Taylor has long been rumoured to be unhappy with the direction that the Liberals were headed, and particularly so since his 2008 leadership defeat at the hands of Dr. David Swann. Political-watchers of late, though, had seen signs that the rift within the caucus was mending somewhat, as Taylor took the lead in announcing the Alberta Liberal energy policy reboot recently.
All that considered, though, the decision of Taylor to remove himself from the Liberal caucus is no more shocking than the decision of Heather Forsyth to leave the PC caucus earlier this year. Both were widely known to be unhappy with their party, and both were known to have had serious personal issues with their party leader.
The question on a lot of minds today, though, is: Where does Dave go from here?
Here are some of my favourite "what-if" scenarios, with odds:
Taylor Joins the NDP:
Absolutely not. Taylor has nothing short of pure disdain for the policies of the NDP. As he would say, they're yesterday's party - if today was April 12th, 1964. Odds: 100-to-1
Taylor Joins the PC's:
VERY unlikely. Dave has made no secret of the fact that he doesn't have a lot of time for Ed Stelmach, and he'd have even less time for Ted Morton should he succeed Ed as PC Leader. The overall PC policy book might be closer to the one Dave ran on in 2008, but he'd have the same issues with the PC's that he had with the Grits. Odds: 50-to-1
Taylor Joins the Wildrose Alliance:
This would be a coup for the WAP, as they could trumpet such a move as proof positive that they're drawing on discontent from across the political spectrum. The reality, though, is that just about the only thing Taylor could agree with the WAP on is their democratic reform principles. If the WAP policy process and AGM yield centrist policies then this is a possible union - but if the policies are centrist enough to attract Taylor, then they'll also be bleeding a lot of the party's early supporters back into the political wilderness. Odds: 75-to-1
Taylor Joins the Alberta Party:
POSSIBLE, but not in the short term. First of all, the Alberta Party would need to start to move from the "Big Listen" to the "Big Action". Taylor's all about communication - I found him to be a great breath of fresh air in the afternoons on QR77 - but he also knows that you have to actually DO something, instead of just talking about it, to make a difference. Once the Alberta Party gets its ducks in a row, if it still shows signs of life, I could see Taylor running for their leadership and sitting as the first Alberta Party MLA. Would others follow, from the Liberal or PC Caucus? Wait and see. Odds: 20-to-1, but not any time soon.
Taylor Runs for Mayor of Calgary:
Plausible. This move has certainly bumped his visibility to its highest point with the general public in recent memory. He'd need more than visibility, though: He'd need money. LOTS of it. If Dave's phone starts ringing and the people on the other end are big money donors, this could happen - especially in the absence of any other big-name, high-visibility centre-left candidates for mayor (our favourite flavour, historically). Odds: 15-to-1.
Taylor plays out the string an as Independent, leaves public office in 2012 to take a media job:
Likely. All the other options make us politicos giddy whilst considering implications, fall-out, strategies, etc - but at the end of the day, the odds aren't really in favour of ANY of the above happening. If Taylor sits as an independent MLA until 2012, asking his one QP question per week and then rides off into the sunset, he'll be able to sit back, take a media job offer of his choosing, move where he wants, work the hours he wants, and reclaim his private life. The lure of power is great. The lure of a work week that is less than 65 hours long, and being able to go to the shopping market without having half of your fellow shoppers mad at you at any given time, and pulling in a private sector paycheque, is pretty great too. Odds: 3-to-1.
What say you, Nation? What's Dave's next move?