It’s been an interesting last couple of weeks for Albertan’s, but purely in a ghastly Chinese proverbial sense. It’s been Interesting, like a crash test or an autopsy or a house fire perhaps; shocking and disturbing in a way that spells doom for you and I and the rest of our fair province.
On Tuesday the 5th of May, 2015, Alberta went to the ballots. Nobody knew quite what to expect, and many, when asked, seemed pretty confused as to which party they intended to actually vote for ahead of time. I myself was among those who had to give serious consideration to the matter, practically up to the very day of the election. I found myself having to ponder for a moment, pencil in hand, before marking my vote next to the Wild Rose candidate in my riding. I had to restrain myself from not writing my own name on the ballot, scratching an ‘X’ beside it, and then lighting it on fire right there in the voter’s booth. I’d show them how to burn a ballot, goddamn it.
The Tory party seemed so smug and self-assured in their hopes for an easy victory, moving into the election with an heir of confidence (despite a multitude of warning signs and ‘word on the street’ that spelled imminent danger). The election was peddled as a “coronation” for Jim Prentice, the Conservative MP recruited to restore party confidence in the wake of the Redford humiliation.
And perhaps Tory confidence was somewhat justified. After all, the Conservatives had been in power almost 44 years up to that point in time.  Since 1971 Alberta had been an exclusively PC province boasting an astonishing 12 consecutive majority governments. Jim Prentice, the man who would be Premier, appeared on television a great deal. He had a self-assured, swaggering demeanor and a slightly constipated look on his face at all times… like he’d sat on a cucumber perhaps.
The Conservative slogan during the election was “Choose Alberta’s Future” (an irony based on what eventually came to pass). It was to be an election based on the latest provincial budget and proposed a “ten year plan” to restore it.  In efforts to compensate for plunging oil prices and a snowballing provincial deficit, taxes were to be raised around the board, but most especially for the middle class (and any sort of luxury these working class heroes might seek to enjoy). Corporate taxes were not to be increased. The bloated government was also to remain the same more or less, with talk of cutbacks being bandied about in only the most superficial or hypothetical terms.
There was in no way a shortage in political signage in people’s yards and on their fences. Flyering, internet marketing and automated telephone calling was conducted as per usual by all the parties. All the usual election propaganda was present and accounted for, except, in the case of the NDP. Almost nowhere to be found was NDP yard signage, and television airtime featuring New Democratic Party slogans was practically non-existent. Most people, including RWN’s own ‘This Is Jimmy’ predicted a PC victory based both on Alberta’s past, and on the fact that every party sported platforms that were almost completely hot air. More of the same would be the outcome, most generally agreed. Weak “conservatism”, the perpetuation of the PC government and the Wild Rose in opposition to keep them in check. It was a plausible prediction, and perhaps would not have been the worst fate the province could have suffered. 
The lead into the election featured each of the respective parties blowing smoke and dogfooding themselves. The Wild Rose spoke of absolute zero tax hikes and of cracking down on schoolhouse bullying. Like Pedro’s cousin in Napoleon Dynamite, the Wild Rose Party offered school kids their protection (but with no gangster lowrider and through undisclosed means.) There were Liberals offering similar nonsense. One Liberal flyer I received pledged 250 million in post-secondary investments. The NDP made ludicrous promises to increase Alberta’s minimum wage to $15 / hr, making it the highest countrywide. This was, of course, in addition to higher income taxes for the wealthiest ten percent. Steal from the wealthy and hand off to the poor: wasn’t this the slogan of Robin Hood and his merry band of miscreants? These and many other examples all pointed to the Progressive Conservatives continuing on with their legacy of self-indulgence and subdued left wing mediocrity.
But then, something went horribly wrong.
On May 5th, the poll doors opened to the public bright and early. It was a sunny day, full of promise, opportunity and wonder. Birds chirped as people filed into school gymnasiums and stood hunched behind cardboard partitions. Pencils were handed out. Ballots were stuffed into boxes. Attendance at the polling stations swelled, piqued, and gradually waned once more. Doors eventually came to a close at 2000 hrs. Votes were quickly tabulated. Ballot boxes were emptied of their contents. An ecstasy of fumbling  ensued. And suddenly, without warning, a province with a proud history of strong, conservative idealism lost their way en masse and began to drown. People, it seemed, had decided to teach the Conservatives a lesson in humility. And, the method by which they decided to teach this lesson was to vote in, by a landslide, a worthless bunch of throwback collectivists and reds in anonymous masks.
The title of the Metro, a socialist rag distributed to the masses on May 7th, bore a title page that touted “The new Alberta” in orange banner script. “68 new MLA’s. A historic election. A shift in the balance of power that has the whole country riveted.” 
Yes, a historic election indeed. Many NDP supporters seemed overtly elated by the mischievous deed they’d helped commit. Obsequious smiles were exchanged among NDP voters, like teens caught in the act of smoking something forbidden by ineffectual parents. Nobody that voted NDP could define any rationale for their actions, nor list a single NDP pledge from their campaign platform in most cases. The thrilled response of most, when asked, was that they did what they had to in order to get the Tories kicked out. “The NDP were the only party that could put an end to the PC regime”, was the common consensus.
Telecasters cut to the NDP headquarters. Rachel Notley, smile stretched wide across her face, waved with zeal to her fanatical, halfwit followers. Strangely absent from her wrist that evening was her ubiquitous Che Guevara wristwatch . Cameras flashed, and frivolity prevailed. Nobody, least of all the NDP candidates, had foreseen a victory. 
And don’t get me wrong, the Progressive Conservatives did have to go, but not in this way. I won’t use the obvious baby and bathwater analogy, but it would seem Albertans voted out of vindictiveness, with absolute disregard for the future. For the record, I didn’t vote for the Tories either. Like most people, I too was disgusted by the money blowing, the scandal, and the debauched morals regularly displayed by the PC party bureaucrats preceding the election. They had succumbed to the ‘progressive’ nature of their trademark and all but forgotten their conservative foundations. And then, to watch as PC MLA’s fed once more at the trough on their way out the door, was almost too much to bear.
It quickly came to light that a great many MLA’s who came to power before 2012 had decided not to carry on with the farce, choosing instead a golden handshake and the backdoor after the NDP victory. Although Alison Redford had made efforts to demonstrate to the public that the PC party were not all greedy, money-snuffling swine by scrapping golden handshakes (she herself refused to accept her own $182,000 transition allowance ), the move was never made retroactive . In other words, transition allowances were still available for most of the MLA’s not elected on May 6th. It was like they wanted to reinforce all the stereotypes the public may have been mindful of going into the election. And reinforce they did. “It will cost $13.4 million to sign off with the MLA’s who were not re-elected Tuesday” , stated the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, at a time when Alberta can ill afford such indulgences. For example, defeated speaker of the legislature, former PC MLA and health minister Gene Zwozdesky stands to receive a golden handshake of $874,000 for his years of service, a handsome sum indeed. For a complete list of the transition allowances and RSP’s awarded to each respective MLA click here.
But all this being said, and the rampant Progressive Conservative greed aside, I ask again, Alberta, what have you done? Even if someone had put a gun to my head I would still never have voted NDP in my own province or anywhere else in this country for that matter… ever. I would sooner have immigrated to Russia and run naked through red square sporting a workaday flatcap  and a Soviet flag over my oiled shoulder than willingly vote for those socialist clowns. Kevin O’Leary, of Dragon’s Den renown, predicted that the new NDP government will be a “disaster”. He was quoted as saying that “Alberta was the shining light of capitalism in North America. Now it’s fallen off the cliff into a socialist bog.”  I couldn’t agree more. After devastating several of Canada’s provinces in the past (Saskatchewan, Manitoba, B.C, and Ontario, to name a few), the NDP is getting another kick at the can in Alberta. By way of a majority ‘protest vote’ the province has been sentenced to a slow, four year death. Like a bum who’s been slipped a bottle of wood alcohol in a back alley, the wasting illness to ensue will be slow, painful and undoubtedly fatal.
To put things in perspective, for those unaware, this pack of gangsters’ first order of business was to deliberately delete the entirety of their election platform from the internet and their own website.  The mutability of the past, a subject explored by George Orwell in his novel 1984, is now becoming a reality under the new NDP regime. Their newly fashioned Ministry of Truth must have gambled that people simply wouldn’t remember all the exaggerated, staggering promises made if they just sent them all down the memory hole. And perhaps they weren’t wrong. Most NDP voters never bothered to read them in the first place, so why would they bother to try and read them now? How can such an action be in any way misinterpreted? The newly elected NDP are laughing at Albertans for having handed them the keys to the kingdom by way of their spiteful, impulsive and senseless ballots. NDP MLA’s are laughing amongst themselves at the knowledge that they have been set up for life financially. But most especially, they’re laughing at all the deluded fools, many of whom count themselves as conservative, who allowed themselves to believe that the NDP are anything but the filthy, duplicitous Marxists that they are.