"I really haven't given it any thought," Redford said Wednesday after reporters asked her about the vote coming up at the Progressive Conservative party's annual general meeting in Red Deer.
Aside from the ease which Redford seems to be able to say falsehoods like this with a straight face, which I will get into a bit later, her ridiculous statement ( it is impossible that she has not given it any thought) along with her faithful minions out in the media trying very hard to lower expectations in advance of the vote ( “So, frankly, in my mind anything in the 50s (per cent) is good, anything in the 60s is a success and anything in the 70s is absolutely a triumph.”) it is quite clear that Redford is indeed worried about the vote on her leadership and there are good reasons why she should be.
Her poll numbers with the public have been tanking ever since the election and if not for a slight uptick due in most part to the Alberta flood they would be near record low levels and the reasons why are obvious. Numerous broken promises and the fact there are few (groups or people) left in Alberta who her government has not pissed off in some way. Doctors, pharmacists, teachers, nurses, students, and public employees have all battled Redford and her government; closing the Mitchener Center and the Little Bow Continuing Care Centre in Carmangay, debt & deficits when promised surpluses and savings, obfuscating budget numbers, illegal donations to the PC party, large severances for bureaucrats and fighting FOIPs on the information after promising more transparency and the Privacy Commissioner had authorized the release, the Katz cheque, the petty partisan politics, and daily headlines about AHS being an absolute mess (in more ways than can be listed here) and what Redford's cutbacks have done in post secondary education has made her very few friends.
But that is the general public, not the PCAA members.
Her support amongst her own party has never been that stellar; yes they united to fight and win an election, but her relationship with much of the party has been rocky from the beginning. In 2011 when Redford won the PCAA leadership vote she had the support of only 2 caucus MLAs, one of which was herself. This changed after the first vote where Redford picked up an additional 4 from the PC caucus (today one of those 4 is now a proud card carrying member of the Wildrose), while Gary Mar had the support of 27 MLAs at the start of that race and picked up another 7 from caucus after the first ballot of a leadership race that had nearly 66,000 fewer PC members voting than during the 2006 leadership race which chose Ed Stelmach (78,176 vs 144,289). I can write with certainty that not even all of her own MLAs will be voting in favour of her leadership in Red Deer this weekend (don't ask because I am not telling) and while that doesn't say much about how the rank and file membership will vote, it does suggest that it is not as rosy in PCAA land as Redford's team would like everyone to believe. Which might explain Redford's recent charm offensive.
While charm offensive might not be the best word, hiding the facts offensive might be a better choice, Redford has been working hard to improve her numbers. The numerous signs painted in 'pc colours' and sporting Redford's name have been popping up all over the province recently being the most obvious example but delaying or hiding reports ( AHS Q1 wait time report is now over 80 days late and the Q2 report is due in less than 10 days), the ethics ruling on Redford and the tobacco lawsuit (remember what I said about falsehoods and a straight face) and even the PCAA backing off their plan to take a cut of donation made to individual riding association, also look to have all been done to help out the premier win her leadership vote. Timing is everything as they say.
Will it work? Who knows, but when when expectations have been set low (50% +1), I suspect that she will make the threshold; although I am not sure how having up to 49.9x % of your own party voting against you could be called a victory in any sense of the word.
Although... "The leadership campaigns would begin overnight in cabinet and caucus
even with a vote in the mid-60s," says one party veteran, who will not be identified for fear of banishment.
Bonus: Alison Redford, the person who said that she has not given the PCAA leadership review "any thought", made a video for that review.
I love the line that Albertans can "trust what we told them." It takes a special kind of person to be able to say something like that when nearly everyone is aware of their well documented broken promises; and that person is Alison Redford who does so with out batting an eye.