Calgary’s populist mayor says the fall of Alberta Premier Alison Redford demonstrates how the partisan political system is broken and chews up good people in high places.
After Redford resigned Wednesday night, Naheed Nenshi condemned the type of partisanship that he feels did her in.
He said while Redford made mistakes, she’s a “good person” who made “incredible sacrifices” for the province.
“It’s the story of a system that takes someone like that, chews them up and then spits them out. I think all of us as Albertans need to really think about what has happened over the last several weeks and what that means to how we get great people to be politicians, how we get great people to enter into public service,” Nenshi told reporters.
“The partisanship under that dome in Edmonton is what leads to this and I hope that whoever the new premier will be will think hard about how we make sure that what happens under that dome isn’t just for party and caucus.”
Nenshi and Redford had similar paths to power in that they both pulled off unexpected victories.
Nenshi was a no-name business professor when he harnessed the power of social media to win the 2010 Calgary mayoral election.
Redford was a first-term justice minister with almost no caucus support when she won the Tory leadership race in 2011 by relying on the backing of many from outside the party.
Both used the same strategist, Stephen Carter, to win.
“We were successful because we know who the population of Alberta is. We are filled with small-l liberals. We are not the Republican wing of Canada and some parties believe that we are,” said Carter.
He said Redford “lost her way” and was dealing with a party that is simply interested in remaining in power.
“They’ve walked the last four premiers out the door – the caucus and the membership. The electorate hasn’t had a chance to decide what the party should be or what the vision should be.”
Nenshi, who was re-elected in a landslide last fall, noted there are representatives from all political stripes at the municipal level and everyone manages to work together for the public good.
He said the way things are run on the larger stage isn’t working.
“I’m saying that this is a horrible situation. How did we end up in a place where party and caucus, a bunch of unelected people, a bunch of people who meet only behind closed doors, make decisions about the future of this province?”
Nenshi was asked if he would consider running for Redford’s job.
“There will be lots and lots and lots of opportunities to talk about lots and lots and lots of different people,” he said. “I can tell you, regardless of whatever role I’m in personally, I will take a very serious part in this next election, always fighting for the interests of Calgarians and Albertans.”