Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Alberta Party taken over by PCs


Greg Clark

Alberta Party leader and nice guy Greg Clark stepped down on November 10, a Friday before a long-weekend, which is a subtle method to subvert any media traction.

The announcement then fell only to the fanfare of politicos and former PCers (emphasis on the "P") from the Redford days, who have obviously been pining for room at the table since Kenney won the leadership of the UCP. 

I know folks who didn't even know there was an Alberta Party.  "So there's an Alberta Party. Who knew?"

And that right there is why Mr. Clark was shown the door.  If you're going up against the KenneyMachine, playing nice won't get you as far as you need to go.  It is why the Alberta Party could not get momentum or build--certainly in comparison it took for the Wildrose.

Politics, in case you haven't noticed, and as I've mentioned in my previous post, has become the game of divide and conquer.  There is no nice-guy mushy middle where ideas are debated, compromises made, and an agreeable solution is churned out and popped to the surface.  It's become two sides.  So for the Alberta Party which like the Alberta Liberal Party prided itself on middleware, balance, and "working together", found itself like a turtle on its back waiting to be picked up, kissed, and transformed into a komodo dragon (or whatever) as a reasonable home for more aggressive progressives (I'm totally coining that term).

And so now we have a slew of potential leadership candidate names that remind me of a cast of characters from a certain cabinet.

Thomas Lukaszuk
Stephen Mandel
Dr. Gerry Preddy

The Twittertone of the Alberta Party has upped its game too.  As I said, it's how politics has changed into 140 character sound bites (280 for the lucky few).  Twitter is the level playing field and if you can gain attention with loud sounding bites and attacks, there's bound to be folks who'll support you.

So how can the Alberta Party gain attention and you know, support?

Well, they have to have a three pronged approach and their policies need to line up carefully in order to be able to attract and divide and conquer.

Firstly, their whole schtick is they're the P in the now gone PC party.  So they'll attract disenfranchised PCers who don't like Kenney's social stances.  But they'll need to balance that with strong fiscal policies.  I'd suggest being more aggressive than Kenney on tax cuts.  But the Alberta Party doesn't mind carbon taxes.

Secondly, they need to attract old Liberals that supported Redford and put her over the finish line.  If the Alberta Party is ahead of the Liberals and can get their message out better, that might be enough. 

Thirdly, they need to attract really soft NDP supporters who traditionally voted PC but only voted for Notley because she seemed nice and smart, didn't think math was hard, and was all populist, and they could put the PCers back in their place after 44 years of power.  (Well, it worked, didn't it?)  This is harder to do and the votes that are really up for grabs next election. 

On one hand, you have those former PC voters who feel now they got duped because Notley didn't campaign on a carbon tax, yet here we are paying for it.  Yet despite the carbon tax, the government is spending way more than ever before and growing the government with the deficits and debt higher than ever.  So if you're fiscally conservative, the NDP is not your home.

Fourthly, attract fertility folks... and there are thousands of them (us).  They (we) are not happy one bit about Alberta Health Services' decision to end the fertility clinic at the Royal Alex.  So much so, even the AUPE is suing them and Friends of Medicare is on minister Sarah Hoffman's back about it.  Hoffman's been deflecting saying all five doctors wanted to go to the new private clinic when only two did.  The primary doctor is livid about the decision and doesn't believe AHS or the NDP government "cares about Alberta families."  Ouch.  I'd suggest the Alberta Party go all in on this one, bring back the clinic, and then offer one free IVF treatment like they do in many other countries.  They'd gain thousands of votes on that one policy alone.  And it's also the right decision and policy.  I'm going to save a separate post for this, so stay tuned.

Anyway, the Alberta Party has an opportunity to carve itself in the middle but truly divide and conquer it from the bad policies of the left and right.  How far they'll go to do just that in the short period of time they have until the next election will be telling.

When Ed Stelmach won the PC leadership on the second ballot he said, "Nice guys do finish first." 

Well, how long did that last?

Playing nice doesn't work.

Ask Greg Clark.