Where coming in second means you win

Sometimes I wish that the Progressive Conservative Party in Alberta’s leadership methodology could be applied to Grey Cup championships. My beloved Saskatchewan Roughriders would have been two-in-row champs despite losing the last two Grey Cup games.

Sometimes I wish that the Progressive Conservative Party in Alberta’s leadership methodology could be applied to Grey Cup championships. My beloved Saskatchewan Roughriders would have been two-in-row champs despite losing the last two Grey Cup games.

But it would have been a hollow victory because second place is exactly where the ’Riders belonged in the grand scheme of things.

The victory of Alison Redford in the PC leadership race is either a sterling example of a system that can provide limitless possibilities for political underdogs — or a highly flawed political process.

I tend to lean toward a flawed system. Bear in mind that I did not become a born-again PC member to support a leader who reflected my philosophy, but many Albertans joined the party for that very reason.

Quite frankly, I knew very little about Redford prior to her victory in the long and protracted PC leadership race. The campaign was little more than white noise to me as the candidates vied for the most powerful political office in the province.

Redford’s victory has placed her squarely in the public eye as the premier-elect for the province. One thing immediately sprung to mind upon further review: her resume is an impressive array of positions that indicated her strong suit is a healthy respect for democratic reform and human rights issues on a global scale.

There is very little wrong with her obvious concern for human rights and she should be commended for her efforts. My red flag is the business side of her portfolio because her history reads more like an NDP candidate’s than a Conservative leader’s — even a “progressive” Conservative’s.

It is too early in the game to get a complete look at Redford as Alberta’s new leader. However, her road to Edmonton was facilitated by a connection with Alberta’s labour movements, including the teachers and nurses. They saw a PC candidate that was willing to restore funding to the hot button issues of health and education.

Redford appears to be willing to honour her campaign promises to her voter army from the Alberta public union ranks because they pushed her over the finish line in front of favourite Gary Mar. They also pushed the PC party into a centre-left position, with more emphasis on “progressive” than “conservative.”

Redford has been described as the new face of the party, which has now become either a Liberal clone or NDP-lite in the scheme of things. The sizable lead that Mar had (and subsequently lost) in the race still left slightly under 50 per cent of Conservative voters who followed a more traditional conservative path in the party.

But now they have to put on a brave face and hope that a bright and articulate new leader can restore a balance of fiscal conservatism while addressing the motherhood issues of health and education in this province. It will be a juggling act worthy of the Ed Sullivan variety show from ancient times.

One of the things that rarely gets addressed in the health and education debate is how the departments spend the enormous amount of money already invested in the system.

For example, the health-care system appears to have a large layer of administrative costs that are well beyond the norm for any corporate blueprint, while the last round with the ATA included significant investment in their pension fund, plus significant salary increases.

I know it is heresy to question spending in these areas, but somebody has to ask how these departments operate and can they be modified to provide better services, more front-liners, and controlled costs.

These are the issues faced by Redford. The province is an oil-based entity poised on the cusp of greatness. However, without the oil revenue, it could become Greece with some great mountains without checks and balances in its spending habits.

Redford will have to learn very quickly that an open chequebook policy to appease civil servants is a very risky path.

Jim Sutherland is a local freelance writer who can be reached at jim@mystarcollectorcar.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

AstraZeneca vaccine is ready to be used at a homeless shelter in Romford, east London, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Augstein
Most unvaccinated Canadians uncomfortable with AstraZeneca vaccine: survey

Just 41 per cent of Canadians who aren’t vaccinated, but intend to… Continue reading

Advocate file photo
Red Deer County approves winery

Winery proposed for rural property northwest of Innisfail

Sharis Carr, a nurse at the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Service Center in Clarksdale, Miss., holds a vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine that was administered to seniors, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. A second COVID-19 vaccine is being investigated for possible links to blood clots, though the syndrome appears to be extremely rare. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Rogelio V. Solis
Canada receives report of blood clot linked to AstraZeneca

OTTAWA — A Quebec woman is the first in Canada to develop… Continue reading

Premier Jason Kenney struck back at unruly protesters who chanted ‘lock her up’ in relation to Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw on Monday. (Photo by Government of Alberta)
Alberta Premier calls for ‘unhinged conspiracy theorists’ to stop threatening the chief medical officer

Spreading misinformation, making threats is ‘beyond the pale,’ said Kenney

An internal investigation by AHS revealed 3,224 patients had their electronic health records accessed improperly by two clerical employees in the diagnostic imaging department at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Employees access 3K patients’ records in privacy breach at Red Deer hospital

3,224 patients had their electronic health records accessed improperly

A vial of the vaccine by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a company owned by Johnson & Johnson. Federal health officials in the U.S. said early Tuesday they were urging a pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine after reports of six serious blood clots, and officials in Washington state and around the country quickly complied. (Aristide Economopoulos/NJ Advance Media)
How J&J and AstraZeneca differ from the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna

Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine has hit a stumbling block in… Continue reading

An emergency response worker carries an air monitoring device at the site of a crude oil spill at a Trans Mountain Pipeline pump station in Abbotsford, on Sunday, June 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Failed fitting caused 190,000-litre spill at Trans Mountain site in B.C.: TSB

VANCOUVER — A Transportation Safety Board report says the failure of a… Continue reading

Ottawa
Indigenous leaders, experts urge Ottawa to quickly pass UNDRIP bill before election

OTTAWA — Indigenous leaders and legal experts are pushing federal lawmakers to… Continue reading

Visitors to a roadside memorial pay their respects in Portapique, N.S., on Friday, April 24, 2020. The Canadian Red Cross confirmed today it has collected $6.2 million in donations to help the families in rural Nova Scotia affected by the mass shooting last spring that claimed 22 lives. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Red Cross collects $6.2 million for families affected by Nova Scotia mass shooting

HALIFAX — Canadians and people from around the world donated $6.2 million… Continue reading

Hindu devotees wearing face masks as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus stand in a queue to offer prayers inside a temple dedicated to goddess Kali in Jammu, India, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. New infections have surged in the past month and India has now reported over 13.6 million cases — pushing its toll past Brazil, and making it second only to the United States. In the past 24 hours, over 160,000 new infections have been detected and experts fear that the worst is yet to come. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
Johnson & Johnson delays shot rollout in Europe

BERLIN — Johnson & Johnson says it is delaying the rollout of… Continue reading

Restaurant workers and restaurant delivery workers wait in line to sign up for Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccine site, Wednesday, April 7, 2021, in the Sunset Park neighborhood of New York. The mobile vaccination effort includes two buses equipped with four to six vaccinators each, delivering the COVID-19 vaccine directly to communities most in need. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
US recommends ‘pause’ for J&J vaccine over clot reports

WASHINGTON — The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in using the single-dose… Continue reading

FILE-Team Canada’s Meaghan Mikkelson fights for control of the puck with U.S.A.’s Hayley Scamurra during third period of Women’s Rivalry Series hockey action in Vancouver, Wednesday, February 5, 2020. Gina Kingsbury, Hockey Canada’s director of women’s national teams, hopes a Rivalry Series against the United States can happen this winter.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michael Dwyer
Canadian women’s hockey team to open selection camp in Nova Scotia

Six goaltenders, 15 defenders and 26 forwards will vie for spots on Canada’s 23-player roster

FILE - Rhian Wilkinson, left, and Melissa Tancredi of Canada’s women’s soccer team attend a news conference in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 to announce their retirement from the team. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Former Canadian international Rhian Wilkinson now part of England coaching setup

Wilkinson left Canada Soccer in January to join interim England head coach Hege Riise as an assistant

Most Read