Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Alberta election: A Change in the Road?

Alberta has a long history of stable government, from the social Credit of Aberhart to the 41 years of Progressive Conservatives (PC) that followed them. Now, Alberta is poised to go to the polls on April 23rd with the likelihood of a change. It’s generating election excitement—unusual for Alberta!

The PCs long tenure has made them feel invincible, and their latest leader and premier Alison Redford feels she can take the party anywhere with impunity. In fact, her sharp turn left has angered her traditional base who feel abandoned.

This sharp change provoked the comment the PCs going red, redder and Redford. Furthermore, it has left a huge hole on the political right. It recalls the federal PCs moving left, which gave rise to the Reform and Alliance parties that eventually became the Conservative party of Canada.

Apart from a government that now flourishes a deficit after Ralph Klein made Alberta debt free, Redford presides over a party that awards MLAs high salaries, huge severance packages, and monthly payments to committee members that never sit.

But all this pales in the light of legislation to force all schools—including religious schools and home schooling mothers—to teach as normal, sexual practices they disagree with. Offenders will risk charges by the infamous, kangaroo courts of the Human Rights Commission, widely known for their injustice.

Fortunately, this act died on the order paper when the election was called. Many, like me, know that if the PCs are elected again, this will be seen as a mandate to make this act law, and are sufficiently provoked to vote elsewhere.

As many conservative Albertans have become disaffected by the PC’s autocratic rule, the Wild Rose (WR) party has been gaining in momentum for several years, and is now a genuine challenge to the PCs. As the PCs have forsaken the values of their supporters, the WR is gaining this support in large numbers.

Danielle Smith, the leader of the WR, is a formidable and articulate young woman, and so this election is being primarily fought between women leaders of the two viable parties. So much for a red-neck male dominated province!

Interest in the outcome of this election is high. Will voter participation be as high?