As a non-partisan observer (I voted Green in the last provincial election and have never belonged to a political party) of provincial politics this is the most excitement I’ve seen in provincial politics for years. Things are abuzz you might say.
Premier Ed Stelmach, by all reports an honest, hardworking man who lacks enough royal jelly to really lead the province, resigns. Ted Morton, the finance minister (the jury is still out as to whether or not he has that necessary royal jelly), resigns to run for the leadership. Opposition leader David Swann, apparently another honest, hardworking man without enough royal jelly, resigns. Also lacking that royal jelly is NDP leader Brian Mason, apparently another honest, hardworking (he drove a bus before he got into politics) man struggling to sell a socialist message in a conservative province.
One wouldn’t be surprised to hear he’s resigning too.
As a former beekeeper I know that royal jelly is the somewhat mysterious hormone/chemical substance that worker bees feed copious amounts of to bee larvae to turn them into queen bees. All worker bees are females, male bees are drones and their only job is to fertilize the queen, but that’s another story. Maybe what we’re seeing on the provincial scene is the emergence of some real queens (read possible premiers), but only if they have enough royal jelly. You can buy royal jelly at most health food stores.
Danielle Smith, the bright, attractive and articulate leader of the Wildrose Alliance, is a huge part of the reason that party is running second in all the polls and stands to do well whenever a provincial election is called.
Alison Redford’s recent announcement that she is running for the Conservative leadership offers an opportunity for a queen to emerge in that party too. She comes across as intelligent and well spoken. Her platform shows a refreshing list of good ideas for the province, assuming the party can survive its ongoing implosion as the fiscal conservatives battle the social do-gooders. That might have something to do with a party too long in power and too short of good ideas.
One of the more oft-mentioned names that comes up when the future leadership of the Alberta Liberal Party is discussed is Laurie Blakeman. She’s the deputy leader now and is serving her fourth term in the Legislature, so she knows her way around and has some impressive credentials.
Whenever Brian Mason steps down, Rachel Notley, daughter of the late respected former NDP leader Grant Notley, is the logical successor, coming across as intelligent and caring. Even the minuscule Alberta Party has an impressive female as temporary leader, although Sue Huff unfortunately says she won’t run for the leadership.
Admittedly, it is highly unlikely that this would happen, that the leaders of all five major provincial parties would be females, let alone have a sufficient dose of royal jelly to really do the job. Unfortunately, one of them would have to actually become premier before us voters (at least the 40% or so of us who actually do vote with any consistency) can see if any of them really have enough “queen substance” to create a buzz as leader.
The alternative to these females, sadly, can be seen as a bunch of drones (sorry gentlemen, no personal offense meant, just trying to keep the beekeeping analogy going). Apparently supporters of Jim Dinning reserved the Internet site jimdinning.ca or jimdinning.com, as have supporters of Gary Mar for garymar.ca or garymar.com in case those two former Progressive Conservative cabinet ministers decide to run for the Tory leadership. Yes, they have experience, but like most of the already announced male contenders for the leadership; Morton, Horner and Griffiths, do they have that royal jelly? If they are drones, of course they don’t.
So if you see any of them buzzing in the line-up at your neighbourhood health food store, you’ll know why.