by Danny Hozack
As the clouds continue to darken over the Alberta economy, it becomes increasingly clear that the Rachel Notley government is more likely to remain part of the problem than become part of the solution. But what are we doing to fix it?
Many in Alberta believe that replacing the NDP and restoring the Alberta Advantage is as simple as “Uniting the Right”. Yet while that project remains mired in partisan bickering there’s a deeper problem. Before we can “Unite the Right” we must agree on what “Right” means.
Being from the Left means, broadly speaking, being folks who agree that government knows best how we should all live our lives and the size and cost of the state is simply a reasonable price we pay to benefit from its benevolent wisdom. Let’s call them “progressives”.
Being from the Right means folks who believe that individuals know best how they should live their own lives and every increase in the size and cost of government is an intrusion on our individual freedom and a burden on our lives. Let’s call them “conservatives”.
Being “less progressive” than the NDP does not make you a “conservative”. It can simply mean you have differences with your fellow progressives on how exactly the state should go about improving our lives, and how quickly it’s safe to make it bigger. And in the 2019 election Albertans will have to choose whether the progressives in the NDP, the progressives in other parties, or genuine conservatives are most likely to bring back the “Alberta Advantage”.
The reason the Wildrose party exists is because the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta became more progressive than conservative. The provincial Tories led us to a high cost, government knows best, health care, education and public service. If you are an Albertan happy with the service and high cost of all three, you are either a progressive or someone whose expectations have been driven down by years of bad government. In the former case you might as well join the NDP who already have power. If you’re the latter, you should expect better of our government.
If you’re already conservative, or if you do start believing we can do better and bring back the Alberta Advantage, many of your views are already being espoused by Alberta’s Official Opposition, the Wildrose Party, who started pointing out Alberta’s costly and economically dangerous experiment with progressivism almost a decade ago.
Last weekend, April 30, four or five hundred Albertans, all of who are sincerely concerned about Alberta’s future, met in Red Deer at an “Alberta Can’t Wait” event. I was there and the main theme of the meeting was that “the future of our province is more important than any one party.” I agreed, it was virtually a unanimous sentiment. However, I believe that the conclusion that the meeting arrived at contradicted that very theme. It was: “Let’s start our own party!”
Uniting the right is a noble idea. But remember that federally it took from 1987 till 2011 to form a “new united majority conservative government.” Do you want another 25 years of Rachel Notley and her colleagues?
The Wildrose may not be perfect. But it is Alberta’s official opposition, it has a long history of opposing big, arrogant government regardless of party, and if you want to be certain of replacing Rachel Notley in 2019 and bringing back the Alberta Advantage, join the party.
If you are not happy with some Wildrose policy, join and change it. If you are not happy with the Executive, join and change it. If you are not happy with the Leader, join and change him.
Above all, understand that regaining the Alberta Advantage is not a matter of uniting the right, it is a matter of being “Right”. So take a hard look at Wildrose and ask yourself: Isn’t it already mostly there?
Danny Hozack is a resident of Lloydminster and chair of the Economic Education Association.