Redford initially rejected widespread guidance to call an election within weeks of being sworn in as Albertaâ€™s 14th premier on Oct. 7.
She was advised to say that unlike former premier Ed Stelmach â€” who changed Albertaâ€™s royalty regime (and helped give birth to the Wildrose party as a result) before heading to the polls â€” she would proceed more humbly by seeking a mandate to govern.
â€œIf she had listened then, we would have won 70 seats â€” another huge majority, since we were ahead of Wildrose by almost 30 points then,â€ says one Tory MLA, who adds that the seat he won by thousands of votes in the last election, will be a photo finish horse race on April 23. And heâ€™s being optimistic.
But Redford said she wanted to show Albertans her brand of leadership before seeking a mandate. She said she wanted to deliver a budget before hitting the hustings. So, the next bit of advice she was offered was for her to present the budget and then drop the election writ the very next day.
â€œAgain, she didnâ€™t listen,â€ said a longtime Tory insider about the Feb. 9 provincial budget.
â€œThereâ€™s an old saying that goes like this: â€˜She was born on third base but she thought she hit a triple,â€™â€ says another Tory mandarin.
â€œWhen she was told, â€˜Go now, Alison. Run. Run.â€™ She didnâ€™t listen. She thinks sheâ€™s smarter than all of these smart people, but sheâ€™s clearly not very astute politically. She won the Tory leadership by a fluke because of a flawed process. On the first ballot she had 19 per cent of the votes, but believes it was her brilliance that won her the leadership.
â€œThe party wanted Jim Dinning and got Ed Stelmach because of a flawed process, and then wanted Gary Mar but got Redford because of the same flawed process, and both of those leaders surrounded themselves with political neophytes and actually believe they were chosen, when they were not.â€
I agree with a lot of it.
- STEPHEN HARPER (Prime Minister): Stop trying to score political points at the expense of the opposition and start addressing the very real challenges facing the country, both at home and abroad.
- MICHAEL IGNATIEFF (Leader of the Opposition): Draft a platform that positions the opposition Liberals as a viable alternative to the governing Conservatives.
- JACK LAYTON (NDP leader): Cease pretending to be a prime minister in waiting and focus on the NDP’s historical role as a progressive voice in Parliament.
- JIM FLAHERTY (Federal finance minister): Resist the siren calls to balance the budget by slashing public services at the expense of Canada’s most vulnerable.
- JIM PRENTICE (Federal environment minister): Instead of emitting more hot air, produce an actual plan for reaching Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions target by 2020.
- ROB NICHOLSON (Federal justice minister): Stop playing politics with our criminal code. This wedge-issue tactic won’t make us safer, but it will leave us with costly prisons packed with non-violent offenders.
- BARACK OBAMA (U.S. president): Stop trying to make nice with your political enemies and start using the presidential bully pulpit to advance your own agenda.
- HAMID KARZAI (President of Afghanistan): Drive out corruption in your government so that NATO forces no longer have to hold their noses while they prop you up.
- BENJAMIN NETANYAHU AND MAHMOUD ABBAS (Respectively, prime minister of Israel and Palestinian leader): Find a way to break through old barriers and make peace.
- DALTON MCGUINTY (Ontario premier): Leave the small stuff (mixed martial arts) or the details (electronic health records) to your ministers and focus on the big picture, including the economy.
- ED STELMACH (Alberta premier): Restrain your paranoia about eastern Canadians lusting after your province’s wealth and make a deal on greenhouse gas emissions.
So the Calgary Flames jumped to the head of the line when it came to H1N1 vaccinations. Are we surprised? Itâ€™s long been a practice in Canada where professional and semi-pro athletes get preferential medical treatment. They get a MRI within hours while the rest of us wait months. Elective surgery comes within days while we wait forever. Yes you can say that their job depends on it but a lot of people whose jobs depend on being able to work pain free get stuck on long waiting lists and have to go on disability.
So naturally the team doctors assumed the Calgary Flames could just jump the queue and I assume the person who set up the private clinic thought it was business as usual like it had been so many times in the past. Now you have the Premier determined to â€œget to the bottom of itâ€ but the reality is that this kind of stuff has been going on since the winter of 1980 when the Calgary Flames moved from Atlanta and stuff like this happens to almost all pro sports teams.
If Premier Ed Stelmach wants to get to the bottom of it, why not show waiting times for the Edmonton Oilers, Edmonton Eskimos, Calgary Stampeders, and the Calgary Flames for surgical and medical procedures and compare it the rest of the population who does not play professional sports. I assume they jumped the queue in almost all cases.