Kevin Taft announced today that he'll be stepping down as leader of the Alberta Liberals as soon as the party selects a new leader, before January of 2009.
That, of course, presumes that the party will even exist in its current incarnation in January of 2009.
As FOES (Friend Of Enlightened Savage) Naheed Nenshi pointed out in a column for the Calgary Herald earlier this week, the political machinations within the Alberta Liberals should be of keen interest to all Albertans, regardless of their political stripe. We simply have no way of knowing what is going to come out of this rebuilding time, and this leadership race. Will the party shift left to absorb the NDP and Green parties, and hope that eventually Albertans shift to the left as well? Do they shift right, co-opt most of the Tory platform but run on a pledge of cleaner, more accountable government? Do they fade off into the sunset altogether?
Whether or not you've ever voted Liberal in your life, what happens next MATTERS - because it affects the manner in which you'll be governed - and even possibly, by whom. Keep an eye on the Alberta (for now) Liberals - this is going to get interesting.
The Alberta Liberals have not as yet announced a timetable for replacing Taft. Taft has indicated he wishes to serve out his full term as MLA for Edmonton Riverview - something that outgoing Liberal leaders in this province have traditionally done, for which he should be commended.
The Liberals won't shift left to merge with the Greens because the Greens aren't a left-wing party.
Secondly, much of the membership are die-hard activists and wouldn't support a merger with the Liberals without major concessions by the Liberals (not likely seeing they actually have sitting MLAs).
Third, those with any political knowledge in the Greens are already recognizing that these moves by the Liberals have everything to do with imaging and nothing to do with policy. It's all about winning and nothing else... and those Greens aren't in favor of that either.
End result... no Green-Liberal merger in Alberta.
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