Special Moose Jaw version of this annual University of Regina event features Preston Manning discussing Western Canadian Democracy: A Backward and Forward Look.

Manning hails from Alberta. He’s the son of former Alberta Social Credit premier  Ernest Manning, and the principal founder of the federal Reform Party, which later merged with the Progressive Conservative party to create Stephen Harper.

With the recent resignation of Alberta premier Ed Stelmach, there’s a lot of speculation about the future of that province’s Conservative party. With the odd name tweak, they’ve been in power since the time of Ernest Manning in the 1930s. There  are signs, though, that the party’s reign may be in danger of ending.

Regarded as a moderate, Stelmach alienated reactionary factions in the Conservative party, spawning the even more right wing Wild Rose party. If Stelmach’s successor can’t reunite Alberta conservatives that could lead to the Wild Rose party becoming an electoral force in the province and perhaps even forming government. Alternately, the existence of strong Conservative and Wild Rose parties could split the right-wing vote in the province and open doors for more moderate Liberal and NDP politicians to gain more than the handful of seats they typically win.

In its recent municipal election, Calgary elected a mayor who possesses impressive credentials as a progressive thinker. Is that just an abberation? Or is Alberta poised to break with its oligarchic past and become a more dynamic democracy?

I don’t know if that’s one of the topics Manning will discuss or not. Regardless, his talk is at the  Heritage Inn (1590 Main St. N) in Moose Jaw at 7 p.m. For more info call 585-4226.