Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Long Goodbye

Ralph Klein, in his last days in office, is turning into Jean Chretien. First the long-delayed resignation, and now his demands to kick his successors out of Cabinet while they go after his job:

Alberta Premier Ralph Klein has shaken up what amounts to a two-year leadership race to replace him by ordering cabinet ministers seeking his job to resign their portfolios by June.

“This is to avoid any perception of any conflicts or personal advantages that one might have as the minister,” Mr. Klein said Wednesday.

“We have an agenda to get on with, and I think it will be easier for government to operate.”

I wonder if his slow-motion resignation will end up accelerated a few months as well by his anxious successor?

What advantage is there to forcing ministers to choose between staying in Cabinet and succeeding him? At present, Klein is in no danger of being undermined except by himself; he has already declared himself a lame duck. If anything, the pressure of Cabinet duties would likely put sitting ministers at a disadvantage, since they would still be bound by Cabinet solidarity to support Klein's decisions and couldn't dedicate themselves full-time to a leadership campaign.

When the time comes to quit, the time between the announcement and departure should not be too long. It keeps succession races from become too protracted, with all the problems that brings, and it eliminates the possibility of a leader changing his mind in the interim.

Go, but go quickly.

Source: Globe and Mail

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