Thursday, March 13, 2014

Craaaaack ...

I wanted to like Allison Redford, I really did.  But an ongoing series of missteps, clumsy decisions such as major cuts to education and overt hostility to this province's workers in the form of Bills 45 and 46 have thoroughly alienated this voter.

Yesterday, as Redford was at long least agreeing to pay back the $45,000 that she spent on flying to and from Nelson Mandela's funeral, veteran MLA Len Webber chose to cross the floor and sit as an independent.

This isn't a big deal in itself - but it does tell us that not all is well in caucus:
“I will sit as an independent. Because the things that the premier has been doing the last little while — actually for quite for some time — has really affected me in a negative way. I cannot continue ... with her as the leader of the party,” said Webber, the MLA for Calgary-Foothills since 2004 and cabinet minister in the Stelmach government.
This is a pretty clear indication that Redford's support in caucus is increasingly shaky, and likely to face a serious challenge in the coming months.  When Stelmach stepped down, I wondered just where his supporters went.  While Stelmach may have been a disaster as a Premier, he did have the support of his caucus.  I didn't think that Redford's support was a clear base so much as a coalition of the elements of the party focused on getting re-elected.

Ms. Redford has alienated the coalition of voters that swept her to power.  The PC's didn't get elected on having a great policy platform - they got elected by a whole lot of people who were horrified by the far right elements of the WildRose party, and Danielle Smith's naive libertarian response to a series of "bozo eruptions" by WRP candidates.

Labour, youth and centre-left voters shifted to back the PC's to keep the WRP out of office.  Cutbacks to education, ongoing bungling of the healthcare portfolio and actively hostile legislation in Bills 45 and 46 have alienated that voter support.  The PC party is experiencing this quite directly as their fundraising has slowed to a crawl.

I think Redford will find her ability to keep her caucus in line will be profoundly compromised in the coming months.

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