Calgary-area politicos are agag with the possibility that Dave Taylor, the heir apparent to the leadership of the Alberta Liberals, may in fact be considering a change of address, to the other side of the aisle.
Taylor, the freshly-minted second-term MLA for Calgary Currie, is said to want nothing to do with the leadership of the dysfunctional unit, and instead may want to agitate on behalf of his Currie constituents from the government benches. Dave won Currie by a fairly comfortable margin last month over star Tory candidate Arthur Kent (despite the obvious election-fixing of the riding's dreadful, terrible, horribly biased returning officer who was clearly put in place to steal the riding for the Tories and did so... whoops. Guess it wasn't that big a deal after all...)
Now, I've got to admit I have a bit of a soft spot for Taylor. Despite his politics, I always found him to be a straight-shooter. I liked him on the radio, and called his show often. I think the constraints of being held politically accountable for everything he says are starting to chafe... and one could certainly be forgiven for assuming that Tories are rarely held to account in Alberta. Taylor has seen, through 2 elections now, what the problems are within the Alberta Liberals. If, in his estimation, they're not fixable, then certainly nobody could fault him for wanting to leave. Although... the hardcore Liberal party volunteers who just spent thousands of man-hours getting him elected might disagree. Likewise, the Tory volunteers and donors in Currie who spent thousands of hours - and dollars - trying to unseat him might find the fact that he was suddenly their party's representative hard to swallow.
In fairness... Dave got into the political game because he saw a Premier (Ralph Klein) who had lost interest, and lost (in Dave's estimation) the royal jelly to govern the province. He came onto the scene declaring war on the Tories of Ralph Klein, Lyle Oberg, Stock Day (retired), and Rod Love.
However, here we are 4 scant years later... Ralph is gone, Lyle is gone, few remember Stock was ever here, and Rod Love has gone so far as to shave off his trademark moustache. These are not the PC's that Dave went to war against.
Now, certainly there will still be some stark philosophical differences between the "average PC" and Dave Taylor... so let's take a look at some of Dave's better "on the record" moments in the past while...
"To the Premier. No more rhetoric; no more saying you’re doing a job, because you’re not. What are you going to do right now to fix the housing problems in Fort McMurray so children don’t have to trade sex for shelter?" - Nov. 19, 2007
"Ed Stelmach has been looking at the kinds of report cards that we all get as parents when we have kids in the primary grades. You really have to read through the gobbledygook to try and figure out how your kid's doing. And you have to do that same thing here, too." - Dec. 12, 2007
"I don't think (the 2007 Elbow by-election result was) a message to the Tory caucus to wake up. It's a message that we've had it with you." - June 14, 2007
Now, I know I mentioned previously that Taylor originally went to war against the Klein Tories - which the current crop of PC MLA's certainly are NOT. It's worth noting, though, that every single one of the above quotes was made AFTER Ed Stelmach had taken over as Premier... so, if Taylor does indeed cross over, he's going to have a bit of a time trying to distance himself from those comments in proving that he has converted on the road to Damascus...
I'll give the last word to Dave himself, though... this was in the debate over Bill 208. I bring it up not only because it's a position that I steadfastly agree with, but because it shows that, at his core, Taylor isn't all that different from MANY Tory supporters or MLA's - a pragmatist who thinks the government should leave people alone whenever possible. In that light... Dave wouldn't be such a bad fit.
"While I will defend to my death the right of a minister or a rabbi or a priest or any other man or woman of the cloth to refuse to marry Adam and Steve or Liz and Joan because it goes against his or her religious beliefs or the beliefs of his or her faith community, I will not support the right of what I see as essentially a government employee (secular marriage commissioners) to duck out of doing their job, doing the job that their employer tells them to do, because they don’t happen to agree with that part of it.
That’s not in the employment contract the way I see it. It’s not in the employment contract for anybody. If you work for a company that asks you to do something that you have a problem with, as long as it’s not something that they’re asking you to do that is blatantly illegal or unethical, but you’ve just got a problem with it because of your own belief system, then, you know, to quote so many free enterprisers: find another job." - May 1, 2006
Let's see if Dave decides to find himself another job.