Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The "Math is Hard" Alberta Election Orange Hangover

 #abpoli #abvote -- After 44 years of one party rule, a majority of Albertans finally had enough of the PCs. with the NDP going from zero seats in 1993 to 53 seats in 2015 and a majority government.

Like Saskatchewan, what we've seen is the crushing of the traditional PC and Liberal parties in Alberta, replaced with new(er) parties.

I've said all along that the NDP should elect Rachel Notley as their leader and move their policies to the middle to be middle-class-friendly.  What we essentially saw was the NDP adopting the original policies of the Lougheed PCs while the PCs under Prentice collapsed with one sentence from the debate, "Math is hard".

Some quick notes from the historical results:

  • The combined Wildrose + PC Party votes were greater than the NDP in 61 ridings (71%) and greater than the NDP + Liberal + Alberta Party combined vote in 53 ridings (61%).  Conservatism is not dead in Alberta, it just suffered under the imputation of vote splitting.
  • Edmonton is completely represented by NDP MLAs, some who are still post-secondary students.  The NDP website has now completely removed the bios of their candidates!
  • The Wildrose got 24% of the vote, the PCs got 28%, but due to the Wildrose smart, focused campaigning in key ridings, they concentrated the vote better and got over twice as many seats as the PCs.
  • The Alberta Party won its first seat with the election of its leader Greg Clark.
  • I have never seen someone win their seat and step down before all the results were in. Jim Prentice stepping down as leader was no surprise, but sticking it to the voters in his riding with another by-election was sad. But we can't say we didn't warn the PCs for their many years of arrogance, entitlement, and mismanagement.
  • Speaking of byelections, every vote counts, folks.  There was a tie in Calgary-Glenmore between the NDP and PC candidates at 7,015 votes each.

Now some predictions:

  1. The new major NDP cabinet posts will be Brian Mason (Finance and Deputy Premier), Deron Bilous (Education), and David Eggan (Health).
  2. Former liberals will become dissatisfied with their parked vote with the NDP and likely jump ship to the Alberta Party more than ever the longer Dr. David Swann remains leader.
  3. The NDP and Wildrose will work together on some campaign finance reforms, but the NDP will conveniently forget about their proportional representation party policy.
  4. The Wildrose will remain official opposition for two years while the backroom talks continue to merge with the PCs and create a new party called "The Conservative Party of Alberta" in the same manner in which the federal party was created.  That said, the Wildrose candidates signed on to not "crossing the floor".  However, if a new party was formed, this may negate that promise.  I also predict that former Medicine Hat MP, Monte Solberg, will lead the party.  Until that merger happens, the NDP will remain in power.

And there you have it folks.  I think we are still in shock, but at the same time, not surprised by the huge miscalculation by Jim Prentice, whose political instinct was so bad that he shouldn't have disregarded the fixed election date law, but called this election anyway because the PCs were simply that arrogant.

And after 44 years coming to an end, with a left-leaning party in power, for conservatives of all stripes, it's going to be a long hangover.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Alberta election-eve 2015

 #abvote #abpoli
 It really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas for the NDP.

The Wildrose, originally optimistic, have failed to be the once expected default anti-PC vote, despite a calm campaign with short directed policy messages.  Few know who Brian Jean really is, although a 4 year MP for the Conservatives in the Ft. Mac region, his last minute leadership ignition didn't have enough juice to maintain momentum from an initial high polling spot.  Government is not in reach for Jean, but an official opposition status within an NDP minority is their best outcome. That said, quite the turnaround for a party that was almost written off after Danielle Smith and company jumped ship to the PCs, only to be burned in the end.  At least it looks like they will recover.

Now, while the PCs continue to dig deep into the well of fear, with big corporatism fueling the fire on threats to hold back children's charitable donations to maintain the bottom line over NDP tax increases while they hypocritically turn around and donate to the PCs, a big thud was heard amongst pissed-off voters causing a further backfire upon the PC entitlement machine.

Contrast that with the calm, caring, and likable Rachel Notley.

So while these corporate executives tied to the 44 year long-governing PCs fire off grenades of fear and doom and gloom scenarios coupled with PostMedia dictating to its newspapers to endorse the PCs in editorials, added to the not-forgotten Redford expense scandals, contracting favours and backroom deals, these events still continue to burn brightly in the minds of voters.

And with that, it's ironic that Rachel's father, Grant Notley, who tragically died long ago as NDP leader, that his spirit along with Jack Layton's somehow appear to have a stronger influence on this campaign than actual living corporate executives, the thousands of dollars buying the vote, and Jim Prentice's own living campaign.

So, lest we forget, the immortal last words of Jack:

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world.”

He's right. At least for Alberta NDP supporters anyway.

Vote on May 5th.  And it's true, don't let others decide for you.  

*Image courtesy of Laird Books: