Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Not following Alberta politics, well, at all, I have no real insight to offer into the election results there last night. Except to say the name Special Ed has a whole new meaning now. Who would have thought he could better Ralph Klein’s numbers? If you're an Alberta Liberal, ouch.

I gathered at a T-Dot pub last night to watch the results come in with Calgary Grit, Jason Cherniak and some other Liberals, including some of the ex-pat Alberta variety. Reactions from the Albertans in the room were, well, animated to say the least, and we’ll leave it at that.

I think as an (for the time being, geographically-speaking) Easterner, I think I look on Alberta the same way the Alberta looks on Ontario. With confusion and lack of understanding.

It seems to us they keep electing Conservatives no matter what, and it seems to them we keep electing Liberals no matter what. Although, we did at least give Mike Harris’s Conservatives two terms and Bob Rae’s NDP one. Both worked out fantastically, btw. Nevertheless, I think we’re both equally puzzled about the other. Ontarians are from Mars, Albertans are from Venus I suppose you could say.

I did want to comment though on the spin I’ve been seeing coming from some Conservative bloggers and commenters, saying the strong Conservative victory in Alberta shows the Liberal brand is dying nationally, and a Conservative wave blah blah across the country and what not.

Yeah, no. I think Dalton McGuinty would beg to differ. He won a bigger Liberal majority in Ontario last fall too. Did his win mean the Conservative brand is dying nationally? I doubt they’d agree with that.

If you’re going to try to ascribe national implications to the Alberta result you need to do the same for Ontario, and the trends are contradictory. Maybe their respective expanding bubbles of brand-killing will meet in Manitoba and fight to the death at Portage and Main.

Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers


A Eliz. said...

At least he is a Progressive Conservative, not as far right as Harper and gang. The Wild rose/ Alliance did not do too well and the Liberals did better than them, if that is any consolation.

wilson said...

I don't think there is any consulation to the Liberals losing 8 of their 16 seats.

I agree with you BCer. It isn't a national wave, it's about regional concerns.

Libs want to stop future oil sands development.
That would DIRECTLY affect 40% of Albertans. This is oil country.
That would be the equivalent of Libs running around Quebec campaigning on doing away with language laws, because it isn't fair to certain groups opf people.

However, Dion and Holland running around the province, promoting NEP2, didn't help the provincial Liberals.

btw, I live in Stelmachs riding, he is no 'hayseed'.

Gayle said...

Wilson is wrong. It had nothing to do with any issues. It had everything to do with the fact that Albertans vote PC.

I did not speak with anyone who voted PC who did so for any reason but "I always vote conservative. I'm an Albertan".

To most Albertans, Stelmach is the change. No need to vote liberal.

calgarygrit said...

lizt; The PCs in Alberta are probably as right wing as the Harper Tories in Ottawa, if not more so. On the environment, Stelmach's plan isn't nearly as strong as Harper's.

Paul Wornham said...

The Liberals losing in AB and the PC's losing in ON are both closely related to the leaders of the respective parties.

Neither Taft nor Tory have what it takes to be elected.

Granted the AB Liberals are fighting greater odds, but then life is good in Alberta right now, why risk it?

Oldschool said...

Interesting contrast . . . Ontario and Alberta . . .
Ontario has taxes, taxes, taxes . . . they wonder why industries are closing, or moving south. This has been going on for at least two decades . . . the folks in Ontario still haven't figured it out. Head offices moving to Alberta the last few years, still Ontario scratches its fuzzy head.
Alberta . . . on the other hand . . . has no sales tax, no personal income tax. Do you think the folks in Alberta want to change that??
Even the new migrants to Alberta figure it out fairly quickly it seems . . . they also vote for the status quo.
So here's the bottom line . . . Alberta tax generator . . . Ontario black hole sucking tax dollars.
Maybe McSquinty will figure it out one day . . . but I doubt it!!!

Gayle said...

OS - Alberta has service fees on basically everything. We have had to pay health care premiums for as long as I can remember.

The types of fees we pay are simply taxation in a different form.

Demosthenes said...

Wait, Alberta is supposed to herald a national trend?

Heh. That's like calling Wyoming a bellwether state. Er, no.

In any case, this isn't likely to do Alberta much good federally. Harper will take it for granted that Alberta will back him, and focus resources on winning over more volatile regions, whereas the Liberals are going to take one look at these results and say "well, no point even really campaigning there" and move on.

Oldschool: Far be it from me to interrupt your ellipsis-laden talking points, but I was under the impression that Ontario was a net provider of equalization money, not recipient.

And they don't just dig it out of the ground.

Glen said...

Two days out, it still burns.