Nation, the race for Calgary-Glenmore is now, as of the writing of this blog, officially 25 and one-half hours old. And ALREADY, Paul Hinman - interim leader of the Wildrose Alliance Party and their candidate in the by-election precipitated by Ron Stevens' retirement from political life - is crying about the unfairness of the Premier setting the by-election's date as September 14th.
"No fair!", goes the caterwauling. "People are really busy right now, then it's the long week-end, and the kids are back in school, and it's election day! We can't get volunteers or donors at this time of year..."
Whoah there, Paul. Back up a sec. You can't mobilize enough volunteers and donors to fight a single by-election at the end of summer?
The Wildrose Alliance Party is the party that wants to ride to the rescue of the oilpatch. That wants to make life easier for small business. That wants to lower taxes, and help Alberta companies create jobs.
It's the party that wants to bring conservative government back to what they insist is a conservative populace... letting Martha and Henry and their pastor speak their minds without fear of the HRC's "thought police"... locking up bad guys and keeping bad guys from coming to Alberta from elsewhere.
You're telling me, in a province full of energy companies and allegedly conservative voters, that Paul Hinman's campaign team can't find enough money and volunteers to run a single race, with 4 weeks' notice?
And let's be clear, Nation - he and his party have had far, FAR more than 4 weeks' notice. Every single person who has been paying attention to Alberta politics for the past 3 months knew that the Premier was going to have to call a by-election to replace Ron Stevens - and he would have to do so no later than November. We've known since Stevens stepped down that this day was coming - and there are no "mulligans" in politics.
Paul's party shares some of the blame in this... as I pointed out on this blog, the Wildrose Alliance should very well be able to mobilize a huge sum of money and volunteers to fight this race. This is the provincial fruit of Reform's loins. Organization is what they do. And while they are, of course, locked in a leadership race right now, you can NOT convince me that the reason the WAP can't fund Hinman and supply him with volunteers is because the entire oilpatch, and the silent, disenfranchised conservative majority of Albertans are too focused on the Willerton-Smith-Dyrholm race to actually help a member of the party get ELECTED to the Legislature.
If the WAP is actually deserving of the attention they've been getting all summer from the MSM and the blogs alike - if they are, as they insist, the Party of business and of the hundreds of thousands of conservative Albertans that the PC's have abandoned, then they should already have tens of thousands in the bank and thousands of man-hours committed by volunteers from across the province, all determined to winning the WAP - the "next big thing" of Albertan politics, ready to form government as soon as 2012 - their first urban seat.
If they did, Hinman wouldn't already be making excuses.
Hinman knows he has come up against the "perfect storm" of Alberta politics - a well-connected, well-funded, well-respected local politician with progressive social views, good fiscal conservative bona fides, strong volunteers from all over the city, and a history of working with the now-defunct PC Party of Canada and the Conservative Party of Canada, through the constituency board of Prime Minister Harper. She's got him beat on the left, AND the right. She's not a shoo-in, by any means - Colley-Urquhart is going to have to mount a huge "get out the vote" effort to get voters out to the polls and avoid becoming the next Brian Heninger - but Colley-Urquhart is the prohibitive favourite, not just to outsiders looking in, but also to the WAP campaign in Glenmore. And so, Hinman goes - less than 2 hours into the race - to the "no fair" card.
Perhaps the best sign, though, that Hinman has all but given up is who he's blaming for his impending defeat.
"People are busy and not engaged in politics as they should be," Hinman is quoted as having said in the Herald.
Hear that, "people"? You're not as engaged as you should be. So when Paul Hinman loses this race, it's going to be YOUR fault - not his, or his party's.
That's the problem with this "democracy" thing... letting the "people" decide.
You should all be ashamed for making Paul lose.