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Alberta's Next Premier?
April 14, 2012 2:36 PM   Subscribe

Is Danielle Smith Alberta's Sarah Palin or the Future of Canada? Ms. Smith is widely thought to be on the verge of unseating the Progressive Conservative regime that first took office only five months after she was born on April 1, 1971.

The uneasy provincial union of right and far right... started to crumble in 2009 when the Progressive Conservatives moved sharply to the side of progressivism and bigger government. Ms. Smith quit the party that year and won the Wildrose leadership in the fall. Her critics like to characterize her as Alberta’s version of Sarah Palin, but Danielle Smith is no backwoods Barbie.

She has always been libertarian on moral issues; her impulse is toward personal freedom, not legislated morality. She has expressed support in the past for de-listing abortion from medicare, but now says that as long as she’s party leader, there will never be legislation on such issues. Her government wouldn’t accept referendum questions that go against settled constitutional law, she insists, but acknowledges that some of her candidates are social conservatives who feel differently. The deal within the party, she insists, is that they all agree not to legislate on those points of contention.

“Contentious moral issues are issues that people deal with in their personal time not in their political party,” Ms. Smith said this week, under pressure from PCs trying to paint her party as extreme. “I am pro-choice and pro gay marriage, and my members of my party knew that when they elected me.”

posted by modernnomad (61 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
"The future of Canada," no, sorry. Alberta politics are different from Canadian politics generally - Danielle Smith's brand of libertarian conservatism doesn't really fly that well outside of the prairies.

However, Smith's current self-version - and not Wildrose, which is mostly the same old white farts that have always formed the underbelly of Alberta conservativism - may well be the future of Canadian conservatism. The country continues to trend further and further left on social issues, and more and more moderate libertarianism looks to be the only way that conservatives have any hope of snagging younger voters in this country.
posted by mightygodking at 2:40 PM on April 14, 2012 [10 favorites]


Danielle Smith's brand of libertarian conservatism doesn't really fly that well outside of the prairies.

Quebecor owned outlets like Sun Media are forever seeding Ontario with American style anti-taxation propaganda. It seems to be finding purchase in the fertile ground of suburban and rural S Ontario.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:24 PM on April 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's interesting as the BC Liberals (the governing conservative party next door) are also suddenly facing a challenge from the right, the BC Conservatives, a party that pretty much appeared out of nowhere and nobody considered a credible threat as little as two years ago. Between the graft, the greenwashing, and the new female former federal Liberal leader, the hard right have apparently had enough of it all.

In both cases it's quite odd, in that the ruling parties are already quite conservative, but apparently just not conservative enough. There are no substantive disagreements between the right-of-center BC parties, and as far as I can tell Wildrose's campaign platform is simply even lower taxes and even less oil royalties.
posted by mek at 3:25 PM on April 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think I see what is happening here. Albertans are always too far to the right, but they go even further to the right just before they make a left turn.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 3:34 PM on April 14, 2012


I read that this morning and thought to myself, "what a puff piece."

A Wild Rose government would really add to the momentum of the effort to "conservatise" Canada.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:37 PM on April 14, 2012


I thought Alberta was ALL Sarah Palins.

Actually, Edmonton (but, like, just Edmonton) votes pretty far to the left.

Other than that, the Albertan left is largely demoralised to the point of defeatism. They can't win, so they don't vote, so they can't win, so they don't vote, so they can't win.... If they could be bothered, they'd probably surprise themselves.

(As an aside, wtf's with "Wildrose" as one word? I mean, christ, can't they read a damn license plate?)
posted by Sys Rq at 3:42 PM on April 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


When Danielle Smith came through Banff the crowd that showed up was the typical Alberta Report reading, Reform Party loving, old folks convention you'd expect.

Danielle's Alberta über alles annoys me to no end, the suggestion that the CPP should be replaced by an APP makes no sense to me considering how much we've squandered the money from our oil profits as is. We should look towards Norway's Government Pension Fund as a model before we become too dependant on our petro-income. We've got it really good in this province and need to make sure it stays that way when the taps run dry.
posted by furtive at 3:43 PM on April 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


mightygodking: "Danielle Smith's brand of libertarian conservatism doesn't really fly that well outside of the prairies."

We used to say similar things about Stephen Harper's brand of conservatism, and we were wrong.
posted by klanawa at 3:50 PM on April 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


A Wild Rose government would really add to the momentum of the effort to "conservatise" Canada.


Dunno -- I think mightygodking hits on the interesting point, that if Smith is in fact the new face of conservatism in Canada, then it's a conservatism that is extremely liberal on social issues. It's more libertarianism than anything else, and completely unlike Harper's brand of conservatism. I don't think it fits into any pattern of Canada becoming 'more conservative'. I also suspect it will not ultimately translate well outside of Alberta, simply because the economic realities are different.

Whether or not other conservative parties begin to adopt the more socially liberal aspects, however, is an interesting question. If it happened, it could point to re-split between the ex-reformers and the ex-red tories.
posted by modernnomad at 4:15 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


She won't be our next premier. The Wildrose will probably act as a spoiler, ripping at the soft underbelly of the Conservatives, maybe even leading to a minority government. Or maybe not. The Conservatives will still win, but there'll be a larger opposition with increased representation from all the major parties.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:18 PM on April 14, 2012


Alberta's current political sitatuation can best be understood in light of the old saying that you should never expect a person to understand something when their salary depends on not understanding it. They are getting rich by imposing huge costs on everyone else and prefer to be ignorant of those costs, because it is uncomfortable to think about.

The success of Wildrose's appeal to a 'pioneer heritage,' and to 'resilience,' 'persistence,' and 'small government' can be explained by the fact that those making their livelihoods off of Alberta's booming energy industry are deeply concerned that those that the industry hurts could gain more political power and cut into their bottom line. These are keywords for "let me do exactly what I want without worrying about what it does to anyone else." They want everyone else to be resilient in the face of the costs they impose on everyone else, just like a pioneer supposedly would have been.

This is why you have the Fraser Institute and the Calgary School denying that climate change exists but that even if it does it is probably caused by solar variation and if it's carbon then there is nothing we can do about it anyway, and besides, Jobs! Just give us another billion to research carbon capture, ok?

This is why they are trying to dig up all of the tar sands and sell the bitumen before the price goes up.

This is why they are trying to ship millions of barrels a day through the Enbridge and Kinder Morgan pipelines, which terminate in the Great Bear Rainforest and in Vancouver, respectively. British Columbia gets virtually no benefits from these pipelines, once construction is finished, and has to deal with the incredible risk to some of the world's most beautiful and productive coastlines. Keystone is a similar story, but without the tanker spill in one of the world's largest rainforests issue.

This is why environmental assessment is being gutted by the current budget, and the Fisheries Act is being watered down, so that there are no more laws getting in the way of their six figure salaries and protecting the natural wealth we should be passing on to our children.

The 'libertarian' philosphy being espoused by some Albertans these days sounds like "fuck you, I have mine," and the celebration of this shallow "small government" selfishness by equating it to "pioneer roots" is deeply troubling.

I am sorry if this post is angry or dismissive of this movement, but I love where I live on the coast. Global warming has already allowed the pine beetle to destroy our forest industry, and our fisheries are in rough shape, for a variety of reasons- they don't need an oil spill. Let me say it again: your jobs are killing our jobs and fouling our air. Please stop. If Albertans want to call themselves 'pioneers' and have their annual cowboy party, that's fine. I hear that it's a lot of fun. But please stop fouling our rivers, inflating our currency, endangering our coasts, spewing CO2 into the air and then insulting the rest of the country because our economy is not as robust as the on you've built by imposing costs on your neighbours and countrymen.

Sincerely,

A British Columbian.
posted by the thing about it at 4:31 PM on April 14, 2012 [69 favorites]


Dunno -- I think mightygodking hits on the interesting point, that if Smith is in fact the new face of conservatism in Canada, then it's a conservatism that is extremely liberal on social issues. It's more libertarianism than anything else, and completely unlike Harper's brand of conservatism.

Well, whatever you call it, Wild Rose is definitely part of a movement, and I would challenge the assumption that Smith and her party are not social conservatives. They are.

What's more frightening is the laissez faire approach to regulation and the economy and everything else that might be considered to be part of a fair, equitable society.

The idea of just giving everyone a $300 dividend is utterly irresponsible, and I wonder what's going to happen when oil prices crash (again) and there's no money to pay for anything (again).
posted by KokuRyu at 4:45 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


The oil pipeline monkey business is just an attempt by Harper to leverage the threat of China in order to get the attention of the USA (and finally approve Keystone XL). It's working.

Although the Supreme Court has indicated that economic development trumps native land claims, the sheer amount of First Nations opposition (and, dare I say it, bickering) will make the Enbridge project radioactive, not to mention opposition from towns traditionally ignored by the provincial Libs and Conservatives, such as Terrace. There's nothing in it for BC; instead there is a great deal of risk.

Metro Vancouver mayors are also uniformly opposed to the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, and that project alone is radioactive enough to sink Christy Clark in the next election.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:48 PM on April 14, 2012


Yeah, Vancouverites will not tolerate a 300% increase in tanker traffic, it's bad enough as it is. I do agree that one of the pipelines will eventually happen, and the good money is on a revised Keystone XL route... but it's going to be a couple long and ugly years.
posted by mek at 4:53 PM on April 14, 2012


Canada's new right wing have a level of organization and cohesiveness that the US right would envy. (Let's not forget that this new right was inspired by and advised by elements of the US right. They still help out.). Whenever a business-friendly, free-market candidate or party is running - federal, provincial, or municipal - you'll see the same names showing up in the wings. Manning Institute. Campaign Research. (and their principals Kouvalis & Ciano). National Citizens Coalition. Fraser Institute. Add to this their own Fox North in the form of media giant Quebecor (SUN TV, the SUNs and other right-leaning newspapers). And an obedient echo-chamber blogosphere.

Whenever required, all of these players sing in near-perfect unison. They also form a ruthlessly effective election machine. They've learned well from their US mentors. Canadian elections now feature attack ads, strategic robocalling and even disinformation and vote-suppression. Post election investigations routinely uncover rule bending and other fiddling from the Conservatives, but a jaded and cynical electorate mostly shrug it off.

This machine has come out again for the Wildrose party. Inexplicably, the Alberta PC leader has also positioned herself as a moderate centrist, which would drive all the grumpy conservatives to the Wildrose party.

This new right wing force is absolutely dismantling the socially responsible, engaged Canada the Liberals and PCs created in the latter half of the 20th century. They may be heralding the rise of a more savvy Canadian business elite, but they may also simply be smashing down regulatory barriers, tax levels and social spending, to turn Canada into a corporate wonderland.

Interesting times.
posted by Artful Codger at 5:34 PM on April 14, 2012 [11 favorites]


A few years ago when Alberta had their municipal elections the Wild Rose party ran a whole bunch of municipal candidates on the platform of rural property rights - it was to oppose the Provincial Land Use Framework, which essentially sought to create the groundwork for more sustainable development patterns. It sterilized a whole bunch of rural land from intensive development as it wouldn't allow piped servicing to support it in areas that weren't identified as growth nodes. Ironically enough, it was spearheaded at the time by one Ted Morton - an ultra-conservative professor-turned-provincial cabinet minister.

This 'rural roots' nonsense is just a smokescreen for the protection of property rights by people who don't know their asses from their faces when it comes to property development. I'll be the first one to say that a lot of farmers in rural Alberta are far less new conservative than old conservative - ie they can't stand the new-money Alberta any more than the rest of us and know that there's limited water, oil, land and time. They've been around long enough to see tha bad and the good.

The real problem in Alberta, right now, is that people who are younger than 35 think that growth will happen forever. They truly haven't ever know hard times. Shit, they think THESE are hard times for Alberta. They've had good jobs since they were working, and are blind mad by anything that suggests they need to slow down.

Danielle Smith is just riding this sentiment.
posted by jimmythefish at 5:58 PM on April 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


The country continues to trend further and further left on social issues, and more and more moderate libertarianism looks to be the only way that conservatives have any hope of snagging younger voters in this country.

No, it's because Wildrose has learned to lie about its social agenda because it's a proven tactic used by the Federal Conservatives.

http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/editorials/wildrose-partys-idea-of-conscience-rights-is-discriminatory/article2396359/?service=mobile
posted by mobunited at 6:02 PM on April 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


A Wild Rose government would really add to the momentum of the effort to "conservatise" Canada.

I disagree. Wildrose and the BC Conservatives are indicators that the unity we currently see on the Canadian right is not necessarily eternal.

Consider Stephen Harper's greatest skill as a politician -- he's boring. Specifically, he's good at making exciting things boring. Cabinet minister disgracing himself? Don't ask the Minister to resign, just throw a wet blanket over the issue until it goes away. Likewise, he's done an outstanding job of obscuring deep divisions within his own party. The far-right wing has been kept operating under the radar while centre-right members have been assisted in continuing to think of themselves as moderates. Harper makes the unity of his party look natural and effortless. It isn't, and there's no reason to think that the next leader of the Conservatives will be as skilled.

It's a big deal that unity on the right has broken down in BC and Alberta to such an extent that the right wing party fractured. In time, the federal Conservatives might be forced to move right to mollify their hard-liners, losing votes in the center. Another Reform-PC debacle is unlikely, but I can dream.

(Harper's other great talent: like all re-electable Canadian Prime Ministers he has the amoral ruthlessness of a mob boss. "The Shawinigan Strangler," Briefcases-full-of-cash Mulroney, "Just watch me" Trudeau...)
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 6:04 PM on April 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Wildrose party's version of libertarianism is the freedom to beat the faggot out of your son.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 6:04 PM on April 14, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'm so glad you brought up the Shawinigan Handshake so I could link this.
posted by mek at 6:08 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


They can dandy their far right crazy in whatever labels, promises, and concessions in the campaign as they like.

I know they'll tear it all down after the election is won and start tearing up our social contract soon after.
posted by Slackermagee at 6:09 PM on April 14, 2012


To back up my first comment, check out the platform points on "Human Rights":
"Human Rights need protection: equality, freedom of religion, freedom of speech are important to Albertans

Over the last 20 years, the Human Rights Commissions in Alberta have probably been the single worst offender of Rights: i.e. freedom of speech; politically correct activists have used them to punish religious and right-wing social commentators. Even when found not guilty, its expensive and time-consuming

The commissions have proven that they can’t be trusted to do the job. We need to resolve these issues in real courts, with real judges and rules of evidence

We’ll replace the Human Rights Commission with a new Human Rights Division of the Provincial Court of Alberta, which will adjudicate all human rights complaints

We’ll ensure that translators and financial aid are available so that all Albertans have access to the process, but standards will be stricter"
I read this out loud and the dog started to howl.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 6:15 PM on April 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


...turn Canada into a corporate wonderland.


With a small population and loads of natural resources.
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:21 PM on April 14, 2012


modernnomad: It's more libertarianism than anything else, and completely unlike Harper's brand of conservatism.

I don't think this is true. If anything, Reform sorry, I mean Wildrose is farther to the right than Harper. At the same time Tom Flanagan and Barry Cooper, who were advisors/architects of Harper's CPC policies, are now the grand old men pulling the strings behind Danielle Smith. Many WR candidates have glowing references to Harper on their Facebook pages. I think they're all in the same tent.
posted by sneebler at 7:13 PM on April 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


All I can say, I'm rooting for the BC Conservatives. It makes me so stupidly happy when they notch up a win of some kind, because it means either Christy Clark will be sent packing in short order or the vote will be split next year.

Although I disagree with their politics, I would have to say that Liberal arrogance is astonishing... They seem to feel entitled to votes no matter what they do.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:13 PM on April 14, 2012


Christy Clark demonstrated her utter substancelessness in short order, that's for sure. She seems to have no actual governing ability whatsoever. I'm actually surprised by how poorly her operation is run. Her chances of re-election are near zero. If the BC Cons manage to win one of the upcoming byelections, the Liberals are doomed in 2013.
posted by mek at 7:17 PM on April 14, 2012


Stupidest headline of the last few days. No, she's not. There's no comparison between the fervour that Sarah Palin engendered among seemingly millions of Americans, and the touchstone role she played in both the American culture wars and the presidential election, and Danielle Smith's appeal within a single Canadian province that is atypically conservative.

Speaking of stupidest things, Smith's idea of "conscience rights" for publicly-licensed marriage commissioners (as opposed to religious figures) is the stupidest, most ignorant, most intolerant idea to get serious traction in this country in the last while. It's also plainly unconstitutional and would be struck down by the courts in a heartbeat. The government can't authorize providers of a public service to discriminate on protected grounds just because they have some religious objection. Muslim restauranteurs can't refuse to serve Jews because they think them unclean; Christian marriage commissioners can't refuse to marry gay couples because they think them abominable. Mosques and churches are different story. It's not hard to grasp, and the fact that Smith can't seem to, or doesn't want to, means I have very little time for her.
posted by Dasein at 7:24 PM on April 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


"At the same time Tom Flanagan and Barry Cooper, who were advisors/architects of Harper's CPC policies, are now the grand old men pulling the strings behind Danielle Smith. Many WR candidates have glowing references to Harper on their Facebook pages. I think they're all in the same tent."

Oh yeah, totally. The Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta comes from the same wellspring as the old federal Progressive Conservatives. That's the party Harper's Alliance killed and digested to attain its current form. I've no doubt the back room boys in the Reform/Alliance/Conservatives are a lot more comfortable with the Wildrose than with Redford.
posted by Kevin Street at 7:37 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've no doubt the back room boys in the Reform/Alliance/Conservatives are a lot more comfortable with the Wildrose than with Redford.

With Redford, sure, but Redford isn't exactly the poster child of conservatism in Alberta. I think what's important to grasp is that, more than being comfortable with one or the other, Harper and the Conservatives are not aiming to create ultra-right conservatism so much as they're interested in making the Conservative Party the de-facto party of the middle - where the Liberals used to live. That it's a choice between one right and one ultra-right plays right into their hands beautifully. The base is the same - it's just different flavours of what used to be one party.
posted by jimmythefish at 7:45 PM on April 14, 2012


Sentiment on the ground is that Wildrose is going to win. I keep hoping it will be a minority but some polls are projecting double digit leads sufficient enough for a majority.

The two turning points were the lack of love for Ed Stelmach, and when Redford screwed up big time when it came to light that MLAs were being paid thousands of dollars to sit on committees that never met, some making upwards of $42,000 for sitting on a committee that didn't convene once in two years. I don't think it got a lot of press outside Alberta, but one important detail is that before Stelmach nobody got paid to sit on these committees, and so it's been easy to tie this boondoggle at the taxpayer's expense on the PC party. It didn't help that Redford said committee members didn't need to pay anything back, causing even more outrage. Eventually she backtracked but MLAs only had to pay back six months worth. That cost the PC party 23% in the polls, and Redford's eventual capitulation requiring all money to be returned fell completely under the radar. For a lot of Albertans this was a sign that the ruling PC gov't was too complacent and wasteful.

Don't think Wildrose will sway enough people to win? Here are two anecdotal examples of people I never would have expected to vote Wildrose that aren't voting PC this election: 1) a liberal queen's counsel lawyer that work for arts orgs who is now rooting Wildrose 2) all of my Ukranian relatives from Edmonton and yet dislike Stelmach and think Redford is even more left leaning than him are now rooting Wildrose even though it's more of a Calgary and rural party than they've ever cared about.
posted by furtive at 8:05 PM on April 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Sentiment on the ground is that Wildrose is going to win."

That... that would be very strange. And horrible. And unnecessary, like everyone in the province simultaneously deciding to cut off their collective noses to spit their faces. I honestly, sincerely, absolutely don't think that is going to happen.
posted by Kevin Street at 8:27 PM on April 14, 2012


KokuRyu writes "The idea of just giving everyone a $300 dividend is utterly irresponsible, and I wonder what's going to happen when oil prices crash (again) and there's no money to pay for anything (again)."

Oil prices aren't going to crash, at least not to below crazy ridiculous profitable levels; peak oil is here and there isn't really any model consistent with peak oil that sees the price of oil decline significantly.

furtive writes "making upwards of $42,000 for sitting on a committee that didn't convene once in two years. [...] That cost the PC party 23% in the polls, and Redford's eventual capitulation requiring all money to be returned fell completely under the radar. For a lot of Albertans this was a sign that the ruling PC gov't was too complacent and wasteful."

Boy howdy I hadn't heard about that. Sounds like straight up corruption to me so I can see how that played poorly with both ends of the political spectrum.
posted by Mitheral at 8:54 PM on April 14, 2012


when it came to light that MLAs were being paid thousands of dollars to sit on committees that never met, some making upwards of $42,000 for sitting on a committee that didn't convene once in two years.

My dad - who I have always thought of as a fairly conservative individual - had a very interesting point about this issue: The fact of the pay-for-nothing committee was not brought to the attention of the public by any of the parties, but rather an outside group (the Canadian Taxpayer's Federation). So, none of the PC, Liberal, or Wildrose (can't remember if there was an NDP member or not, but the point holds) members of that committee said a word about it until someone outside the legislature pointed it out.

Then, of course, the opposition parties acted outraged about it and the PCs played out a horribly tone deaf farce of a response. But for my dad, the fact that Wildrose had people on this committee and didn't say a word about it is a pretty damning fact.

I pointed out that someone likely tipped off the CTF about this committee, but the more I think about it, I can't see why any of the opposition parties would tip off anyone else - they would gain a tremendous amount of political capital for being the ones to cry foul.
posted by never used baby shoes at 9:41 PM on April 14, 2012


Well, the one thing that does seem clear is that things are going to shit in short order back in the homeland. Makes me sad.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:02 PM on April 14, 2012


Stupidest headline of the last few days. No, she's not. There's no comparison between the fervour that Sarah Palin engendered among seemingly millions of Americans, and the touchstone role she played in both the American culture wars and the presidential election, and Danielle Smith's appeal within a single Canadian province that is atypically conservative.

Seems to this American like they're both MILFy conservatives from remote oil-rich regions, and, well, something's gotta sell these newspapers, so, is she next Sarah Palin? Maybe some beauty pageant slideshows will help us decide!
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 10:22 PM on April 14, 2012


Then, of course, the opposition parties acted outraged about it and the PCs played out a horribly tone deaf farce of a response. But for my dad, the fact that Wildrose had people on this committee and didn't say a word about it is a pretty damning fact.

You're right, and the PCs could easily have recovered but the other parties were quick to return the money while Redford hemmed and hawed. It said a lot more about her leadership than she realized at the time.

Out east I'd be voting NDP but politics in this province are skewed far enough to the right that the PCs feel downright liberal and it doesn't make sense to throw away my vote. At least there aren't language politics :-)
posted by furtive at 10:56 PM on April 14, 2012



The left is Canada is just waiting for their parents to die. Once the boomers are gone so is pull up the ladder Conservativism.
posted by srboisvert at 1:04 AM on April 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh. My. God.

There's more than one Sarah Palin?!


Run screaming. All is lost.
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:03 AM on April 15, 2012


This election is driving me nuts because while I have always wanted change for Alberta, this is not the change I was hoping for. My gut tells me that WR could easily do this, simply by the number of signs around town. It's so hard though, because Alberta has historically low voter turnout rates. Maybe this is the thing that will bring voter turnout over 50%. Friends are also realizing the spectre of voting PC to keep WR out. Ouch.

Conversations with older people show how fickle Alberta voters are. It's truly bizarre to have more or less the same conversations where blame has been shifted from both small and big L liberals to the PCs. Wow.
posted by Calzephyr at 5:59 AM on April 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Threehundredeight predicts a decisive WR win (riding by riding). It falls to the NDP to keep a check on this crew. Best of luck to Brian Mason and his team!
posted by No Robots at 6:32 AM on April 15, 2012


srboisvert: The left in Canada is just waiting for their parents to die. Once the boomers are gone so is pull up the ladder Conservativism.

This sounds like something, but I don't understand what you're saying. Could you expand a bit?

My sense is that when the boomers are gone (I am one) what's left will be ad hoc Libertarianism, but I'm feeling cynical today.

furtive: politics in this province are skewed far enough to the right that the PCs feel downright liberal and it doesn't make sense to throw away my vote.

That's me in a nutshell, except that our MLA is such a transparent party hack freeloader that I can't vote for him under any circumstance.
posted by sneebler at 7:27 AM on April 15, 2012


I think the better parallel is that the Wild Rose party is simply doing to the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party why Stephen Harper and the Reform Party did to the federal Progressive Conservative Party.
posted by docgonzo at 9:51 AM on April 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


The older I get the more I think we're a nation of masochists.
posted by squeak at 9:53 AM on April 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Threehundredeight predicts a decisive WR win..."

But that's totally insane! The Wildrose party doesn't stand for anything anyone (besides themselves) actually wants. They're the hoary old sweat stained undershirt of Conservatism, with policies that were already unpopular in the 90s, and are even less relevant now. Why would anyone vote for that?

The only conclusion I can draw is that people aren't paying attention. They have this idea that Wildrose = fresh and new, and don't know any of the candidates except for the figurehead Smith. This quote from that Threehundredeight post says it pretty well:

"...Wildrose stormed ahead early in the campaign, and now that Albertans are paying more attention to their policies and candidates there is a bit of blow back. Both Léger and Forum showed that some of the key campaign promises of Wildrose are not very popular, and this kind of momentum was never going to be sustainable."

Hey, the things they want to do aren't very popular. What a discovery! Shouldn't this be something that voters, actually, you know, take into account? Why aren't people paying attention to what they say?
posted by Kevin Street at 10:43 AM on April 15, 2012


The only conclusion I can draw is that people aren't paying attention.

That's true, although this election is only a slightly more extreme example. Actually, I think the real purpose of politics is to help people avoid understanding issues, because they're always complicated and painful.

Here's an article by Catherine Ford, who I always thought was the voice of Calgary/Oil Industry conservatism.
posted by sneebler at 11:35 AM on April 15, 2012


The only conclusion I can draw is that people aren't paying attention.

In an election held in Canada!?

Nooooooo........
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 12:36 PM on April 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Regardless of what Smith personally believes, clearly members of her party hold some rather extreme views.
posted by modernnomad at 4:05 PM on April 15, 2012


I love contrasting the past four years with the years prior to that, in terms of U.S.-Canadian relations. Tail wagging the dog?
posted by Apocryphon at 6:31 PM on April 15, 2012


What I find interesting is that apparently large numbers of people believe Wildrose is somehow different from the Progressive Conservatives. It isn't. Every last one of the Wildrose candidates, activists and supporters was a PC in the very recent past. Many of them still are, I suspect.

This is just a name change, in effect. It is a way for the losers of the PCs' recent leadership race to overthrow the other right-winger who won that contest. The Wildrosers lost their influence when their 2 hopefuls in the PC leadership race split their vote. That really cheesed them off, so they all joined Wildrose and are reclaiming what they see as their rightful place in government.
posted by dmayhood at 5:50 PM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, it's more complicated than that. The Wildrose party is a place where people who were at the fringe of the PCs big tent are now setting policy, or driving the people who set policy. An analogy I've heard is they're the Klein era conservatives back again, except even further to the right than before and full of the conviction of true believers. Things like gay marriage and budget deficits really bother them, like on a personal level. It keeps them up at night.
posted by Kevin Street at 8:17 PM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


The inestimable Rob Anders weighs in.
posted by sneebler at 9:54 PM on April 16, 2012




Meet the unofficial opposition to the unofficial opposition: The Wild Boar Party
posted by never used baby shoes at 1:43 PM on April 18, 2012


I was convinced just a couple of hours ago that the I Never Thought I'd Vote PC and similar efforts at strategic voting wouldn't work and that Wildrose would win the election. At this moment, it looks as if the Tories have 62 seats to Wildrose's 17 (votes are still being counted.)

Oops. Umm, yay? Umm, less wailing and gnashing than expected?

Either strategic voting worked really well (too well?) this time around, or the opinion polls favouring WR reflected a lot of low info voters captured by Smith's "youth and freshness" who either backed off after those recent statements by Leech et. al. or were just too lazy to vote.
posted by maudlin at 8:09 PM on April 23, 2012


An early opinion piece on what happened. I have to admit, I'm a little staggered. Going to be some interesting analysis in the next few days I think.

As someone observed on Twitter, it's amazing how suprised we all are that the province went PC.
posted by never used baby shoes at 9:50 PM on April 23, 2012


Likewise really surprised by the outcome. I was dreading a slim WR majority.

Not that I'm not incredibly relieved by the outcome, but I can't help but think that Stephen Carter has worked out a way to rig ballot boxes somehow.
posted by figurant at 10:40 PM on April 23, 2012


I have this image of Tom Flanagan walking down a UofC corridor, looking neither left or right. People watch him surreptitiously as he goes by. As he nears his office, the hallway rings with a single titter.
posted by No Robots at 10:52 AM on April 24, 2012


While looking at a map of the results, it's an almost irresistible temptation to start whistling, "The Night They Drove old Dixie Down."
posted by No Robots at 11:59 AM on April 24, 2012


An early analysis of what may have happened:

Final poll hinted at decisive swing
posted by never used baby shoes at 12:28 PM on April 24, 2012


I was right! No minority government, but that always seemed like a stretch.

There are a lot of relieved people in this province today.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:42 PM on April 24, 2012


Good job, Kevin. I must admit that I'm a tad disappointed. I was kind of looking forward to watching the monkeys run the zoo. Still, all-in-all, not a bad night.

Ezra's awful quiet today. Heh.
posted by No Robots at 3:50 PM on April 24, 2012


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