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Wednesday, 13 August 2014 09:47

Roller coaster of fun with Alberta Tories

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It’s like watching a train wreck and waiting for the train to actually leave the tracks. It never does. That’s what it’s like riding the rails with Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party.

Likely to the delight of some of those running to be the next leader of the PCAA, scandal continues to plague former premier and now ex-MLA Alison Redford. With every secret revealed she can continue to be used as the scapegoat for party members.
In July, CBC released leaked information that stated Alberta’s auditor general has found Reford’s staff, while she was premier, would book seats in advance with “fake” passenger names and then remove them before printing the flight manifest. This way Redford would be able to fly alone. She has claimed no knowledge of this practice.
In the same week, the Wildrose party announced the PC party had ended the “three-year” wage freeze for senior government managers, after only a year and half.
Not only did they end the wage freeze, they agreed to a seven per cent pay hike over three years for deputy ministers and other political appointees. That means deputy ministers will earn about $294,000 a year by 2016.
The three-year salary freeze was supposed to have saved taxpayers $54 million.
Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson came out swinging as he enjoyed the free meal handed to him by the PC party.
He said the public could “chalk it up as another broken promise on what seems to be a never-ending list.” He ended with this statement: “The PC culture of entitlement hasn’t died with the Redford era. It still lives on.”
Progressive Conservative leaders flip-flop more than fish out of water. In the last few years, the government has changed its tune on numerous decisions and announcements including cutting funding to post-secondary institutions and then giving it back; committing to build numerous schools using a P3 process and then abandoning the partnership when school facilities were coming in way over budget; and the wage freeze announcement discussed above.
PCAA members do just as much flip-flopping privately as they do in public. Take for example their yanking of support from Redford when she was Premier.
In November of 2013 at the mandatory leadership review for the PCAA, Redford received 77 per cent of the votes cast by 1,197 delegates. A mere four months later she resigned from the top position when those within her own party started distancing themselves from her. Interestingly enough, when Ed Stelmach went through his own leadership review vote, he also earned high support, but managed to hang on for almost two more years, before resigning over similar issues of party infighting over his leadership style and decisions.
Who really knows what will happen in the fall when a new leader of the PCAA party is selected. That person — who becomes the next premier of the province — can decide to reverse as many decisions as he likes. He not only has to win over the public and attempt to prove the Alberta Tories are no longer the “entitled ones” they appear to be, but faces an even greater battle — winning over his own caucus and party members who, as proven with past actions, can turn on their own on a dime.
At least no one can say politics in Alberta isn’t interesting.
Rose Sanchez is assistant managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact her with your comments about this opinion piece at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor