Wednesday, August 23, 2006

"Laurie Blakeman Retirement Party"

Dinning aims at win in '08
August 23, 2006

Tory leadership front-runner Jim Dinning says that if he wins the contest to replace Ralph Klein, he wants the party ready to fight an election by 2008.

The former provincial treasurer told the Edmonton Centre PC Association last night that if he takes over the reins in 2007 he will take cabinet and caucus on the road to restore confidence in the party.

He said he will encourage grassroots Tories to draft new policy and begin a vigorous recruitment of candidates "so we're ready for an election that will take place sometime after 2007."

"I want to make sure that we not only win the election, but we win it on a platform that we can defend ... and most importantly that we have fun doing it."

He wants to start by taking back the Edmonton Centre riding from Liberal Laurie Blakeman.

"That Laurie Blakeman retirement party will be the best party in the province," he told a standing-room only crowd at the Maverick Brewery.

Tory Neil Reid said the party renewal that Dinning is preaching is essential because the Tories took quite a hammering in the riding last election.

"What Jim Dinning is talking about is required in Edmonton Centre. If we sit on the status quo, we'll take another hammering."

Education Minister Gene Zwozdesky, a Dinning supporter, says he's gearing up for 2008.

"I'm delighted Jim has come out and said when the next election will be," he said.

Calgary West MLA Ron Liepert, another Dinning fan, said a 2008 election makes sense.

"Can the party rejuvenate itself? With this guy the leader? Absolutely."


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