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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Hunter and Dunn Have Fixed the Blame - Stelmach Has to Fix the Problem

The story is coming out and the narrative is unfolding. The picture we are seeing from the “Our Fair Share” Royalty Review Panel’s findings and recommendations and now the Auditor General’s Report is not reassuring that we have been governed well or competently for some time now.

I take this narrative back to an earlier Auditor General Report outlining the incompetent land dealings in Fort McMurray where highly developable land was given away and later “justified” with a trumped up post-sale valuation. The conditions imposed on the appraiser's scope and terms of reference on the lands were so limiting that there was no way he could not have come up with a “vindication” valuation that sanitized the administrative and governance incompetence.

I was disgusted then and I am even more disgusted now. There is a serious issue in our society around the public’s confidence in our institutions, including government. It is hard to think of a single institution in our society that has not let us down, misled us or breached our trust in the past 15 years or so. That goes from church to state and from business to regulators - and I could go on!
It is looking more and more like Klein is doing to Stelmach what Mulroney did to Kim Campbell. Klein has obviously left a legacy of poor governance coupled with an incompetent and complacent political culture. The federal PCs under Mulroney went from the largest majority in the history of the country to only 2 seats in the next election under Kim Campbell.

Shift happens Mr. Premier. You best get ahead of this mess and right away. Your reponse in a couple of week to the "Our Fair Share" and the AG Report will signal to citizens exactly who you intend to serve.

Politics is a confidence game (sic and yes - every pun intended). At its best it is about earning trust and respect and having the confidence of the citizens as expressed in their vote. It about being worthy of the citizen's consent to be governed.

Too many people in politics today are about power and not about public service or good governance. They see the matter of confidence as a game – yes a confidence game. They seem intent on swindling citizens who are persuaded to trust them and then we become victims of the politicians.

It gets worse, because too many times we see this confidence game played out “in confidence” meaning behind closed doors. That was too often the modus operandi of the Klein government as it drifted and diverted attentions from many serious issues.

That has to change and Premier Stelmach has to make that change happen. He has often said since becoming Premier that you get for form government by having the confidence of the people, by earning their respect and being worthy of their trust.

Truer words were never spoken. Now we have to see if Ed Stelmach’s political and governance actions ring true as well. My advice is to take some time to get it right Ed. Make some wholesale changes in the PC government and ask the party membership for some help and advice on how to clean this up too.

Do all this well in advance of going into an election. In fact announce now that the next election will not be until the fall of 2008. That will get your government out of the “red zone” that it has recently fallen into and where nothing happens without a cynical political filter. Right now we need some good governing and not petty politics or electioneering

The “Our Fair Share” Review and the Auditor General Report has fixed the blame. You need to fix the problem.