Has your peripheral vision become cluttered with hundreds of loud, coloured signs?
Have your thoughts been burdened by increasing platitudes, numbers and percents? Do you have no idea what they mean or refer to?
Has there been a dramatic increase in strangers at your door?
Do you find these same people seem to be machine gunning canned narratives in your bewildered face in a wide-eyed and earnest fashion?
Are similar symptoms flaring up about every 3 to 4 years consistently?
If so, you may be suffering from electivitis. You might not even know that you’re suffering from electivitis, but your brain does. There is no known cure currently available for electivitis, but there is hope for relief of the symptoms with treatment.
Introducing Booze! With just a few doses a day for the next month you will find the reprieve you seek.
Honestly, I hate election time. I hate the stupid signs, I hate that my news pages have become cluttered with up to the second trending twitter hashtags, and I despise looking at ‘poll projection’ charts that change every single day.
Don’t get me wrong, I love democracy. I guess I just get a little disgusted when I see what a farce it has all become.
Lets begin with a story. I started my weekend with a group of four diverse folks at my door. They were clearly campaigning for the Liberal Party, hands filled with pamphlets, binders and stickers. I saw a fifth man standing on the side walk with a bundle of those god awful lawn signs (really hate the signs), eagerly awaiting a thumbs up from his comrades to shove those thin metal stakes into my grass.
Now, my natural reflex when I saw the Liberal logo was to start shutting the door immediately. I only agreed to hear them out after being vehemently beseeched: a chorus of pleas and protests for “just a minute of my time”, playing on my amicable nature.
If the majority of communication is non-verbal then the expression on my face must have conveyed a cacophony of dubiousness. Seeing as the ‘minute of my time’ was quite relative, and, nearing it’s end only 15 seconds later, the leader of the merry socialist band pulled out a trap card, their Coup De Gras.
“Sir, did you know that if you agree to vote for the Liberal Party today, in 25 years all post secondary schooling in Alberta will be completely free?”
… WHAT IN THE F&*@?!
My dubious expression quickly changed to one of outright confusion, followed by anger. My cerebrum was attempting to process the unprocessable. Proverbial blue screen of death, the only option was to slowly shut the door on their faltering, yet still smiling faces.
The point of my story is that it’s important to try understand what these political parties are saying and what, if anything, it actually all means. I will do my best to outline the key points of each parties’ campaign, looking beyond the charts and numbers. I will try to find some semblance of truth in it all if any is to be found.
Let’s start with the Liberals, since they took time to come to my door. Quite frankly, the Liberal Party are a bloody mess. Out of the possible 87 seats up for election the Liberals are fielding only 56 candidates. Essentially they would need all 56 of their candidates to win their ridings to have even a hope of running the government. For reference purposes: in the last election only 5 Liberals were voted in.
Onto the Platform. Leading the Liberal agenda is something they call “Respect for all Albertans“.
– The spearhead of the Respect for Albertans plan is to force all schools in Alberta to form ‘gay-straight alliances’, which, they claim, provides a safer environment for the entire student population. Wait, wasn’t that the hidden theme of West Side Story?
They go on to say that “this policy is an example of the progressive, forward thinking policies brought forward by Alberta Liberals”.
From what I can tell by reading the Gay-Straight Student Alliance Alberta teacher’s handbook, which, by the way, is a is a cluttered debacle of acronyms and sociological jargon, Gay-Straight Alliances are basically yet another means to help curb bullying in schools. And everyone needs protection from bullying these days, don’t they?
– Respect for all Albertans plan also includes better enforcement of the Human Rights act for the broader purpose of making sure women get equal pay for equal work. Nothing wrong with this, I don’t know if the Human Rights act is a direct enough approach to the issue but it’s a start.
– Improve vaccination rates. Alberta Liberals will make vaccinations mandatory for all children, unless their parents sign a document. Honestly, get rid of the ‘unless you sign a document part’ and I may be tempted to say something positive about the Liberals! Good for them for taking an actual stand. Love the idea, just nowhere near rigid enough.
– They would like to Institute stronger health and safety standards – and ensure farm workers are covered by workers’ compensation. Knowing the Liberals I suspect what they really mean by “farm workers” is foreign migrant workers, but that’s just a guess.
– Double the funding for senior support programs. Would be a good and much needed change, but the money needs to come from somewhere (read: you).
– They claim they would somehow expand the Calgary and Edmonton C-Train and LRT lines. Don’t see how (at least in Calgary) but okay, again who’s paying for it and how?
You know what? Honest to god I can’t spend another moment reading the Liberal platform. You can read it yourself here- if you really want to wade through it. Honestly most of it is just bullet points referencing things that already exist or vague inferences to somehow improving… something.
What a hollow piece of political crap. The Liberals promise to lower everything bad and double everything good. Whoopee Woo! They make almost no indication at all as to how any of this is to be accomplished. Most of their promises are either so general or alternatively so grand that it would take another 20 – 30 years before anyone would be able to tell if they had actually accomplished any of their “goals”.
Quite typical for Alberta Liberals. Just like the canvassers at my door. Make fanciful promises to trick a few of the lesser minds among us, knowing full well they will absolutely never have to follow through on anything or be held accountable for any of their claims.
Before we move on to the NDP’s actual platform I would just like to remind everyone of something. Unlike the Provincial Progressive Conservatives and the Federal Conservative party, that have very little interactions with each other and general try not to guide each other’s polices. The NDP party on the Federal and Provincial level are fairly close to being one and the same.
A vote for the provincial leader, Rachel Notley, may, in fact, be a vote for Thomas Mulcair. A Thomas Mulcair that makes no secret of his dislike for Alberta and Albertans. If the NDP win this election we could very well witness the absolute devastation of the Alberta we all know and love. Go ask Manitoba what it feels like.
Platform Key Points:
– Job creation tax credit. Pretty simple idea: the provincial government will rebate 10% of wages paid to new hires up to a maximum starting salary of $50,000. Interesting, may help bolster the confidence of businesses on the fence about hiring new people. The NDP predict that it would create up to 27,000 new jobs in Alberta. To me that number seems absurdly high and just nonsense.
– Rollback the PC parties planned $1,000,000,000 (B) cuts to Alberta Health Services, (AHS). This may sound positive, after all, who doesn’t like our “free” health care? But keep in mind that AHS is a bloated monstrosity at the moment and is notoriously way over funded. A one billion dollar cut may sound like a gutting but it’s really not.
– On the same note, the NDP claim that Alberta Hospitals have a combined 600,000 square feet of unused space that they plan to fill in order to help cut down on wait times. No idea what on earth this means, I searched high and low to try and discover where they’re getting this 600,000 square feet of space but they don’t have it referenced anywhere.
Does it mean there are literally entire empty buildings, filled with unused equipment and hospital staff just waiting around for someone to notice them? Or are they referring to the space occupied by hallways, closets, handicapped parking stalls and boiler rooms in the existing hospitals? I strongly suspect the latter. Can’t just shove a patient into the attic if you don’t have a nurse to look after them boys and girls.
– “Create jobs, diversify Alberta’s economy and reduce our exposure to crude oil price swings”. Great! In fact my last article outlined Alberta desperate need to diversify. Would be nice if they outlined somewhere exactly how they plan on doing it, however.
The rest is almost exclusively rollbacks and the restoration of recent cuts made by the PC party. Where the PC party plans to have the middle class carry almost the entire provincial debt, the NDP instead plans to shift part of the responsibility to the plethora of massive corporations operating within Alberta. As your ordinary middle class guy I kinda agree with them on this point.
I would be very surprised if the NDP win the election, but expect them to have a huge showing.
Talk about revived and back from the dead. I don’t think many people thought we would be talking about the Wild Rose as any sort of likely contender to win the election, but here we are. However, like all forms of necromancy, I don’t know if the revived Wild Rose party came back the same. To quote Stephen King, “sometimes dead is better.”
Nothing would make me happier than to see a true blue, actual right wing conservative party in power. Straight and narrow, unapologetic workhorses out there to get things done. It’s what the Wild Rose wants us to believe they epitomize, but is it true?
A few things have been bothering me about the Wild Rose party recently. Such as the leader of the party publicly apologizing for this poster:
Or just days ago, sacking one of their candidates for a two paragraph blog post he made in 2007. What horrendous blasphemy must he have written!?
“I’m told that St. Andrew Roman Catholic Church is one of the most conservative parishes in the city. Evidently, whoever rented the hall on behalf of the event was not entirely forthcoming with the parish priest and administration as to what event would convene. Then, apparently anticipating (wanting?) trouble, the event organizers arranged for two uniformed members of the Edmonton Police Service to be posted at the entrance to the hall,”
“The message that appears to be sent to Catholic Christians who don’t accept this ‘lifestyle’ as acceptable is that ‘equality’ means that gay activists can take their agenda not just to your front door but inside the door to places that are consecrated to the Catholic faith, with uniformed police officers (!) exercising state coercion to defend that right!”
So this is what no-nonsense conservatism looks like? Forget that.
Onto the Wild Rose running platform.
Well, in actuality, it looks nearly identical to the NDP platform. In that it relies almost solely upon the promise that they will balance the budget, without any new taxes or increases, simply by cutting out the PC waste.
Of the most noticeable differences between the Wild Rose plan and the NDP plan is this distinction: The NDP hopes to balance the budget by shifting taxes to the mega rich and billion dollar corporations. The Wild Rose claims that they can balance the budget without any new taxes at all. In fact, they plan to rollback all of the recent Alberta tax hikes as well.
This seems to have a more than a few analysts scratching their heads. As it stands, if the Wild Rose party gets elected and sticks with its current economic plan, they would immediately be $29 billion dollars short of their goal. Basic mathematics, folks; this is just straight addition.
Nevertheless, the Wild Rose are sticking to their empty guns and claim they’ve got it all figured out. However, much like the grief I gave the Liberal party, what on earth is the plan? Big promises demand big action plans, not vague political catchphrases like “cutting the fat”.
If you believe the Wild Rose party can keep true to their promises you’d better be sure to check the box beside their candidates on voting day. Maybe pencil a question mark somewhere on the page while you’re at it.
What is there to say? We need only to look back upon the last 30 years. Present day Alberta is what another Conservative Government will look like. Maybe that’s not so bad? The devil you know… no surprises. When compared to many other provinces in Canada we in Alberta actually have it pretty good right now.
Don’t get me wrong, the PC’s have had their share of extreme up’s and conversely just as many extreme down’s; they wax and wane. It just seems that the PC party looks to be the only group with any sort of objective, tangible, fact-based plans. Real numbers along with realistic expectations . I’ve been harshly critical of the Conservatives recently and you’re damn right the word ‘Conservative’ has no place in their title, but after deep diving through the grey water of the alternative’s platforms I can honestly say I just don’t see it.
Final prediction: PC Majority, Wild rose retained as the official opposition.