Shortly after composing the blog below, I encountered the video below that makes my point for me perfectly. This is the level that the PC party supporters are now sinking to.
The hysteria from the small but shrill and vocal community of Alberta’s left-wing has reached a fever pitch since the Wildrose Party took a commanding lead in this provincial election. The hipster-latte community is aghast that Alberta would dare embrace a new political alternative without swinging towards the left. The insults towards Albertans at large are piling up and the spite and loathing being displayed by the self-styled progressives is striking.
The secret that really should not be a secret is that Alberta is predominantly populated by people who are right of center on the political spectrum. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT SO GET OVER IT!
The typical fearmongering is in full force as people try to imply that all people on the right/libertarian end of the spectrum are secretly intolerant racists who want to set Alberta back decades in social policy as abortion is outlawed along with being gay. Spectres are being raised of segregrated water fountains and comparisons made between Alberta and the American South. I have seen many indignantly howling that they will leave Alberta should a Wildrose government be formed (I wish).
All of the above tactics should sound very familiar because they were all used before by the federal Liberal party through the 90s and early 2000s. What people should also realize is that those fear and smear campaigns invariably backfire terribly with Albertans.
While what is considered right wing has evolved over the years, the makeup of people on that side of the spectrum has not. Gone are the moralizing days of the Social Credit regime of the 50s but what is here is a population of individualists who want limited government that allows people to live their lives prosperously and in peace from moralizing busybodies (both left and right). The balance has been reached between the traditional model of social conservatism and the new “South Park Conservatives” with the current incarnation of the Wildrose Party and it shows as a groundswell of Albertans are embracing this party.
Most people do not sit and dwell about where they formally land on the political spectrum. People will gravitate to parties that are indeed more solidly placed on the spectrum and in Alberta the majority of the citizens prefer to sit on the right. Nothing wrong with that and no apologies.
So here is the root of the failure of the attempted shaming and fearmongering. When the sanctimonious left tries to label entire parties as being racist, intolerant, hicks etc., they are attacking most Albertans. When you call a person a pile of disparaging and offensive names how can you possibly expect to draw them into your cause? All the left does when they use these tactics is entrench the supporters for the right of center parties and encourage them to get out to vote.
Look at the old Reform Party. Chretien and his Liberals called Reform supporters racists among all the other stereotypes despite 70% of Albertans supporting that party in the 90s. How did that all work out for Liberals in Alberta? The same tactics were attempted by Liberals against Harper’s Conservative Party only a few years ago. How did that go? Well there still is not a single federal Liberal seat in Alberta and Harper is our Prime Minister with a very comfortable majority.
The last time the Progressive Conservatives were strongly threatened in their reign was in the early 90s and it was by the Liberal Party being led by Lawrence Decore. What is being forgotten by many though is that Decore campaigned not from the left but the right despite the name of his party. Decore brought out the debt clock to demonstrate the out of control spending by the Progressive Conservatives and gained a great deal of traction as conservative Albertans. It was only through the appearance of Ralph Klein who campaigned on government austerity and cuts that the government of the day was narrowly saved.
Klein followed through on his promises to Albertans. Aggressive cuts were made to spending while the size of the bloated civil service was reduced (never saw service decline due to that). The illuminated left went ballistic as predicted. Protests sprung up and unions went postal in their entitlement and rage. Pundits and academics predicted that Albertans would lash back and fiercely punish the Klein government for having swung right. What happened? Klein won an even stronger majority.
Over the years, Klein’s government began to lose support as they began to drift back left into the lazy cycle of tax and spend rather than responsible governance. The inevitable insular attitude of government grew as they remained unchallenged and Albertans began again to drift away from the Progressives and new alternatives were being developed. Klein was pushed out and the rest is all history that we know.
The Wildrose Party has embraced those unapologetic and truly conservative people. The party worked hard for years building the foundation that has put the party into the lead in this Alberta election. In response to this growing threat, the Redford Progressives actually swung left and it shows. Weeks of gross post-budget spending promises from the Redford Progressives have repulsed Albertans and the Liberal style fearmongering from her party is falling flat. If the PC party was to have a hope of recovery it would have been by turning to the responsible-right as Klein did. Redford pulling government hard to the left sealed the fate of this 41 year old dynasty as she clearly has no clue what most Albertans really want.
Many are stumped. Alberta has been growing in population for decades and predominantly the people have come from provinces that swing left. The left has hoped that this influx of people would change Alberta and make us eventually embrace the left-wing. This has not happened and the reason for that is quite simple.
People with the courage to take a chance, leave their friends and family to cross a nation seeking a better future are not by their very nature left-wing. People with that kind of ambition and courage are individualists. These are not people who want a large and pampering government nannying their every move. These are the people who want governance by parties such as Reform, the old PCs and now Wildrose. These will never be left-leaning people.
People who are naturally left-wing are the folks who will sit at home in hard times and demand that somebody solve their problems for them. These people want government created jobs or even outright welfare. They will not move and will always vote for whoever promises the most goodies with the least personal responsibility. We in Alberta need never fear an influx of these people as they simply do not have the courage or ambition to move from wherever they are. What few strong left-leaners we have in Alberta are often home-grown.
The temptation is always there to swing left and spend more. The ivory-tower gang is always pushing for such. Thankfully the electorate knows better and consistently embraces the right in Alberta as long as it is reasonably packaged for them as the Wildrose Party is.
As long as we happily and unapologetically stick to our principles we will continue to be the properous and truly conservative province that we are.