With the start of Stampede season came the latest round of gossip and predictions about what the future might hold for Calgary MLA and Alberta’s Premier Alison Redford. Earlier this week in a column in the Edmonton Journal, Graham Thomson speculated that Premier Redford’s next political challenge could be the biggest in the land – Prime Minister of Canada.
I have no reason to doubt Premier Redford’s political acumen or capability. Having only become Premier of Alberta eight months ago, she has hardly had an opportunity to demonstrate leadership on the national stage.
The upcoming Premiers’ conference, hosted by Premier Darrell Dexter from July 25 to 27 in Halifax, might give Albertans, and Canadians, an opportunity to watch Premier Redford demonstrate her leadership skills on a national level.
The issue of oil exports and pipeline construction, which will certainly be a topic of conversation at the Premiers’ meeting, became more complicated this week as American National Transportation Safe Board investigators criticized Enbridge for its slow response to a major pipeline leak in Michigan in 2010. Supported by the Government of Alberta, Enbridge wants to begin construction of the Northern Gateway Pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia. Adding another roadblock to the pipeline’s construction is BC Premier Christy Clark, who called Enbridge’s response to the Michigan spill disgraceful.
Closer to home, more than 50 organizations are calling on the Alberta Government to review the safety standards of the province’s aging pipelines.
Premier Redford has an opportunity to lead, and distinguish herself from her federal counterparts, by taking a positive lead on the renewal of the Canada Health Accord. The Accord, which was signed 10 years ago and expires in 2014, gave the provinces a significant monetary transfer for health care funding. The previous incarnation had little strings attached and the success of a future accord would benefit Canadians if more accountability were attached to the federal transfer.
Premier Redford’s road to 24 Sussex Drive is also complicated by another major factor. Only six years in to the job and still a young 53 years old, there is no indication that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be retiring in the near future.
Relations with Premier Redford’s Progressive Conservatives is cool to cold in some, or perhaps even most most, federal Conservative circles. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney‘s recent reply-all email describing Deputy Premier Thomas Lukazsuk as a “complete and utter asshole” serves as a reminder of how strained the relations are between some federal and provincial Conservatives. In the recent election, a significant number of Conservative Members of Parliament supported Danielle Smith‘s upstart Wildrose Party.
Two years ago it would have seemed impossible, but current federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair may actually have a shot at 24 Sussex Drive after the next federal election. The NDP are tied or leading in the polls and while there is three years until the next election (aka an eternity in politics when anything could happen), Mr. Mulcair appears to be the first Leader of the Official Opposition to take an aggressive offensive position against Prime Minister Harper’s Conservatives.
Earlier this week, the NDP released an attack ad against Prime Minister Harper, giving the federal Conservatives a taste of their own medicine. If anything, the ads demonstrate that Mr. Mulcair’s NDP are not afraid to use the same tactics that Prime Minister Harper’s Conservative Party used to destroy the political careers of weak former Liberal leaders Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff.
15 replies on “what happens after prime minister harper? prime minister redford? prime minister mulcair?”
Limp-wristed can be perceived as having a couple of different meanings, but none of them are particularly kind or fair. I see no reason to pile on Dion or Ignatieff in that way. Were they terrible leaders? Yes. Deserving of insults that come with a whiff of homophobia? Not so much.
Neal – Thanks for the comment. As a long-time reader, I am sure that you can believe that I would not make any kind of homophobic comment. In this context, it is pretty clear that “limp-wristed” is being used to describe “weak” political leadership.
Definition of WEAK
1: lacking strength: as
a : deficient in physical vigor : feeble, debilitated
b : not able to sustain or exert much weight, pressure, or strain
c : not able to resist external force or withstand attack
In the context of their electoral and political records as leaders of the Liberal Party, “limp-wristed” works perfectly.
I’m in agreement with Neal. There are many synonyms of the term “limp-wristed” that would have been just as effective and wouldn’t have the same connotation.
Correct me if I’m wrong (I’m sure you will!), but I don’t believe ANY provincial premier has gone on to become federal prime minister.
Especially in today’s climate where significant financial support is a necessity for success in politices, the support base for a premier expects that the premier will defend its interests against extra-provincial interests. Trying to cobble together a NATIONAL support base is difficult while doing this.
Hi Marc and Neal – I didn’t realize using the word “limp-wristed” would be such a big deal. I’ve changed it to “weak.”
Martin – Thanks for the comment. I don’t believe Canada has had a Premier become Prime Minister in a very long time. That said, it could happen.
Trying to cobble a national support base seems to be a problem that all leaders have in this country.
Martin raises a good point, and let me add the example of one Bob Rae, who entered federal politics with all the baggage of his time as provincial leader trailing behind him. Also, Stockwell Day and some poorly timed letters.
Federal politics, in my opinion, requires a clean slate; at least you can stand on your record in the context of Parliament.
There also hasn’t been a PM who has held office more than 9 or 10 years in a very long time. 2015 would be 9 yrs for Mr. Harper. Given the lack of popularity in most parts of Canada, it would take a massive change in direction for people to start to support Harper again. This seems unlikely for two reasons. 1) He has been waiting to do things this way for a long time 2) changing direction would show weakness and lack of direction. So, it seems likely Harper will lose next election.
Mulcair looks like he smells a dirty diaper, but is to stupid to realize it is his own.
The last Premier to become Prime Minister was Sir Charles Tupper, of Nova Scotia, back in the late 19th century, after Sir John A.
As for Harper’s longevity as Conservative Leader and PM, I think if he wins the next election, he will stick around a few more years; if he loses, he will not want to stay on as Opposition Leader very long at all, and he will jump ship.
Yeah, jerry, I thought there might be one or two. I believe Sir Charles Tupper is also notable for being the shortest serving Prime Minister, unless Kim Campbell beat him out…
The only way we will ever be truly free is if Danielle Smith is our Prime Minister.
In answer to Martin Levenson’s question, one provincial premier, Charles Tupper, did go on to become prime minister. More details on this case may be found on my blog: http://bit.ly/LZGEp4
Drugs are not the answer Shane. You longing for a chastity belt on your girlfriend? Check out some quotes from said hero.
I was going to pile on Shane, but Bartinsky covered that nicely.
Only knowing Dave on-line, my impression is he’s the last guy forming sentences who would ever intentionally use a homophobic reference. The political correctness cops are clearly working overtime. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that…”