The PC Party of Alberta, amidst expense scandal after scandal under the Redford regime, in order to change its wool for the third time, felt that steamrolling a former federal Conservative cabinet minister into the premier's chair would mark a new era in how this party runs the province.
Really? A party that covets democracy so much finally realized that citizens from other party stripes would buy memberships en masse to vote and have their liberalish candidate win on subsequent run-off ballots was not something they wanted to repeat. Can't have too many candidates run, but not too few to make it not look like a race, you know. Oh, how we miss the exciting party leadership convention format (which worked, by the way).
So let's look at the PC leadership election, itself mired in controversy, and then pick apart the new cabinet. Fun times ahead!
In the leadership "race", 23,386 votes were cast. Prentice won on the first ballot with 17,863 votes, Ric McIver got 2,742 and Thomas Lukaszuk got 2,681.
But looking back to the party's leadership race in 2011, 59,359 votes were cast on the first ballot and 76,186 votes on the second ballot's first round.
The vote difference on the first ballot between the 2014 and 2011 races is 35,973 votes. That's a 61% drop. It was said more people attend Edmonton Eskimo games than the number of voters here. And then, about the same number of people who attend Edmonton Oilers games voted for Prentice.
Let's admit that this is not a lot of people in a province of 4 million. And let's also admit that interest in the PC Party has dropped off significantly. So much so that Prentice cannot claim in any way shape or form that he has a mandate from the people.
The race saw Prentice handing out free memberships.
The vote was a sham in itself.
There are reports that while many people were able to vote twice, many were not even able to vote.
Oh, and some have said that because Prentice won by so much, it didn't really matter. Really? Is that the level of argument that party democracy has come to? They can't even run a leadership race for only 23 thousand people, and you think they can still run a province.
If you're not convinced that nothing has or will change with this party and how they run the province, then let's move on to the recently appointed cabinet, shall we?
Two, not one, but two cabinet ministers were appointed from the citizenry and not from the elected MLAs in the PC or any other caucus. While perfectly legal, is it right? One is former Edmonton mayor, Stephen Mandel (who we all know was a Liberal) appointed as health minister, and the other is Gordon Dirks, a former pastor and Saskatchewan Conservative MLA appointed as the education minister.
Dirks himself was known to be associated with evangelical Christian groups with strong views on LGBT marriage and women's rights. So it's funny, you know, the reason why Redford was able to have the PCs pull ahead at the last minute in the last election to win over Danielle Smith's Wildrose Party, was because of one Wildrose candidate named Huntsberger who also had strong views on gays. So now where is the media calling out Dirks? Heck, where are the current PC supporters who cried a fowl of Huntsberger, but now silent on one of their own? Quite convenient, I'd say. Hypocrites on the other hand.
And wait! I should make that three cabinet ministers without a riding. Can't forget about Jim Prentice himself as premier, can we? Yes, I understand that's how this stuff works sometimes, but he's now also appointed himself as aboriginal relations minister, because you know, that's what he did in the federal government, so it's okay then, I guess.
Why is this important to mention? Is it a big deal? If the premier doesn't call an election soon, then essentially we have unelected people running the government who cannot be held to account by the opposition caucuses in the legislature because they are not members of the legislature.
Yes, this is a much smaller cabinet than Redford's, but let's not forget that the majority of the ministers were in the previous government too and most importantly THAT THEY ARE ALL FROM THE SAME SCANDAL-RIDDEN PARTY!
I also can't wait to hear what is dug up from the past when David Dorwood ran against Stephen Mandel for mayor of Edmonton. You know, his new fellow cabinet member? I'm guessing something about tax and spend, oh and Dorwood wanting to keep the municipal airport open where Mandel had council already made the decision to close it. I wonder what Dorwood thinks about all the new big towers going up in Edmonton because the airport was closed to allow for taller towers. I wonder.
Then there's Prentice himself, who left some questions behind for us when he was a minister in the Harper government. He now announces that the government jets are for sale to supposedly end the culture of entitlement.
I hope more facts and questions come to light for voters to see that this government is not under new management by any means. For 43 years we've been duped into believing this zebra has changed its stripes, or that this pig's lipstick new colour all of sudden makes the pig different.
For you hard or soft NDP supporters, progressives from the liberals, disenfranchised PCs, or Alberta Party-goers, you have a real chance to hold the balance of power next election. Admit that the NDP has been the only real stable progressive choice and that they have a home for you now under Brian Mason, and especially when Rachel Notley wins their leadership race. There's no home for you in the PCs anymore, unless you ignore the numerous scandals, and their turncoat blatant disrespect for teachers and public employees. Don't forget that. Stop voting PC already.
After 43 years, no matter who the leader is now, next election, it's time for us all to move forward without them and vote them out.
Or in the case of our new show "The APPrentice" - we need to tell them "you're fired".
Albertans deserve better.