Over the years we have been privileged to personally know a number of high profiled politicians. NDP Grant Notley was a constant visitor to the school we worked for and was an unpretentious nice person who was compassionate and caring. We knew PC Don Mazankowski when he was a car dealer. He had a deep caring interest in the needs of the average citizen. In the past few years we have gotten to know PC George Rogers not as a politician but as a person and the same qualities could be found in his service to Leduc. The one thing they all had in common was their desire to serve their fellow citizens, to have the government provide the things individuals couldn’t. They wanted to see better health care, better education, improved roads and highways and to do these things without placing a higher burden on the taxpayer.
But parliamentary government is not based not on individuals but on party platforms. If you believe in certain things then you need to elect the individuals whose party has a platform that parallels your beliefs not the “nicest” candidate. As long as that party continues to support your beliefs you will, generally, continue to support it. That is what has happened for the past 80 years in Alberta. In 1935 the Alberta Social Credit came to power and continued for the next 36 years to hold the mandate until 1971. Then the Progressive Conservatives held the mandate for nearly 44 years until last Tuesday, May 5th.
In both cases both parties had become comfortable and began to stop listening to the concerns of the people. They had taken a position they knew better that the voter what was best for the province, complacency had become the norm.
The difference between 1971 and 2015 was when the voters decided, in 1971, anybody but Social Credit voters only had one viable choice and that was the Progressive Conservatives. In 2015 voters had two viable choices and they split their votes resulting in a decision nearly two out of three voters did not vote for and are bewildered by the results and are showing a fear of the consequences.
Like in 1971 we have seen an end to an era with the results of the 2015 election and just like in 1971 many fear the results. Only time will tell if that fear is justified or if we are witnessing yet another dynasty that will be around for decades.