With all the Alberta Progressive Conservatives have gone through over the past few years, it will indeed take a strong, decisive and principled leader to show them the way forward, to attract new interest in the party and to bring back disillusioned supporters from days gone by.
This is a party that has been in power for decades, and has often been accused of being very out of touch with voters. It all really came to a head this past spring with the resignation of then Premier Alison Redford in the wake of all kinds of misspending accusations and other suspicious activities that went on under her watch. She apparently could pretty much see the writing on the wall and resigned, leaving the party with that much more damage to sort through and hoping no more mud would stick to her on the way out the door.
Then the leadership showdown came along, and it didn’t really seem to offer much in the way of dramatic options for change. And now our new Premier has been sworn in. Jim Prentice inherits a party that has really been brought to a new low in overall public opinion. But then again, most political parties don’t have a whole lot of public trust invested in them these days. Every time you turn around, it seems there is another politician who has been caught spending money inappropriately. Or having just lost a personal drive and vision to make a meaningful difference in society. There are plenty of career politicians just floating along, apparently waiting for retirement day. You rarely hear a peep out of them, and it’s obvious that’s the way they want it.
Back to Prentice. We hope that he has the courage to deal firmly with his party, and make the necessary changes to breathe new life and a sense of integrity back into his party. There’s some pretty tough competition with the Wildrose party tracking his every move – but that’s not a bad thing. Clearly, there has been a disturbing lack of accountability blanketing most of government, and it’s high time for change.
His start looks promising, with Prentice having shrunk the number of those serving in cabinet.
On Monday, 16 ministers and three associate ministers, in addition to the premier were named. This is down from the 19 ministers and 10 associate ministers that were sworn-in last December. More efficiency and streamlining is a good place to start. But there is certainly a long ways to go.