The End is at Hand! Sure looks that way for Alberta’s PCs, anyway…

Posted on March 03, 2014, 10:55 pm
6 mins

Members of the Alberta Tory caucus consider the latest poll results as they prepare for the 2016 provincial election. Actual Alberta Progressive Conservative MLAs may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Dave Hancock … leadership potential at last.


It’s probably still possible for Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party to crawl back from the abyss – if you believe in miracles – but it’s increasingly hard to believe they can do it with Alison Redford at the helm.

Even viewed from the nation’s exceedingly quiet capital, the numbers in the Leger poll published this morning by the Calgary Herald are not just ugly, bad for Alberta’s PC government or horrible, as various prognosticators put it in the mainstream media, they’re practically fatal all on their own!

One more poll like this and members of Ms. Redford’s Progressive Conservative caucus will have but two courses of action left to them: find a way to skid the premier and elect a new leader, and it may already be too late for that, or start polishing up their resumes.

The Leger poll shows the Redford Tories at a piteous 25-per-cent level of support among committed voters, compared with 38 per cent for the Wildrose Party, 16 per cent for the Liberals and 15 per cent for the NDP.

There are plenty of examples of recent polls that were wrong or misleading, as supporters of the government are certain to assert – but seen as part of a continuum, these numbers are just the latest and lowest point a steady trend downward for the once undefeatable PCs under Ms. Redford’s self-absorbed and erratic leadership.

Promises to do better with one group or another that’s found itself for a spell on the Redford Enemies List, accordingly, are unlikely to count for much.

Worse for the government, as the Herald pointed out in its coverage of the latest Leger numbers, the poll illustrates a trend from last fall when the Wildrose and PCs were virtually tied – and other private polls referred to in this blog taken in the same time frame showed the same thing.

Moreover, the last-minute shift back to the PCs in the 2012 general election – abetted by blunders by inexperienced Wildrose candidates – depended on the high regard in which Ms. Redford herself was held by progressive voters who became fair-weather Tories to help elect her to the leadership and stuck by her through the election.

Ms. Redford has now squandered that good will. After two years of broken promises, it will be extremely difficult for her to recover it.

Thus the premier’s own approval rating lags her party’s pathetic results – 20 per cent of the respondents in the online Leger poll who approved of the way she’s doing her job versus the 64 per cent who disapproved of her efforts.

In other words, after her high-priced travel at public expense, her wars with various groups of her former supporters, public worries about her government’s unconstitutional legislation and that stream of broken promises, Ms. Redford’s reputation is in tatters and her polling numbers are in free fall. Her party is merely following her down.

How bad is it? Eric Grenier, author of the blog, crunched the numbers to come up with a prediction that if a general election were held tomorrow there would be a 58-seat Wildrose Party majority, a Liberal Official Opposition with 11 seats, and the New Democrats and Tories tied with nine seats each.

This seems unreasonably kind to the Liberals, but given the present state of affairs it is hardly unbelievable.

One of those nine Tory seats, I have heard, would belong to Edmonton Whitemud MLA Dave Hancock – so, while it’s not quite the judgeship or whatever it was the deputy premier was holding out for, Mr. Hancock at least could end his political career as leader of the Alberta Conservatives.

Party “old boys” are easy to sneer at – and I admit I’ve done my share of sneering at the PC Party old boys of Alberta. Nevertheless, stereotypical as it may seem, political old boys (and girls) get to be that way by hanging around for a long time and learning the ropes.

Alert readers will recall how Gary Mar was the choice of the old boys and it must be said now that it’s hard to imagine how Mr. Mar, warts and all, could have done worse than Ms. Redford.

Poor old Ed Stelmach, of whom his own party had tired by 2011, positively towers over the premier in retrospect.

Hard as it is to believe, after nearly 43 years since the PC dynasty was founded by Peter Lougheed, it’s really starting to look as if, thanks to Ms. Redford’s remarkable efforts, the end is nigh!

And to think, one of St. Peter’s last acts was to all but endorse her! Talk about irony.


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7 Comments to: The End is at Hand! Sure looks that way for Alberta’s PCs, anyway…

  1. Jim Vee

    March 3rd, 2014

    As a a non-conservative progressive, the thought of a Wild Rose majority sickens me. The best possible outcome, short of a Liberal, Green, or NDP majority, none of which are even remotely possible, is a minority government with progressives wielding real influence. In the long run, I see proportional representation as the only way to enable true democracy in this populist politics province.

  2. March 4th, 2014

    When is the next leadership review?

  3. Bert

    March 4th, 2014

    Have to agree with Jim, the best out come is a minority.

    This from a 30 year plus small C conservative. Stopped voting Conservative nationally with the Harper crowd but plugged my nose and voted for Alison …….. can’t do it any more.

    So when can we remove “Progressive” from the provincial PC name?

  4. Franklin

    March 4th, 2014

    I love your regular contributions to the race towards the bottom in Alberta’s political discourse. Keep it up! Why bother with facts and reasoned debate when inflammatory and personal rhetoric is so much more fun!!!

  5. ronmac

    March 4th, 2014

    What’s Gary Mar doing? Maybe we can get him interested, if he’s available that is. There were whispers a couple years ago about him being a possible replacement for Stepehn Harper.
    We need politicians with a happy-go-lucky persona. Who look like they are enjoying themselves.

    Allison these days just looks like she absolutely hates everyone and everything around her. Stick a bouquet of flowers on her desk and those flowers will start to whither and die within minutes.

  6. March 6th, 2014

    It is doubtful to me that Mr. Hancock will retain his seat much less be the leader of a decimated PC party in Alberta. I’ll be surprised if any PC seats are salvageable.
    Mr. Hancock once was a decent MLA for our part of Edmonton.
    But things have been going steadily downhill.
    In my opinion, he has recently declined in his job performance.
    Let me give you one example.
    Thank back to the time he was the minister of Human Services.
    He gave a nice performance of caring about the deaths of these kids when the Tories knew about the messes in that portfolio and were responsible for the cover up of these deaths.
    His performance with reference to the deaths of 745 children in the child welfare system was an elegant series of evasions, failures to apologize for the abysmal performance of the Tories as well putting on the the rather dumb show— of blaming the media for telling us the truth.

    The media in this case–the Edmonton Journal and the Calgary Herald are to be commended for finally doing their jobs and persevering for four long years to get the data that the Tories did not want to give out. My feeling is that the entire privacy legislation —enacted to supposedly protect the privacy of children in care— was designed to protect the Tories. I bet they came up with the idea of using the shield of of privacy legislation to ensure that less incriminating data would be available to former victims of the child welfare system who take the government to court.

    I will not be voting for Mr. Hancock again.
    There are plenty of folks who understand that while Mr. Hancock is a nice guy and an intelligent politician, he no longer represents the constituents. In my mind, he represents himself first, the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta second and maybe his constituents last. I am not sure he actually represents his constituents. He never replies to any correspondence so it may be he is already starting his retirement while he is in office.

    We need to change the politicians we hire in Alberta every four years. This is the only way to prevent this sort of arrogance. The polls are accurate. The Tories are on their way out. And no about of school building will win the mummies back.


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