Commentary – Will the NDP Orange Crush be squeezed out?

Richard Froese

Spring is in the air – finally. Fast-forward one year and Alberta will be in election fever. Now with a fixed election period, the campaign for next year is probably already starting as the government uses its majority power to try to persuade voters.

Many people have said “one and done” for the first NDP government in Alberta, one term and they are terminated.

The carbon tax to protect climate change and the increase of the minimum wage to $15 an hour have been the two major complaints and concerns by Albertans.

Some may predict the NDP government is fighting for its future in power and could be ousted like the Progressive Conservative government was wiped out in the last election. The NDP won a heavy majority in what was dubbed the Orange Crush in the last election May 5, 2015 when Premier Rachel Notley and the NDP handily swept to power with 53 seats.

Could the NDP government get its “Orange” juice squeezed out by voters next year?

The upstart Wildrose party formed the Official Opposition with 21 as the 44-year dynasty of the Progressive Conservative party was crushed and left with just 10 seats.

Since then, the face of politics has changed in Alberta. Wildrose has faded with the PC party after the two merged into the new United Conservative Party under Leader Jason Kenney, a former Conservative MP from Calgary, who served from 1997-2015.

Kenney has already made a positive mark as he made his debut in the legislature and discussed the Throne Speech. He raised the bar for all parties to work more in a spirit of respect of all views and parties and co-operation, rather than attack the others.

Is the resurrected Alberta Party the new Wildrose Party of disgruntled former PCs?

Remember, the Alberta Party is led by former and longtime respected Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel, who served as an unelected MLA and health minister under then-premier Jim Prentice. Mandel lost in the last general election in May 2015.

Under the former mayor, will it be perceived as the Edmonton party?

After four decades of PC rule, why has it changed?

It seemed that things were going fairly well for most of that dynasty.

As we enter the Easter season, why in the past few years have so many other parties risen from the political dead?

Is it diversity or divisiveness? The political scene in Alberta will certainly be more interesting in the coming year heading in to the next election.

More twists and turns will certainly be added to the mix as parties elect candidates. Leading up to election campaigns, political parties at all levels, provincial and federal, widely open their pockets to what some people call buying votes.

Over the past three years, the NDP government has sure doled out the money. Just look at how much money has been presented locally by Lesser Slave Lake MLA Danielle Larivee and Dunvegan – Central Peace – Notley MLA Margaret McCuaig-Boyd.

Local communities and organizations appreciate all the provincial funding and support to enhance services, programs and facilities.

Is the NDP government trying to win rural votes by recent funding announcements to combat rural crime and support agricultural societies? How much more will come our way before the election in spring 2019?


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