Political sharks circling as Alberta Premier Alison Redford marks her first year in office

By ,QMI AgencyFirst posted: | Updated:

Naysayers come from the right. They come from the left. They smell blood.

And they aren’t shy to say so.

That’s when Stefan Baranski steps up.

Baranski is Premier Redford’s communications front man and doesn’t mind dropping the gloves.

So when he hears the opposition slamming his boss on the first anniversary of her election he takes to the streets.

“If I were a betting man I’d be doubling down on Red,” he advises.

“All we’ve seen from the opposition in the last year is their extreme ideology at play — personal attacks and sabotage of Alberta’s best interests.”

He says Wildrose leader Danielle Smith and NDP top gun Brian Mason are “united in doing everything possible to ensure projects like the Keystone pipeline are dead on arrival.”

Baranski maintains Wildrose “doesn’t believe in climate change” and the NDP “find every opportunity to publicly undermine Alberta’s record at fighting climate change.”

“So I’ll put Alison Redford’s record of fighting for Alberta up against Danielle and Brian’s campaign against Alberta’s best interests any day of the week.”

Baranski says it is Redford “who reflects the mainstream conservative values so many Albertans share.”

He casts Wildrose as “the Social Credit Party with a new name and prettier lawn signs” who would “slash and burn health care and education while building none of the infrastructure we need today let alone tomorrow.”

He ends by saying Redford has “great courage” and a way of “toughing it out in the face of a challenge.”

The premier definitely has a challenge with her party voting in November on whether they have confidence she can lead them into the last election.

Baranski adds claims she’s in serious trouble “are overblown to say the least.”

Smith, the Wildrose leader, asks “what does this say if they have to replace the leader again?”

She then adds whether the Tories do or they don’t, “they’re in trouble either way.”

“Regardless of what the PCs choose to do I think they are over. They’re just not that good.”

If they keep Redford, Smith says, the Tories are “systematically dismantling what they’ve been.”

If they dump her it will show “they’re in complete disarray and have badly lost touch.”

“What Albertans have to look at is what will Alberta look like after the PC dynasty is over.”

Smith says Redford is good on the national and international stage, but even there she wonders if the premier is “selling Alberta out.”

She believes Redford is for big government and she believes that’s not where most Albertans want to go.

“I’m prepared to fight an election on this in 2016,” says Smith.

Then the biggie.

“I don’t think Albertans believe her. She has a major credibility problem. She tried to use people’s own money to buy them but now she can’t deliver,” says the Wildrose boss.

“And when you lose trust and credibility it’s hard to win back.”

Smith says Redford is unable to “make modest trims” in the bottom line without “hammering the front line” and that’s “rank incompetence.”

Mason says the government is “really floundering.”

Wildrose are upset over Redford borrowing billions but Mason sees the freezing of operating spending and the cuts now following as something Redford doesn’t have the mandate to do.

She didn’t run on it and Mason doesn’t believe she didn’t know going into the election she couldn’t bankroll what she was promising.

Redford wooed self-styled progressives to win the Tory party leadership and the election, and now, says Mason, “she has betrayed them” and “they have walked away from her.”

“She’s left with the people who she defeated in the leadership by tricking the progressives who voted for her. That creates a real problem for governing.”

That is, she is left with the card-carrying Tories who will vote in November on her fate.

Mason believes she doesn’t even have their confidence.

“People don’t know what the PC brand stands for anymore, she’s bounced around so much.”

Personally, Mason says he likes Redford but he thinks she has a “certain disdain for the little guy.”

“She also tries to change the definition of things. If you say she promised us black and gave us white she says it’s actually a shade of grey and that’s close enough.”

A year ago, two days before the election vote, Redford was in Calgary campaigning hard.

She looked happy. She said she would be in fine shape after the ballots were counted.

She repeated how she “wanted to bring change.”

And on April 23 she won a healthy majority.

So much has happened in the last year.

“It reminds me of a story,” says Mason.

“When you’re up to your neck in alligators it’s hard to remember your original goal was to drain the swamp.”

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