Posts Tagged ‘Alison Redford

Even if the Alberta Tories dump Alison Redford, they’re in a bit of a pinch

- March 13th, 2014

The Alberta Tory government has been getting a but of a rough ride of late, largely thanks to the travel exploits of Premier Alison Redford.

There have been other issues plaguing the government, including mounting debt, and contentious labour legislation, but the travel issue has helped drag down the premier’s — and the party’s — approval numbers.

Even with Redford’s announcement that she paid back the cash, the political damage could be done.

With reports nearly 20 MLAs were ready to jump ship over the travel issue, it’s not clear whether the party will want to face voters with Redford as leader, despite a ringing 77% endorsement last fall.

But a couple of glaring issues could put the brakes on any potential palace coup.

1. MONEY

To run an effective campaign in two years against an emboldened opposition, the Tories are going to need cash. A lot of cash. And while they may be able to rely on some big donors late in the game, they’ll need to head into the capmaign with a considerable war chest.

Recent stories in the media detail hundreds of thousands in party debt after the last leadership contest (less than three years ago) and the 2012 campaign. And there are also concerns about party fundraising and building a new Legacy Fund.

While a leadership contest could energize the party base, it could also tap the well dry and pose challenges for a full-blown election campaign not long after.  Right now, there are roughly two years until an election (based on the premier’s fixed election window). If there are people in the party that want Redford gone, waiting around may not help their cause.

They don’t need a bloodletting when they’re trying to get their financial act together.

2. WHO’S NEXT?

Let’s just say a caucus revolt forces the premier out. What next? Looking at Redford’s cabinet, is there a premier-in-waiting in the bunch? Doug Horner and Doug Griffiths both took a run at the job in 2011. While Horner holds high profile as finance minister, and Griffiths is one of the few Tory ministers I don’t think has done a bad job over all, neither seem the man to lead the party into the future.

Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk would need a severe political makeover from attack dog and Twitter quip-slinger to statesman. But he gets good hair points.

Jonathan Denis has been a decent law-and-order representative, though I haven’t always agreed with him. He could make a go at a leadership race, but I don’t know he’d fare well.

Ken Hughes and Fred Horne hold lofty positions, but aren’t the face of renewal.

I’d throw in Diana McQueen and Jeff Johnson, ministers of energy and education, respectively, as possible contenders, but, save for Ed Stelmach, the party hasn’t elected a leader from a rural riding.

There may well be up-and-comers on the PC backbenches, but there’s no one that really stands out.

Outside caucus? Everyone keeps talking up Stephen Mandel, but he’s no spring chicken, and not necessarily known outside Edmonton. However, he has proven he can take an ambitious agenda and run with it.

A lot of people may want to talk up Gary Mar and Jim Dinning as Tory saviours, but for many they’re from a bygone political era. They’d still garner a lot of support, mind you.

Jim Prentice may come up in some circles, but one would imagine, should he return to politics, that he’d be looking at a shot at federal leadership.

Given the party’s recent troubles in the polls, there will be people sharpening their knives.

But the Tory troubles go beyond their leader, and the challenges posed should she leave will be tough to overcome.

Wildrose policy upgrade muddying their message? Hardly

- April 9th, 2013

Much has been made over the last couple of days over the Wildrose announcing it would be reviewing some policy stances in an attempt to appeal to more Albertans.

Commenters under our stories accuse them of being nothing more than Tories with another name, and the deputy premier ridiculed them as selling out their own values.

I get that a complete reversal, or removal of core values, would be seen as a betrayal of all the supporters who have been with a party since the beginning, but as I say in my column this week, there’s room for improvement. And if you think a losing party would keep going to voters with the exact same playbook election after election, you’re fooling yourself.

If the goal of your party is to win an election, you want a winning platform. But it has to be one that sticks with your core values. A complete killing of the Alberta Human Rights Commission may not have worked for the public, but let’s look at other reform. Or let’s do a better job of explaining the benefit of the original policy.

I have no issue with policy review. It’s natural to review policy.

What I take issue with is a party that says one thing during a campaign then does the opposite once elected. That’s unforgivable.

In this campaign, it’s all about the cash

- March 28th, 2012

It’s been official now for a couple of days, and unofficial for weeks.

Albertans are going to the polls April 23

And for all the talk of how different this race is, from the leaders to the parties to the political climate, at the end of the day, it’s about the dough.

And I’m not talking about all the talk of cutting budgets and balancing budgets, I’m talking about the Tories facing a well-financed an organized opponent.

I’m not saying the Wildrose will win because they have a lot of spending money, but much has been made of the party’s ability to fundraise more than their other opposition opponents.

And if the ad the party released in advance of the election call is any indication, the Wildrose is definitely something the Tories haven’t seen in a long, long time: A well-funded opponent.

Slick campaign financed with lots of cash may not win elections on their own, but they get attention. And getting voters to pay attention is more than half the battle.

I’ll leave forecasting to pollsters, but as Rick Bell says here: “Politics has come to Alberta.”

Wildrose rolls on

- October 7th, 2011

Daniellesmith
There’s no rest for an opposition party trying to be, at the very least, the top opposition party and, at best, the governing party come the next election.

The selection of Alison Redford as Tory leader hasn’t seemed to slow Danielle Smith or the Wildrose Party either.

They have wasted no time in rolling out some pretty effective attack, or “contrast” ads, focusing on the flip-flop on fixed election dates and holding a fall legislative session, and her track record of supporting Ed Stelmach’s policies then campaigning against them.

And while some political writers are trying to focusing on the attack ads, and the Wildrose’s list of the top 40 mistakes the Tories have made in their tenure, as proof the Wildrose aren’t giving voters an alternative, they’re forgetting the comprehensive policy document released this week by the party.

Obviously, a party’s policies aren’t going to appeal to everyone, but there’s no denying Smith and her party have put a lot of work into making a case that they are ready to govern, and at the very least, offering alternatives that are hold the Tories’ feet to the fire. Even all the talk of change coming from the Tories is due in large part to the Wildrose.

A slick ad campaign is just one piece to the puzzle, and the Wildrose’s critics forget that at their own peril.