Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy...

Well, Nation, back to the grind... slowly...

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.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dave Taylor is too good for the Liberal Party and I think he's just figured that out.

If he wants to change things, make a difference and be appreciated, he'll consider crossing the floor. Although I've recently heard he's denied the idea of leaving the party - but it would be a shame to lose him to an outside of politics job. He should cross the floor, stay in politics.

Jeff J. said...

Ken Nicol chairing one government committee and playing a crucial role in another....Dave Taylor considering switching teams...new Minister Alison Redford taking over from Laurie Blakeman as the red-suit wearer in the assembly...this is definitely not a good time to be a Liberal in Alberta.

Anonymous said...

I think it's fair to say that Taylor will have a new job soon, but certainly not the one you're thinking of. One might say the opposite of that one.

daveberta said...

Have you heard the unsourced Tory rumour that Kevin Taft is going to cross the floor?

Enlightened Savage said...

Dave: I'd heard he was leaving public life to avoid having to talk about how royally he shat the political bed, and was going to work on the Bakken Formation. :)

Good to see you back in the light of day. Any interest in the voter engagement project I emailed you about a month ago?

Justin said...

What you guys are doing is clever, I'll give you that.

How about something substantiated though. Are there some grainy black and white photos of Taylor and Ron Glen groping in the bushes or something?

Enlightened Savage said...

Justin: I don't know who "you guys" are... but if it's the Society of Devilishly Handsome Anonymous Bloggers, then how did you know I was a member? ;)

As for substantiation... my understanding is that the preliminary discussions were entirely between Taylor and his own internal braintrust, with no participation from the PC's at all (although, logically you've got to think they would be interested).

Now that the Leg is back in session and everyone's a few doors or a 3-digit phone extension away from each other, I'd expect that substantiation will be nigh impossible until and unless it actually happens - at which point, it'll be hindsight.

Brian Dell said...

Certainly employees can and should be compelled to not "duck out of doing their job".

But the issue calls attention to the fact that compulsion is occuring and accordingly that gay marriage is not something a strict libertarian would be pushing for as a 'right'.

There is a right to be left alone, to get "the state out of one's bedroom" so to speak. But the fact a representative of the state has to be compelled here illustrates how this issue concerns what happens in public, not private.

There's a good argument to be made that civil servants SHOULD be compelled here. But there is NO connection between Taylor's comments and the contention that "government should leave people alone whenever possible". If Taylor really believed that, he would be content to say that people getting together to celebrate a relationship privately, in front of friends and family, will be "left alone". This is about whether people leave the government alone or not: the fact the government's agents must be compelled here is proof.

Enlightened Savage said...

Brian: With respect, I don't think a strict libertarian would push for STRAIGHT marriage as a "right". Marriage, as a legal institution, is an artificial construct used to determine the division of goods, benefits and one's taxation level.

I'll credit the stand-up who came up with the line when I can remember who it was, but in essence, he pointed out that no one, on their own, ever said "Baby, I love you so much... you complete me, you're my world, my everything... we have GOT to get the GOVERNMENT in on this..."

I'm not anti-marriage - far from it. I'm in the process of planning my own as we speak. But the legal construct of marriage is, as it stands, an intrusion in and of itself. Straight, gay, or anything in between - once you have to pay a fee to the government and register, the strict Libertarian is already ticked off enough, without peeking under the dress.

Anonymous said...

"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."

Except that MOST Tory MLAs voted in favour of Ted Morton's Bill 208. I'll grant that some of the more regressive elements in the Tory Caucus (Tony Abbott, for one) are no longer there, but...