Musings —04.26.2012 09:17 AM—
Wildrose not as scary as some say
The Daily News (Kamloops)
Fri Apr 20 2012
Source: Vancouver Province
It is intriguing to hear the gathering chorus of alarmed bleating as Wildrose leader Danielle Smith grows closer to taking power in Alberta, with her libertarian views and her band of small-business managers, oilpatch professionals, real-estate agents and municipal councillors.
Recent stories have noted, eyebrows raised, that Smith advocates a more robust role for Alberta within Confederation, in keeping with its economic clout. She thinks that, horrors, Alberta should explore having its own police force, as Ontario and Quebec do. She’s a proponent of “firewall” politics, a reference to the famous letter of 2001, signed by a group of prominent Alberta conservatives, including Stephen Harper.
At the same time, in response to politically incorrect remarks by Wildrose candidates, we’ve seen the now-customary reactions.
“If elected, she will unleash social and political chaos unlike anything Alberta has seen since the bad old days of Social Credit,” wrote Warren Kinsella, summing up the Liberal view nicely.
But history, logic and evidence suggest the opposite. Wildrose will stumble, but it will be by what afflicts every new government populated by inexperienced idealists: awkward compromise and simple incompetence.
This is the real risk in a Wildrose victory: Smith and her band of rebels are green as grass. The party has four members of the legislature. Combined with policies of internal free speech, recall rights and referendums, this can become a mess if mishandled, as it did for Reform 20 years ago.
But Smith is an avowed progressive and it is not credible to suggest that anti-abortion, anti-gay Visigoths are at the gate. The clatter about Wildrose’s ascent is nothing more than, oddly, conservatism — fear of the new.
Judging from the polls, Albertans are not inclined to buy it.
— Vancouver Province