Not-So-Secret Identity Politics
This Week in AB
The Alberta NDP announced on International Women’s Day that if they form government in May, birth control for women will be free.
It was a timely and mostly welcome announcement, especially for anyone who doesn’t have additional health coverage through their employer or a government program.
In response, Premier Danielle Smith said that if birth control was unaffordable, Albertans should consider purchasing a health care plan — which is about as useful as telling someone who can’t afford a bus pass to buy a car.
Here’s hoping such a policy would cover all birth control options, including condoms.
UCP children’s meds cost $80 million, can’t be purchased without a “how to” guide
Chalk it up to “it seemed like a good idea at a time”.
Back when there was “unprecedented demand” of children’s pain medication in December 2022, when the UCP was looking for a way to increase support for the newly-elected, special interest-backed Premier who can hardly stop talking long enough to take her foot out of her mouth, the UCP sprung into action hoping to save the day.
Now, it didn’t seem to matter that we have some excellent data on how to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses among children.
Nor did it matter much that the feds had secured additional supply a month earlier.
No, this was about proving that we can show up late to the party and strut around bragging about how we could totally do it better.
However, the order went from lacking standard child-proofing to not having either official language on the label to being half the strength and more costly than what we already have available. The icing on the cake, though, is that this debacle can’t even be sold alongside the other children’s pain medication because a pharmacist has to explain how to dose it properly.
People buy inferior products all the time if they can see it on the shelves, but who is going to ask the pharmacist for a medication that is weaker than what they can buy without talking to anyone but costs the same?
I’d suggest the UCP’s best bet is to start with some free “save our face” emails to supporters who haven’t latched onto the term “experimental drug”.
All snarking aside, the UCP totally lit $80 million on fire and it’s starting to feel like owning the libs might be a tad out of our price range.
WWPLD (What would Peter Lougheed do)?
People fascinate me — especially when they do things that I really don’t understand. I want to understand. I want people’s beliefs and behaviours to make sense.
Obviously, I am perpetually disappointed but never, ever, bored.
One of the first articles I published as a political observer was a 2,500-word essay on a Unite Alberta event in 2017.
I knew I had to be in the room because I would read MSM articles and I had questions; did Kenney really get a standing ovation from the room? Is everyone really on board with letting the boy band from Ottawa orchestrate the destruction of a legacy political party in Alberta? Does anyone else think this is shady AF?
So, I got into the rooms and I listened to what people had to say.
I sat with conservative party supporters who are reliant on a single-payor public health system but want to ensure it can’t be abused. I talked to people who don’t have internet and still read newspapers. I heard from people who “don’t recognize the people in (their) own party”.
The fact that people are really concerned about supporting the UCP but don’t know where else to put their vote isn’t going to be solved by telling them to “do your own research”.
The fact that previous UCP supporters are saying they’re looking at the Alberta Party because they “will never vote NDP” is not a problem for the voter, the UCP — today — or the Alberta Party — that’s a problem for the NDP.
Albertans will start paying attention to the upcoming election when the writ drops and the NDP needs to be talking about why life-long Progressive Conservative voters should vote NDP (and the Alberta Party needs to figure out how to capitalize on being a landing spot for disaffected PCs-turned UCP-running for the hills).
While the final decision belongs to the voter, it’s up to the party to reach them, where they are, and try to make them feel welcome in this new direction.
What Peter Lougheed did was convince people who had voted Social Credit for thirty-some years that his party was the future of Alberta.
In 1965, Lougheed became the leader of a party with no seats in the Legislature. In 1967, the PCAA won six seats. We all know what happened in 1971.
It’s all been done before. Someone will do it again. Eventually.