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.

Redford government's legislative record: A broken promise a day?

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Alberta Premier Alison Redford

The list of promises broken by Alberta Premier Alison Redford just seems to keep growing.

Indeed, you could argue it grew again late last week with the mysterious disappearance of a reference to not making middle-class and low-income taxpayers pay for big arenas to further enrich billionaires from one of Redford's recent speeches.

We wouldn't have known about this one, of course, until the government handed over the cash to Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz (net worth, $2.4 billion) sometime after the next provincial election had it not been for an embarrassing fumble for some poor sluggo in the Pubic Affairs Bureau, the Progressive Conservative Party's publicly financed in-house advertising agency.

And, theoretically I guess, we won't really know it's a broken promise until the cash is on the billionaire's barrelhead. That interpretation notwithstanding, presumably speechwriter's head is going to have to roll because the line wasn't deleted that explained that building outdoor rinks in Alberta villages and hamlets is a better use of our tax dollars, than "being squandered on superfluous things like pro hockey arenas."

This is sentiment with which most of us can agree, so the only real surprise is that it made it into even an early draft of the speech!

It's pretty reasonable to conclude from this contretemps that, as expected by the more cynical among us, now that she's premier, Redford has decided to change her tune and shuffle some more taxpayer largesse to the local billionaire with the most billions. And why not? Otherwise it might get hosed away on something like health, education or public transit!

In other words, we have another broken promise, No. 8, if your blogger's count is right.

Now, for the sake of fairness, balance and accuracy, as they used to say, Premier Redford denies that any promises have been broken. "I am making commitments to Albertans that reflect exactly what Albertans want," she told the Edmonton Sun. "They're what I said during the campaign and we're going to carry through on them."

Still, just for fun, let's make a list:

1)    There will be a fall session of the Legislature. Well, there was going to be one, then there wasn't, then there was, but it was so short it really wasn't.
2)    There will be a judicial inquiry into health care. No, we're going to get an inquiry by a captive Health Quality Council of Alberta that is sure to be intent on not embarrassing the government.
3)    The Legislature will pass a fixed election date law. Instead, we get an unfixed election date law that we're going to call a fixed election date law! Do we need remedial English classes for legislators?
4)    There will be an independent child advocate. Well, OK, not independent.
5)    AISH recipients will receive an extra $400 per month. Albertans who require Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped, our province's most vulnerable citizens, are still waiting, and still doing without.
6)    There will be big changes to the land assembly laws. This was supposed to assuage the concerns of Albertans in a dither about "property rights." Instead, they’ll get "clarifications" and a task force.
7)    There will be no overall budget increase to cover restoration of education funding. Well, maybe not.

And now…

8)    No provincial money will be given to billionaire arena owners. "Ms. Redford, Mr. Katz on Line 1!"

And how many days is the Legislature in session? Eight days, this go-round. That's a broken promise for every day MLAs are sitting! And that's just my count…

Obviously, depending on one's political and philosophical perspective, some of these promises are more important than others, and some never even should have been made. For example, it's said here that putting the money back into education is more important than paring it out of other departments when the province's long-term prospects are so strong, and it would have been OK just to say so.

That's not the point, however. What we're seeing here is a rather troubling tendency on the part of Redford's leadership campaign not to follow through on promises apparently casually made before she had the job.

This does not bode well for our confidence that she will follow through on the promises her government is sure to make in the election campaign that's coming soon.

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.