Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Alberta Election 2015

As I type this, Apprentice Premier Jim Prentice is about to drop the writ and call an election.

As the Alberta PCs continue to reinvent themselves after almost 44 years in power, let's just say this election will be a referendum on the recent budget, coupled with distant memories of former Premier Alison Redford's failed leadership.

For those that got duped into thinking Prentice was a right-of-centre conservative (Danielle Smith et al., I'm looking in your direction), this budget proved otherwise--downloading the burden of total mismanagement, frivolous expenses, and massive, unaccounted spending onto the hard working middle class.  The other provincial governments who have raised taxes on its citizens have not taxed, nor spent their way out of deficit and debt.

As much as Prentice's initial tough-talk on cutting spending, we see a measly 0.7% cut, where taxes on an average family are now up by well over $2000/year.  So much for the federal tax cuts.  Gax tax increase of 4 cents alone will raise the price of everything due to shipping and transport.

But we know all this.

What we don't know is the level of impact the other parties will have in making a dent into the PC juggernaut.  A party that, in the last election, two weeks before the vote, called in a desperate plea to the backroom corporate trough for funds, coupled with Danielle Smith's mishandling of the Huntsberger scandal, led to Redford's win.  I have shown that old PC voters who didn't show up for Ed Stelmach, came out this time to support their old party.

The NDP have a full slate of candidates with more than half of them women.  Rachel Notley has done a fantastic job since becoming leader and in her measured resolve, has pushed out positive messaging to garner support, even from conservatives who dream of an effective opposition once again.  So much so is her support, a recent poll shows the NDP sweeping Edmonton.  As I told Deron Belous, NDP MLA for Beverly, the NDP can potentially hold the balance of power in a minority PC gov't.  It might just happen, folks.

The Liberals are essentially leaderless with former leader David Swann taking the interim helm.  Save a few stalwart seats, like Laurie Blakeman's in Edmonton Centre, the weakened, decimated Alberta Liberals will most certainly fall below the NDP, and possibly the Alberta Party.

The Alberta Party led by Greg Clark needs to concentrate its energy on a few ridings to at least get into the picture.  Failing that with a weak Liberal Party, terrible PC budget, and a bloodied Wildrose, if they don't get at least one seat, this project can simply be deemed a failure.

The remnants of the Wildrose Party, now led by former federal Conservative MP Brian Jean, was recently shown in a poll as tied with the PCs.  This gave much hope and fire for the embattled opposition party.  Conservatives I've spoken to who felt abandoned and disenchanted, appear to be leaning back to the Wildrose with Jean (a.k.a. someone who is a respected conservative) as the leader.  Jean has put up a $100,000 bond to guarantee he won't cross the floor, ever.  He made a Wildrose candidate resign for inappropriate comments overheard on stage at Jean's victory party.

Question is, will the Wildrose be able to raise enough funds to fight this fight for measured TV, radio, and newspaper ads to pull at the emotions of pissed-off middle class Albertans so much so to at least a protest 'No' vote on the recent budget.  In my opinion, that's all they need to do.  Their funds were recently completely depleted in the failed by-elections late last year, so it's an uphill climb, but it needs to happen now.

The PCs didn't raise corporate taxes.  That oughta be enough fodder for big oil to donate to and thank Prentice for fancy ads to sucker voters into giving them yet another term because the other parties are weak. With former president of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta, Jim McCormick, resigning from the board of directors, this is an indication that things are not well within the party.

Keeping the PCs below 35% of the total vote should be enough to put them into a minority situation.

Forty-four years is enough.  Don't let it be 48.  If there's ever been a time for change, this really has to be it.

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