When Alberta premier Jim Prentice said last week that he was taking a “no B.S. Position” in leading the province and if early indications are anything to go by, he is not kidding.
At a time when the Progressive Conservative party is still trying to recover from a series of scandals and in-house squabbling, Prentice has so far made several critical decisions to undo some of the misguided, unpopular moves by the previous administrations, including not going forward with license plate changes that was to cost the taxpayers millions of dollars, getting rid of the government planes which have been a thorn in their sides in recent months, scrapping pension bills, keeping the Michener Centre open, and reversing some policies that have proven to be ineffective.
Prentice is attempting unravel some of the damage done to the PC Party by the last couple administrations that cost them credibility with many supporters and in doing so, he is taking a tough approach to regain some of that support.
“We have a new Progressive Conservative government lead by me based on common sense, common decency, and no BS and giving Albertans what they are looking for. If they’re seeing good government and a strong leader they’ll go for that every time,” said Prentice last week.
And, a strong leader is exactly what Albertans want and the PCs need if they want to continue to lead the province.
While early indications show he is moving in the right direction, time will tell whether he can actually accomplish some of the things he has set out to do and a lot of work has to be done to regain some of that lost trust. People have grown weary of the scandals and distrustful of their provincial government, and rightly so. And, they have long memories. The families of seniors who had already been displaced from the Michener Centre know first-hand the negative impact government decision making has had on them and while deciding now to keep the Centre open, are they going to want to uproot their elderly family members once again? Some of the moves by the previous government are going to have long-lasting effects no matter how much Prentice tries to rectify their mistakes.
Prentice is attempting to rebuild relationships with municipalities by offering up an alternative to the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI), which municipalities have relied on for funding operational and capital projects. The MSI program is slated to wind down by 2016-17, leaving municipal leaders concerned about how they will continue with infrastructure and other projects.
That’s all well and good, and municipal leaders will be able to breathe a sigh of relief, if Prentice follows through with it. Municipal leaders, like all Albertans, should be cautiously optimistic when it comes to any promises being made at the moment.
Prentice is certainly having folks reconsider the PC Party as he works to regain trust, but most Albertans know that until his words are put into action, words are all they are. His recent bold moves are a positive step forward, but he has a lot more work to do to convince people (voters) who want change.