Alberta political strategist Rod Love faces cancer diagnosis

Rod Love has negotiated his share of triumphs in Alberta politics, notably in getting Ralph Klein elected mayor of Calgary and then premier of Alberta.

But Mr. Love has a new challenge to contend with now, and it’s not political. It’s cancer.

In his Sept. 3 blog on Rod Love Letters, he wrote, “A not so funny thing came up at last month’s routine physical. A tumor has appeared in my upper body.”

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As usual, Mr. Love wanted to be in charge of the situation by getting his story out before “all the rumours start flying.” He wouldn’t say exactly where the tumour was in his upper body, but explained that a treatment protocol was being developed so that medical professionals could attack the tumour.

“In an ideal world, while it can’t be ‘cured’ in the traditional sense, there are still lots of ways to get it to a place where it can be ‘managed,’” wrote Mr. Love, a long-time Tory. “I am under no illusions as to what lies ahead.”

Mr. Love did not return messages Thursday. Those who have worked against him in various campaigns were aware of his health issue. Communications, marketing and government relations man, Jim Armour, tweeted, “Even cancer should know, you never want to pick a fight with Rod Love.”

Stephen Carter, who helped Naheed Nenshi become mayor of Calgary and later served as chief of staff to former premier Alison Redford, dubbed Mr. Love “a political icon. Every operative is compared to him and so far, no one has reached his level,” Mr. Carter said. “Although we rarely agree on policy, I look forward to running more campaigns against him in the future.”

Last month, Mr. Love was hired by the U.S. multinational 3M to lobby the Alberta government to design new licence plates. He insisted he had nothing to do with any “branding activities.” He simply provided the company with information so it could understand how the Alberta government worked.

The final results were three redesigned licence plates. All three were scrapped Thursday by Premier Jim Prentice, who said the province was sticking with its current plate.

As for his health, Mr. Love made fun of the Tories’ recent troubles in Alberta, including their abuse of government jets for personal matters. “I am posting this because I want to get ahead of all the twitter-obsessed weirdos who will immediately have me on private flights to Mexico for experimental miracle drugs, or off to Lourdes, France to drink the magical all-curing waters. No, I am right where I want to be in Alberta’s health care system. I am fine, and I am going to be fine.”

Follow on Twitter: @AllanMaki

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