It comes as no surprise that I support and intend to vote for the Wildrose party in the upcoming Alberta election. What some of you have wondered is why.
Like many other Albertans, I spent years voting for the Progressive Conservatives when they were led by Lougheed, Getty, and Klein. At the time, they represented true Alberta values more than any other provincial party (more or less).
Their record was anything but unblemished – being in the business of being in business bit them in the butt a few times. The Getty experiment created an interesting campaign in 1989, and in 1993 nearly cost new leader Ralph Klein and the P.C.’s a victory.
But it was the policies that kept me in the P.C. camp. When those began to change, so did my support in the party. Ultimately, I switched party allegiance (something I thought would never occur).
A new party had been created from the merging of two separate entities. The Wildrose was born: a small ‘c’ conservative group with strong libertarian leanings. Small government, personal property rights, and a commitment to fiscal conservatism were just some of the more appealing qualities of the new party.
Fast forward to today. The Wildrose has bloomed into the viable alternative many Alberta voters had been searching for. Led by the intelligent and charismatic libertarian Danielle Smith, the Wildrose have staked their claim to the centre-right, the area left vacant by the ever-left wing creeping P.C.’s.
Election campaigns tend to expose the true inner-workings of political parties, and this one has been no exception. The results so far have done more than justified my choice to change my party support, it has left many former Progressive Conservatives wondering what has gone so horribly wrong with the P.C’s.
Where the Wildrose has a leader who believes strongly in the concept that she works for the party and the voters, P.C. leader Alison Redford has stated her desire to ‘change the character’ of Alberta. Where Danielle Smith rejects the idea of government becoming overbearing ‘nannies’ – interfering in the independent lives of Albertans, Redford has proven that she believes that she knows what’s best for us.
Where Danielle Smith and the Wildrose show trust in the intelligence and abilities of Albertans, Alison Redford and her Progressive Conservatives don’t believe we have the capability to make our own choices and must be taken care of like children. Kind of sounds like something a United Nations Human Rights lawyer would say, doesn’t it?
Now I look at the party I once called my own and find it unrecognizable. Obvious progressive policies aside, the P.C. party of today regularly engages in election tactics not seen since the days of Jean Chretien.
Lies, misinformation, fear mongering, and empty allegations emanate from the P.C. campaign war room to the degree that one wonders if the party has hired the federal Liberal party’s former election staff.
We’ve seen every low-road tactic, such as calling the Wildrose policy on Conscience Rights ‘frightening’ (I still am waiting to hear P.C. MLA Ted Morton’s take on that one, considering he attempted to pass his own C.R. bill in 2006) despite the fact that it ensures EQUAL rights for all. Many people in Edmonton’s Gay community claim to support the Wildrose plan (they have actually read it), and have been less than pleased by the P.C. use of the ‘gay card’.
And we can’t forget the public smearing of Smith for not having children (Redford staff member).
We have also been witness to Redford’s own credibility-killing flip-flop-and-flip again over the no-meet committee payback. Last I heard, the P.C. party will pick up the tab for retiring party M.L.A.’s. Nice little retirement gift, don’t you think?
We’ve even seen Redford as premier defending Chiquita in their boycott of our oil sands.
Add to that the recent door-knocking scuffle between arrogant P.C. M.L.A. Thomas Lukaszuk and a dying 67 year old man. Lukaszuk gets pushed, walks unharmed off the man’s property, and then promptly calls the cops. This is the same M.L.A. who, as Education minister, had intimidated the Airdrie Council of Schools in a recorded phone call. Claims that this proves Lukaszuk to be nothing more than an ‘attention whore’ flew everywhere on social media, a claim I don’t personally share.
I do believe that if Lukaszuk doesn’t try to get the charges dropped (the ‘punching and kicking’ allegations are garbage), he won’t look like someone looking for attention. However, he will look like a pussy.
So here we have a Wildrose party with a platform of pro-urban and pro-rural policies focused on the individual; policies that give money back to its rightful owners - us; policies that are fiscally sound and responsible.
And we have a Progressive Conservative party which, if it were a business, could be sued for false advertising by using the word ‘conservative’ in its title; a party full of arrogant, we-know-what’s-best-for-you elites; a party that has proven its true left wing colours not just with policies but with sewer election politics.
In the end, my support of the Wildrose party is founded on more than just admirable policies. I will be voting for them because, unlike the once-proud Progressive Conservatives, I won’t be embarrassed to have them as my government.
A 41 year old ruling Alberta party that has become left wing in words and in action? Now that is scary.