As highlighted in an article in Politisite yesterday, Redford has come under fire for her extravagant expenditures during her constant travel. She traveled to London, England during the Olympics, renting 13 rooms that were not used by her and her staff. She has made several trips to Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. in an apparent effort to sell the XL Keystone pipeline.
The crunch came with her trip to attend Nelson Mandella’s funeral in South Africa. She charged the taxpayer $45,000, which she has now repaid under pressure. She also repaid $3,156 for a trip to the West coast, which included a friend of her daughter’s. She defended the breaking of expense rules by claiming that it was the cost of being a mother. Unfortunately there are a lot of working women in Alberta that don’t have the benefit of subsidized childcare.
Premier is willing to change
Khan stated that the Premier is willing to change and is not going anywhere. He said that during an all day caucus meeting on Monday he told the premier she had to change and that the caucus talked about a lot of stuff. The caucus is looking for change and that he was personally looking to see change.
There still doesn’t seem to be a sense of responsibility by Redford herself. Khan said that the premier’s office needs to do a better job of following the rules. The buck, however, stops with Redford.
Len Webber’s resignation came with allegations that Redford was a bully, which was demonstrated by the revolving door in her office. She showed disrespect with cabinet and regular members of caucus. He depicted her apology on the Mandella trip insincere and forced. Redford is the leader in Alberta and has to take ownership of her travel and the procedures within her office. Her chief of staff is paid a higher salary than Barrack Obama’s chief of staff. She knew that taking her daughter’s friend on trips and returning from a private vacation on the taxpayers tab broke the letter of the law. If she didn’t then she earned her salary as justice minister under false pretenses.
Leadership for most of us is not natural but learned.
Leadership is the art of convincing others to do willingly what you want them to do. Often it helps if you give subordinates ownership and they think it is their idea they are running with.
In Redford’s case, according to Len Webber, it was with intimidation, temper tandrems and angry outrages. Redford turns 50 a year from now and changing at that age is a difficult job. While Redford may keep a low profile for a while, which was evident yesterday when she didn’t reply to any questions from the press, in the hope that this will go away. It won’t.
The Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta (PC) gave Redford an overwhelming endorsement of 77 percent in last November’s leadership review. Abandoning a sinking ship that they endorsed would be difficult. Last November the party thought that the Mandella spending would disappear from the headlines. It didn’t.
Redford is not a natural leader that can get the public to rally behind her. Like most of us, her leadership style has been developed by her past experience. After graduating from high school in Calgary, Redford got her law degree at the University of of Saskatchewan and article under Jim Prentice at the law firm Rooney Prentice.
Throughout the 1990s, Redford worked as a technical adviser on constitutional and legal reform issues in various parts of Africa for the European Union, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Canadian Government and the Government of Australia. Her work in Africa focused on human rights litigation, developing education programs and policy reform with respect to gender issues.
One of Redford’s most notable appointments was by the Secretary-General of the United Nations as one of the four International Election Commissioners to administer Afghanistan’s first parliamentary elections, held in September 2005. Political issues in the elections program within Alberta at that time were under question by the Elections Commissioner. She also served as an adviser to the Privy Council Office on Canada’s future involvement in Afghanistan subsequent to the elections. Her work has included assignments in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Namibia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and the Philippines. Before her most current post, Redford managed a judicial training and legal reform project for the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme People’s Court in Vietnam.
Unquestionably, Redford’s credentials are formidable, but do not a leader make. With her vast background both on constitutional and human rights issues, on both the national and international scene, she undoubtedly feels superior to her political counterparts. She has attended meetings with both the Bilderberg society and the Davos Economic Forum within the last two years, meeting with the global heavyweights. Thus her leadership is often guided with impatience and frustration.
Mr. Khan’s notion that she will change is misguided. She will keep a low profile for a little while and then revert to her current leadership style. Mr. Khan a leopard doesn’t change its spots.