Support for Stelmach drops, poll finds
Edmonton -- A new poll suggests support for Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach's Progressive Conservative government has dropped significantly in August to 32 per cent from 54 per cent in January.
The Cameron Strategy poll provided to The Globe and Mail also shows during that same time period the number of undecided or unsure voters has risen to 36 per cent from 18 per cent.
Mr. Stelmach became Premier last December after Ralph Klein retired. A provincial election is expected as early as next spring.
The telephone survey of 602 people was conducted between Aug. 7 to 13, and has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points 19 times out of 20.
And if that wasn't bad enough.
The former president of the Alberta young Tories has a message for the Stelmach government heading into the next election: wake up and smell the disenchantment.
David McColl resigned as president of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Youth Association earlier this year, saying the party isn't progressive enough.
Now, with the prospect of a winter or early spring election, McColl says the Conservatives - and politicians across Canada, for that matter - must change their ways: politics must focus on social action, not on the cult of personality or pursuit of power.
Otherwise, it will face increasingly hostile public receptions.
McColl points to the PCs' own annual general meeting a few months ago, at which its members from across Alberta asked for a provincial commitment to set national environmental protection standards and to put future surpluses into savings for the days when oil can no longer sustain the economy. Both ideas were rejected.
It is possible, McColl said, to be fiscally conservative but still recognize the legitimacy of social progress; in fact, he said, the public already verges towards a consensus middle-ground on many issues that politicians don't seem to even realize exists.
"Peter Lougheed gets this and is spot on: we're supposed to be the wealthiest province but we won't be forever the way we're doing things. "There are long-term issues that have to be resolved in Alberta, and the party isn't listening and it isn't questioning. Instead, it's just more smoke and mirrors."
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