said, though, Lyle's biggest problem in this campaign is... Lyle. He's made some major faux pas on the hustings, and I've got my doubts that Conservatives, and Albertans, will take him all that seriously as Leader and Premier.
If he gets backed into a corner in a debate, you get the feeling he might pull a Paul Martin, and start making outlandish claims and policy shifts in front of an open mic.

I like Lyle's platform. I'd like it more if it belonged to someone who didn't seem so politically unstable. He could always improve that, with the right advisors. But, again, it all comes back to the unavoidable point: You're running to lead a party that voted to kick you out. How many followers do you think you can grab (and keep) from that bunch?

Lyle Oberg's web-site is


Anonymous said...

I think you hit the nail on the head. It is not Lyle's platform that is the main problem - it is Lyle himself.

He has not shown leadership qualities with his off-the-cuff comments (skeletons, etc.). And caucus by and large cannot stand the guy. So he cannot lead. If he happened to win, the party would fracture and we would lose the next election.

Anonymous said...

I think you're take on Oberg is right on.

The man has the most detailed policy platform of any of the candidates by far. No one can accuse him of not having the beef.

The problem is that Dr. Oberg wants to micromanage everthing and doesn't listen to advice. That could be a deadly combination in a Premier.