Time for a Change

After four continuous decades in power during which time the ruling Progressive Conservative party was virtually unchallenged in any serious fashion, is it any wonder that so many Albertans are apparently now so eager for a change? Given the inevitable “throw the bums out” impetus amongst the normally feckless electorate usually kicks in a good deal sooner than that, a steady run of 41 years at the helm is an impressive achievement by any measure.

While it’s a shame that opposition to the entrenched establishment had to orginate from the more extreme, crackpot wing of the conservative movement, it’s no surprise the ideological insurrection should have come from the imaginary rural hinterland given the PCs had gradually assimilated over the years much of the liberal urban social agenda and arguably become far more “progressive” than “conservative” in nature.

So, Alberta is now poised to elect a spanky new “libertarian” government with results that may well prove to be amusing and/or disconcerting to some. Whatever the outcome, it may well be a positive thing because there’s nothing worse than dreary stagnation, and nothing more stimulating to eventual progress than radical change.

6 Replies to “Time for a Change”

  1. A couple of things … The Wildrose phenomena was a largely rural phenomena and the pollsters had no idea how to overlay the gross data over the distribution of seats by geography. Secondly, the media was largely hyping-up the Wildrose data – and in the case of Sun News Media (Quebecor) acting as the unofficial media outlet for the Wildrose Alliance. The Sun endorsed the WRP on Sunday actually. It was sickening to see the corporate forces aligning themselves with Wildrose. The media is truly biased in this country – and not against the so-called “right.”

    As I have been saying for some time now, the old Cold War dichotomy of LEFT & RIGHT are now generally meaningless, as the new cross-cuttinng cleavages in Canada are between CITIZEN & CONSUMER (this is not absolute as such conflict resides inside all of us), and URBAN & RURAL. Most of the Alberta results bear this out.

    Alberta is changing. Over the last fifteen years, the Province has added ONE MILLION new residents and has the highest birth-rate in Canada and attracts the largest share of emmigrants (internal migrants). This rapid growth has diversified the Province – not just ethnically, but politically as well. The pure rightwing Provincialism is slowly dying. Good riddance, I say. There never was such a thing as “Alberta Values” – it was merely a mask for provincialism, chauvinism, and bigotry. Things are slowly changing, and it you look at the fact that most of the population growth has come in the Edmonton-Calgary corridor and in Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray) and Grande Prairie Districts

  2. The population changes have introduced a more moderate and educated dynamic into these regions. Most of the emmigrants are either University or College Educated – or educated through the Trades. No matter, people who have moved from Atlantic Canada, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia are slowly influencing how Alberta votes now.

    The wisest thing Premier Redford could do now is pass-out legislation for redistribution and reapportionment of seats in the Province. The old-era and Klein strategy of leaving the rural areas with more seats than they are entitled to against their population must be reformed. The rural communities demonstrated that they are willing to abuse this unjustified power to tilt Alberta backwards – it is time for redistribution. It is time for Albertans votes to count again.


  3. ATY: Having previously lived in Alberta for more than 10 years, I’ve long maintained that its reputation for being a haven for ultra-right rednecks was seriously miscast due to the changing demographics of the place. That dynamic has only accelerated with a fury in the years since with the steady influx of immigrants, both from abroad and other regions of the country. Even the rural “emigrants” from within the province quickly learn to appreciate the top-notch level of government services provided in the form of rapid transit, recreation centres, quality schools, etc.

  4. At first I was astonished at the Wild Rose phenomenon. I said to myself, “Wow, the One Party Oil State of Alberta has found a way to get a second party, viz. the Extreme Tar Sand Make Benefit Glorious Province of Alberta Party.”

    But last night I looked at the regional vote breakdown. Then things started to make more sense. I now think that Wild Rosers and their cynical rentseeking corporate backers jumped upon, and successfully exploited, a legitimate wave of regional political grievance.

    The recent population and urban growth of Alberta is largely derivative, perhaps even parasitical. Alberta’s economy and society, and all of its quality public services, have never been so dependent upon a single primary sector source–fossil fuel.

    Therefore it is absurd for any of these emergent educated urban demographics to pat themselves on the back for all of their supposed sophisticated urban emergentness.

    Meanwhile, Alberta, along with Canada as a whole, has developed itself a fine case of Dutch Disease. Anybody who can’t get on the energy teat gets all the nuisance of higher cost-of-living and a land overrun with outsiders. Those urban educated outside arrivals, full of their own self-congratulation, don’t lose any opportunity to sneer at people not like them.

    Is it any wonder, then, that anybody in Alberta living outside the megalopolitan sprawl of Calgary or Edmonton, or anyone not making their money out of oil, government expansion, or urban real estate, might be feeling politically restive?

    There is a substantial discontent in Alberta, which could have been tapped by either left or right. But too many in what passes for a left-wing today are fixated, unimaginative urbanites with a proneness to sneer, and so they never even noticed that there were many voters ready to confront the province’s entrenched ruling party.

    Instead, a cynical assortment of commons-seizing, rentseeking, groundwater poisoning right-wing s.o.b.’s were once again able to steal a march on the somnolent North American left. We saw something similar in the USA in which the TP’ers were able to ride a wave of discontent after the financial crisis, while the so-called left was too busy cheering Obama’s latest drone strike.

    Canada–along with almost the entire developed world–has developed a deep and widening class gap. So it is nonsense to suggest that left/right politics are diminishing in importance. Instead, what is really becoming obsolete in our time is the post-WWII notion of a supposedly “middle-class” broad society. Unfortunately the current left-wing in North America has been slow to realize that contemporary politics is conforming to classic Marxist scheme. However, if the trend of the past 30 years continues, it is only a matter of time before a real hard Red left takes shape and slopes on home.

  5. Left and Right are laregely irrelevant terms now. Once we uncapped the poisoned chalice of Globalism, we made the traditional checks on Capital via Nationalism or Trade Unionism almost impossible to sustain. Don’t get me wrong, I criticise Neo-Liberalism from a traditionalist conservative perpsective – and as such I totally see and accept many – but not all – of the neo-Marxist critiques of Global and Trans-National Capitalism.

    The traditional Left cannot hold the forces of Capital hostage via Job Actions like they used to; Capital will just move the means of production to another jurisdiction. My personal opinion is that only an enlightened and conscious Nationalism can hold Capital somewhat in check, but the glitter of cheap consumer goods has hypnotized Canadians into a stupor.

    The Labour movement in Canada is in deep structural trouble if the largest bloc of Unionized Workers are in the Public Sector. There is no one group more resented by those in the private sector than those who work for the State. Support for Public Sector job action is minimal – at best.

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