Monday, April 02, 2012

Alberta Votes Day 8: Losing control of the agenda

One week into the election, and Alberta's 40 year PC dynasty is on the ropes. It's premature to write the obituaries, but it's never too early to write about what went wrong - and what went wrong in week one was a complete inability of Alison Redford to control the agenda.

One day, the Tories are under attack for burrying a health care report card. The next, they're fending off the first Twitter controversy of the campaign. And nearly every day has featured unwanted attention on the "money for nothing" committee.

Redford tried to diffuse the issue Friday by forcing MLAs to return all the pay they received, but this gesture came nearly a full month after the story broke...and several weeks after Redford accused opposition MLAs who returned the pay of "grandstanding".

It's fairly obvious Redford could have killed this story by coming directly to this end point when the story broke. Hell, given it took Wildrose MLAs a week to return the cash, she might have even been able to turn the tables, and pointed to her decisiveness as a sign there was a new sheriff in town, ready to do politics differently. Instead, the issue festered in the weeks leading up to the writ drop, and continues to distract.

If you think Redford's latest move will put the scandal to bed, don't count on it - friendly fire comments, Wildrose commercials, and the Leader's Debate will see to that. As a friend of mine said over the weekend, all Danielle Smith has to say in the debate is "Alison, it shouldn't take bad polling numbers to make you do the right thing".

It's been one bad news story after another for the PCs on the campaign trail. As Alberta's hockey teams have learned, it's hard to score goals when you're always playing in your own end.

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  • Is she honestly campaigning in a suit and pearls? Public image is important and looking down to earth, like Danielle Smith, should connect well with people.

    By Blogger Jordan, at 10:59 AM  

  • I don't disagree that she could improve here image, but since the pearls were given to her by her mother, who recently passed away just before the end of the PC leadership convention which she won, I'm guessing that much like Margaret Thatcher, they are "absolutely non-negotiable".

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:35 AM  

  • Smith has definitely looked more at ease on the campaign trail so far.

    Some of that may be due to wardrobe, but I suspect it has more to do with Smith's media background.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:39 AM  

  • Alison Redford looks like someone who is about to nose into your business and tell you what to do.

    Instead of a belated makeover, she needs to find a way to use that image to her advantage.

    For example, try to come across as the responsible grown-up who will conduct business while you're free to party, instead of the popular party girl who will ultimately leave you with the hangover.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 1:25 PM  

  • One also has to remember that the PC's have other political parties to defend her policies/promises against. The NDP and LIEberals are also attacking the PC policies - though they do not get the media support that WRP gets.

    As for Wild Rose Party, they have the best advertising thing in Alberta ... on the bottom of plates it says:

    "Wild Rose Country"

    By Anonymous Clown Party, at 1:35 PM  

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