Making the province purple?

Rumours love an audience and some members of the media love to give them one. With the resignation of Alberta’s Municipal Affairs Minister Ken Hughes on Monday likely in order to prepare for a Progressive Conservative party leadership campaign launch speculation is rampant on who will and will not throw down $50000 in an attempt to lead the province (for the next two years anyway).

Sometimes however rumours aren’t worthy of an audience. The one about Mayor Naheed Nenshi running for premier is one of them.

Let’s look at where this little jewel of jabber started: a tweet. Twitter is a vehicle for all kinds of things but facts aren’t always one of them. One tweet from a reporter who pointed out the answer to “Will you run for PC leadership?” wasn’t a “No” was subsequently followed by a blog post to the same effect.

Frankly the fact a politician didn’t answer a question with a “yes” or “no” shouldn’t be a story. It’s definitely a great way to create a narrative but it’s not worth the time and effort. Yet when it’s printed it takes on a life of its own. Now other reporters and everyday folks start asking the question. Next thing you know you have Draft Nenshi accounts on Twitter and their kin on Facebook.

Peel away all the ink and assumptions however and it all comes down to a simple non-answer.

There are also a few facts that might contradict the vision of a Premier Nenshi under the Progressive Conservative banner like the one where Nenshi was actually involved in the beginnings of the Alberta Party along with his chief of staff before he was elected mayor. Or how about the statistics that indicate he is one of the most popular politicians in Canada? Not sure a run for premier would help that.

Now let’s look at this from the mayor’s perspective. I’m popular I’m elected and gosh darn it people like me. Why would His Worship jump from the paradise most politicians never achieve to a bitterly partisan and highly uncertain plane of political theatre? Sensibly there’s no urgency to make the move. It would be wiser to wait until the conclusion of the 2016(ish) provincial election see where the seats fall and then step in after the dust settles.

Some are already saying that Nenshi can “save the PC party” from what seems like a slow-motion train wreck. That could be done before or after the 2016 election but the fact is that to do it after the election is less risky for the mayor. To do it before risks failure and the breaking of a popularity record most politicians only dream of. To do nothing at all risks nothing at all.

Finally I’ll add this: The Twitter account attempting to draft Nenshi for premier has 178 followers at press time. If that’s an indication of support he’s got a long way to go to get to the premier’s office.