Tory culture of entitlement a big problem for Jim Prentice

Jim Prentice David Dorward Moe Amery Selfie Alberta
A PC Party selfie with MLAs David Dorward, Moe Amery and leadership candidate Jim Prentice. (photo from @DavidDorward on Twitter)

Whoever leads Alberta’s long-governing Progressive Conservatives into the next election (probably Jim Prentice) will have some serious challenges to deal with.

After more than forty years in office, Alberta’s natural governing party has become accustomed to getting its way, regardless of who stands in their way.

Perhaps realizing how much damage this has caused his party, interim PC leader Premier Dave Hancock apologized to attendees at high-priced party fundraising dinners in Calgary and Edmonton.

“I’m sorry we damaged Albertans’ confidence in our party,” Mr. Hancock said. “I apologize for losing touch with our grassroots, for not listening to you the way we should have. This behaviour is just not acceptable.”

Delivering this type of apology is a big step for any PC leader, even an interim one. After years of public controversy and internal turmoil under previous leaders, the PCs hope that Albertans will forget their misdeeds and elect them to office for a fourteenth term.

But apologies need to be followed up with action.

Last week, more than 400 representatives of the Alberta Teachers’ Association unanimously stood in a non-confidence vote against Education Minister Jeff Johnson. The Tories have slowed down their drastic reforms to public sector pensions and backed down on legislative threats to impose a contract on public sector workers, but Mr. Johnson’s recent attack on front-line educators appears to be off-script.

Even the secret Skypalace in the Federal Building, which Albertans had been told was cancelled, is still being built (albeit without the bedrooms). A strong case can be made for an official residence for the Premier, and especially official meeting spaces to hold functions and host dignitaries. But for some reason, even when they claim to be upfront and transparent, the Tories still do not feel they need to justify these expenses to the public. They continue to operate in secret.

The leadership vacuum is only one of the problems facing the big-tent PC Party. Their next leader will inherit a party with a severe cultural problem that becomes prevalent in any long-governing party – an entitlement problem. And this cannot be fixed simply by changing who is sitting in the premier’s office and it will certainly not be changed with platitudes and soundbites.

Albertans deserve better than what the Tories are offering. The Tories need to prove Albertans can have confidence in their party. They need to prove that Albertans can trust them to govern in the interest of the province, not in the interests of preserving their own political dynasty.


As the PC Party and the Alberta New Democrats begin their leadership races, I will be taking a short break from political punditry to enjoy the salty breeze and down-home hospitality of Canada’s Maritime Provinces. In my absence, I recommend you follow my colleague David Climenhaga at his excellent AlbertaDiary.ca blog.

6 thoughts on “Tory culture of entitlement a big problem for Jim Prentice”

  1. Add to your list the ridiculous BONUSES. What happened to SUPERANNUATION?? THIS IS “GOVERNMENT” not PRIVATE (FOR PROFIT) INDUSTRY -cut the bonuses everywhere, including Health Care (especially) etc. , etc. There are plenty Conservative smart people who could handle these jobs. This is where individuals with Conservative (Godly) values WILL shine. Also, the Ministers can advise these people heading up various responsibilities and not just sit there detached!!!!!!.

    AS A PROVINCE WE ARE INDEBT – SHAME ON US!!
    GETTING IN DEBT IS EASY – BEING THRIFT IS DIFFICULT.

  2. Add to your list the ridiculous BONUSES. What happened to SUPERANNUATION?? THIS IS “GOVERNMENT” not PRIVATE (FOR PROFIT) INDUSTRY -cut the bonuses everywhere, including Health Care (especially) etc. , etc. There are plenty Conservative smart people who could handle these jobs. This is where individuals with Conservative (Godly) values WILL shine. Also, the Ministers can advise these people heading up various responsibilities and not just sit there detached!!!!!!.

    AS A PROVINCE WE ARE INDEBT – SHAME ON US!!
    GETTING IN DEBT IS EASY – BEING THRIFT IS DIFFICULT.
    (NO – This is my FIRST comment. I am fairly new on this different computer and touched something I should not have and it shot off the short, first message to my shock. Thank you.

  3. Thanks for the shout out, Dave! Have a great time in the Maritimes and be sure to visit Green Gables in Cavendish, PEI.

    As for the teachers’ vote of non-confidence and the premier’s apology for his party’s sense of entitlement, the real story was told by Mr. Hancock’s reaction to to the teachers’ action. This can be summed up as “Drop dead. We’re the government. Your opinions stand for nothing.” Mr. Johnson stays.

    Given this, we have to wonder how sincere that apology was – or, leastways, if Mr. Hancock was apologizing for the party’s actual sense of entitlement, or merely for the fact more voters than usual seem to have cottoned on to it?

  4. Prentice is going to pickup where Red fraud left off…more infrastructure debt.

    The elephant in the room..we got the worlds largest energy reserves, why are being denied proper royalty collection and government revenue to fund infrastructure?

    Is it right for the populace to take on so much debt and be denied any dividend from the oil bonanza? This is artificially created and imposed. debt.

    It is the punishment for being a dumb stupid in informed conformist Albertan that keeps voting AB Tory over and over again. Albertans are the dumbest and densest creed on earth, they are happy to eat scraps. This is why Prentice’s job will be so easy.

  5. I can tell you, Pearl, that the equation of Conservative with “Godly” values is a big part of the problem: the Conservatives can do no wrong according to them. It’s arrogant, it’s a mistake, and it’s probably why you’re so disappointed with the current crop of fools.

    Conservatives don’t hold the monopoly on “Godly-ness” any more than Christians hold the monopoly on humanitarian values that are replicated in EVERY religion.

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