Alison Redford: The Great Unifier

The hits just keep on coming. In fact, they seem to be endless.

Scandal after scandal, Alberta’s Progressive Conservative government seems to be forever mired in the muck. This is no surprise to those of us who could see it coming long before last spring’s provincial election. We already knew the 41-year-old political dinosaur was rotting from the inside. We had already determined the ruling party had long-standing buddy-buddy relationships with provincial groups such as Alberta Health Services. We knew P.C. tentacles reached far and wide and were solidly entrenched into the bureaucratic structure.

Many of those who were too unwilling/scared/unsure of going from the devil they knew to one they didn’t (a direct quote) now regret their electoral decision after the fact. A sort of voter’s remorse has risen for those who believed Alison Redford’s spin – the ‘outsider’ who would ‘renew’ the party and Alberta after the lame-duck Ed Stelmach era.

But if there is any silver lining on the huge, province-wide dark cloud hanging over our premier, it is that she has, obviously without intention, pulled off one of the greatest and most unlikely acts of unification this province has ever seen.

As a result of the gross incompetence shown by Redford and her P.C. minions, mixed with the lies, double-talk, condescension, and complete lack of respect for the Legislative process and traditions, the Red Army has caused M.L.A.’s and party supporters of the left wing New Democrats and Alberta Liberal parties, and the right wing Wildrose Party to work together. Once unthinkable, members and avid supporters of all three parties have stood up side-by-side to ruthless P.C. corruption.

As the Official Opposition, Danielle Smith and the Wildrose gang have given the P.C.’s something they haven’t faced in years – perhaps ever: a real opposition. Mixed with the N.D. and Liberal fire, the P.C.’s have found themselves in unfamiliar territory. They just aren’t ‘getting away with it’ any longer.

Now before we all hold hands and engage in the required singing of Kumbaya, let’s remember there are stark differences between the three opposition parties. Those who believe in the small government, libertarian-conservative Wildrose are in no way going to support the big government New Democrats. But here’s the thing: the issue isn’t ideology.

It’s a matter of priorities. Issues at the top for a member of the Wildrose party are obviously different to those at the top of the N.D.’s list, and vice-versa. I have wonderful battles with various Alberta socialists in the world of social media, and always enjoy the engagement. What adds to it – and this is the point – is while I do not agree with the New Democrat or Alberta Liberal vision for the province, I can completely respect their views.

I know they have come to them after much thought and consideration. I might disagree with their opinion, but I have absolutely no doubt that they came to that P.O.V. honestly. I have found the same respect shown my way, for the most part.

What the Red Army scandals have uncovered is a shared respect for government and the Legislature. A democratic socialist and I will disagree on the issues, but I would easily assume they have the same expectation of ethics that I have from our government.

And that is what is missing.

While the opposition parties continue to stand far apart in terms of ideology, there has emerged a bond borne from the shared distaste for Alison Redford’s Culture of Corruption. It has crossed ideological boundaries.

So while Alison Redford’s Wonderland comes crashing down around her, as she creates her own scandal-ridden and flawed legacy, there is one virtually miraculous success that Alison Redford can take credit for: she has unified the opposition.

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