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alberta politics

Alison Redford’s Resignation

Alison Redford, 2012.

Alison Redford. Source: Dave Cournoyer

I shouldn’t have anything to say about the resignation of a politician in a jurisdiction where I do not live. But, I do.

First of all, I do wonder what the hell a provincial politician is doing spending tax-payer money (and a considerable sum of it, at that) on a trip to the funeral of the former leader of another country. If she felt so strongly about going to Mandela’s funeral, she should have spent her own money to do so. (I don’t know how wealthy she is, but I’d bet she would have worked to get a better deal to do so than the $45 000 of tax-payers’ money she supposedly spent, which will no doubt be paid for by passing the hat around among her supporters now that she has said she will repay it.) If the prime minister wants to waste money going to the funeral of a (former) terrorist who happened to become the leader of a country … well, I suppose that’s one of the perks of the job. What can we tax-paying peons do? But even a provincial leader has no business dealing with other national governments on a direct level, not officially anyway.

But I am drawn to the comments of Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi, as quoted in the CBC article Alison Redford resigning as Alberta premier:

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says Redford’s resignation as premier is a sign of what is wrong with the political process.

Nenshi says while he disagrees with some of the things she did, Redford was trying to do good things for the province as leader.

“I want to remind people that this is also a human story,” he said.

“It’s about a real person. A good person. A person who loves this province and has worked hard and made incredible sacrifices for this place. And it’s the story of a system that takes somebody like that, chews them up and spits them out.”

Forget the sentimentality of his comments and those of the NDP leader, Brian Mason. It just seems shocking to me that, after not even two and a half years at the helm, she’s run out of town because, to paraphrase one of the thin-skinned members of her revolting caucus, she’s a “mean bitch”. If even people who philosophically oppose her (such as Mason) can say positive things (remember, Redford has resigned, not died) like, “I have to say I thought she was a very intelligent premier with her own vision …”, then I do have to wonder about the short-sightedness of what has happened there — short-sightedness on the part of both the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta and Redford herself. Even if you’re a cynical, poll-watching politician who thinks only in terms of getting re-elected at the next election, the next election isn’t even for a couple of years yet!

Again, I don’t live in Alberta, and so I’m not on top of the spending issues (in addition to the one above) that people seem to be laying at her feet, and the charges of entitlement (I thought all politicians felt entitled?) and being “out of touch”. Maybe if I was an Albertan I’d be cheering right now; I really don’t know. But it was Nenshi’s comments that grabbed my attention. On the one hand I can’t help but feel that a huge percentage of politicians — from the lowliest town councillor to the top dog in the land — are on the take somehow and bilking the taxpayer with every breath they take. On the other hand, I also can’t help but feel that you can’t ever hope to attract decent people to politics if they get treated this way the minute they’re not the flavour of the moment.

Can Redford be nearly as bad as the dickhead we have running the country — his utter contempt for the electorate at large on display Wednesday by the manner in which the swearing in of the new finance minister was carried out? Although I wonder if perhaps she gave up and rolled over too easily, I also can’t help but compare her apparent willingness to step aside for the greater good to the exact opposite behaviour of that buffoon and national embarrassment in Toronto, Rob Ford.