Prentice Fumbles His First Play

Let’s make sure this is understood from the start: it is completely legal for an Alberta premier to appoint non-elected citizens as Cabinet Ministers.

Now that we have that out of the way…

In his first major act as the latest non-elected Premier of Alberta, Jim Pretentious…er, Prentice announced his new Cabinet.  Smaller in size than the bloated Redford team, he took a good initial PR opportunity and fumbled the ball right from the snap.

In his decision to appoint non-elected citizens to Ministerial positions, Prentice showed that while he may know the law and is willing to utilize it to the fullest, he also intends to follow a style that is more familiar to the elitists in Ottawa.  It also indicates a glaring lack of trust in the abilities of current sitting government MLAs.

You simply cannot preach accountability then appoint private citizens to run government portfolios.   It changes the dynamic of government in the sense that, instead of an MLA/Minister being accountable to constituents, he or she is only accountable to the one person who handed them the lucrative gig – the Premier.

So you have accountability and fair representation out the window.

Much has already been made of the new Minister of Education, Gordon Dirks.  Dirks, a pastor who was once the Calgary school board chair, has come under fire simply for being a Christian.  I won’t get into the obvious and all-too-common anti-Christian sentiment that is currently fashionable in our society – that’s a topic for another day.

But he is not an elected representative of the people.

The other appointee is former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel.  Those outside of the Capital region would be forgiven if they’ve never heard of the guy.  Mandel, who left office with a generally favorable reputation, comes across as meek and mild.  One look at the astonishing debt he left behind, as well as a brief review of his ‘legacy’ projects, would shatter that rep if anyone bothered to notice.

While Dirks may be more than capable of running the Education department (albeit as a non-elected Minister), the Mandel appointment to Health is head-shaking.

I never trusted the dude when he ran Edmonton, I sure as hell am not going to trust the guy as the main decision maker for our health care system, especially without him having to deal with the annoying democratic process known as an election.

While it is too early to judge the ‘new’ direction the ruling Progressive Conservatives are taking, if this move by Prentice is any indication, the lack of respect for Albertans this party has become known for will, unfortunately, continue.

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His Name Was Steven