rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Tory MLAs, reporters, right-wing ideologues all take aim at Alison Redford for PC Party's woes

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Everyone is piling onto Alison Redford now, a phenomenon we can expect to continue for a few days or even weeks as three things happen.

First, journalists who were working on stories started during the former Alberta premier's final days in power are going to want to get them filed and published as quickly as possible before the public and their editors lose interest and wander off toward other preoccupations.

Second, it's in the interests of Redford's interim successor in the premier's office, Dave Hancock, and her PC Party to see this stuff covered and forgotten about as quickly as possible.

Yesterday's massive "document dump" detailing the cost of the $1.3 million severance payments to Redford's personal staff members, their $133,000 in "living allowances" in two and a half years, and the dropped plans to build a $750,000 semi-secret premier's pleasure dome in the former Federal Building near the Legislature are prime examples of this phenomenon at work.

If there are more stories still lurking in the shrubbery, like the one about chaos in the former premier's security detail, semi-official leaks to get them out of the way quickly are now a distinct possibility.

Naturally, this stuff will be released in a way designed to make it stick as much as possible to Redford -- and as little as possible to ministers in her cabinet who had to know what was going on.

Finance Minister Doug Horner and Infrastructure Minister Ric McIver, both of whom surely had to know about the Sky Palace plans, c'mon down!

Third, because everyone with a case to make, however unlikely, is going to try to stake a claim for their enthusiasm being the cause of Redford's dismissal last week. Such theories will mostly be baloney, of course.

Take, for example, the suggestion in Friday's Globe and Mail that it was her "appetite for debt" that caused Redford’s caucus to bring her to heel.

Unlikely, or Horner would be by now have gone the side too instead of being in the midst of planning another leadership campaign with a realistic chance of success.

No, this opinion may reflect the never-changing market-fundamentalist verities as seen by the Globe's editorial ideologues in chief, but it isn’t what did Redford in.

True, the Wildrose Party would have screeched about burdening our grandchildren with debt, yadda-yadda, but it also would have gone easy on condemning specific debt-financed projects because it knows they are popular with a significant cohort of voters.

Redford's apparent unpopularity in the polls -- and the response it evoked among her panicky caucus, especially MLAs who won in 2012 in close races with the Wildrose Party -- was what fuelled her party's rebellion against her.

If there was a single most significant cause of that decline, it was the party's own decision to betray the progressive alliance cobbled together in 2012 to save the 43-year-old PC dynasty one last time -- a fact made obvious to MLAs by the visits to their constituency offices by unhappy voters affected by those inexplicable policies.

Some readers may accuse me of the same fault I find with the Globe and Mail, but the arguments for the latter explanation are stronger than those found in the Globe -- whether or not it is the received wisdom of the Organized Right.

The truth -- as with the departures Conservative premiers Ralph Klein in 2006 and Ed Stelmach in 2011 -- may be that Redford was never as much disliked by the public as her caucus members imagined she was, if indeed anyone but the chattering classes was paying attention at all.

If so, what mattered wasn't what the polls really indicated, but what frightened caucus members thought they indicated.

Indeed, while a couple of much-publicized on-line panel polls showed her personal approval ratings in the vicinity of 20 per cent, other private surveys are said to have shown higher levels of support.

Opposition parties will now try hard to ensure the blame for the PC Party's recent missteps is not assigned solely to Redford, but that her muddled and rebellious party shares the blame -- and they may well succeed.

What an irony if it turns out the PCs would have done better in the next election led by Redford, for all her troubles, than with whomever they choose to replace her!

If so, the situation will not be unique: as far as the public was concerned they might well have done better with Klein than Stelmach, and better with Stelmach than with Redford -- so why not better with Redford than with Premier No. 16, whoever that turns out to be?


This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, Alberta Diary.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.