Yes, the Alberta Liberal Party has hit a whole new level in demonstrating their disassociation with political reality and their utter lack of viability as a governing party with their release of a 12 step program for Alberta. While their 12 step release contains a great deal of the usual fluffy statements of limited substance, there are gems in there that really help illustrate what the Alberta Liberals are all about.
One great idea is the banning of all corporate and union donations. Now on one hand, our Alberta Liberals have been patting themselves on the back for having retired their party debt through laying off their staff and putting on the lackluster performance these last two years that one would expect from a party with no money. There was of course some revenue brought in and dedicated to the party debt. Why, in 2009 alone the Liberal Party of Alberta solicited for and received $115,845 in corporate donations.
Will the Liberal Party of Alberta lead through example and turn down corporate donations from here on in? Taft certainly is working to eliminate corporate donations to the party with his selective number crunching and attacks on Alberta corporations (employers) but that is not the same as the party itself turning down that money now is it? Alberta’s Liberals feel that the corporations who employ the majority of people in the province should not be able to donate to political parties. OK, fair enough. Show the other political parties how to run without corporate donations then Swann.
The Liberal Party of Alberta knows that they will never form government Alberta and it shows in their unrealistic platforms.
One would think that with nearly 100 years in opposition in Alberta that the Liberals would learn something by now. Stelmach has created the worst provincial government in living memory and brought the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta to record lows in provincial support. Have the Alberta Liberals been able to capitalize on this opportunity? Nope. With their best chance to form government in nearly a century in front of them, Alberta’s Liberal party has found itself in a distant third place in the polls.
What solution was found to this voter rejection of Alberta’s dwindling Liberals? What profound initiative was going to bring the Liberal Party of Alberta into contention? Which of the Liberal’s 12 step program steps would solve this conundrum?
In step 8 the Liberals want to financially castrate themselves. In step 10 the Liberals feel that they have found the route to all those hidden Alberta Liberal voters. The Liberal step 10 calls for us to pay people to go out and vote. That’s right, Alberta’s Liberals feel that we should offer $50 tax credits to everybody who goes out and casts a ballot. Of course, the provincial Liberals seem to be ignoring the reality that even if people suddenly felt inspired to cast a ballot due to this initiative; they still probably would not vote for the Alberta Liberals. Tax credits are really only beneficial to the employed. People who support the Alberta Liberal brand of socialism usually don’t suffer from excess income tax as they usually are not bothered by such annoyances as employment. The chronically self-entitled are the domain of the NDP anyway who are not going to be amused by the Liberal concept of banning union donations to political parties.
With dozens of electoral defeats in Alberta, the best the Liberal Party of Alberta can do is create a lame 12 step program that demands that we pay people to vote.
12 step programs exist and have been used to help correct people who practice compulsive and self-destructive behaviors (primarily addictions) for decades. Let’s have a look at how the classic 12 step program could be applied to Alberta’s Liberal party.
Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.
Well, the Liberals have indeed been powerless in Alberta for a long time and Liberals in general have demonstrated that they are addicted to the fruits of the labors of others through taxation. It will be a tough step for Liberals to actually admit this though.
Hey guys, you have to work the program. Let reality be your guide and admit for a change. Voters appreciate humility and they certainly have no appreciated the Alberta Liberal Party. Give it a crack. You have very little to lose.
Step 2 – Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
OK, classic 12 step programs get pretty spiritual and that can be a hindrance to participants. In order to deal with this, programs have allowed their participants to define their own “higher power” into one of their own understanding in case the addict may be an agnostic or practice something outside of mainstream faiths.
OK Liberals, listen up! I am going to define the power greater than yourselves to be that of the electorate. You know, those folks who shun you at every election who you then label as fools for their not having voted for you who then loathe you and your Liberal ways even more thus causing you to go deeper into your ivory-tower world thus separating you further from real Albertans thus dropping you in the polls thus…………….. How’s that for a run-on sentence? I think it helps make the point of the self-destructive cycle Alberta’s Liberals are in though.
For the remainder of the 12 steps I will substitute the word “God” with “the electorate”. In electoral politics voting (the ones who stay home on election day mean nothing) are God as far as political parties are concerned (at least to parties who want to actually get elected one day).
Come to believe that the electorate can restore you to sanity Liberals!
Step 3 – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of the electorate as we understood the electorate.
OK folks, not all of this should be taken literally.
You Liberals most certainly should be turning your lives and will over to that of the electorate. This is the key misunderstanding that Alberta Liberals have of the electorate. Albertan voters want to be listened to, not dictated to. The snotty and condescending attitude that Alberta’s Liberal party sends out to the electorate is not exactly endearing. The academic champagne socialism of the Alberta Liberal party does not sell. Get used to it and get over it. You either respect democracy or you don’t. The majority of Albertans do not embrace the Alberta Liberal brand of leftism. Learn this or forever resign yourselves to the opposition benches like the NDP whom you are not very far from at all lately.
Now back to that “understood the electorate”. Alberta’s Liberals do not understand the electorate at all as they constantly refuse to listen to them. A group of some disaffected Liberals realized part of this and have broken away from the Liberal Party of Alberta to take part in the Alberta Party with their “big listen”. While the listening has been realized, the undemocratic takeover of an existing party has not exactly gotten that bunch off to a good beginning. I am getting the impression that they are claiming to listen but are rather selective so far in what they want to hear. Holding coffee meetings all over the place is indeed dandy, but it will not win seats in the end which really is all that matters if one wants to achieve their goals.
Do a “big listen” dammit! Shut your Liberal mouths for a minute and listen to the Albertans that you purport to care about. Don’t just listen like the breakaway group though; act on what you hear. Represent those speaking to you and work to get yourselves into a place where you can make the changes that Albertans tell you they want (some call that place the legislature).
In other words, turn your will over to the electorate as counseled to in this step.
Step 4 – Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
OK, having not been in power since the turn of the last century you really have few contemporary examples to view for your moral inventory. Federally though, your Liberal counterparts have held power on many occasions. Whether through Trudeau’s assault on the West or Chretien’s sheer arrogance and the corrupt shenanigans of his cabinet, the Liberal brand has been completely soiled in Alberta. Look within guys and admit this. Be fearless and accept this.
Morally, what else are you Liberals in this for? Do you respect democracy? Do you want to represent the majority of Albertans or are you seeking a backdoor way to pursue your personal ideals? Most Albertans feel that Liberals are pursuing the latter goal (voters are more perceptive than you Liberals give them credit for).
Alberta’s Liberals are in desperate need of some soul-searching. An honest practice of step 4 will go a long way towards that.
Step 5 – Admitted to the electorate, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
Now, if you Liberals properly pursued step 4, you will have gotten yourself a list of things that you have done wrong. Rest assured if the list is short, you need to repeat step 4.
I am going to bring up the name of the person you Liberals consider to be the “Great Satan” of Alberta politics; Ralph Klein. Yes, Klein came from nowhere and snatched the last vague chance you Liberals ever had of forming government under Lawrence Decore from you. Most of you are still stuck in that Decore lala land thinking it will come back for you. Here is one hint on what Decore did that you guys can’t or won’t; Lawrence Decore campaigned from the right-wing.
Back to Klein, rather than demonizing the man, try to learn from him. Love him or hate him, Klein was unquestionably one of the most successful politicians in the entire history of Alberta. Now here is something important about Ralph Klein that relates to step 5. Listen closely:
ADMIT IT WHEN YOU ARE WRONG!!!!!
Nothing puts off voters in Alberta more than that usual Liberal arrogance. You guys have been wrong for decades and it is undeniable. That is why you are still in distant opposition. Why do you think that if you use the same formula over and over again that something will change?
People want to see some humility from you clowns. Drop your nose down an inch and look a voter in the eye for a change. You may be amazed with the results.
Klein made mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes. Klein used to admit that he made mistakes. Do you Liberals remember that? What would happen after Klein admitted to making a mistake? The PC party jumped in the polls!! Think about that.
Alberta needs to be convinced that the Liberal Party has recognized the nature of it’s wrongs and is legitimately changing it’s ways. Are you guys ready to do that? How much more electoral rejection will it take before you do this? You don’t need to making and admitting to a mistake a minute, but geeze guys you have to be realizing that you need to change some things.
Step 6 – Were entirely ready to have the electorate remove all these defects of character
OK guys, this gets back to that listening and acting. Do you have faith in the electorate? Do you want to listen to them and actually represent them? Will you represent the electorate even when it may clash with your personal ideals?
The electorate will remove your defects of character. They will tell you what they want you to do. You have to be prepared to listen to the electorate in good faith in order for this to work.
Step 7 – Humbly asked the electorate to remove our shortcomings
OK, I have to admit that the steps get a little repetitive here. The point is important though and is worth repetition.
You have searched yourself, you have questioned the electorate and you have come to some conclusions. Are you ready to put those conclusions into action?
Your opportunity is at election time. Is your platform based on the wishes of the electorate or is it built on your flawed and repeatedly rejected Liberal ideals?
Have you any idea what it is to humbly do anything? I understand that this is another one of those challenges for many Liberals. Be humble and give the voters what they want for a change. You may be astounded by the results.
Try to cut back on calling Albertans rednecks and decrying the province as some sort of backwards cesspool. I assure you that the voters do hear you when you pull that crap.
Step 8 – Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
Here is one area where your utter electoral failure has made your job easier for you. Having not been able to gain any power, you really have not been able to harm many people.
Your initiatives and platforms have been an assault on common sense and your supporters chronic talking down to the electorate have been an offense to good taste. You can’t make amends to taste or common sense however.
How about people who have supported the Liberal Party through fiscal and volunteer support through the years only to watch you guys throw away election after election? These people must feel like season ticket holders to the Maple Leafs.
At this point, are you willing to make amends?
Step 9 – Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
The best way you can make amends is to follow these steps and actually become a force in the province guys.
Easier said than done. If you listen to the electorate, your making of amends will not injure others.
The collective wisdom of Albertans is more than you Liberals will give them credit for. Try following it for a change.
Step 10 – Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it
OK, now we are talking. You have reformed yourself, your party is growing in the polls. Hell, lets jump waaaaaay ahead and assume that you have gotten the Liberals into power in Alberta for the first time in nearly 100 years.
Sorry guys, the work is not done. These steps are an ongoing process. Were your prior steps a means to an end or did you truly reform yourself? If you simply pretend to work the earlier steps, rest assured the electorate will continue to see through you so you will not get into power and this step is moot.
There is always a risk that you will get into power and fall back into your old Liberal ways. I guess if you want a single term before sinking into another century of electoral obscurity you could disregard this step.
Step 11 – Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with the electorate as we understood the electorate, praying only for knowledge of the electorate’s will for us and the power to carry that out
Consult your higher power (the electorate) at all times whether in or out of power.
Your own best thinking has failed you. What have you got to lose in asking voters what they want for a change?
Prayer and meditation are not really required for this. Polling, townhall meetings and doorknocking will suffice.
Only the electorate can grant your wishes. That can’t be stressed enough to you guys thus the repetition.
Step 12 – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs
Here is the good news guys. Once you are truly reformed, you can spread the good word country wide. Liberals languish in an electoral wasteland in many provinces within Canada. If you guys could learn to win in Alberta, you could help Liberals in Canada win in any jurisdiction.
Congratulations on completing your 12 steps.
Of course, I am somewhat skeptical of the capability of Alberta’s Liberals in reforming themselves so I will stick to supporting the Wildrose Alliance Party who’s willingness to listen to and represent Albertans is reflected in current polls.