Saturday 30 October 2010

View From the Other Side - Part 3

The theme for the 2010 PC AGM is “TeamPC”. There are hints of this within the handouts, the décor and in the Leader’s Address. In the main reception area there are hockey jersey’s honoring past PC premiers, behind the stage there are very simple banners with “TeamPC” and of course in the party colors.

They really remind me of this…….

... except the stripes are vertical.

Edited to add new photo. Thanks Joey.

I will give the PC’s credit for the décor and staging; it’s simple, functional and likely reasonably priced.

The Audience

During the Premier Stelmach’s Leader’s Address there seemed to be several people throughout the crowd who started banging their “fan-fans” at key points. These very well could have been very dedicated supporters, but I got the sense it was somewhat staged. One of the individuals was behind me, pacing the back of the room and in between his enthusiastic moments he saw fit to chat with other people. The individuals directly around me were much more subdued.

The Delivery

I’ve seen Premier Stelmach speak a few times over the years and I haven’t seen the changes I expected to see. He just doesn’t seem comfortable up there and appears more to be “reading” than “sharing” a vision. I don’t envy anyone who speaks to a large group; it’s one of the things I hate to do myself. Even though I don’t relish the thought of public speaking, many people have told me how much I changed in just five months of campaigning recently. Our Premier has had over two years and likely has resources, maybe even coaches available to him.

I don’t know if Premier Stelmach writes his own material, but if he doesn’t I believe that might be part of the issue. At one point during my recent campaign, someone else wrote some script for me. I found I couldn’t deliver it as written; it just wasn't the way I would say it. I ended up rewriting it. I kept the base content, but added my own personality and spirit to it.

He did have one moment where he clearly was adlibbing, during which he was definitely more comfortable and personable. If he could capture that and apply it to all of his presentations, they would have far more enthusiastic supporters.

The Content

Premier Stelmach spoke at length about environmentalists attacking us and how Alberta isn’t being treated fairly by Ottawa. At one point he said (regarding the activists); “Nor will we give them what they want, which is attention.” It would seem to me if you use nearly 400 words on the topic during a speech you know the media is covering extensively … you are giving them attention. As for the Ottawa comments; it reminded me of the King Ralph days, when he would rattle his saber, but at the end of the day nothing changed. Also he didn’t take it to the next logical step… the How. How are they going to fix the disparity? How are they going to stop the intrusions on provincial jurisdiction?

Twice during the address, he referred to the massive majority won in 2008. They seem to rely on this as if time stopped on that day; as if there has been no political change in Alberta since that day. What he didn’t address was; what are their chances of doing that again? More than one Calgary PC MLA has shared concerns with me about their chances next time around. If I’m hearing surely the members and brass within their own party are hearing it. Perhaps this is one area that is just too sensitive for the Premier to publicly admit is an issue.

Premier Stelmach also declared the following;
“…. I am proud to announce our Party is embarking upon the most democratic engagement process for policy development in the history of any political party in our province. The process will encourage input of grassroots Party members and individuals who share our values through constituency and regional forums. The end result will be a comprehensive PC Policy Blue Paper that will form the foundation for the next platform and ultimately help set the direction for the future of our province. And in the coming weeks, we will announce our co-chairs of the Platform Development Process.”
Right now it’s lacking in details, but on the surface it sounds like what the Wildrose Alliance has been doing all along. And truthfully, I actually thought the PC’s had a fairly democratic process in place for those who wanted to be involved. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Further reading on the speech:

Alberta premier in fighting form

Stelmach takes aim at detractors

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