Rudderless in a sea of red ink, this is a dangerous time for our province.
Last week, Premier Ed Stelmach announced some rather preposterous resignation plans. The Premier says he will quit sometime soon, after this spring’s Legislative session. He will present and force approval of his budget, pass a few laws, then step back from his duties to oversee a race to replace him as leader.
With no plans to face the electorate again, there is nothing to stop the premier from approving wildly unpopular budget measures.
Like Mulroney, he could stick us all with a new tax on the way out the door. He could continue his wildly unpopular government’s all-out assault on property rights. He could approve billions in contracts to friends of the party. He could block any money for desperately needed new schools in Rocky View. He could take revenge on any number of political opponents.
The truth is, he could do almost anything and face no repercussions.
One can and would hope that the remnants of the P.C. Party would block any such nefarious activities. But anything can happen when a house of cards comes tumbling down.
The longer it takes for the P.C. Party to elect a new leader and call a general election, the worse it will likely be for the Alberta taxpayer.
Unfortunately, the P.C. party has no incentive to proceed quickly. Down in the polls and reeling from scandal after scandal, the government’s only hope is for natural resources prices to soar once again, papering over a treasury gushing red ink. That won’t happen soon, so expect the government to drag its heels.
The worst corruption occurs when there is a lack of leadership. Alberta’s leader is gone. He just hasn’t left yet.