In Alberta radio blitz, McIver aims squarely at Prentice

Ric McIver
Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Ric McIver speaks to the Edmonton Sun’s editorial board on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014 Today, MciVer’s campaign launched a radio blitz against rival Jim Prentice.. (Codie McLachlan/Edmonton Sun)

The race in Alberta to become that province’s next premier takes a new twist Thursday with a province-wide radio blitz aimed at taking the front-runner down a few notches.

Listen: This radio ad from the Ric McIver campaign began playing all over Alberta today

The Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta will hold its first vote Saturday in the leadership contest to replace Alison Redford, who resigned in March in a cloud of scandal involving misspending of public monies.

Former Harper cabinet minister Jim Prentice is the front-runner in a field of three candidates seeking to become leader of the party and the next premier of Canada’s wealthiest province.

But Prentice, who has only ever been a federal politician and who retired from politics in 2010 to take a top job at a Bay Street bank, is facing a stiffer-than-expected challenge from two members of Alberta’s legislature who were in Redford’s cabinet. Ric McIver, a former Calgary city councillor who became an MLA in 2012, and Thomas Lukaszuk, who has represented an Edmonton riding since 2001, both hope to topple Prentice.

Tory leadership hopeful Jim Prentice walks in the Pride Parade in downtown Calgary on Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014. One of Prentice’s rivals, Thomas Lukaszuk, was also walking in the parade, but the third candidate, Ric McIver, said he couldn’t due to a scheduling conflict. (Lyle Aspinall/Calgary Sun)

But in a campaign that has hinged on issues ethics, governance and trust,  Lukaszuk’s campaign has been stung by leaks which showed taxpayers picked up a $20,000 bill for his smartphone data use while he spent a week overseas and that his daughter accompanied him on several flights on government jets while he was on official business.

McIver, on the other hand, has boasted of “boring” expense claims which, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, show a clean record so far as any taxpayer abuse.

WATCH: Ric McIver, on my program Battleground on Sun News Network, talks about his “boring” expense claims:

So, on Thursday, the McIver campaign, believing their candidate to be the only option to Prentice, is launching a massive radio attack on Prentice.

“Do we want another premier who has admitted to ethical issues?” the 30-second radio spot says. “Jim Prentice has admitted to giving away free memberships to the PC Party.”

Albertans who want to vote for the next PC leader and premier must cough up $10 for a membership in the PC party. The Prentice campaign, flush with nearly $2 million in campaign contributions, has admitted it was buying memberships for voters, a practice that is not prohibited under the leadership contest rules set down by the party brass.

The McIver campaign has called for a ban on that practice.

“Buying votes to win the premier’s office? Maybe someone should tell him that public trust isn’t for sale,” the radio ad says.

The objective of the McIver campaign is to weaken support for Prentice so that, in the vote that’s to take place Saturday, Prentice does not get the required fifty-per-cent-plus-one to win the contest outright. If no candidate hits that threshold, then the third-place finisher on Saturday will drop off the ballot and a second vote with only the top-two finishers from Saturday’s results will be held Sept. 20.

Candidates Thomas Lukazsuk, Ric McIver and Jim Prentice speak during a provincial Tory leadership debate in Calgary on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. The party will choose its leader on Sept. 6 or, if a second ballot is required, Sept. 20. (Lyle Aspinall/Calgary Sun)

The McIver campaign is counting on being able to knock Lukaszuk off the ballot and hold Prentice under the threshold to force that second vote.

Sun News Network will be in Edmonton Saturday night with a special leadership race broadcast beginning at 9 ET/7 MT with the results expected to be announced at about 9:30 MT/7:30 ET.

One thought on “In Alberta radio blitz, McIver aims squarely at Prentice”

  1. Why? No tape of anyone in a radio show going after Kathleen Wynne for the disaster which she and Dalton left the poor Ontarians to clean up. How is it that the reporters are not after Kathleen Wynne yet they freely say whatever they feel like about Alison Redford and her corruption which led her to resignation from her post- not that I condone what she did, I don’t. But at the same token reporters condone Kathleen wynne and Dalton corruption on the public.

    The only reason is that she is a liberal therefore all liberals remain untouchable by the media which she knows full well.

    Alison Redford is out of politics for her wrongful deeds.
    Kathleen Wynne is still in politics for the wrongful deeds and corruption.

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