04.17.2012 12:00 AM

In today’s Sun: untested, untried, unfit

How important is the last week in a campaign?

Really, really important. Important enough to make the difference — in Alberta, and anywhere else.

Lots of Canadians are now watching the dramatic Alberta contest, now entering the home stretch. Non-Albertans can’t vote in the election, but they, too, have a stake in the outcome. That’s because the far-right Wildrose Alliance has been leading in the polls, and has an excellent shot at forming the government.

If they do so, Wildrose will be the most socially conservative government Canada has seen since the days of Social Credit in Alberta and the Union Nationale in Quebec. A Wildrose government will shatter decades of social and economic peace like the Socreds did. Canada doesn’t need that.

Over the weekend, the ugly face of Wildrose — an ugliness leader Danielle Smith has frantically attempted to hide from voters — revealed itself. Edmonton Southwest Wild-rose candidate Allan Hunsperger wrote on his website that public education is “Godless.” He also wrote that gays and lesbians are going to burn in Hell.

Said Hunsperger: “(If gays don’t change their ways, they) will suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire, Hell, a place of eternal suffering.”

22 Comments

  1. Jon Adams says:

    “The issue here isn’t that Wildrose is intolerant. Many Albertans know they are, or at least suspect they are.”

    This is what bothers me the most. Alberta knows exactly what they’re about to elect, and most Albertans don’t care one jot, and in fact are embracing it despite all reason.

  2. Cameron Prymak says:

    Doesn’t the economic migration of so many (new) Canadians into AB ultimately mean that politicians will be increasingly unlikely to win on these kinds of platforms?

    • Nic Coivert says:

      Not when Jason Kenny is the one who decides who deserves to get in.

    • Richard Besserer says:

      You’d be surprised. The CPC eventually figured out they had to appeal to newer Canadians if they wanted to break into suburban Ontario. They did so in large part by using the fact that the home countries of many newer Canadians are much more socially conservative than Canada is at this stage, and targeted them with family values messages.

      To put it another way, the sons of Socred figured out that plenty of brown folk hated gays as much as they did, and openly pandered to the homophobia of newer Canadians to get their votes. It worked (enough to get Son of Socred a majority anyway).

      Danielle Smith’s photo ops have included the Calgary Hindu Temple. No prizes for guessing what many of the temple’s flock think of Muslims, alas. Team Wildrose guessed first and beat you to the prize.

  3. Tiger says:

    It’s amazing how much the Alberta PCs sound like the Paul Martin Liberals in 2004 and 2006, running around the country screeching about how Stephen Harper as PM will mean the end of Canada.

    Will it work? Well, it worked somewhat for the federal Liberals in 2004. Not so much in 2006, 2008, or 2011.

  4. Kre8tv says:

    Clearly Albertans flush with cash aren’t interested in progressive ideas anymore and social issues are but a convenient ruse to make the hardcore conservative base feel like the big shots they want to be. So they elect people of this ilk to do their bullying on those who have the least means of defending themselves. It’s easy to be conservative like that when you have money.

    • Nic Coivert says:

      They are acting the way petro-states around the world have and do act, Thomas Friedman outlines it well in “Hot, Flat, and Crowded.” And the Wild Rose wild promise of cash dividends to Albertans sounds a lot like the U.A.E. and their treatment of Emirates. Maybe soon in Alberta ex-pats will be doing all the work.

      Canada under Harper is certainly behaving like a petro-state, ie excessively patriarchal, religiously intolerant and fanatical, a severe lack of policy, neglectful of education and innovation, militaristic, an obsession with construction (remember the Cons bailout -which was mostly one off construction projects to Conservative supporters), as well as an over-emphasis on the the economy of non-renewable resources.

    • Windsurfer says:

      Have a little sympathy for the burghers of Alberta. They’ve forgotten the Shakespeare missive which goes something like ‘let last be first and first last’ or some other butchery of the phrase that I’ve concocted here.

      Yes, you’re sitting on the petro-loot but beauty is transitory.

      The saddest part for me is that these Wildrose politicians do, in fact, represent the grassroots views of the mass of motivated voters.

      Hey, Alberta is a great place – I own property there for which I’m thankful. I just don’t talk politics when I go to visit.

  5. sj says:

    What has been most annoying about this election is how little substantive reporting has gone on about the Wildrose team of candidates. It seems as if the media (I realize they are not a monolith) were so happy to finally have a real race that they have let all kinds of bubba eruptions do unreported. Sure Danielle is a very well spoken, moderate-seeming, supposedly pro-choice 40 something, but her caucus and cabinet will be made up of overwhelming of rural, white male seniors with a contempt for the modern, diverse, or urban.

    Of course none of this would be possible without the rotten borough system of over-representation of rural Albertans that helped the Tories cling to power for so long, You live by the 4000 vote riding, you die….

    • Richard Besserer says:

      It’s the Ruth-Ellen Brosseau syndrome—I suspect not even Team Wildrose expected many of these people to have much chance of winning their races. Hunsperger must have gotten the nomination in a longshot Edmonton district because nobody else wanted it, he had the $1000 “Shut up and let Danielle do the talking” deposit, and Wildrose needed a full slate for prestige purposes.

      Forget their platform—few parties in a democracy ever manage to carry out their whole program, or even most of it. Wildrose, like the NDP, are simply not ready for government. Danielle’s real plan was probably Jack Layton’s, a strong opposition and four years to give Team Wildrose some experience in the Assembly and prove they had a sufficient number of clues to be able to govern—next time. As it is, winning the election will just be the beginning of Danielle’s problems.

      Beautifully turned bed, Mrs. Smith. Sleep well!

      • The Doctor says:

        Good points, Richard. The same thing happens with every upstart party. The nomination meetings are often sparsely attended, and the nominations often go to those “first joiners” who are simply keen enough to actively seek a nomination. Not surprisingly, some, or even many, of them are . . . ahem . . . “eccentric” and not exactly ready for prime time.

  6. JH says:

    No fear mongering here! Getting a little desperate aren’t we folks? Personally I think you have bigger fish to fry really. Like the threat you face from the NDP in Quebec and the fact that polls say at the moment you could lose Ontario. And then there’s ‘sigh’ the Bob Rae issue.
    Holding down 3rd place in the country is not exactly your happy place.
    I hardly think devoting energy to a province where you will finish 3rd (again) is pretty much useless.
    I keep hoping to hear about some ‘real’ leadership initiatives re candidates and perhaps some new policy ideas from the faithful on here – but thus far nada.
    Oh well

    • Tiger says:

      Kinsella’s an Albertan.

      And he’s cheering for the PCs.

      • kre8tv says:

        You don’t need to be an Albertan to be worried about the demise of the “P” in “Alberta PC.” The many consequences of that will soon reveal themselves, I suspect.

        • Tiger says:

          You don’t need to be an Albertan to take an interest, no. I’m an Ontarian who’s paying close attention.

          But the poster was taunting our host here and so I … oh, why even bother. Never mind.

          • kre8tv says:

            @Tiger. No worries. Much of my reply was meant to be directed at JH’s smug post. A Wildrose government would not just be a problem for progressives. The select few bright bulbs among the federal Cons would know this.

          • Tiger says:

            To be clear, I’m cheering for Wildrose from Ontario.

            But it’s absolutely clear why people are paying attention, or care an awful lot about it.

            For our host, Warren, it’s personal — it’s where he’s from. For the rest of us, well, it is a major political shake-up in a very influential province, and it’s darned interesting.

            Smith is a pro-gay marriage, pro-choice libertarian who has built a coalition with social conservatives. Not unlike Republicans in New England. We’ll see if it can win.

      • Mark McCourt says:

        Yes, the PCs who less than three years ago passed Bill 44, provisions of which (to quote Edmonton Journal columnist Paula Simons) “protect parents from the menace of having their children exposed to the notion that homosexuals are equal citizens.”

    • Nic Coivert says:

      Lack of policy ideas?

      Don’t worry, Dear Leader knows all, be happy, AND STAY IN LINE!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*