8.14.2014

Considering the Renewal

I have only held two provincial party memberships.  For years I was a proud member of the Progressive Conservatives until like so many others, ‘the party left me’.  For someone who grew up with a natural interest in the political game, the decision to leave the party which I had supported for so long – especially for another – took much thought and consideration.

This past July my Wildrose party membership expired.  Now while many know very well where my loyalties are placed, it has shocked a few people that I haven’t rushed out to renew my party membership.

The reason is familiar.

I find myself once again evaluating my current party.  The Wildrose has certainly been everything I expected in their role as the Official Opposition.  Leader Danielle Smith has become the worthy Premier-in-waiting I knew she would when we first met years ago.  Some MLAs have risen to become effective representatives that not only their constituents but party supporters as a whole can be proud of.

Rob Anderson, Kerry Towle, and Shane Saskiw immediately come to mind.

The Wildrose has learned from the experience as the top opposition and has matured accordingly, as many of us expected from the still relatively young party.

But of course not everything is perfect.  The last AGM caused a bit of a stir when the party took what many supporters and media considered a strong move to the centre (some say one foot on the left).  Digesting the policies after the fact negates this claim, and instead it is clear the more ‘moderate’ of the new policies do not really deviate.  Dropped were some of the more controversial ideas from the last election battle – which I have always maintained failed not because they were unworkable policies but because of the piss-poor way they were presented.

Overall, the Wildrose looks to have a solid platform when the election clarion sounds again.  And given the opportunity many opposition parties never have – an old, tired, corrupt ruling party ripe for the picking – only incredibly idiotic self-destructive behaviour could derail the ride to the other side of the Legislature.

And that is exactly what I’m afraid of.

There can be no ‘lake of fires’.  There must not be any ‘I misspoke’ situations.  We know the media will be watching the Wildrose candidates with baited breath, waiting for any little phrase which could be blown out of proportion. 

So do I trust the decision-makers to steer the party through the electoral storm?  Do I have confidence in the party brass?

Right now, I’m not sure.

I’ve been around long enough not to give weight to rumours without some sort of verification.  Tales of the party hand-picking several constituency nominees are out there – something I believed ran counter to the spirit of the Wildrose.  Again, verification is needed.

My main issue is more local.  In my own constituency, in fact. 

It would seem I have found myself between the proverbial rock and a hard place with regards to the next vote.  Being a staunch Wildroser, it would seem a no-brainer that my ‘X’ would go automatically next to the party candidate. 

However, I know a little history.  Without going into great detail (and effectively engaging in a smear), I will say that I honestly don’t know who will get my vote.

I find myself in a situation where I support the Wildrose, and fully intend on helping the party reach government, but am having great difficulty in helping to vote in someone who I am certain would not be an effective representative.

So, do I vote for party or person?

Making things even more difficult is the fact that our current MLA, PC Cathy Olesen, has done a good job.  I hold no animosity towards her or the work she has done.  But she represents a party I vowed never again to support.

In the end, I will most likely renew my Wildrose membership and continue to do my part in ridding Alberta of PC corruption, but my local involvement with the Wildrose will remain virtually non-existent.

The fear I and many other ‘grassroots’ party members have is as real today as it was a few years ago: the biggest threat to the Wildrose is the Wildrose.


3 comments:

hatrock said...

Good read. I'm in the same boat. I would suggest helping out in another riding where there's a good candidate who can beat out a PCer.

Robert Parks said...

You are definitely not alone with that thought. There are many local PC party 'loyalists' who feel that the party has been steadily leaving them over the past ten years. I have found among our people, there is a huge amount of personal loyalty to Cathy, who has been doing a very good job (according to pretty well everyone I've spoken to). It has left people feeling that they have a tough choice. Vote for the best local candidate (imo Cathy), and have effective local representation, but reward a party you want to send a message to or send a message that you want a change in government, but settle for potentially ineffective local representation.

Now, you are a Wildrose, and should continue to be one. While your choice will be between you and the ballot box in 2016, that is up to you to decide privately. It is not for our side to try and woo you to vote for us next time out.

As you said, for you, the PC party left you. Its our (the PC Party) job to come back to you, not for you to come back to us. To me, that means its time for my party to stop talking about changing, but to actually change and do better.

Robert Parks

Robert Parks said...

You are definitely not alone with that thought. There are many local PC party 'loyalists' who feel that the party has been steadily leaving them over the past ten years. I have found among our people, there is a huge amount of personal loyalty to Cathy, who has been doing a very good job (according to pretty well everyone I've spoken to). It has left people feeling that they have a tough choice. Vote for the best local candidate (imo Cathy), and have effective local representation, but reward a party you want to send a message to or send a message that you want a change in government, but settle for potentially ineffective local representation.

Now, you are a Wildrose, and should continue to be one. While your choice will be between you and the ballot box in 2016, that is up to you to decide privately. It is not for our side to try and woo you to vote for us next time out.

As you said, for you, the PC party left you. Its our (the PC Party) job to come back to you, not for you to come back to us. To me, that means its time for my party to stop talking about changing, but to actually change and do better.

Robert Parks

His Name Was Steven