After the provincial election last spring more than a few voters were sure they had made the correct choice by voting New Democratic Party. This group, thought the voters, is different than those penthouse-building PC’s or those highly quotable Wildrose folks.
Change is good. Change encourages growth, learning and progress. With the PCs obviously taking Albertans’ support for granted, change was not only needed, but also inevitable. But have Albertans truly seen change since the NDP took power last spring?
The farm community exploded earlier this month after the NDP’s Bill 6 crashed the party. Why was Bill 6 such a shock to the farm community? Well, regardless of whether you see Bill 6 as a harmless modernization of farm labor conditions, or an attempt by labor unions to get their hooks into the Alberta agriculture industry, there’s one thing that has to be agreed: the NDP government’s attempt at public consultation and awareness failed miserably.
The NDP followed this mistake up with another mistake that defines amateurism. As public consultation was neglected, legislative consultation was also non-existent. As thousands of people protested around Alberta about Bill 6, Premier Rachel Notley announced on Dec. 8 that her majority government would invoke closure; in essence, ramming Bill 6 through the legislature and closing debate. Wildrose Alliance opposition members, including leader Brian Jean, were eager to debate Bill 6, but Notley would have none of it.
Funny, because, as Wildrose pointed out, both Notley and fellow NDP’er Brian Mason were opposition MLA’s, they hated the PC’s for doing the same thing. “This time allocation thing is a way for the government to short-circuit democracy. It doesn’t deserve being filibustered, but it also doesn’t deserve having closure enforced,” said Brian Mason, May 2002, in the Edmonton Journal. “It’s clear that they still don’t get it because now they plan to ram through an omnibus bill without written briefings to Assembly members and without listening to Albertans,” said Rachel Notley, May 2014, Alberta Hansard (QP – Bill 12 Statutes Amendment Act). When the PC’s did it, that’s bad. When the NDP did it, that’s good?
The Wildrose folks also did a brilliant job last week of pointing out the NDP government’s apparent patronage practices at the MacDougal Centre in Calgary. The centre is the provincial government’s office in Calgary.
Another long-time NDP supporter has been hired at the centre: NDP party president Chris O’Halloran was hired as outreach manager at McDougall Centre. Again, as with the hiring of lifetime NDP man Bob Hawkesworth, it’s not clear why these people who are property of Notley’s party were hired over other Albertans who want or need the job.
In fact, Alberta’s premier, as pointed out by Wildrose, apparently despised patronage appointments before the last provincial election. As Wildrose pointed out last week, n opposition, Notley criticized the employment of failed PC candidate Evan Berger as a decision, “that was made very much to bring on an old friend, an insider, and find them a soft landing.” Good point.
So, have things changed in Alberta under the NDP? Have things changed in the legislature under Rachel Notley?
No. The hypocrites are still in charge.