Tories hope for a Hancockian era of stability

Alison Redford Dave Hancock Alberta Premier
Outgoing Premier Alison Redford with incoming Premier Dave Hancock.

On March 20, 1989, Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives were re-elected with a majority government but Premier Don Getty was defeated by voters in his Edmonton-Whitemud constituency. It was a stunning embarrassment for the then 18-year governing PC Party.

Alberta Premier Don Getty
Don Getty

Twenty-five years later, on March 20, 2014, Alberta’s still-governing PCs selected Edmonton-Whitemud MLA Dave Hancock to serve as Premier of Alberta until a replacement could be chosen for the embattled departing Premier Alison Redford.

Mr. Hancock was president of PC Party during the dying days of Mr. Getty’s premiership, when it appeared as though the Tories would be defeated by the Liberals led popular former mayor Laurence Decore.

Mr. Getty’s resigned in 1992 after being dragged down by low public approval ratings and a disgruntled caucus. A divisive leadership race chose his successor, Ralph Klein, who soon after led the Tories to win a majority government in the 1993 election. Tory partisans of a certain age fondly refer to this period as “the miracle on the prairies.”

Mr. Hancock’s experience as party president during the early 1990s and his 43 years of involvement in the province’s natural governing party could help him calm the dissent in the unwieldy PC caucus.

Facing increased pressure from the opposition Wildrose Party, the next four to six months will be an incredibly important time for the Tories, as the upcoming leadership race will define the PC Party in advance of a fast approaching 2016 election.

The parallels between the early 1990s and today are not perfect, and perhaps not even fair, but they serve as a reminder about the ability of the PC Party to reinvent itself. Even at its most damaged and divided, as it appeared to be this week, the PC Party remains a political force to be reckoned with.

Neala Barton Redford Press Secretary
Neala Barton

Redford press secretary returns to Toronto

Ms. Redford’s resignation has  resulted in the departure of many of her senior staff from the Legislature. The now-former press secretary to the premier, Neala Barton, appears to have already landed a new communications job in Toronto with the scandal plagued Pan Am Games Committee. Before joining Ms. Redford’s staff last year, Ms. Barton had previously served as press secretary for Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.

4 thoughts on “Tories hope for a Hancockian era of stability”

  1. Good read but don’t kid yourself Dave, the next election will come before 2016. I’ve talked to people in the party & in government and they all believe the new leader will want to pass 1 budget (2015) at most, before seeking their own mandate. This change in leader means the fixed election date is as good as gone. And it won’t matter what the law says. Stephen Harper already showed us how easy it is to break that kind of legislation, without suffering for it in the slightest.

  2. (I can barely remember Hancock’s Half Hour, from my early childhood ‘across the pond’. The one episode I recall was Tony Hancock giving a pint of blood and wanting a pint of tea or something similar in return!!!) It will be interesting to see what Dave Hancock will look for, in return for his few months of premiership. Really I don’t hold any high hopes for his governance, given his past performance in sticking with the ugly Bills 45 and 46, when he had the option of deferring or even canning them; instead he chose to keep blindly pushing through with them.

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