As I write this, the election has not yet happened. Voting is still two days away, but we go to print before the winner is known. It matters little. What impressed me most about this election wasn’t about who would win, but that whoever wins, Alberta will be fine, thank you very much (despite late election fear-mongering). Whatever political stripe is emblazoned on their dandelion-like lawn signs, does not instill the fear in me it once did.
What a luxury. To have multiple party leaders tempting to vote for is great for democracy. I can appreciate admirable qualities in the character and platforms of all the party leaders; from the Conservatives, which have led us, more or less, capably since mastodons roamed our plains, to the NDP who have plans to become an electoral juggernaut; crushing PC’s in their path. (We Albertans are a careful, loyal bunch who sticks with what has worked in the past rather than experiment with other parties until BAM; another dynasty is born.)
I admit there were periods in my life I could not conceive of voting for an NDP government, for example. Rachel Notley, however, has impressed with her husting busting debate win, with Mr. Prentice looking uncharacteristically flustered and panicked, even in subsequent appearances.
Brian Jean, the new head of the remnants of the WRP, was the perfect poster boy for the party in that both they and their leader come across as solid, earnest and principled. As champions of smaller government, they are a voice that must never be muted in the electoral mix. It is unfortunate the Greens won’t likely get a seat as usual, as well, since their point of view is not invalid, and should have a corresponding percentage of influence with the government as their popular vote total. I am not entirely sold on the ‘proportional representation’ method of election our leaders, though, as you don’t get to vote for a human so much as a party. Some might say that’s already the case, however, and have valid arguments.
One aspect of this new government that must be watched is whether they create new laws to make it easier for them to get re-elected down the road. In Ontario, for example, the Liberals have an extremely cozy relationship with their provincial employees. Unlike, Alberta, they have laws limiting what political parties can spend electioneering, but not what unions can spend. This means whoever sucks up to public sector unions the most will retain power; the perfect recipe to ensure an unsustainable level of debt in a provincial economy.
It was former premier, Ms. Redford, though, who courted the teacher’s union which helped her, not just win the leadership of the PC party, but the subsequent election, too. This behaviour is not limited to Liberal and NDP governments. There is no higher calling for our elected officials than to ensure all future elections are fair and honest. No gerrymandering of districts to skew the numbers. No tinkering with fixed election dates. No allowing public sector unions to spend unlimited amounts on political messaging. We care about our democracy and understand fairness must be the hallmark of our governance model. It’s why people took such exception to the machinations that occurred which almost eradicated the strongest official opposition party we’ve had since Laurence Decore, back in the Cretaceous Period.
Here are some of the things this new government must do to become or maintain a dynasty. Listen to us. Represent our beliefs. Don’t impose your beliefs on us. Spend our money wisely. Albertans know the value of a dollar and get cranky when it’s squandered.
And this fact is very important; although Albertans are undoubtedly, for the most part, fiscal conservatives, they are also socially progressive. Some would say they are more Libertarian than anything. Mostly though, we don’t care about labels, nor your color, race, religion, orientation or haircut. We care that you work hard and pull your weight. Period.
We don’t mind helping the less fortunate whatsoever. We do mind bureaucracies that administer programs to the lazy. We believe giving money to people for doing nothing does not make their problems disappear; it only makes their problems different.
Mostly we believe we should be left alone to be as enterprising as we are able to be and to have the government uninvolved in our lives as much as possible. For as long as the winner of the election can fill that bill, they’ll get to govern into perpetuity.