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Redford needs to be a true leader


  |  Posted: Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 06:00 am

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Premier Alison Redford must be replaying the last year over and over in her mind, recalling the political gaffes that have led her to the political precipice.

Expectations were high in the 2012 spring election campaign after the lacklustre performance of previous premier Ed Stelmach. The Tories snatched victory away from the Wildrose and racked up another majority government.

The new premier was worldly, intelligent and well-spoken. Even organized labour, including the Alberta Federation of Labour, endorsed Redford. She also had the support of post-secondary institutions and the not-for-profit sector – traditional ground that belongs to the left-of-centre ideologues.

Fast forward to last weekend, when Redford was the centre of attention at a behind-closed-doors meeting in Calgary, answering for the gaffes that have destroyed her popularity and left her political future in serious doubt.

On Monday a new Angus Reid poll came out stating, of 690 Albertans polled between March 3 and 9, 46 per cent of Albertans would support Wildrose in an election, while 23 per cent would vote PC. The poll also suggested 33 per cent of Albertans think Danielle Smith would make the best premier, while only 11 per cent felt the same way about Redford.

Steve Robson, president of an Edmonton-area PC association, said Redford is sabotaging the PCs in the next election. He said she is a conceited leader who ignores her caucus and treats the Tory establishment the same way.

The question isn’t whether Redford will leave. The most important question is, will Redford learn from the mistakes she’s made that led her into this bear trap of public opinion?

First, she must become a true leader. She has to learn to listen – respectfully listen. She has to do away with the contempt she displays for anyone less informed than her. The voters deserve respect, the wellspring from which all of her power flows.

Second, she must do a better job of surrounding herself with leaders who are worthy. Last week, after Grade 6 kids from Innisfail were at the legislature, Doug Griffiths had to apologize for offensive behaviour in question period that apparently referenced a sex act, attacking with the comments "suck and blow."

Last of all, lead by example. In an age of austerity, budget cuts and sacrifice, Redford took her infamous $45,000 flight to Africa, which was not necessary. She has completely alienated her core support – the public sector unions, the not-for-profits and the post-secondary institutions with her “don’t do as I do, do as I say” approach.

The leader of Alberta, asking Albertans to do more with less, must set an example. Anything else is hypocrisy.


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