Many people argued that Travis Toews, running against Danielle Smith for the Alberta UCP leadership, was actually the best candidate for the job. So why did he lose?
Many retired politicians looking back on their careers, and also many losers who might have won, or never won, or won a few contests and then eventually lost, have a similar question about themselves. It is in late nights of looking inward, or perhaps morning or afternoon sessions talking with friends. They give voice to a nagging feeling. They were not beaten. They beat themselves.
And how did they do that?
Well, it is very often said, politics is the art of compromise. Bend a bit here. Give up a bit there. Try to reach a middle ground with often too many factions at play. And too often, looking weak. Even when a compromised solution is actually best, too many say too much was given away.
In his campaigns for the leadership, Toews appeared much a professional negotiator.
Paraphrasing, he would say, “We don’t want to go to war with Ottawa. We just need to show them we mean business. We can do that, and I am the person to do that.”
Guess what? Opponent knives came out. Smith was running with a wild and crazy idea called Sovereign Alberta. And she won! That’s what you get for being Mr. Nice Guy, or Ms. Compromise when it really counts. Maybe Smith is indeed wild and crazy. Maybe she will start a constitutional crisis.
But is there anybody in their right mind who thinks she is wrong? We can ignore the thoughts of a bunch of ‘expert’ columnists writing from desks in Central Canada that Smith and her wackadoodle ideas are doomed. Take that disgruntled former premier named Jason Kenney quitting the Legislature. Kind of hard to wriggle back to national politics if you stay in this disgusting separatist party, eh Jason?
And of course, let us not forget those Alberta provincial politicians drooling in the wings over the grandest opportunity ever handed to opponents. Ah, yes, Rachel and the NDP are giddy, giddy! With delight they are running their sane, sensible, party, against those crazy UCP with the nuttiest fruitcake of a leader running the boat into the rocks. Giddy!
Exactly how are the NDP, as sensible as they might be, going to counter the argument that Smith is fighting for Alberta, but they are not? Do the Toews line? We are ‘calm and collected?’ Act like those babblers in Toronto know what they are talking about when they say Alberta, and Albertans, really don’t deserve a future?
My goodness! How does one tell the people of this province the right way to do things is let Ottawa walk over you like they do in, what is that place nobody can remember, New Brunswick or PEI? And of course, never, never be like Quebec! Because, you know, that just isn’t working out for them at all!
Face it. Compromise only works when you have all the cards. If not, it has to be all out war. All in for Alberta. That’s all you need to know. Right now. Tomorrow. In the coming election.