Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The (Wildrose) Party's Over

Its completely real, folks - the Wildrose Party, a party formed out of the perceived slights towards conservatives of the Klein era that built up its movement during the more flagrant Stelmach and Redford regimes, is about to be history, as its executive and membership will vote on merging with Jim Prentice's Progressive Conservatives.

According to Sun News' Rick Bell, its being called a "reunion." Its essentially like a replay of the 2002 merger of the federal PCs and the Canadian Alliance, except without any obvious reason as its clear the PCs are not in danger of losing to a left-wing party anytime soon. Supposedly the merger is happening because Prentice has agreed to a laundry list of right-wing policies, including creating more latitude for private healthcare intrusion, "parent choice" in education (read: no GSAs, more support for homeschooling, etc.), and some other things that, frankly, if Prentice never bothered to lift a finger for, no one could do anything about because he already had a majority!

Clearly the Wildrosers and their pronouncements about integrity, accountability, and change meant nothing if, in the end, they just end up assimilated back into the PC fold. I don't agree with Danielle Smith's politics, but I certainly agreed with her when she talked about the excesses of the PC government in Alberta, how its hegemonic hold on the province has, in the end, just produced a giant sense of entitlement for a government that is way past its prime. Part of the problem has been the lack of effective opposition to the PCs, until Wildrose showed up that is... but now look where they are. Good job, guys.

Well, give Prentice credit, I suppose - this is a major coup. Even if a tiny conservative caucus remained (WildRump, as my co-blogger Teddy said, which is hilarious) separate, it will be nowhere near as organized or effective as the current Wildrosers are. He has essentially killed off his main opposition with barely any effort - and lets not pretend the centre-left opposition parties are anywhere near a state called "election ready" or "effective." I have immense respect for current Alberta Liberal Party leader Raj Sherman, but he is unpopular and already proven to not be up to the task of making the ALP useful. The Alberta NDP have a new leader who I think could really prove popular, but outside of a few extra ridings in Edmonton and Lethbridge, they won't be going far. The Alberta Party and Greens are minor parties whose impact will continue to be minimal, at best. Maybe this will change, but I won't hold my breath.

So, slow clap for Prentice, and a slow end to Danielle Smith's career. Amazing. Who says Alberta politics is boring.


  1. Raj Sherman was a terrible choice for leader of the ALP. These one trick ponies almost always flop as soon as the public attention wanes from their cause-celebre (Sherman's is healthcare). Alberta is a conservative province and unfortunately Sherman's ethnicity doesn't play well, that is not his fault of course but, it limits the potential of the party he leads. I don't think Albertans are racist but, as Nenshi said the other day there is a vein of "hillbillies" throughout the Province. People want to see themselves reflected in their politicians and at the moment the ALP does not reflect Alberta. Sherman should of resigned after the last election when he lost half his caucus and half his vote. I'm sure he is a good man but, the ALP needs a seasoned leader, politician or backroom operative to renew and build the ALP, former mayor of Calgary Bronconnier would be my choice although I doubt he would want the job.

    We should recognise this "merger" for what it is; blatant opportunism by Smith and Anderson et al. who want to be cabinet ministers before they retire. It is also a sad statement on the character of Albertan politicians. Obviously Smith lost the "fire in her belly", if she was honourable she would have resigned as party leader, indeed, she should have instead of agreeing to nix the leadership review.

    I think the whole merger plan could backfire spectacularly on Prentice and Smith. When Albertans decide to toss the bums out they really go whole Hog. Wildrose is only 5% down in the polls and with two years before the next election anything could and probably will happen. Alot of people will be angry at Smith and Andersopn and that anger is now directed at Prentice and the PCs. Ironically today could be the beginning of the end.