“Gotcha” politics don’t win elections.

It is doubtless that NDP operatives & their allies at Vice giggled themselves to sleep last week as they prepared to release what they felt was a pivotal media “gotcha” shortly before the voters in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake would go to the polls in a by-election.

Who knows how long Vice sat on this “scoop” but let’s not bullshit here, they clearly sat on it until just before the election was held in hopes of having the most possible negative impact on the UCP candidate.

Yes, they had found out that Devin Dreeshen had been active on Trump’s campaign a couple years ago. On top of this revelation, there was a picture of Dreeshen in a MAGA hat.

This is “gotcha” gold Jerry!

The usual suspects on the left went wild on twitter and facebook around the clock when the picture came out. Why, this was akin to the UCP running Hitler right?

Surely the voters in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake will abandon the UCP en masse at the polls.

Yes the UCP would likely still win, but their support would surely drop. While NDP may not enjoy all of the gains of this collapse in UCP support, the nascent left-wing Alberta Party will doubtless see a surge in support right?

To the horror of the myopic left, the great “gotcha” of 2018 appeared not to mean a damn thing to the electorate.

Dreeshen won with an astounding 82% of the vote. 

The existing NDP support had collapsed from 23% down to a paltry 9%

The Alberta Party and the Liberal Party proved themselves yet again to be utterly electorally insignificant with showings of 7% and 1%.

David Inscho ran as an independent representing the “Marilyn Burns Party” to bring in a whopping 63 votes.

While some are doggedly trying to dismiss this outcome, it is significant. Many tried to claim that it was not granted that the voters who used to support the Progressive Conservative Party and the Wildrose Party would not come together under the new UCP.

Well, the combined PC and Wildrose votes were 71% in the last election. The UCP didn’t simply combine that support, they increased it.

Gotcha indeed.

But what about the Fort McMurray-Conklin race?

It was revealed that not only did UCP candidate Laila Goodridge work for a time for CPC MP Joan Crockatt, she spent time as a political staffer in Ottawa!

While not as good a “gotcha” as her having helped the evil Trump, this was profound indeed!

This would surely drive voters into the arms of the NDP in Fort McMurray-Conklin. It works just like that narrative that Jason Kenney wasn’t Albertan because he spent time in Ottawa as an MP. That has nearly made Kenney unelectable in Calgary right?

Oops!

Laila Goodridge with the UCP came in with exactly the combined past PC and Wildrose vote with 66% and a decisive win.

The NDP did maintain their past support level at nearly 30% and the Liberals and Alberta Party candidates remained consistently insignificant at 3% and 1%.

How is it possible that these UCP candidates managed to pull off such huge wins despite the rage and horror that dominated social media about them for weeks?

To put it simply, voters don’t really give a shit what hyperpartisan types say on Twitter and Facebook. They choose based on looking at what the parties as a whole have to offer and pay passing attention at best to whatever the faux outrage of the week is on social media.

Right now the left is swarming and raging over the nomination shenanigans in the UCP and the improper use of constituency funds by the now former UCP MLA Prab Gill.

These issues are important to political wonks and are important in the broader vision of principled politics but they really don’t mean a thing to the common voter at the door (or most importantly in the voting booth).

I love partisan online games and nasty shots. I thrive on them. I never have deluded myself to the point of thinking that those games have a heavy impact on the electorate. At best I bring specific issues a little more into the spotlight for a time and hopefully speed the rectification of them a little bit.

Personally, I hope that the left sticks to their games of gotcha. I hope that they continue to label the party that is currently supported by the majority of Albertans as being extreme or even fascist. While they won’t bring Albertans to their cause this way, they will entrench support for conservatives even more deeply as they get tired of being called troglodytes for supporting parties other than the NDP or left wing Alberta Party.

I will leave off with a few choice tweets that I saved from election night demonstrating the respect that the NDP types online show towards the electorate.

NDP MLA Marie Renaud got right into the game

This NDP supporter feels that rural Albertans would vote for a cow patty

 

This NDP supporter compared supporting Dreeshen to supporting a mass murderer

This NDP supporter did a double gotcha by calling Goodridge an outsider and Dreeshen a “Trumpist”

Gotcha!

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The sound of silence

 

Rural crime in Alberta has been spiking for years. While RCMP stats claim the increase is as low as 41% somehow, local stats just in my little area have vehicle thefts increasing as much as 300% and property crimes in general doubling in the last few years.  This trend is evident across the entire province.

Below is my local report for just the last two days. It just doesn’t stop.

Jason Kenney and the UCP requested an emergency debate on rural crime in the legislature last November. The request was unfortunately shut down by the Notley government.

It came as no surprise to rural citizens when a situation arose which led to somebody getting shot.

 

 
Fortunately, nobody was killed when the situation unfolded on Eddie Maurice’s property in the very early hours of February 25th. A man was shot in the arm however and now Eddie Maurice is facing some very serious charges for the crime of standing up to protect his family.

Frustrated, infuriated and sympathetic citizens came out en-masse to show support for Eddie Maurice and his family last Friday when Maurice made his initial court appearance.

It speaks volumes when 200 people make time early on a cool Friday morning to come and stand outside of a rural courthouse.

Rural citizens are tired of being robbed and terrorized. They fear for the safety of their families and their property. They understand that things are escalating and that any one of us could have found ourselves in Eddie Maurice’s shoes if put into the same situation.

We understand that if this explosion of rural crime is not addressed soon, it is inevitable that a situation is going to arise where a person gets killed. Warnings from the RCMP against us defending ourselves and our property will mean little when we find intruders threatening our homes after dark when we know that the average police response time for an emergency is 40 minutes. We will take things into our own hands and deal with the legal fallout later.

The Maurice incident appears to have finally awoken the Notley government on the issue as $10 million was just dedicated to fighting rural crime.

The funding will bring 39 new officers, 40 civilian staff and 10 Crown prosecutors focused on rural crime.

I fear that the increased officers and prosecutors will be used to crack down on crime victims who act to protect their own property but lets hope for the best. The government realizes that there is a serious problem and the addition of more officers is a good start.

Now that Notley and the NDP have awoken on the issue, where is Jason Kenney and the UCP? Where is Andrew Scheer and the CPC?

The issue of rural crime has been burning hotly throughout Alberta yet the silence from our elected conservative officials has been nothing less than deathly.

While I understand and appreciate that MLAs and MPs should not speak directly to specific cases before the courts, there is no reason nor excuse as to why they cant speak to the broader issue of rural crime as a whole.

While hundreds of citizens gathered in Okotoks last Friday, Pat Stier and Wayne Anderson of the UCP were nowhere to be seen. John Barlow of the CPC was absent as well. Neither the legislature nor the parliament were sitting on that day. If 200 people gathered and fearing for their safety is not an issue for an MP or MLA to attend to personally, what the hell is?

Now is not the time for political cowardice. This issue is too damned important.

Yes, there are some sticky aspects to this issue that makes many politicians want to cover their political testes and hide. Firearm use is touchy and polarizing. Addiction issues make many politicians squirm. While the Maurice issue appears to have no racial element involved in it (thank FSM), a huge amount of rural crime is directly tied to the socioeconomic catastrophe that we call the reserve system. Few things make politicians shudder more than native issues.

Well too damn bad! Suck it up guys! You campaigned to take on the tough jobs, now one is in front of you and I want to see you address it!

Where are the highway signs advertising town hall meetings on the issue? Where are the emails? Where is the press release? Where is the policy paper? Where is anything on this damn it?

At times, rural voters can be taken for granted by conservative parties in Alberta. The UCP and CPC know that they essentially have all of our rural seats in the bag and they are acting carefully to avoid possibly offending urban voters. Again, that’s just too damn bad. Urban voters would like to protect their safety and property at times too. Find a way to address it for all of us. Its your job.

While elected UCP MLAs are still hiding under the cone of silence, I see that some of those who are seeking nominations are speaking up at least.

Christine Moore is seeking a UCP nomination in Innisfail-Sylvan lake and as can be seen, she is not being subtle on the issue.

Perhaps some of our incumbent MLAs need some nomination challenges based on this issue in order to get them to speak up. Few things wake up a politician faster than the risk of losing their job.

This issue is a literal life and death one. The next incident may end up with a much higher price than a criminal just finding himself with a hole in his arm. A criminal is going to end up dead soon (maybe some are already buried on the back 40). A homeowner may very well end up killed soon too.

Our elected officials need to get on this bus with this one. If they can’t get involved in an issue this acute, what the hell good are they indeed?

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