And you thought the Era of the Blunder ended with the departure of Ed Stelmach.
|Larry, Curly, and Moe?|
The past few weeks has seen the Alison Redford-led government engage in a political Three Stooges routine. Everyone from Doug Horner to Doug Griffiths to the premier’s own communications director, Stephen Carter has gotten in on the act.
Public relations trip-ups have become a signature of the Redford regime. You can almost envision Redford clunking the heads of Carter and Griffiths together like Moe. The problem for the overgrown, overbearing government is that Albertans fail to see the humour in their antics. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Between Carter’s infantile online rant against AUMA head Linda Sloan’s allegation that P.C. money for municipalities depends on how P.C.-friendly the town is (which has been affirmed by others in the know including former P.C. cabinet members) and Griffiths take-the-ball-and-go-home pout, voters have grown beyond annoyed by the ruling party.
The attitude of unquestionable entitlement is to such a degree as to make Occupiers envious.
In years past, when the Tory government made bad moves, Albertans found themselves between a rock and a hard place. Not overly fond of the P.C.s, but lacking in a legitimate alternative party to vote for.
The best of the bad bunch, hold your nose and vote routine has become commonplace for the province.
Perhaps it was inevitable that an alternative would present itself. An old, stale government which flouts its authority, knowingly misleads the people, and defines corruption as a natural part of the political process obviously has a shelf life.
For Alberta, it is looking more and more like four decades is the limit.
Voters are becoming aware of how deep the P.C. tentacles reach. We have seen a new, unelected Premier tell us that she knows best. We have seen bills that go against the grain of Alberta values turned into law. We have witnessed the fundamental ideological shift of the Progressive Conservative government over to the left side of the political spectrum.
As one voter put it: ‘…if I wanted a big liberal government in power, I would have voted for the Liberal party.’
We have seen the governing party bob and weave like a boxer in the attempt to avoid admitting to post-election tax hikes. The fact that this one issue could be easily diffused irks even some long-time Tory supporters. Wildrose attack dog Rob Anderson’s challenge to the government to sign a pledge not to raise taxes for four years after the election has resulted in backlash, allegations, accusations, and double-talk from the Tories, but no signature.
If the P.C`s didn’t intend on raising taxes (or creating new ones – PST, anyone?), all provincial money man Ron Liepert would need to do is to rise to Anderson’s challenge. It might restore some faith in the government, and could be spun to put the proverbial egg on the faces of the Wildrose party.
But he won’t, which leads Albertans to question the intentions of the government after the spring vote should the P.C.s win.
Recent polls have shown a rise in the popularity of the Wildrose, while showing a drop in support for the Progressive Conservatives. Perhaps even more worrying for the P.C.`s are the polls that show Wildrose leader Danielle Smith holding a substantial favourable lead over heavy-handed P.C. boss Alison Redford.
Internal dissent is growing to a level not seen since the Don Getty years. Another voter put it best: `the two main groups that make up the current Progressive Conservatives are liberals, and conservatives who haven’t moved to the Wildrose yet`.
The Progressive Conservatives have enjoyed more than forty years of unchallenged rule. All the signs are showing that could soon change.