04.17.2012 04:39 PM

A question from the media

A National Post reporter – one I like – just sent me a Facebook message to ask me if I am “working for the PCs.” I presume she means the Alberta PCs.

I messaged back: “You’re kidding, right?”

But then I thought about it. She’s a good egg, and she deserves a straight answer. So I decided to give it here, right out in the open.

“My family came to Alberta in 1975. We came from Montreal, where the political climate had made it impossible for my Dad – a doctor and a medical researcher – to work. We didn’t know what to expect.

What we got – we, Liberal ex-pat Montrealers – was a home. Alberta, we discovered, was diverse and progressive and welcoming. We didn’t ever vote Progressive Conservative, but we had to acknowledge that the PC-led Alberta was a far better place to live than Montreal had been.

My Dad’s research was generously funded by the government. My brothers and I got great publicly-funded educations.

The first political party I joined – wearing a black bikers jacket – was the Alberta Liberals. I opposed the PCs as a political choice. I never voted for them, not once. But I never regarded them as extremists or evil, either. Instead, they were the people who created the things that attracted us to Alberta in the first place. If we were honest about it, we had to admit that much.

I grew up in, and was educated in, Alberta. I love Alberta, and would have relocated there in a minute. And I’d be there, right now, if they hadn’t insisted l do the bar admission course over again to practice law.

I don’t know Alison Redford or anyone in her cabinet or caucus. I have never voted for their party, or taken a nickel from them, or worked for them in any way.

But I do know this: if Wildrose wins, all of the things that persuaded us to move to Alberta, and make it our home, will be gone. They’re going to wreck the place, and that’s no exaggeration. The homophobia and the racism are just the tip of the iceberg.

I also know this, and I say it with no enthusiasm: in this election, a vote for the Liberals or the NDs is a vote for Wildrose. The only party that can stop them is the PCs.

So, if I were there right now, I’d be working my ass off for the Alberta PCs. Never thought I’d see the day, but that day has surely arrived.

There you go. There’s your answer.”


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    Barrett Pashak says:

    As an Alberta New Democrat, I say that we haven’t fought the Tories for the past 40 years just to vote for them now that they are on the verge of defeat. Sure, in ridings where the NDP isn’t a factor, go ahead and vote PC if you want. But remember it was Redford who put through the anti-gay legislation: see Paula Simons column today (http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2012/04/17/alberta-election-smith-and-redford-and-pots-and-kettles/).

    We will need a leftist voice in the legislature now more than ever. Vote NDP wherever that candidate has a chance!

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    que sera sera says:

    Good answer, WK.

    All of us must do what we can to prevent the kakistocracy from ushering Canada into the New Age of Endarkenment.

    Provincially and federally.

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    jay says:

    I’m voting for the Alberta pc party for the first time in my life next week. The response of the left in Alberta to the rise of the WR was to split off into yet another centre-left party, the Alberta Party. I’ve had it with this kind of dangerous self indulgence.

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    Cameron Prymak says:

    Ironic that less than a year ago the far right, then supporting PMSH laughed in their own cruel way at the political inexperience of the NDPers elected in Quebec.

    All of a sudden such lack of experience is now an asset, if you’re a WR supporter and talking about WR candidates.

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    Michael Behiels says:

    Thanks for the family history!
    As former Albertans – the Socred days – I and my wife believe that Alberta is no longer a fit place to live or raise a family. This sad. We have a choice but many unemployed Canadians do not. They move to Alberta fr jobs & then discover the real nature of WRA’s morbid political agenda and political culture.
    We discussed this issue with a very wealthy Calgary businessmen recently and he thought we were nuts. He considers Alberta the perfect place to live and work. But he assured us that Redford will win out over the upstart WRA. I told him that he was being naive in the extreme.
    He should speak out against WRA but he won’t since the WRA is being funded by the Oil & Gas tycoons because Smith has promised to cut royalty rates & go easy on environmental regulations.

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    Mulletaur says:

    “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” – Arab proverb.

    Well, mostly, anyway.

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    Nurie Jahangeer says:

    Well said, Warren. I agree with you totally. Sometimes we are forced to chose between the lesser of two evils in our
    lives. As a left-wing Liberal, I strongly urge any Albertans reading this post who are planning to vote Liberal, NDP
    or Green to hold your nose and vote for the Progressive Conservatives. The Wildrose Party must be stopped.

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    fred says:

    “it’s not like these bozos had business interruption insurance” morphed into ” The ‘bozo interruption insurance’ is still being held over those whose bids for nominations weren’t successful” which morphed into ” bozone eruption ”

    I love the English language.

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    Dan says:

    I don’t live there.

    If they want to turn Alberta into Saudi Arabia, I say let them do it, and let’s hang it around the neck of Stephen “Firewall” Harper.

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    sj says:

    Just to make this even more interesting, I just got a robo-call from the President of the Alberta Federation of Labour telling me not to vote Wildrose but to vote strategically. basically telling folks to hold their noses and vote Tory.

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    Richard Besserer says:

    What exact sort of problems was the political climate in Montreal posing for your father, Warren? I know much tougher language laws would have made it harder for non-francophone doctors to practice, but was something more serious going on? Was he being harassed somehow?

    (Forgive me if you’ve gone into this in great detail elsewhere, but if you have, a pointer to where would be helpful.)

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      Conservative Socialist says:

      After the “Quiet Revolution”, many Anglos fled from Montreal. I presume that was what Warren was referring to. Yes, there was an anglo caste system/aristocracy prior to the rise of Quebec nationalism, but the backlash against the anglos was not justified in my opinion. Two wrongs don’t make a right. But it was probably politically inevitable. Bill 101 is an affront to anybody who believes in equity and fairness.

      My francophone father being from Quebec had quite a bit of animus towards the anglos. I never experienced much anti-French bigotry within English Canada (save for seeing some old coots holding “Preserve English in Canada” placards which I thought was hilarious), so when he tells me stories of the English telling him to “speak white”, it seems like he’s talking of an experience on another planet.

      The English-French divide is on the wane. In fact, it’s quite easy to use http://translate.google.com to translate any document you find into whatever language you like. Technology is already making language barriers obsolete.

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    Mike says:

    As a born and raised northern Albertan I will vote for the party that is fiscally conservative. That is the Wildrose party. They are fiscally conservative, Libertarian and Populist. Albertans are going to vote in the Wildrose party. Are we then an intolerant people? No. I suspect within 4-5 years you will all be eating your words.

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      RDS says:

      You can’t just say “I will vote for the party that is fiscally conservative” and pretend that your vote doesn’t have other consequences. Does it make you intolerant? Perhaps not. But it definitely makes you somebody who is willing to elect racists and homophobes as long as they claim to be fiscal conservatives. I’m not sure that’s any better.

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        Philip says:

        Political parties, whether in government or not, aren’t buffets. You don’t get to pick the “fiscal conservative” or “Populist” (whatever the hell that means) options without acknowledging the “bigotry” and “intolerance” sitting beside them in the crushed ice and wilting lettuce.

        Yes, this applies to every political party equally. They may not have all the same buffet offerings but the good and bad are laid out for a supporter to see.

        Mike, you have every right to vote how you want but see the whole buffet not the just the parts that you like.

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      MCBellecourt says:

      Plus, since when has right wing governments been “fiscally conservative”? When is the last time a national conservative government actually left a surplus? Every blasted conservative government, provincially, federally in Canada, and regionally/federally in the US of A has left their jurisdictions in a financial MESS.

      Not to mention how bloody NEGATIVE they are. This person’s bad, that person’s bad, because they don’t look, think or act like us. Scare tactics and myths are all they have, and just like right wingers everywhere else, they keep repeating the same BS over and over again until enough voters are dumb enough to buy into it.

      Just for once, I would like to hear a politician on the blue side give the taxpayers the straight goods. If they screw up, admit it, correct it, then move on.

      But hell no, it’s lie, get caught with pants down, mitigate, deny and obfuscate until the media finds a new story or the pols can find some new shiny thing to dangle.

      The Wildrose is the same as the Harperites. Mark my words, they’ll fix things especially if they AIN’T broke, then they’ll cover their asses until the cows come home–and in the meantime, watch your tax dollars disappear into the black hole of deficit and debt with nothing to show for it.

      Smarten up, ffs.

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      Michael says:

      Is Wildrose fiscally conservative in the same way the federal Conservatives are fiscally conservative?

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    james Smith says:

    My mother in law considers herself a Social Credit supporter (don’t ask) & in her words she joined the WR because:
    1- She knows the candidate from Reform Party days
    2- The Tory has done nothing in the time he’s been in office
    3- As a former nurse she’s appalled that despite ALTA’s wealth, she sees the conditions of health care system in the province as worse than it was in the 50’s
    4- The fella from OZ who was supposed to reform ALTA’s health care only (in her words) made things worse
    5- PC’s have had several crummy leaders since Saint Peter so It’s time to turn the clock back to Social Credit
    I suspect that some will share many of these sentiments, but once the TIME FOR A CHANGE mentality gets out there, it is difficult to put it down. The Tories need to BOMB the Bridges to eek out a win. I suspect the best option for the province may be a minority, but what do I know, I thought Iggy would keep his seat.

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    bza says:

    I am voting NDP, but I also live downtown in Edmonton-Centre where the Wildrose have very little chance of winning. That being said, most people I know that are living in the more suburban parts of Edmonton are all strategically voting PC to stop the Wildrose, so I definitely see things moving towards the PCs. I went to a training course and the Instructor asked if people were voting Liberal. Out of a room of 30 people, one person put up their hand, everyone else was going PC.

    In the few ridings in Edmonton that the NDP and Liberals can win, I would stick with voting for them, to make sure they are in the legislature. In Calgary, other cities, suburban Edmonton, and rural Alberta, for sure PC is the only way to go at this point. You are right, this election is way too important.

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    Conservative Socialist says:

    I dislike many of Wildrose’s economic policies, but I do appreciate that the one-party state of Alberta is going to be open to more competition. I’ve always advocated that the Alberta PC party should be broken in two–let the Red Tories (the Progressives) represent the left of the Alberta political spectrum, and the Blue Tories (the Conservatives) represent the right. The two factions can then provide an actual choice for the voters.

    The Alberta Liberals and the Alberta NDP should fold into the Alberta Red Tory tent. They are at best, fringe parties for all practical purposes who have no viable path to power. The PCs can represent the left in Alberta, and Wildrose will be the right. I can live with that outcome.

    As for Wildrose… Yes, there are a few bad apples within Wildrose’s slate of candidates. EVERY UPSTART party has them. Look at the early days of the Reform party. The current federal NDP caucus is like a herd of cats.

    As for the allegations of racism, the Wildrose candidate in my riding is a Hindu. The ‘white advantage’ candidate has apologized for the remarks. So when I hear that Wildrose is supposedly a Nazi party, I consider that allegation with a grain of salt. For years, the left in Alberta has called the PCs proto-Nazis as well. Ralph Klein was so extreme that he made Peter Lougheed turn in his proverbial grave or something like that.

    Honestly, I won’t shed much of a tear when the 41-year incumbent bums get thrown out.

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    Big L Man says:

    Warren, with the current situation across the country- Stephen Harper attempting to kill off the provincial PCs and incorporate what is left into his nutbar party. And also with the current state of what is left of the provincial wings of liberal parties.

    Dont you think the time has come to unite the centre – not the left, the centre.

    I as a liberal will never join the dippers, who still are socialists and beholden to unions. But the PCs that is a viable option. The traditional PCs and the Libs are the only adult sane parties left in Canada.

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    Anne Peterson says:

    My mother’s family came to northern Alberta in 1882 and my father’s family to the Cypress Hills in 1892. I love Alberta too. And no one in my family has ever voted PC or Social Credit or any of the other manifestations of the right to be found there. When I lived in northern Alberta Grant Notley was it’s representative. Though I don’t live there now I am watching in horror and I do believe that if I DID live there I would, for the first time in my life, hold my nose and vote PC.

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    Crescent Heights Guy says:

    Warren, your sweeping generalization that “a vote for the Liberals or the NDs is a vote for Wildrose” is simply wrong in about a dozen urban seats.

    I’ll be voting Liberal in Calgary Mountain View (held by Liberal incumbent Dr. D. Swann). He got 55% of the vote in 2004 and 2008 and should hold it this time around. The only way the Wild Rose can take this seat is if a bunch of misguided strategic voting moves progressive votes to the PCs. Before anyone bails on an ND or Liberal incumbent they should read http://www.changealberta.ca/winnablecandidates.aspx.

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    Crescent Heights Guy says:

    PS. If you think the Wild Rose is singularly horrible, I challenge you to take this quiz:


    Alberta Tory or Wild Rose? Which quote came from which party? (I got about 60% and I live here.)

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    Brammer says:

    Substitute a few party names and you make an excellent argument for this Liberal to vote NDP in the next federal election (unless things change drastically between now and 2015).

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    Jack says:

    Thanks for the kind words about Montreal and Quebec generally,since you work for a Quebec sovreignist who’s ideology forced your dad’s exile, how do you circle that square.I find it absolutely intriguing how Sun News brands to the Don Cherry fringe yet is owned and operated by a separatist. Help out a formers Commons Club colleague who stayed in Quebec and is concerned by Peladeau’s anglo bashing here.

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