Who would have thought that the Alison Redford era in Alberta would not last three full years. She has resigned rather than trying to put down a mutiny in the ranks of her Progressive Conservative caucus, and to those of us on the outside, the root causes were not all that obvious.
Part of it I’m sure, can be traced back to a flawed system of choosing leaders in that party. Both Redford and her immediate predecessor, Ed Stelmach, were the first choice of almost no one when they got the job. Both were mostly unknown outside of the resource-rich province, but Redford got a lot of things done during her brief time at the top.
In partnership with people like Mayor Nenshi of Calgary, she guided the response to last year’s disastrous floods. There were valuable lessons that were hopefully learned by leaders in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Redford also stared down Danielle Smith and the Wildrose Alliance, winning a surprising election victory two years ago.
She fought the good fight in Washington and elsewhere in support of the Keystone XL pipeline, but all of this apparently drew attention away from a leadership style that simply did not work. The caucus members who left before the Premier did used phrases like not a very nice lady and bully to describe the way she ran the government.
She allied herself with people like former Prime Minister Joe Clark, and she had little time for her own caucus members. It was not the successful formula of Peter Lougheed or Ralph Klein.
Now it will be someone else’s turn in Alberta. It’s not a place where democracy is all that healthy. One party has ruled the roost for more than 40 years. The last two elections have produced voter turnout of not much more than 40%. Next ?
I’m Roger Currie