Alberta Politics

premier redford’s light legislative agenda and half-kept promise.

A photo of Alberta Premier Alison Redford
Premier Alison Redford

Six is the number of pieces of legislation that Premier Alison Redford‘s Progressive Conservative government has introduced into Alberta’s Legislative Assembly during the Spring sitting that started in February.

Nineteen is the number of pieces of legislation passed by the PC government led by Premier Ed Stelmach during the 2011 Spring sitting of the Assembly.

The government’s light legislative agenda during the Spring sitting should be a surprise to Albertans, especially after the kerfuffle around the cancellation and delay of the 2011 Fall sitting. Perhaps explaining the lack of a long list of legislative items is that this sitting is expected to culminate with passage of the provincial budget and the dropping of the Writ, which some political watchers suspect may happen during the third or four week of March.

Along with a safe pre-election budget, the Tories legislative agenda includes items that posed difficult political challenges to the government under Premier Stelmach. The Results-based Budgeting Act is a response to criticisms from the Wildrose Party that the Tories have become bad fiscal managers. The new version of the Education Act is meant to ease the worries created by the Bill’s previous incarnation that school boards would be eliminated or have their powers greatly reduced.

Perhaps touching the most politically sensitive issue for the PCs is the Property Rights Advocate Act, which is meant to cool the flames of angry and well-organized landowners in rural Alberta who have loudly voiced their opposition to the construction of transmission lines and new powers that allow cabinet to expropriate private property. Danielle Smith‘s Wildrose Party has focused what I can only imagine are a wealth of resources and countless time on making property rights a defining wedge issue in some rural areas.

Promises kept?

Half-fullfilling a promise made during the PC leadership contest to hold an independent judicial inquiry into the health care system, Premier Redford’s support for a quasi-judicial inquiry with a narrower mandate has made some political watchers spitting mad. Opposition politicians, like Liberal leader Raj Sherman and Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson, have criticized the recent report as being “whitewash” and “an outrage.”

Being Alberta’s first Premier in a generation who can explain policy positions articulately (and in full sentences), it would not be surprising to see many voters looking past the misgivings and political maneuvering and decide that they would be comfortable with Premier Redford in office.

9 replies on “premier redford’s light legislative agenda and half-kept promise.”

Wow Dave…..Vote for Alison because she’s a smooth talker? Is that what this boils down to? Is that what we’ve become? Simply vote for whoever has the best gift of gab?

And the budget is only “safe” if you’re in the centre left spectrum. Nearly a billion dollar deficit despite all time record high revenues does not show fiscal responsibility.

And Alison has indeed completely flubbed this one re the health inquiry. It is an outright and blatant lie.

And lest you think I am a total partisan: Good for raising AISH…PCs were right.

There are only so many hours in the day, to pass the budget and lots of legislation, Stelmach used at least 2 more months of sittings compared to what we are likely to get. No matter who is in government in the fall, likely there will be pretty heavy legislation.

To have much more legislation now would require the house to sit simultaneously with budget hearings, and likely night sittings. And we know how much the wildrose, ndp, liberals, and Dave Taylor complained about that in the fall.

Yes, it does beg the question about how forgiving the electorate will be in terms of accountability (or not) of the 40 year dynasty that has got us to where we are at now. During this time, it has not only been a few people who have determined this – these few have had considerable help from a face less bureaucracy of their own administrators, appointed panels, boards, commissions, authorities, etc. for which they must also be held accountable.

The question becomes: how much do voters accept that past performance is a good indicator of future performance and/or how willing will they be to roll the dice to bring change. Indeed are more than 40% going to get out and vote.

One huge unknown, of course, is just who the Alberta voter will actually be come election time. People who have been born, been raised, and have raised their families in AB are a rarity.

Tens of thousands have moved to AB in the last few years for work, for superior (arguably) education/health/social welfare benefits) and will be eligible to vote. Will they vote. If they do, who will they support when their knowledge of AB/those running is minimal. A forty year dynasty really has little meaning to new comers.

The social media has become a force in elections, whether it is liked or not, and is bound to become a huge factor in the next election. It is a little scary to think that a large part of the population who are reverting to expressing themselves in 140 characters at a time in shorthand, incomplete sentences, and who knows how much thought will be such a significant determiner. Group think is inevitable and often rides on the coat tails of anything but logic.

This election will be unlike any other in the history of AB, and the stakes are very high.

Dave: I’m not encouraging anybody to vote for any particular candidate in this post, I’m simply pointing out a fact (it is the first time in my memory that we have a Premier who can speak articulately – this is a big change).

I think that the genius of the Tory strategy is its success in marginalizing its centrist opposition – the Liberals – and pushing the two other opposition parties to the ideological fringes – the NDP to the left and the Wildrose to the right.

As long as the Tories are able to engage the moderate majority of Albertans, they have a shot at winning another huge majority.

Yes, Alison can articulate quite well….her performance on Rutherford should go down as all time great articulation of exactly how a Premier can delicately (and articulately) back down from a key campaign promise.

I’m not suggesting you’re telling ppl how to vote, I just think it very sad that Albertans would vote for Alison on the basis of her being smarter than Ed.

“I’m not suggesting you’re telling ppl how to vote, I just think it very sad that Albertans would vote for Alison on the basis of her being smarter than Ed.”

It must be especially sad for Wildrosers who were counting on running against Ed.

OOOH how easily we get side-tracked.
Yes, Premier Redford is brilliant and has a way with words! That is why she won the Leadership Race. She was head and shoulders above the rest of the pack!

But, the lightweight Leg agenda is appalling! Especially since our MLAs and Ministers are completely ignoring Albertans who have been asking for the “offending” Bills (36, 10, 50, 19, 23, 24)to be repealed.

As for (broken) promises (…Apparently someone was counting – and Ms. Redford made 58 during the Leadership Race, so far she has fulfilled two:
1. refunded the $$ to Education
2. increased AISCH.
We are grateful for both of those actions. But we ask for more than this.

Several other promises are semi-half-fulfilled, if you count her tour to “Consult” with Albertans, and appointing Ministers (who gave us the Bills in the first place) to “review” Bill 19, and “report” on property rights (Bill 36). The $600,000 CTRC Report re Bill 50 and the proposed DC Transmission lines(by a totally biased Committee -Heidecker is a former PC Vice Pres!!)was a complete waste of money! Morton, who in June/11 (Calgary Herald) stated “We don’t need two new north-south power lines,” now, without any “proof of need” and no “cost-benefit analysis” has announced that we NEED TWO lines, and, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
The “Property Rights Task Force (??$$; made up of anti-landowner/property rights Ministers and MLAs)was not exactly stellar performance on any front either. They distilled everything down to “three” issues – none of which they delved into very deeply, nor reported accurately.
Add to that Jack Major’s (??$$) Review of the MLAs’ exhorbitant pay and pensions(which he “cancelled” becaused he “concluded” that “Albertans weren’t interested”).
All these expenditures make it understandable that this Government cannot “afford” a full Judicial Inquiry (as promised?)into the WHOLE Health Care System – intimidation and bullying included.

Besides, after all this action, how can we expect these poor overworked MLAs to have any energy left to do anything meaningful and productive in the House… in the few remaining days before the Election? Hence the “light” Leg agenda.

The Members of the House have a HEAVY schedule for 2012! The Leg is scheduled to sit for 86 days!! A whopping 355.5 hours!! And they only get paid $78, 138 ($25,046 of which is tax-free), plus their Committee pay, and expense accounts, etc. etc. So we can’t expect very much from them.

…Surely we can’t expect these poor overworked, underpaid MLAs to repeal the useless (2009) Bills they foisted on us.. Some of them still have not had time to read them… So how could they possibly repeal them, and create some land-ue legislation that would benefit ALL Albertans?

It’s so much easier to just follow the advice handed out by the utility moguls like AltaLink and ATCO who want to grab our land land quickly and cheaply – without the hassle of having to go to Court… all the while forcing Albertans to pay for the DC transmission lines (claiming it will only cost us $3/mo, a cup of “Starbucks” coffee).
And besides NEB has already granted permits for 22.5 million MW/h to be exported to the US for the next ten years. So we should just shut up and pay for all this through the “transmission fees” on our electricity bills… because it’s “good” for us… and AESO and this Government have declared it to be “critical” and “NEEDED”.

So, let’s see… What should we be focusing on as the election creeps up on us? A brilliant Premier who speaks well? a rather light and meaningless Leg agenda?
OR… Should we focus on somehow motivating EVERY single elegible Albertan to get out and VOTE – instead of being satisfied with our usual lack-lustre apathetic (Albertan) voting behaviour? And then complaining about the results afterwards…

Gordon (March 1st)is right!! The “stakes are very high.” So get out there and VOTE, Alberta.
Reclaim democracy in Alberta.

When Saskatchewan can balance their budget and these guys can’t …. isn’t it time to look for somebody else. After 40 years, one would assume that they would be able to operate as adroitly as Brad Wall … but then this Premier is no Brad Wall by any means.

The Property Rights Advocate? -Come on – that is an advocate to explain to us “dumb” ranchers out in the hinterland that which they do not understand – hey – we are here to steal your land and it is for the public good. That is one of the most insulting of bills!
Better read the education act very carefully – law to impose the cirriculum and VALUES on all students no matter where in the system. Why do you think we choose home schooling or private school! VALUES!

An articulate Premier – the best liars lie best!

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