The shrinking shelf life of Canadian premiers

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach has become  the latest Canadian premier to pack it in, announcing today that he'll be making way for a successor before the next election.

Stelmach thus joins Newfoundland's just-departed Danny Williams and B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell, whose term has a little over a month to run, as other recent retirees from the premier's club.

But Campbell has served almost 10 years and Williams stayed for seven. Stelmach's announcement comes after he marked the fourth anniversary of being sworn in as Ralph Klein's successor.

Most other premiers are relatively recent arrivals. New Brunswick's David Alward was elected last year. Manitoba's Greg Selinger and Nova Scotia's Darrell Dexter have less than two years under their belts. Robert Ghiz (Prince Edward Island) and Brad Wall (Saskatchwan) will pass their fourth anniversaries later this year.

Now that Stelmach is on the way out, the veterans of the premiers club are Dalton McGuinty of Ontario and Jean Charest of Quebec, who both took office in 2003.

But Charest, who was described as "the most hated man in Quebec" by Montreal Gazette columnist Don Macpherson, is under increasing pressure to step down. And McGuinty faces a tough re-election fight against the Progressive Conservatives under Tim Hudak  in an election scheduled for October.

Both insist they can buck the trend and survive. And each province is different.

But we may well be seeing a trend where two terms constitutes a good run for a premier and three terms is increasingly unlikely.

 

 

 

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