Mr. Manning, who spoke to The Globe and Mail at the opening of a democratic reform convention in the Quebec resort town of Mont Tremblant last night, said he will soon decide whether to join the race. But he needs to be convinced this would be a good thing for the province and the party -- and for both himself and his wife, Sandra.
The former Reform Party leader said he has presented a number of big ideas about where he would like to take Alberta as its premier. "I really need to be convinced that people have found merit in those ideas, not just my particular candidacy."
Alberta, said Mr. Manning, "is a place that every so often gets seized of a big idea; it's the history of the province. I'd like to see more debate and discussion about what that next big idea is and who is best qualified to lead it."
But he does not want to create an artificial diversion from the leadership race if he is not going to run. "I've got to decide reasonably quickly," he said, "but let some of this talk develop."
The first of Mr. Manning's three ideas is to marry conservation with marketplace mechanisms for addressing environmental problems.
The second is to set aside money from Alberta's Heritage Savings Fund for investments that would replace depleting resource revenue.
And the third is that Alberta, "because of its resources and the economic clout it's developing, has to be a leader on the national stage," Mr. Manning said. "There's a responsibility that goes along with increased wealth and influence."
He did not specify who would have to convince him that his ideas could drive the Conservative Party, but said he has friends across the province who will tell him if they are capturing public imagination.
So he has three forward-looking ideas based on Alberta's rise to wealth and power and the need to use them wisely. That's three more ideas than Jim Dinning has ever had, and enough to knock Ted Morton out of the race as the ideas candidate.
If he announces his candidacy, it is going to be all over for everyone else.
And he may just be able to keep the PC Party from collapsing and being replaced by another upstart looking for decades of hegemony.
Source: Globe and Mail