12.21.2014

Another Merger Needed

While analysis continues of the Rob Anderson-led, Preston Manning-influenced Wildrose Nine (eleven?) floor-crossing, one aspect has rarely been discussed.

As the public overcomes the shock of the move and argues things like betrayal, hidden agendas, how Danielle Smith plus Alison Redford sets women in politics back, etc., we cannot forget the fact that the post-crossing Legislature is once again facing a dangerous imbalance.

Gone is the most effective Opposition Alberta has seen in a generation.  After the unheard of abandonment of her duties as Leader of Her Majesties Loyal Opposition to lead a group across to the government side, Smith has effectively neutered any kind of organized good-faith opposition to the standing government.

The trampling on 440,000+ votes has resulted in the trampling of any real and effective voice to speak out against the ruling Progressive Conservatives.

With all due respect to Alberta Liberal leader Raj Sherman and ND leader Rachel Notley, it was Danielle Smith who was the face of opposition for the past few years.  Now she’s sold out, and it’s up to one of the remaining MLA’s on the Opposition side to take the reins.

As well, I do not overlook the remaining Wildrose MLA’s, who I know will continue on in their duties.  But word is both Heather Forsyth and Shane Saskiw won’t be seeking re-election, thereby removing perhaps the two most effective Wildrose opposition members left.

So what do we do?

In a recent interview with Ezra Levant, Danielle Smith suggested a provincial election might not be that far away.  Now, considering that info came from Smith, one doesn’t know whether to believe it was a factual slip, hearsay, double-talk, or just plain bullshit.  Her word isn’t exactly golden these days.

But Jim Prentice is a wily veteran of the political wars.  A spring election call with Election Day in March or April wouldn’t be a unique move for the Alberta P.C.’s.  Prentice could still be enjoying a bit of the honeymoon period usually allotted by Albertans to new premiers, and it would all but guarantee the decimation of opposition as it currently stands.

With that in mind, I believe it makes all the sense in the world for the Alberta Party and the Alberta Liberal party to merge into a single entity. 

On policy, the two parties are very similar.  Certainly the differences could be discussed and worked out.  The Alberta Liberals bring years-long organization and knowledge to the table, while carrying the truth that the closest they will ever come to reaching government on their own again was during the time of Lawrence Decore. 

From now until forever, they will be nothing more than an opposition party.

The Alberta Party brings freshness reminiscent of the early days of the Wildrose Alliance.  Their mantra of rejecting ideology and ‘doing things a different way’ might be confusing to the casual observer and downright nonsensical to political vets, but if they could somehow harness their enthusiasm seen online and translate that to the real world (as they almost did in the Calgary-Elbow by-election), they could rise to become the force on the centre-left.

You will note I did not include the Alberta New Democrats or other, more fringe-like parties into the mix.

The Alberta ND’s have enjoyed good leadership throughout the past few decades, including Brian Mason and now Rachel Notley.  But the party is far too intertwined with public sector unions such as the AUPE.  Their loyalties became clear during the Artspace siege.

The inclusion of the ND’s into a new singular political force would ultimately be a negative.

By combining forces and electing a brand new leader (no offence to the current party leaders), as well as being wise enough not to go too radical and instead present Alberta voters with a fiscally responsible/socially moderate alternative, the new combined party born from the ashes of the Alberta Party and the Alberta Liberal party could become the opposition to the forever-stale and corrupt P.C. government.


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