Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Be Careful What You Wish For...

"Be careful what you wish for - you just might get it."

These were the prophetic words spoken to me by a friend in the days before I sat down with my fellow members of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta's Board of Directors in a Calgary hotel on the Ides of March, and discussed the metaphorical elephant in the room.

I should back up at this point, and mention - because I don't think I have in this space - that I'm currently serving on the PCAA Board of Directors as the regional director for Calgary South. In that role, I represent the five PC Constituency Associations south of Anderson Road in Calgary to the Party Board - bringing the concerns of those grassroots members to the table for discussion and voting in their interests. Not because I'm some political genius or mastermind - I'm just the guy who put his hand up when they asked for volunteers.

I mention the above only so that I can mention this: The Enlightened Savage remains a blog beholden to no one party, candidate, or set of ideas. This blog is not a promotional tool for the PCs, or for anyone else. It has not been, and WILL not be, a platform trumpeting any particular leadership candidate. I am not a spokesman for the PC Party. Everything I write in this space is a reflection of my own views, which do not necessarily reflect - and are often in stark contrast to - the majority within the PCAA. 

In that same vein, if you're looking for someone to "spill the beans" on what goes on in those meetings, you're going to have to keep looking - because I'm not your guy. It's not that I'm a big fan of secrecy: Far from it, in fact. But I gave my word that things discussed in confidence will remain in confidence, and that's not a promise I'm willing to break. Not because I owe anything to the party, but because I owe it to MYSELF to keep my word when it's given.

Now, ALL that said - this is a space for opinion and analysis. So here's some of both.

Alison Redford resigned as Leader of the PCAA at just about the last possible second that the decision was going to remain hers to make. Facing possible revolts on all fronts, she pulled the parachute cord because she had no other choice. If she hadn't, the revelations that continued to come out in the days and weeks that followed would have resulted in open insurrection within the Party.

It's too soon to judge Redford's legacy as Premier - history will do that in due course. Her government brought in reforms that increased transparency and accountability in government - ironically, some of those same reforms helped hasten her own downfall. She was the Premier of record when the historic agreement between the Province and the Tsuu T'ina was inked to finally, after decades of delays, complete Southwest Calgary's stretch of the ring road. And she received generally positive reviews for her handling of the worst natural disaster in our province's history.

Of course, it wasn't all sunshine and roses. In addition to the scandals that contributed to her resignation, Redford was panned for making up policy on the fly, and was heavily criticized for fostering a sense of patronizing and arrogant governance. She was aloof and confrontational with other legislators and staff, going months without having conversations with her own cabinet ministers. Teachers and members of the public service felt utterly betrayed by the attitude that her government took towards collective bargaining.

But, to quote former PC Leadership contender Ken Hughes: That was then, this is now.

NOW, we've got a leadership race. The third one since 2006. I remember the leadership election of 2006 very clearly: It was the event that gave birth to this blog, when an anonymous twenty-something decided that someone had to fill the vacuum being left by the mainstream media's love affair with the "Jim Dinning/Ted Morton" showdown for the PC Leadership.

In this leadership race, it looks as though there will be three candidates: Thomas Lukaszuk, Ric McIver, and Jim Prentice. So it will be easier to cover than some other races. So easy, in fact, that we might even be able to count on the MSM to cover every candidate.

I'll be covering it, too. I'm not working on anyone's campaign. I'm going to try - like I did in 2006 and again in 2011 - to be an honest broker of information, so that my readers can make up their own minds who - if anyone - has earned their support.

I'm not going to pretend to be super-excited to be covering my third PC leadership race in 8 years, because I'm not.

But considering the alternative - this is better than THAT would have been.

Be careful what you wish for, indeed.

Savage, 10-35.

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