Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Alison Redford's First Mistake

Alison Redford is seen to have won the Alberta PC leadership on a policy-heavy campaign. She promised change, so one would imagine she's eager to get going and introduce herself to voters through a bold agenda.

After all, here's what she said after winning the leadership:

“I am not going to unnecessarily delay decision-making,” she said. “I believe that Albertans have said that now that we are through this leadership campaign they expect this party to govern. They expect this government to get back to business, and we are going to do that.”

Turns out, not so much.

Redford has cancelled the legislature's fall session. When MLAs return to their seats in February, it will have been 9 months since their last sitting, and over 4 months since Redford's election as Premier.

The argument being advanced by Redford is that she needs time to settle in and draft legislation. That may be true, but the optics of this are horrible.

Here you have a newly elected leader promising change...but then taking a 4-month vacation before enacting the change. I fully recognize that's not the case, but as we learned in the prorogation fiasco, Canadians interpret going to Parliament as showing up for work - it's not hard for the opposition parties to spin this as Redford not being ready for her new job. It also doesn't help that members of her team are now on the record as saying: "If you have nothing else to do, you can't really call the Leg into session for an hour or so, so the opposition can rake you over the coals".

The criticism writes itself. She's not showing up for work. She promised change...after a 4 month vacation. She's afraid of criticism. After 40 years in power, the PCs consider democracy a nuisance.

Take your pick. Redford, who came to power on a wave of goodwill, has now hand-delivered talking points to her opponents. Even if they won't get a chance to use them in the legislature until February, that's not a wise move.

UPDATE: It didn't take long for Alison Redford's first flip-flop. The fall session is back on!



  • Here you have a newly elected leader promising change...but then taking a 4-month vacation before enacting the change

    Big deal, Barack Obama's closing in on a 4-year vacation...

    Ba dum BUM!

    By Anonymous Jacques Beau Verte, at 10:27 a.m.  

  • Yes, while many a politician has been elected promising "change", it rarely turns out that way...

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 10:42 a.m.  

  • Redford (...) has now hand-delivered talking points to her opponents.

    If she actually had opponents, that might be a problem.

    I still can't believe the Liberals dropped David Swann for Raj Sherman.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:47 a.m.  

  • If people in Alberta paid attention to the opposition then I think that you'd be right CG. But since they don't, I don't think that this will be a big mistake for Redford. The story doesn't seem to be catching on like it did with Harper in 2008. The media is giving Redford a lot of love in Alberta right now. The narrative here seems to be that she's taking time to implement change properly. If this were a another province then you'd be right CG.

    By Anonymous Caroline, at 10:55 a.m.  

  • She has ready-made arguments already tested by the federal Conservatives. She doesn't even have to deal with the optics of prorogation or prorogation-by-phonecall.

    For some reason the electorate hasn't seemed to particularly care about government being too lazy to go through the trouble of going to work.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:06 p.m.  

  • CG,

    I too was shocked when Alison cancelled the fall sitting. Fortunately, she and those around her read your article and came to their senses and reversed the decision. She is the real deal CG. It takes guts and integrity to reverse yourself when the whole world is looking. I am impressed.

    By Blogger MississaugaPeter, at 6:40 p.m.  

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