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"Scud Stud" Journalist Seeking AB Tory Nomination

The Bread Guy

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'Scud Stud' taking run at Calgary riding
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CALGARY and EDMONTON -- Election talk heated up yesterday with news that Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach has recruited a star candidate to vie for a Calgary riding that the governing Tories lost to the Liberals in the last provincial election.

Arthur Kent, a globe-trotting reporter who was nicknamed the "Scud Stud" for his reporting during the Persian Gulf War, has announced that he will seek the Progressive Conservative nomination in Calgary-Currie, the riding popular radio talk show host Dave Taylor won for the Liberals in 2004.

"We've been trained with a professional aversion to ever enter politics," Mr. Kent said yesterday, referring to journalists, "but the reason that I'm doing it here is because I feel that Alberta politics has always been the politics of common sense and the delivery of results."

Mr. Kent made the announcement on his website - http://www.skyreporter.com - that he will take a break from reporting to take "a swing at democracy."

Over the past three decades, the 53-year-old award-winning reporter, author and documentary filmmaker, has reported largely on international affairs, most recently on Afghanistan. Over the summer, he began looking at issues closer to home. He met with the province's Deputy Premier and then with the Premier, who took him through his plan for managing growth and the economy.

"It sounded very good, very ambitious," Mr. Kent recalled. "He asked me at that time, 'Why don't you join the team? We would love to have you.' "

Mr. Kent still needs to win the nomination - there are three other declared candidates in the riding - and Mr. Stelmach, who was voted leader of the party last December after the resignation of Ralph Klein, is dropping few hints about when he plans to call an election.

A series of policy announcements in recent days, including a new royalty framework for the energy industry and a 10-year plan to end homelessness, is intensifying speculation about a fall vote.

Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft said Mr. Kent has "name" recognition, but noted that his own party - which hasn't held office in the province since 1921 - is also lining up its own star candidates.

"We are strong on the ground in Calgary. I think the political scene in Calgary is up for dramatic shift in the next provincial election," he said.

It's still a "guessing game" whether the Premier will even call an election this fall, Mr. Taft added. "We have a Premier who is struggling to make up his mind."

Keith Brownsey, a political scientist with Mount Royal College in Calgary, said unless the Tories drop the writ this week, the call will likely be deferred until the spring or even next fall.

Regardless of the timing, he said he's not sure Mr. Kent could steal Calgary-Currie back from the Liberals. "Kent is a catch for them, but how much of a catch, I don't know."

Mr. Kent's brother, Peter Kent, a former television news anchor, ran in the last federal election as a Tory in Ontario and lost, but is putting his name on the ballot again in the next election.

Fans posted fondly to Arthur Kent's website, thanking him for his reporting and offering some advice in his new career.

"Hope you can inject a breath of fresh air into our one-party system here in Alberta!" wrote Bill from Priddis, Alta.