Reboot Alberta

Friday, December 15, 2006

Beyond Dancin' With Those Who "Brung Ya!"

I think this Stelmach Cabinet is both non-conformist and counterintuitive. It is neither rebellious nor vengeful as some might first think. It is very clearly based on Ed Stelmach being serious about achieving his campaign goals. He is aligning with those who share his values and his principles. While it is also very much about dancing with those who “brung ya!” it is also profoundly much more than that. It is real change!

Ed is on a mission, and has been ever since he entered the leadership contest. He has clearly stated his mission, particularly for those who were prepared to listen during the campaign. He knows what he wants to accomplish and he has gathered like-minded people around him throughout this leadership campaign to serve those ends.

This new smaller Cabinet, governance restructuring and recent set of Cabinet appointments is an Ed Stelmach set of practical choices to help him get the leadership job done that he has set out for himself…plain and simple.

There are some practical political compromise appointments here and there, but in a tight race that has to be expected and respected.

How will this group work together? Can this group deliver? Will there be unity and allegiance and alignment to Ed’s ends? Who can tell! But I can tell you one thing; it is going to be very different and very interesting.

As Winston Churchill said:

“How little can we foresee the consequences either of wise or unwise action, of virtue or of malice. Without this measureless and perpetual uncertainty, the drama of human life would be destroyed.”

If you can’t hold paradox and uncertainty comfortably in the palm of your hand and not seek to resolve them instantly, you better start to learn that skill. Paradox and uncertainty is going to the foundational reality for the new Alberta. I am curious to see how this new set of decision makers, directions setters and destination designers do in the “drama of human life” that is our new Alberta.

As for me, I am fascinated and full of anticipation. I can’t wait to see how the new Alberta narrative under the Stelmach leadership will emerge and evolve. My sense it will be somewhere between W.O. Mitchell and Tom Robbins.


  1. Anonymous9:48 pm

    This cabinet could be a real flop. Where's the talent? Where are the dynamic ideas. Seems like Stelmach appointed a bunch of his hacks. Two women, no minorities. When I look at this cabinet, I don't see the Alberta of tomorrow! What I find most amazing is that the Minister of Municipal Affairs comes from a rural area. Isn't that a bit like the Minister of Agriculture hailing from, say, Calgary?

  2. Anonymous12:30 am

    Anonymous 9:48 PM,
    So are you saying there are no municipalities outside of Calgary and Edmonton? Get real. Ray Danyluk was a former reeve and was President of the Northeastern Alberta Zone of the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMD&C). So being Minister of Municipal Affairs seems fitting, no?

  3. Anonymous3:29 am

    No, but I do say that the problems facing those municipalities are way different from those facing the big cities, and the problems facing the big cities affect more people.

  4. Anonymous5:45 pm

    If you are wondering where the "talent" is, remember that his choices were limited to PC MLA's.

    By the way, whoever administers this site - I am curious if I have been banned or I'm having a technical issue - I haven't posted successfully on here in some time.

  5. Anonymous8:41 pm

    Anonymous 3:29 AM said...
    "No, but I do say that the problems facing those municipalities are way different from those facing the big cities, and the problems facing the big cities affect more people."

    So by your reasoning, cabinet should be almost exclusively made up of "urban" MLAs - specifically Edmonton and Calgary - with one or two allowed from outside of those areas because it takes "cityfolk" to understand city problems. Wow. I guess I never thought I would see such blatant metropolo-centrism (just made that word up).

    I got news for you. Problems with infrastructure deficits exist province-wide. And a cabinet minister's duty is to the province, not one specific region or city. I find it hard to believe that anyone who doesn't live in cave and has visited Edmonton or Calgary wouldn't understand their issues - regardless of where they call home.

  6. Anonymous9:02 pm

    Hi Jonathan - Good to hear from you again.

    I administer the site and no one is banned. I have only deleted one comment post since this Blog started on July 23, 2006 and that was for legal reasons. I believed it was defamatory. If you are having trouble posting, it may be technical.

    I switched to Beta.Blogger a couple of week ago and have had some tech issues but don't know that anyone has been unable to comment as a result.

    As for "talent" I think people have to wait and see how this new Cabinet performs. Anticipation was high as to who would be in and out. Expectations on those who have been chosen are not very high or so it would seem from MSM and the blogger-fodder this weekend.

    I think we should have high expectations of each and every one of them. Good governing is critically vital to Alberta and we need to let this new group get to work and find its groove.

    I have some reservations and concerns in some of the selections but I can see what Stelmach is doing here too. He has released a reorganized government structure, set out an indication of some of his political action plan and he articulated some clear operational principles he will by applying.

    He also knows all these people very well and they are folks he wants to work with. I trust his judgement and respect his leadership skills and say lets get to work!

    Committing to an 18 member cabinet and loyalty being a prime consideration there is a new crew at the table that is for sure. We wanted to avoid the status quo and rejected the social conservatives fundamentalists.

    We wanted change and we have it as expressed in the make up of this Cabinet. Suck it up! Give it a chance.

    You can't think out of the box if the first time you see the outside of the box you get nervous and jump right back into the box.

    They have also retained the cadre of Deputy Ministers in place in almost every instance. There will be continuity and capable advisors involved in every aspect of government I expect. Rookies will have supports and mentors to help them get up to speed and learn the ropes.

    This is not a group of politicians that thinks they alone do government policy and the administration does only what it is told to do...when it is told to do it.

    That was so much the model of the past government's brain trust. Stelmach has a more respectful, professional and is less oppressive attitude towards the public service.

    I see challenges and potential dangers with some of these Cabinet choices but so what. He is the leader and the Premier and we should give him and his Cabinet a chance.

  7. Anonymous9:13 pm

    I agree with anonymous @ 8:41. We have lots of "fault lines" at play here, not the least is the urban-rural split. It is not just Edmonton and Calgary versus the "country." There are lots of tensions that are town versus county issues as well.

    The big cities can take care of themselves, even with limited MLA or minimal Cabinet representation, like Edmonton with only Hancock.

    The AUMA is also very effective in bringing other urban issues to the attention of the province.

    As a city guy who spends lots of time in the rural north, I can tell you they know lots about the city issues. But we city folks are pretty ignorant of rural issues and concerns. Ray Danyluk will be a personal bridge encouraging traffic in both directions.


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