rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Lindsay Blackett, possibly three or four more, likely to join Alberta Tory contest

Alberta Culture Minister Lindsay Blackett


Lindsay Blackett, Minister of Culture and Community Spirit in Premier Ed Stelmach's cabinet, is expected to be the next MLA to enter the contest to lead Alberta's Progressive Conservatives. He's expected to jump as soon as the spring sitting of the Legislature grinds to a halt.

Blackett, the 50-year-old MLA for Calgary-North West, is seemingly best known for his use of the S-word to describe the efforts of our Albertan film makers, whose work his department is supposed to encourage. "Why do I fund so much crap?" he famously, and a little plaintively, mused last summer.

Blackett's remark was mildly controversial for a few days, especially among local filmmakers, and he later apologized for his salty language, if not for the sentiment it expressed.

One suspects that many ordinary Albertans -- most of whom have surely never actually sat through a film produced in this province -- were more amused than offended by his remark, and may even have felt a little admiration for the minister's plain speaking.

Still, this seems a frail credential on which to base a serious run for the leadership of the still-mighty Alberta Tories -- especially against heavyweight candidates like Gary Mar, Alison Redford and Ted Morton, all from the Calgary area, and Doug Horner, from the Edmonton region, each one a former holder of one or more senior cabinet posts.

This is especially so since the price of admission to the Conservative leadership race will now be $40,000, a sum certain to discourage candidates with junior portfolios (or none at all) who are really just thinking about an opportunity to raise their profiles a little.

Yet, if he can come up with the steep entry fee, Blackett can have a pretty serious impact with a campaign that may be less than completely serious. After all, he would stand a chance of being king-maker, and that may be attraction enough for an ambitious politician looking ahead toward what the future may hold, an election cycle or two from now.

Without a doubt the entry of another candidate into the leadership contest is certain to have a significant effect on the way the race unfolds. This will be even more true if, as widely believed, Blackett is joined by at least one more MLA from the Edmonton area and possibly a non-MLA as well.

Other potential candidates frequently mentioned in this context are Employment Minister Thomas Lukaszuk, MLA for Edmonton-Castle Downs, and the Parliamentary Assistant for Health and Wellness, Fred Horne, MLA for Edmonton-Rutherford. Horne, of course, replaced Independent Edmonton-Meadowlark MLA Raj Sherman in the Parliamentary Assistant's role when Sherman was kicked out of the Tory caucus by Premier Stelmach on Nov. 22 for speaking his mind too plainly.

Battle River-Wainwright MLA Doug Griffiths, another candidate in this not-quite-serious, not-quite-not-serious category, has already joined the race.

New candidates -- especially if there are lots -- promise to make the race more interesting because it would make the outcome harder to predict. For certain, more candidates make it tougher for front-runner Mar to win, and probably almost impossible for former finance minister and budget hardliner Morton.

In Mar's case, this is because of the well known tendency of candidates in a contest with multiple players to gang up on the front-runner in hopes that, if elected, "anyone but" can do more for them personally and for their issues.

In Morton's, it's because of the slight numerical advantage Red Tories have over fiscal fundamentalists in Alberta PC ranks. Since he's the only hard-right candidate in the race, Morton needs to win on the first ballot or he isn't going to win at all. A surfeit of candidates makes the likelihood of any candidate winning cleanly on the first ballot extremely small.

About all we can predict with comfort, however, is that the more candidates who join the leadership race, the harder it will be to pick a winner.

Also, the more candidates who throw their hats in the ring, the happier Wildrose Alliance Leader Danielle Smith will be -- especially if a crowded Tory field results in the defeat of Dr. Morton, the potential Conservative leader most likely to appeal to her right-wing party's stalwarts.

As for the other opposition parties, sad to say, none seems capable of taking advantage of what should have been their breakthrough moment.

This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, Alberta Diary.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.