Thursday, 17 November 2011

Alison Redford's First 45 days in Office

Alison Redford was elected by the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta on October 1st and sworn in as Premier of Alberta the following Friday.  During the first ballot she came a distant third, which required a run-off election.  Gary Marr, who was the winner with 41% of the vote on the first ballot, also came first of three prospective candidates during the run off, gaining around 40% support.  Since none of the three candidates had a clear 50% majority, second choice votes were used to determine the final count.  Redford won fair and square by party rules.  IMHO this should have gone to a third ballot with the third place candidate dropping off.  In all likelihood the results would have been different.

Alison Redford really doesn't have a mandate from the electorate to make some of the the decisions she has made during the past 45 days.  She should present her platform and call a general election.  Let Albertans decide if they want to support that platform.

As soon as she got into office, Redford restored $100 Million to education, without making any adjustments to her budget.  Although she promised to do this within ten days, diligence should have been used to ensure that all other aspects are covered.   It is no surprise that whenever cuts are announced bureaucracies have difficulty in cutting in their own backyard.  Cuts are almost always carried on the backs of teachers.  At the very least the PC government should have conducted a study to see where the education funding is being spend.

Redford's second move was the approval of Bill 50, the portion that approved the Heartland Transmission  Project to the East of Sherwood Park, near Edmonton.  This action was taken despite the fact that a closer examination of the requirement for the transmission lines were needed.

The Alberta Uitilities Commission(AUC) states in its decision that the Alberta Government has taken away the Commission’s legal ability to deal with the costs of the line and whether Bill 50 lines are even needed.  The AUC emphasized in its decision that Cabinet now makes those decisions and Bill 50 prevents the Commission from turning down any Bill 50 line on the grounds that it is not needed or that it is not in the public interest.  

Strathcona County Mayor Linda Osinchuk has been speaking out regarding the transmission line and has send a letter to Premier Redford's government urging that Alberta's energy needs and costs be  reviewed before proceeding with the above  ground line.

Strathcona County's mayor has seized the opportunity to take her concerns on electricity transmission to the energy minister.
Strathcona County Mayor Linda Osinchuk has been speaking out against the Heartland Transmission project since the Alberta Utilities Commission approved the 65-kilometre above ground powerline through Strathcona County.
The line is a 500 kilovolt, double-circuit transmission line that would cover 65 kilometres from south Edmonton to the Heartland region near Fort Saskatchewan.
At a session Thursday with cabinet ministers at the Association of Municipal Districts Convention, Osinchuk renewed her call for the province to review electricity needs and costs in Alberta.
Energy Minister Ted Morton says the new line is needed, not just for the Heartland, but to power the oilsands as well.
This comes one day after Osinchuk delivered letters to MLA's on the county's plans to file an application in court to review the decision by the Alberta Utilities Commission. CTV Edmonton

Redford traveled to Washington, D.C. this week, apparently to tell Alberta's story on the XL Keystone Pipeline.   She also met with business leaders in New York City, before a final stop in Ottawa for a discussion with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

 Alberta's Premier is taking some heat on the last leg of her tour promoting the province's energy sector.  Thursday, Alison Redford criticized New Democrat M.P.'s who went to Washington, D.C. and openly opposed the Keystone XL pipeline.  Prior to her meeting with the Prime Minister, Redford told reporters that it's not appropriate for Canadian politicians to advise American decision makers and serve as political activists.Redford's words raised the ire of the opposition.  Alberta's only NDP Member of Parliament, Linda Duncan, says she was appalled to hear Redford's statement. Redford met with Stephen Harper Thursday afternoon. Along with a Canadian energy strategy, she discussed immigration policies and pushed for per capita health funding.Redford says the discussion went well but no promises were made.Source CTV

The big news from the national media tonight is that Redford  is calling for a National Energy Strategy.  You can read more about it here.

In her first 45 days in office, Redford has demonstrated that she is of the same ilk as the PC old boys club.  In essence, nothing has changed.  The idea of a provincial sales tax was floated yesterday.  The PC government quickly denied that they were even thinking of the idea.

The Wildrose Alliance, under the leadership of Danielle Smith, released the Redford files on November 21st.  In an e-mail it said:

It has been just over 45 days since Alison Redford became Premier of Alberta, and already her list of flip-flops and fumbles is staggering.

From breaking her campaign promise of introducing fixed election dates, appointing Gary Mar and Rick Orman as senior government officials without holding an open and competitive application process, her “missing in action” approach on fighting for the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, and most recently, her government talking about a provincial sales tax and reintroducing health care premiums, it is clear that Premier Redford is out of touch with the views of everyday Albertans.

That's why today, we have launched
The Redford Files, a website which outlines the Premier’s string of broken promises and missteps.

 The Website The Redford Files chronicles Redford's first 45 days, her flip flops and spending. It also carries a tweet from Linda Duncan, New Democratic Party, stating:

Linda Duncan
# cdnpoli pleased Redford adopting federal NDP platform for public dialogue on sustainable energy future for Canadians
Without a mandate from the general public, Redford and her government should stop making life changing decisions for Albertans.   She should call a general election based on her agenda as soon as possible.

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