Redford’s not the problem, just the symptom
This is going to be one of the shortest rants I’ve ever written, and given that it’s a fool’s game to predict political outcomes, some PC Party supporters who read this will be hoping I’m dead wrong. But I don’t think I am.
It’s not that Alison Redford got the Progressive Conservatives into this predicament. It’s that the Progressive Conservatives don’t have a clue how to get out of it.
Look at it this way. Once the Titanic hit the iceberg, its fate was sealed. From that moment on, it didn’t matter who was on the bridge. Captain Smith went down with the ship. But hypothetically speaking, had First Officer William Murdoch (who was actually the officer in charge on the bridge when the big ship hit the berg) or Second Officer Charles Lightoller decided to mutiny, take control, and lock Smith in a cabin somewhere, the Titanic still would have sunk.
Oh, and by the way, Murdoch may have been in charge on the bridge the night, following the Captain’s orders to go full steam ahead in an attempt to break the record for crossing the Atlantic. But as it does with virtually all disasters, it took a whole constellation of bad decisions made by a whole bunch of people to sink the Titanic.
So it is with the PCs. Like the designers, builders, owners and sailors of the Titanic, their saga begins with their own belief in the inevitability of their superiority. (Alison Smith didn’t develop her sense of entitlement and the air of disdain for the “little people” in a vacuum, after all.) Indeed, the PCs grazed their own iceberg — and sprang a slow leak — on Election Night 2001 when Premier Klein crowed, “Welcome to Ralph’s World!”
(True, he’d just been re-elected with a massive majority, but it’s never a good idea in politics to take the power the people have bestowed on you and so publicly revel in it.)
That night, Klein really did have the people on his side. Today, Redford does not. But that’s not only Redford’s fault. What has changed is that a political party that had become used to winning elections and governing unchallenged began to lose its edge. To believe that nobody would oppose it. No matter what it did.
So when opposition did arise — as it inevitably does — the PC Party had no idea what to do about it. And still doesn’t.
It returned its core value, staying in power (which is a core value for most political parties except, apparently, the Alberta Liberals) and said, “Okay, the polls are slipping, what do we do to turn this around?” And they hit upon a strategy, of sorts — blame the leader, replace the leader, and people will think we’ve reinvented ourselves.
But that’s like pruning a dead poplar branch when the tree is dying from the inside. It’s cosmetic, but doesn’t address the real problem.
Everything in life, natural or manmade, has a life cycle. I’m sure it was a good run while it lasted, but the PC dynasty has come to the end of its life cycle. They can dump Alison Redford as leader. Or not. I submit it won’t make any difference.
Nature rejuvenates itself. Some manmade things can be rebuilt at the end of their life cycle. And some cannot. It’ll be interesting to see which category the PC Party falls into, after the next election.