[Two consecutive days since NDP Getting Majority in Alberta]
I think it was Socrates who said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it!” There is a great deal of irony to the recent decision by Alberta voters to make an abrupt turn to left and hand the New Democrats the power to hold sway over Alberta for the next four years.
I have been around the political arena long enough to have figured out that, to everything including politics, there is a season and a time. There comes a time when no matter what common sense dictates, there is a wind blowing in favor of change: change for the sake of change.
I have a great number of friends and family in Alberta. Many are old enough to recall the days when Alberta was a “have not” province regularly beholding to the industrialized east for equalization payments.
Memories of the ill-conceived (Pierre Elliot Trudeau) National Energy Plan still haunt past, present and (likely) future Liberal candidates in Alberta both provincially and federally. By way of Trudeau’s ham-handed scheme to seize control of Alberta’s natural resources, the Liberals are pretty much pariahs in the province of Alberta.
However, there is such incredible irony to the recent events leading up to these 2015 election results in Alberta. For those of you who missed it or were too engaged in the hockey playoffs, the voters in Alberta have just handed Premier Elect Rachel Notley the reins of power. In so doing, the New Democratic Party, amid a great deal of fist pumping has swept aside 44 years of Progressive Conservative government in Alberta.
The irony to it all is many fold. Much like the knee-jerk Ontario election of 1990 that saw angry Ontario voters vote out Liberal Premier David Peterson; it is more a case of the Conservatives getting voted out than a true endorsement of NDP policy. Like David Peterson who insisted on calling a premature election, PC Premier Jim Prentice visited the Lieutenant Governor to obtain an election writ when his government still had an elected mandate to stay in office until one year from now.
The irony does not stop there. Much like the ill-fated government left behind by Brian Mulroney, those that believe in fiscal prudence saw themselves divided into two camps before the October 1993 Federal election. Voters had tired of Brian Mulroney. Perhaps it was too much Irish blarney, who knows. But Mulroney was wise enough to vacate the scene and handed over elected control of the once powerful Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. The unlikely heir apparent was Kim Campbell. Campbell was Canada’s 19th Prime Minister. You may not remember her as PM because she only held that position from June through November 1993 before losing a landslide election to the Liberals. When the Federal votes were finally tallied in October 1993, the Tories were left with two seats across Canada.
As is the case with the recent Alberta election, the right of centre vote was divided between the “upstart” Reform Party of Preston Manning and the PCs. In Alberta the recent demise of fiscal conservativism is the direct result of the inclusion of the Alberta version of the Tea Party faction known as the Wild Rose Party.
It is again “ironic” that the New Democrats, long time advocates for proportional representation and opponent of the “first past the pole” process actually would not be in office today IF the proportionate representation model had been employed in Alberta. While the NDP and Rachel Notley collected 41% of the votes cast, the combined (but split) Wild Rose and PC vote tallied 52%. Many knowledgeable pundits would NOT see this as an endorsement for the NDP or for Notely.
It is also ominously ironic that the national stock markets and international markets went into a nose dive immediately after the vote results were made known in Alberta. Standard and Poor’s and the TSX both reacted with TRIPLE DIGIT declines in traded stock. The likely effect on mutual funds and pension funds is worrisome.
There is a legacy out there and it is a difficult legacy to deny. The worst years in the economic life of Ontario occurred between 1990 and 1995 which (coincidentally) was the term in office of Ontario’s only New Democratic Government. History certainly does have an odd way of reminding folks to learn from the past. I personally suspect that there will be many dark days ahead for jobs and investment in Alberta.
Like many other, I wonder how newly elected Premier Notely will reconcile the national NDP wing with her duty to look after the best interests of Alberta. At a time when declining prices of crud oil are already playing havoc Alberta’s economy it will be fascinating to see Notely and national NDP leader Mulcair lock horns over pipe lines. Those two pipe lines are seen by experts in the oil and gas industry as a badly needed life line to assure economic prosperity and oil patch jobs. Mulcair has been a fierce opponent of the pipe lines.
At a time of economic crisis in Alberta, the choice to plop a free spending NDP government into office is unwise. I did not say it, but wish I had thought of it, “You probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do.” Next time you are upset about a candidate, it may be wise to not vote IF your only choice is one of anger.
Copyright Thunderbird Rising 2015
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