12.09.2013

Rearranging Deck Chairs Won't Save This Ship

Through all the feel-good PR spin emanating from the Alberta Progressive Conservatives over their just-completed cabinet shuffle, one thing that is quite apparent is that they had no choice.

In spite of the enthusiastic words being spewed by the government communications team, when a long-sitting government demotes not one but two of its biggest names, it’s a sign.

The removal of Doug Griffiths from the Municipal Affairs portfolio was almost inevitable given his track record and reputation.  His habit for bringing the negative spotlight with controversial statements made him perhaps the top embarrassment for the Redford regime.

His tiffs with Alberta mayors became such an issue Albertans lost confidence in his abilities to do his job effectively.

Now in charge of Service Alberta, Griffiths takes over another mess of a department.  Only time will tell if he will be more effective – and less of a dumbass – in his new role.

The demotion of Thomas Lukaszuk out of the Deputy Premier’s chair as well as the Advanced Education portfolio could initially be seen as more damage control, but the move was fumbled by creating an entirely new Ministry of Jobs, Skills, Training, and Labour for Lukaszuk.

Not only did Redford put the temperamental Lukaszuk in charge of dealing with unions, she did it by growing the size of government – typical of progressives.

The P.C. government now has a cabinet that numbers 30 out of their 59 seats, causing some critics to suggest changing the government slogan from Building Alberta to Building a Bigger Government.

Stepping in to the vacated positions is Manmeet Bhullar as the new Minister of Human Services replacing Dave Hancock who slid into Lukaszuk’s old chair, and Robin Campbell is now in charge of Environment and Sustainable Resource development.

Campbell also takes over the role of Government House Leader from Hancock.

Leftwing media has already started doing their job, as some outlets including the Huffington Post has referred to the new ministers as ‘rising stars’. 

So the exalted cabinet shuffle basically boils down to the removal of two weaknesses, a few promotions, and an even more bloated government.

Strip away the window dressing and you’re left with a party that is showing its desperation.  It is an old, stale group that has come to realize its long-held grasp on power is in danger.

Alison Redford can rearrange the deck chairs all she wants, but it certainly won’t stop the leaking ship from hitting the bottom.


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