Campaigning has unofficially begun for the upcoming Alberta provincial election and in contrast to the previous few visits to the ballot box, voters are feeling motivated to exercise their democratic right.
But just like the last election, many are not sure who to vote for.
Results from the last election went deeper than just a numerical landslide for Ed Stelmach’s Progressive Conservative government; it also showed a great apathy in the conscience of the voting public as exhibited by the embarrassingly low turnout. While a growing number of Albertans were more than unimpressed with an incompetent and failing governing party, the scene lacked a viable known alternative.
The platforms and leaders of the Liberals and New Democrats would never have propelled either of the leftwing parties into power, while the Wildrose Alliance, having just been created out of a two-party merger, was still a generally unknown entity on the right.
Today the situation is substantially different. The Raj Sherman Experiment, not to be confused with The Nancy Betkowski/MacBeth Experiment, has not produced any sort of momentum and has been a dismal failure for the Liberal party; the New Democrats are virtually unknown to people whose letters aren’t addressed ‘Whyte Avenue’ or ‘Occupant’ (Occupy?); and despite their best efforts the Alberta Party hasn’t managed to generate more than a blank stare from Albertans
On the flipside, the Wildrose party has grown into a position to seriously challenge the ever-growing Alison Redford P.C. juggernaut. They have consistently been in the media glare, releasing a stream of alternative ideas as well as becoming the real de facto Opposition party. Many polls have shown Wildrose leader Danielle Smith as a more popular choice for Premier than Alison Redford.
For the sake of honestly, I’ll point out that a portion of the overall rise of the Wildrose can be attributed to the Progressive Conservatives government itself. It cannot be coincidence that the rise of the Wildrose coincided with the beginning of the P.C. move to the left, started by Stelmach.
And with Alison Redford’s big-spending Promise-O-Rama Budget, it is clear that the shift to the Other Side is continuing unabated.
The government has become intrusive into the lives of citizens almost to an unprecedented degree. They control an energy-based economy that should provide more than enough funding to manage the province, yet run consecutive deficit budgets while nickel-and-diming you through higher taxes and their favorite new method: creating new money-generating laws designed to empty your wallet and your sense of liberty.
(Making criminals of the innocent? Never a good play. Neither is failing to defend our oil sands, but I digress...)
In point of fact, Alison Redford’s Progressive Conservative government has become anti-Albertan. Any government that unapologetically spends tax dollars on unethical pre-election campaigns and weekend Cabinet getaways has crossed the line of what we hold to be ethical. It is time for them to be ousted.
I know I’m not going to convince any hard-line socialists or the 23 committed provincial Liberals out there, but for the good of Alberta voters need to have a moment of solidarity: we need to gather behind a single party in the effort to expel a government that has become dangerous to our values.
We must choose a party and a leader that best presents the opportunity to renew our province and to, to overuse the cliché, get it back on track.
Given the Stelmach/Redford ideological shift, voters will have the ND-Liberal-P.C.-Alberta Party gang on the left, and the Wildrose on the centre-right.
Alberta needs to get its spirit back. It is obvious which party we should choose.