It is painted on the side of the PC Campaign bus in big letters along side a picture of Alison Redford and reads "Real life Leadership". It is the campaign slogan with which the PCAA are going to run on in the upcoming Alberta provincial election.
But what does it mean, and more importantly has Alison Redford's leadership decisions lived up to her lofty sounding slogan so far? The first answer to the first part is a bit difficult. The answer to the second part though is not. Not even close.
Like most campaign slogans 'real life leadership' sounds meaningful but it's just vague enough that applying any solid definition to it is nearly impossible. It has the buzzword 'leadership' in it which sounds good to the ear and it has 'real life' in it as well, which is also sounds good because that is where we all happen to be at the moment, but it also becomes meaningless fluff for that same reason as there is no other alternative to 'real life'. Zombies and the afterlife excluded. I guess it is better than the laughable 'change from within' that I still see added to twitter hashtags now and again but it in the end it remains just as meaningless. But lets leave out the fluff for a minute and concentrate more on the slogan buzz word, the one that is supposed to make us feel comfortable when ever we hear it, leadership.
Alison Redford has been our premier now for exactly 6 months / 5 days and has had to make many decisions in that role and her role for 4 yrs previous as a cabinet minister under Ed Stelmach. But so far I have not seen much in the way of what I would consider to be real leadership from Redford on many issues and on others her record clearly shows the opposite, a distinct lack of leadership.
During the Stelmach period it is clear that she was just another nodding head at the cabinet table, agreeing with everything her boss proposed, be it royalty reviews, power lines, property rights, as well as the mess that was made in healthcare. I won't dwell on this period as Redford was not the one who made the final call but now that she has decided to revisit many of these Stelmach decisions it is clear that she did not agree or had some doubts with them, and it is worth noting that she showed little leadership by not speaking out at the time while in her role at the cabinet table.
Redford's leadership record also has not been stellar during her short time in the big office as premier, and on some rather important issues a troubling trend has emerged as she seems to want to pass off the difficult decisions that she is expected to make onto others. Be it her decision to hold a limited inquiry into healthcare, that was promised would deeper into the systems problems rather than just limiting focus specifically on queue jumping, or MLA pay where she promised to accept the judges recommendations (including if a pay raise is recommended) rather than just making the call herself. There seems to be a pattern of passing the buck and now it seems Redford is going to be doing the same on committee pay.
I think that most people are aware about the situation with the 'standing committee on privileges and elections' which has not met since 2008 and where 21 government and opposition MLAs have been paid $1,000 a month to attend non existent meetings. It is a joke and it has upset a lot of Albertans who are tired of politicians at the trough forcing Redford to speak out on it in an effort at damage control.
Redford: “This, to me, is a ridiculous situation. It isn’t the way Albertans want politicians to be paid." she said; "It is not right" Adding that she was unaware of the situation with the standing committee on privileges and elections, "I did not know," she said Thursday, calling it "disappointing".
Sounded like she was going to step up doesn't it? Caught unaware of what was going on she came out and expressed her displeasure at the situation, but there is one small problem with that.
Redford herself was on that committee and collected that $1000/month for not doing anything at all.
Yes, the same committee that she claimed she had not known about on Thursday, was in fact a committee the Alison Redford was sitting on from Oct. 28, 2009 until February 2010!
Unbelievable is one word for it and I can think of a few other choice words as well, but I will tell you what does not come to mind after hearing Redford talk about this, and that is "leadership". Sorry Alison but we expect our premier to be able to make not only the tough decisions but also the no-brainers as with this committee and we don't elect people to punt to others when the responsibility is their own and they have the ability and opportunity to do the correct thing now.
That is not leadership. Real life or otherwise.
Some other questionable Redford leadership: Loading up her cabinet with failed PC leadership contenders, questionable appointments to party positions and to the Alberta Asia Trade office, to name a few.
Photo: AMBER BRACKEN/EDMONTON SUN/QMI AGENCY