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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tory Headscratcher

So, Alberta's Conservatives avoid voting for one of two divisive candiadates by choosing the third-place finisher in round one, Ed Stelmach. The media and his political opponents think he's a good-natured bozo, but he leads the party to an electoral victory that outstrips every pre-election pundit prediction. Naturally, the Tories get out the knives, and Stelmach never gets to contest another election. 

Enter Alison Redford. Like Stelmach, she wasn't the caucus' choice for leader. She appeared to be leading the Tories to their first electoral loss since 1971, but turned it around so that come election day, Alberta's Conservatives are celebrating yet another unexpectedly large margin of victory. 

Let me be clear - I don't think travel expenses did the Premier in. I think she was done in by a caucus that never wanted her as leader, and was happy enough to latch onto an excuse when it was presented. It didn't help that she ran from much further left than she governed... the very people who gave her the surprise win in 2012 weren't there for her any more to leverage popular support against caucus disapproval. 

Maybe it's a contributing factor to the long Tory reign that they do in leaders before those leaders can lose an election. Still, Stelmach and Redford both deserved better treatment from the party for whom they produced such successful results. Leadership aspirants will do well to remember that lesson.