In a Facebook video posted on Tuesday, Airdrie-Cochrane MLA Pete Guthrie reflected the ongoing fall-out within the Conservative party over a since-deleted tweet by Bryan Rogers, the chief of Staff to Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda.
In the video, which was titled, ‘2 Tickets to the Clown Show’ Guthrie said that these types of actions wouldn’t be tolerated in any other workplace, let alone in government. Guthrie also pointed out that Rogers isn’t the only one who has publicly browbeaten conservative caucus members who are opposed to Premier Kenney, especially in light of the leadership review.
“Harrison Fleming, special adviser and Deputy Press Secretary to Premier Kenny also chimed in on the matter, [saying], ‘I have a feeling some folks in the media who continually boost the sad set of sour MLAs over and over again will be very surprised when mainstream conservatives have their say will be interesting to see the narrative, they've tried to build for the last year crumbled to pieces.’”
Guthrie said that it is notable that such a comment came from a senior member of the Premier's communication staff.
“At the very least, it shows poor judgment but doesn't end there,” he said. “When you have so-called high-level staffers who feel that it is appropriate to attack elected officials; it should be no surprise that conflict persists and it is one of many reasons why people are speaking out.”
Guthrie underlined that the strongest voices of opposition are coming from female members of the Conservative caucus and that to him, it seemed that the tactics used by Premier Kenney and other senior officials in government are no better than those of the opposition parties in Alberta.
“This browbeating by administration goes unchecked by the premier because it supports his objective. It's no different than the left in their mind. It's okay to do things that are unethical or in poor taste if it is a benefit to their cause or a means to their end,” Guthrie said. “The premier encourages disrespectful treatment through his own actions leading by example.”
Guthrie said that the Premier’s characterization of those who are opposed to him within his own party has been to label them as ‘lunatics, bugs, [and] extremists.’
“These are divisive actions and not those of someone with unity in mind. It is this negativity developed through a culture of fear that destroys unity rule by fear management styles do not work long term.”
Guthrie said that winning strategies in a workplace environment include recognizing and encouraging the strengths that foster not only good relationships but showcase good leaders.
“I'll leave you with this. Anger can get people's attention. Positivity holds their attention,” Guthrie ended by saying.