In this morning's National Post I warn the paper's cross-country audience that despite the Liberal victory in Tuesday's Calgary-Elbow by-election, it could still be a while before Alberta politics is characterized by weird, unfamiliar phenomena such as a minority Assembly or pre-existing doubt as to the identity of the next government. The success of Premier Ed Stelmach's "northern conspiracy" is predicated on a mild loss of support in Calgary, so the vote in Elbow effectively had little content in an information-theory sense. But the day's overlooked other ballot, in Drumheller-Stettler, showed that the opposition parties are unprepared to compete aggressively. Despite the opportunity that a by-election presents for expressing impatience with a government, the Drum results bordered on the comical. Liberal candidate Tom Dooley, who was previously best known for being a folk song, couldn't even scratch together a thousand votes. And the New Democratic candidate reached an unbelievable new historical low for the party, finishing (NOT A TYPO) seventh. Probably a while, then, before we can break out the champagne we've all got set aside for the arrival of the New Jerusalem.