EDITORIAL: Aura of power is a big problem

Alison Redford resigned her seat as an Alberta MLA last Tuesday. She may be taking the Alberta Progressive Conservatives out the door with her — polls show that the party is in rough shape, just two years after Redford took it to an historic victory, in an election where the PCs had been behind in the polls.

Alberta is booming. The oil business is strong, and there are plenty of jobs available. Taxes are low and housing prices are lower than here.

The PCs are long in the tooth—they have been in office since 1971,  under six different premiers. They have benefited from the Alberta preference of keeping one party in power for long stretches of time, until the public eventually tires of them. The PCs are now in year 43. The reason Redford resigned as premier in March, and now as MLA, was her spending habits. She used government aircraft for personal and party business, and it has recently come out that her staff would book fictional passengers so that she didn’t have to share the private jets with anyone—that is, her own MLAs.

She took arrogance and entitlement to a new level, one rarely seen anywhere else in Canada. Auditor-General  Merwan Saher wrote “How could this have happened? The answer is the aura of power around Premier Redford and her office and the perception that the influence of the office should not be questioned.” That phrase sums up the way most governments in Canada operate.

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