The View From Here – Alberta will have two opportunities for political change in 2019

Tom Henihan

With each New Year, we usually resolve to detach from the negative aspects of the past year and promise to pursue positive developments.

It is a time to instigate personal change and to contribute to creating change in a larger social and political context.

Opportunities to create political change will present themselves later this year with two important elections: the Alberta provincial election on May 31 and the federal election on October 21.

However, changing the government does not necessarily mean there will be any real change and if there is, it may be change for which nobody wished.

Although the word progressive is often associated with conservative politics in Canada, the irony is that over the past twenty years there is something atavistic and mean spirited about contemporary rightwing politics.

Conservative politics currently lacks the inherent decency of Joe Clarke or the vision and acumen of Peter Lougheed. In 2012, the Institute for Research on Public Policy named Lougheed the best Canadian premier of the past 40 years.

From the Canadian Alliance Party federally to the Wildrose provincially, right wing, conservative parties in Canada have a persistent tendency to fragment and reunite on a periodic basis.

I suspect that it is symptomatic of the rigid ideology and a lack of diplomacy even among party members that leads to members of conservative parties splitting into disaffected groups who form fringe parties.

As soon as those parties become representative with a substantial base, the mother ship comes along and consumes its prodigal sons and daughters.

The proper name for the United Conservative Party would be the Reunited Conservative Party of Alberta.

On the Liberal side of the equation there is cause for real misgivings regarding Trudeau and his environmentalist and socially progressive agenda.

New leadership would be welcome if it was someone who is neither rigidly conservative nor vacuously progressive, a leader who can address the issues and who is equal to dealing with our predicament.

Provincially, I think Rachael Notley has fought on behalf of Alberta and she has championed the oil and gas industry in the face of an incorrigible foe.

That principle foe is of course the B.C. environmental zealots and recreational protestors who love the childish fun of creating a nuisance in the name of a so-called greater good.

Another concern provincially is having an intelligent, reasonable individual, who does not engage in childish name-calling but who nonetheless, can be witty and succinct when dealing with her adversaries and who sees Alberta in a contemporary context, will be replaced with the empty bluster of Jason Kenny who is already an established practitioner of hyperbole and invective.

We have seen the Jason Kenny scenario before, where a federal politician, having used up all his political capital in Ottawa decides to indulge his avocation of being premier of Alberta, and arrogantly comes home to lead.

In 2019, the fight for Alberta’s oil and gas industry will continue and I believe the best strategy is to let Rachael Notley continue that fight, a leader who puts reason before passion rather than replacing her with the tired, pugnacious, personality politics of Jason Kenny.


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