Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Alberta Election: Steady As She Goes?

The two possible headlines this morning coming out of Alberta's 2012 provincial election were "Alberta Still Crazy ..." or "Alberta Still Conservative ..." After All These Years.  Thank Buddha it's the latter after last night's blowout wherein Alison Redford's Progressive Conservatives trounced Danielle Smith's Wildrose Party, 62 seats to 17.  (8 seats went to various Lefties).  With Albertans already running Ottawa the need for us to "circle the wagons" against eastern interference was deemed temporarily unnecessary, resulting in a rare opportunity for Albertans to have a real election - or at least address the right-wing divorce proceedings that have been going on.  Steven Harper and others of "The Calgary School" ilk take note: the gutter tactics of the sanctimonious WRP did not go over well with Albertans.  We will still have a separation of church and state in this province, and in this nation.  With a voter turnout way over 50% (last provincial election it was a pitiful 41%), religious crazies have been repudiated by the electorate and the PCs given a new lease on life after nearly self-destructing over the past five years.  The WRP second place (first loser) status can be attributed to both racist, homophobic comments by a couple of nut-case loose cannons (how many more are there?) during the final weeks of the campaign, and the fact that 80% of people polled said they would consider (and followed through) voting "strategically", ie. for "anybody but the Wildrose Party".  Individual local candidates' attributes mattered less to voters than their party affiliation did this time around (Ted Morton, far-right PC leadership candidate, lost in Chestermere-Rockyview ironically because he didn't cross the floor after ideologically being a midwife to the WRP - yes, he's just as stupid as I thought), with some notable exceptions; the popular, effective Bridget Pastoor in Lethbridge East who changed her stripes from Liberal to PC still won, and in a bible-belt south that went almost 100% WRP.  The real stories from last night are threefold: 1. Alberta PCs, and the province itself, have taken a decisive step towards the center, 2. Albertans are in for a much more interesting Legislative Assembly, and 3. the pollsters who predicted a Wildrose majority right up until "the only poll that matters" need a new crystal ball!