FAQ: Alison Redford faces PC Party leadership review

Premier Alison Redford Alberta
Alison Redford

Hundreds of supporters of the long-governing Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta will gather in Red Deer on November 22 and 23, 2013 to attend to the business of their annual general meeting and conduct a review of Premier Alison Redford leadership.

Why does a leader who nineteen months ago led her party to its 12th consecutive electoral victory have to face a leadership review?

Because it’s mandatory.

Article 15.1 of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta constitution states “At the second Annual General Meeting of the Association following a Provincial General Election where the Party forms the Government or at the first Annual General Meeting of the Association following a Provincial General Election where the Party does not form the Government, a secret ballot on leadership review shall be held.”

Who gets to vote?

Members in good standing of the PC Party and duly registered delegates who fall into one of the following categories:
- members of the PC Party Board of Directors
- 15 delegates from each of the 87 PC Party constituency associations (which must include a minimum of 3 youth delegates between the ages of 14 and the end of the calendar year in which they reach 26 years old)
- 20 youth delegates appointed by the Progressive Conservative Youth of Alberta, and 2 youth delegates who are full-time students from every accredited post-secondary education institution on which a PC campus club exists,
- current and past PC Members of the Legislative Assembly,
- PC candidates nominated to run in an upcoming provincial election,
- past presidents of the PC Party,
- 5 directors and up to 30 deputy directors of the PC Alberta Fund,
- PC Senators and Senators-in-Waiting,
Conservative Party of Canada Members of Parliament from Alberta.

Why are Conservative Party of Canada MPs invited to vote in the leadership review?

This appears to be a constitutional remnant of a time when the provincial PC Party was officially tied to Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. The federal PC Party merged with the Canadian Alliance in 2003 to create the Conservative Party of Canada.

At the PC Party’s 2012 annual general meeting, delegates voted on a constitutional amendment to remove the automatic privileges of federal Conservative Party MPs and party activists at participate in provincial PC annual meetings. While the two parties have unofficial connections, friction over federal Conservative support of the Wildrose Party in the last election created a rift between the two parties. The amendment was partially approved, with Conservative MPs still being automatically invited to attend but the automatic invitation for federal Conservative riding associations to each send 15 delegates to the PC Party AGM was removed from the constitution.

What are delegates being asked to vote on?

Article 15.4 of the PC Party constitution states that the ballot shall contain the question: “Do you wish a Provincial Leadership Election to be called?”

What happens if delegates vote for a leadership review?

If a majority of ballots are marked in the affirmative, the PC Party Board of Directors shall proceed to call a provincial leadership election.

How would a new leader be chosen?

According to Article 14 of the PC Party constitution, a leadership election must be held not sooner than four months and not later than six months from the date of the leadership review.

Members in good standing of the PC Party who are Canadian citizens, at least 14 years of age and residents of Alberta for at least 6 consecutive months immediately prior to the leadership election are eligible to vote.

When the leadership election is held, the candidate who receives more than half the total valid ballots cast shall be declared the leader. If no candidate receives a majority of votes on the first ballot, a second ballot will be held with the two candidates who received the most votes. This is different from previous PC leadership votes where the three candidates with the most votes moved the the second ballot. This created situations where, in 1992, 2006, and 2011, the candidate with the most votes on the first ballot did not win on the second ballot.

Will Ms. Redford survive the leadership review?

While Ms. Redford has her detractors in her party and caucus, I believe the prospect of a majority of delegates voting for a formal leadership race is unlikely. As far as I am aware, no leader of a major Canadian political party has earned less than a majority vote in an internal leadership review (please correct me if I am wrong). But if a leadership race is called for, it would certainly be interesting to see if Ms. Redford followed her in the footsteps political mentor, Joe Clark, in contesting a leadership race.

After more than 40 years as the governing party in Alberta, the PC Party has proven its ruthlessness towards its leaders. Remember that even Premier Ed Stelmach won a resoundingly strong endorsement from his party membership after the 2008 election. But when the party establishment sensed his leadership could hurt the party’s electoral fortunes, he was challenged from within and he quickly announced his departure in 2011. Premier Ralph Klein‘s 13 year tenure as leader of the PC Party came to an abrupt end when he received a shockingly low 55.4% support in that party’s 2006 leadership review. And in 1992, Premier Don Getty chose retirement before he was forced to face any large scale internal dissent in his party and caucus ranks.

Peter Lougheed appears to be the only leader of the PC Party in Alberta who has retired from politics on his own accord since that party first formed government in 1971.

A weak endorsement of the current leadership would certainly be good news for the tire kickers in the PC Party who would like to see Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk or Finance Minister Doug Horner have an opportunity to lead. But if delegates endorse the current leadership, as most political watchers are predicting, the potential challengers may have to cool their heels for at least the next few years.

14 thoughts on “FAQ: Alison Redford faces PC Party leadership review”

  1. The worst part of this whole thing is the associated freeze Redford has put on our government, leading up to this. She has mandated no new information requests be processed, no new projects announced, nothing, all so that the last few months could have relatively few “surprises” in the run up to this stupid thing.

    I hope they do turf her as leader. She stands no chance of a repeat win in 2016 with the way she’s been going. I can’t think of a single election promise she hasn’t broken.

  2. Thanks, Dave. Particularly interesting about who gets to vote. I wonder how the Conservative MPs will vote… or how many will be there.

    Is it a secret ballot?

  3. I bet she loses the leadership race – maybe not an outright loss but less than 60%, the same amount that finished Klein off. Future contenders will be Thomas Lukaszuk and Jonathan Denis.

  4. I don’t see Denis running for leader. He’s been learning French which tells me he’s running federally.

  5. She will survive. The party is drumming up support to ensure friendly delegates . They are also trying to ensure that every spot is filled so the convention “looks big”.
    And there is no one in the wings- only Thomas or Horner- really? The bitumen bubble king and hit the spending in mass confusion budgeting and financial reporting

    Oh well she will survive with excellent numbers. The fix maybe in!

  6. I’d be happy to see Redford gone. She hasn’t done anything – good or bad – but mediocrity can’t be the mandate of a leader. She cut programs deep and cut spending where it shouldn’t have been. In short – there are better people who can do her job. I look forward to the vote later this week!

  7. We needed deep, Klein-era cuts and they’re paying off now, just like they did before. I was worried the PC party was drifting too far to the left but they’ve regained my vote as the true conservative party in the province.

  8. I sorry – ‘needed deep Klein-era cuts?’ I ask you – do you see a Dr? Do you attend a University or have children in school? Do you live in a province where if you commit an arresting crime in one city you can simply move to another because the two cities policing don’t seem to communicate? Do you drive on the roads? Deep cuts are NOT needed if basic infrastructure is maintained – and Klein era cuts screwed much of that up. Don’t even start with privatization – that’s been a HUGE SUCCESS! Redford ran on a balanced budget, and cut, cut, cut. She cancelled multimillion dollar projects that simply ended regardless that the capital had been already be spent. Then Calgary flooded. Meh, screw the budget. Let’s throw money at it and see if it soaks up the water. (Oh, and no, the new polymer bills don’t soak up water, so the money was pretty much wasted) Get rid of Redford, put someone who has a grasp of provincial politics in her place. No, Redford did NOT need to travel to China to talk about Alberta tar sands – that’s a federal discussion. Sadly we’re a Conservative province by birthright it seems, so I can’t see a change there, but at least put someone at the helm who can see past 6 months at a time.

  9. Please, everybody give Alison your blessing that the out of touch loyalist and self serving Tory syncophant delegates deliver her an 80‰+ victory. She is flatlining in the polls, and delegates will hopefully hand Alberta a the best Xmas present ever, an electoral dud for 2016. The WR are hoping she wins, and when she does, it will be a continuous rocky political barrage, which will tire and expire the Tory coalition to a defeat by the WR in 2016. Borrowed Liberal votes from teachers and civil servants will return and. With some of the content out there already, it’s not unplausible to see some possible floor crossing to the WR and WR seats in Cowtown. If short sighted delegates give her 80 percent or above, coalition will weaken this scandal plagued party, next Gov’t strong likelihood to be a minimum majority or minority. Redford’s win is the best ticket to Tory weakness.

  10. No wonder Redfraud won the review! She has most of her party in her back pocket with severance pay and ridiculous pay!!!! Why aren’t Albertans allowed to vote on this matter! Most dislike her and would be happy to see her go! She is a criminal and should be arrested just like Pamela wallen! There is no way she will win the next election!

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