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Alberta Election High
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This Week in AB
A rose by any other name…
More accurately, the “United” Conservative Party has problem.
On the morning of May 6 , the newly-minted Wildrose Loyalty Coalition led by Paul Hinman — former Alberta Alliance leader (2005), Alberta Alliance Party MLA (2008), Wildrose Alliance leader (2008), and Wildrose Independence Party leader (2021) — appeared on the Elections Alberta website and boasts a not insignificant 54 candidates.
WLC candidates are competing in 26 rural ridings, 18 Edmonton ridings, and eight Calgary ridings as of May 7. The party has both ridings in Red Deer covered and neither in Lethbridge.
How exciting is this??? While it’s unlikely WLC candidates will get elected (though, let’s face it, anything could happen) their mere existence on the ballot in certain ridings has them fending off accusations of “trying to help the NDP win”.
I subscribe to the “Carter school” of thought on vote-splitting: it doesn’t exist. The Hogan academy, on the other hand, claims that candidates can be “nearly identical” and therefore, vote-splitting does exist. (These are Strategist Podcast references, by the way — if you know, you know, and if you don’t, you can find out.)
No one party or candidate owns your vote. No one party or candidate has the claim to a certain seat. Everyone starts with zero and parties/candidates either earn your vote or they don’t.
As one person added, saying one candidate shouldn’t run because it might take votes from another is “like me going to a job interview and asking some of the people there to drop out and not do the interview because they’re taking my chance at the job away.” Touche.
There’s certainly a case to be made for uniting parties but it’s not because they’re nearly identical — it’s because you don’t have to work as hard to earn the votes. By removing the choice, you can reasonably count on a majority of votes from those who no longer have the option to vote for something “nearly” the same but different enough that they wouldn’t vote for you before.
The reason the UCP and NDP are statistically tied in Calgary is because Danielle Smith is as much a liability to the UCP as the Wildrose was to moderate conservatism.
Me? I’m on an Alberta election hijinks high and I don’t want to come down :)
Election season isn’t just like Leap Year Christmas to poli-nerds like me, it’s also that time of a four-year election cycle when promises abound.
Danielle Smith has promised tax cuts for everyone (worth negative $1 billion to an already deeply massaged budget), and promised legislation handcuffing future governments from being able to increase taxes without a referendum.
Harkening back to Ralph Klein except with $93.8 billion in debt.
For a province that continuously brags about being the lowest taxed jurisdiction in the country, too many Albertans cannot wrap their heads around how anyone else in Canada manages to survive — though it helps immensely to ignore tax rates in every other province.
Smith also came up with a semi-detailed plan to bribe — I mean, “incentivize” —Alberta graduates to stay in the province if their chosen occupation is in a high demand industry like trades or healthcare.
Rachel Notley has promised to fund more teachers and support staff, expand medical clinic hours, start the largest healthcare staff recruitment campaign ever, and create more jobs. Some of those are pretty light on details.
Notley has also promised to roll out a public safety plan that involves additional officers and support staff that includes social workers, addictions counsellors and community outreach workers in targeted areas.
Since Hinman’s Wildrose Loyalty Coalition is running enough candidates to potentially form government, they are promising to “send a message to Ottawa”, collect taxes in Alberta (so conservatives can finally respond to the eye-rolling “we don’t cut a cheque to Ottawa” with “nuh-uh! We totally do!!”), and recall legislation that is presumably different than Kenney’s legislation enacted on April 7, 2022.
Liberal Party of Canada gets rage farmed
In one of the strangest set ups I’ve seen from a legacy columnist, John Iveson begins with wild speculation and then brings up facts half-way through — ostensibly giving the perpetually outraged more than enough time to become uncomfortably enraged to share the article widely before they find out what’s actually going on.
The issue at hand is that the Liberals are considering changing the passport books from blue to red. It happens, as you’ll see if you can get past Iveson’s spittle-laced rant.
The Liberals also held a policy convention at which members voted on policies. It also happens from time to time, with every party.
The issue this time is that members passed a motion to restrict publishing articles from which a source cannot be traced; ie anonymous sources.
Obviously, the free speechers are verklempt, but this would also restrict organizations from publishing articles like the one that claimed Liberal MP Han Dong was facilitating Chinese interference, or the one that claimed Danielle Smith’s staff was allegedly partaking in prosecutorial interference.
Personally, I’m torn. I want the press to be able to use anonymous sources because not everyone wants to quit their job, or burn their career and networks by being branded a whistle blower. If the publication gets it wrong, I want them to be held accountable.
Yet, I also see the harm in ruining someone’s reputation based on hearsay or an outright lie.
In any case, member policy isn’t necessarily going to ever show up in government policy but it is always an interesting insight into a specific group of people who are members of a specific political party.