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Wednesday, 27 August 2014 11:35

Leadership battle has done the opposite of what it should have

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Uh oh. Alberta’s governing Progressive Conservative Party leadership race was supposed to be a cake-walk, smile and wave coronation for one of the candidates. The other two were just there for show and to prove there was a spirit of competition and a show of democracy.

Cue loud game show buzzer. Whoops.
If Ric McIver, Thomas Lukaszuk, and Jim Prentice subscribe to the theory that any publicity is good publicity, then congratulations gentlemen, mission accomplished.
The leadership race, which could have been considered the dullest on record to begin with, certainly changed Aug. 22 at a debate in Calgary.
Prentice pointed his finger at his two opponents criticizing them for not doing anything while previous premier Alison Redford was touring on government planes and spending money like a spendthrift with an unlimited credit card.
Lukaszuk and McIver in turn wondered why Prentice was giving away party memberships to (prospective) supporters in turn for leadership votes.
There was enough mud slinging to make a Tide clothes detergent commercial (insert your own dialogue here).
Of course there has been other negativity as well. Prentice’s idea for limited terms for premiers (two) and MLAs (three) was met with less-than-enthusiastic support. Lukaszuk is now in trouble as (surprise, surprise with a week to go), someone leaked the fact he had a $20,000 cell phone bill due to roaming charges while he was on vacation in 2012.
According to media reports, Lukaszuk blamed it on the fact the premier’s office made him do it.When in doubt, rightly or wrongly, all PCs will point the finger at the former premier. In Twitterville, that’s #BlameRedford.
It’s a wonder the candidates and current government officials haven’t suffered from dislocated shoulders from being quick to point anything which has gone wrong or negative on Redford.
Regardless, it doesn’t show well for Lukaszuk. It doesn’t look good on any of them. Constructive debate on policies is one thing in a leadership race. It’s critical. Calling each other down and exposing dirty laundry is quite another.
In all three cases, each of them look like they all follow the old-school, pork-barrel policies which critics and beleaguered voters are getting tired of hearing about.
There can’t be a lot of confidence generated by the leadership race when all it has done is expose more of the same tired politics which has sent the PCs sliding for the past year and some. Prentice may be from outside the current provincial realm, but the political style, the one-ups-manship and attitude is no different than what currently exists.
As of Aug. 26, the provincial PCs have been in power 15,691 consecutive days. That is more than the Nova Scotia Liberals who were in power from Aug. 3, 1882 to July 16, 1925 (15,687). This information is according to research done by University of Calgary political science Paul Fairie.
A sense of entitlement perhaps? Yes, that was a rhetorical question.
It’s worth noting the Wildrose Party has been relatively silent with the three-headed monsters growling. They probably can’t believe their good fortune as the PCs continue to shoot themselves in the foot.
All of this shooting can’t leave the PCs much of a leg to stand on after the votes on Sept. 6 (first ballot) and Sept. 20 (second ballot) are done.
Ryan Dahlman is managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact him 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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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor