Ed Stelmach emerged from a leadership review with a comfortable margin of support from Progressive Conservative party members, but some in the party say the weekend vote sends a clear signal the Alberta premier needs to make changes.
Although the next provincial election is still more than two years away, Tory delegates, who gave Stelmach’s leadership 77 per cent support in Red Deer this weekend, also appear to have given him a message that they want the bleeding to stop.
“He’s got a year to fix things, shuffle his cabinet and overhaul his office staff,” said former Tory cabinet minister Marv Moore.
“And he has to stop making mistakes. If not, he’ll simply have to bow out.”
The premier spoke Friday before the 1,300 Tory delegates voted. He talked about the courage it takes to make bold moves and not back down.
But after Saturday’s vote, Stelmach seemed more contrite and conceded the need for changes, possibly even a cabinet shuffle.
“I need the time to think it through,” said a weary-looking Stelmach.
Thomas Lukaszuk, a government member from Edmonton, says with roughly one-quarter of Tory delegates voting against the premier, “there’s room for improvement.”
“But that’s a good place to be in, because if you’re in a place where there is no more room for improvement, I think you may get detached from reality,” says Lukaszuk.