18 March 2014

When “different” is “the same” #nlpoli

Only a couple of years ago, national media were writing about all the women running provincial governments across Canada.

No less a pair of authorities as Jeff Simpson and Kathy Dunderdale agreed that politics would be different because all these women were around and, aw shucks, the gals just do things differently from the men.

The experience has proven to be far less than the promise.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, Kathy Dunderdale left politics in January after one of the most spectacular political collapses in recent memory anywhere in Canada.  Politics with Kathy Dunderdale as Premier was no different than it had been before her, at least not in any fundamental way.   For Conservatives it was.  They went from being successful to being about as unsuccessful as it could get while still clinging to power.

While all this has been going on in Newfoundland and Labrador,  Albertans have been watching Premier Allison Redford go through a couple of defections from her caucus in the past few days.  The latest is former associate minister Donna Kennedy-Glans who left cabinet and caucus on Monday to sit as an independent in the provincial legislature.

Ms. Kennedy-Glans said that while there were good people in the PC caucus, the government just doesn’t seem to be able to jell, or to make good on its promises. She said she had concerns with fiscal management, and the the government’s sense of entitlement.

“I think this is about way more than just leadership,” she said. “I think it’s our response to these leadership situations…I listen to my constituents all the time and they’re focused on the kinds of change they’re looking for and we just don’t seem to be able to deliver it.”

The Alberta Conservatives have come up with a plan to recover from their current standing of 23% in the polls.  The next provincial election in Alberta is scheduled for 2016.

Redford is under fire for misuse of government travel expenses.  She’s used government aircraft to attend personal and partisan events.  On top of that she spent $45,000 in public money to attend Nelson Mandela’s funeral.  Redford has since repaid the South African travel costs after an outcry from her caucus.  Redford is also facing charges that she is:

entitled, unpleasant and even, claims one fed-up member who stormed out of her caucus, a “bully.”

As it seems,  “different” is the new synonym for “the same”.