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Thursday, February 07, 2008

All Party Campaigns Open With More "Oops" Than Opportunities

None of the big three political parties are off to a very auspicious campaign start.

The Stelmach Doctor deal had a harsh reality check of what is actually do-able versus what is electorally announce-able! The dancing and adjusting done between the Edmonton and Calgary announcements is embarrassing.

The Alberta Liberals have had to dump a candidate who is facing drug and bribery charges. That too is embarrassing.

The Dippers are on the Dave Rutherford radio program apologizing to the Chair of the “Our Fair Share” Royalty Review for a very public misrepresentation of some private email exchanges. More embarrassments.

It can’t be stage fright or novice actors forgetting their lines. It is just the stuff that happens in elections where time pressures, campaign exuberance and human error hype too often trumps considered wisdom and thoughtfulness.

No big deal on these issues…but Alberta has some enormous challenges and opportunities gong forwards. We need political leaders of all parties to be able to anticipate and avoid screw ups and to not miss opportunities. We also need political leaders who can clearly communicate what they care about and what they are personally very committed to. We need to see their demonstrated capabilities to assume the array and weight of the responsibilities of the office of Premier.

Finally we need to give our politicians enough slack so they can learn, adapt and change – quickly and correctly as required. They need this permission to be flexible without being seen as indecisive, weak or “flip flopping.”

God I hate that term. It is such a stupid characterization that actually impedes open, accountable, necessary and effective change. It stifles good governance and good decision making too. If the next Premier leaves the job as the same person they where when they came to the office that means they are incompetent or they held Alberta back from realizing its full potential or both.