The Alberta UCP elect a new leader on October 6th.
Danielle Smith should
have been premier of Alberta in 2012, but she lost due to the
hysterics and habits of Albertans who were afraid of real change. She
tried to do what Jason Kenney eventually did, but in a less
democratic fashion that resulted in anger and feelings of betrayal. A
lot of people might still be bitter about that, but if her poll
numbers are any indication, most of them are over it. The UCP
leadership race in Alberta is between her and Travis Toews, the guy
who represents the old PC way. If all goes well and without
interference from the old Progressive establishment, Smith will be
the next premier of Alberta. If she loses, the results will have been manipulated by the old, corrupt party establishment. It's that simple.
Smith winning the UCP
leadership is a necessity. Alberta has long been on a path toward
bigger government and bloated bureaucracy. The Alberta Advantage has
steadily slipped away and another NDP government will ensure that it
never comes back. Once an oasis for entrepreneurs and low taxes,
Alberta has slowly evolved into a typically Canadian province with a
big government, huge debt and growing levels of cognitive dissonance.
Distracted by debates about gender ideology and unwinnable social
policies, Alberta is becoming the Ontario of the West.
The Alberta we knew and
loved is gone, but not necessarily for good.
What's most sad is that
the so-called “Alberta Advantage” started slipping away under
Progressive Conservatives, not the NDP. The election of Rachel Notley
was a symptom of a changing political landscape geared toward
appeasing the lunatic fringes of the left. Alison Redford was
jokingly referred to as Alberta's first NDP premier, long before
Rachel Notley won in 2015. Before Redford, Ed Stelmach was an old PC
crony without an imagination, who was hellbent on keeping the status
quo in place. The status quo, as we know, was about pacifying a
growing public sector that is bloated with bureaucracy and excessively high
That bureaucratic bloat
led to an inevitable socialist government.
Rather than do
something valuable with Alberta's abundant wealth, successive
Progressive Conservative governments increased public wages, expanded
hiring and made friends with unions. Redford's Sky Palace became the
symbol of an out-of-touch, corrupt and overly wealthy bureaucracy
that needed to be brought down. Years later, Jason Kenney would be
found throwing lavish dinner parties during pandemic lockdowns in
that very same Sky Palace.
Now, Albertan's need to
be left with two extreme choices. We need to find out who Albertans
really are and who they want to be.
represents extreme freedom—meaning no lockdowns, more provincial
autonomy and an unabashed move toward individual responsibility and
liberty. Rachel Notley represents extreme socialism—meaning bigger
government, more taxes and running amok with crazy, left-wing causes.
Having anyone else in charge of the UCP would soften the party and
make Albertans feel too comfortable in the status quo and the ongoing
erosion of freedom. It would validate everything Jason Kenney has
Kenney represents the
bloat of the old PC bureaucracy that destroyed the Alberta Advantage.
He could have done things differently, but he chose not to.
Smith is a libertarian,
Notley is a socialist. Finally, for the first time in my lifetime, I
could have the choice between these two ideologies at the ballot box.
I won't have to settle with some middle-of-the-ground, milquetoast
schmuck, like I did in the last federal election. For the first time
in their lives, Albertans will have two viable choices and neither of
them will offer anything centrist.
Albertans will finally be
forced to choose a path.
If Danielle Smith wins
the leadership on October 6th, there will be a right path and left
path in the next general election. There will be no middle ground and
no safe option. Some will choose to vote for the Alberta Party, but
the overall outcome will land on either the left or right side of the
political fence. The NDP will try to sell themselves as centrists,
but that will only work for the voters with amnesia. When they stand
in that booth, Alberta voters will be choosing between extreme
freedom and extreme socialism.
If they choose
socialism, it won't shock me. Often enough, people vote based on
habit rather than what they truly believe. Albertans have spent the
last 50 years voting for “conservatives” because they've been
wealthy and happy under governments with that label. Most Albertans,
like Canadians, are asleep behind the wheel and have no real opinions
on anything other than oil and coffee. When it comes down to it,
Albertans will choose a government that offers them the most free
shit and security—just like every other Canadian. They won't do the
math or think of the economic consequences.
If they choose Danielle
Smith's hard libertarianism, I will be shocked. They were afraid of
her just ten years ago and handed victory to one of the worst
premiers in the province's history. After that, they voted for Rachel
Notley's hard socialism.
Pardon me if my faith in the common
Albertan isn't as strong as yours.
I'm not sure Danielle
Smith can beat Rachel Notley and prevent another NDP majority, but I
don't care. This is my opportunity to see who Albertans really are. I
was born and raised in Saskatchewan under an NDP government. I credit
the socialists for turning me into the kind of “right-wing
extremist” Justin Trudeau loathes. After moving to Alberta in 2010,
I expected to be overwhelmed by Alberta's freedom-loving, small
government culture—but I was disappointed. I found Albertans to be
just as clueless and indoctrinated by their surroundings as anyone in
any other province. They hate windmills and electric cars, but love
oil and gas. That's it. That's all that separates Albertans from Canadians. They've
voted for parties under the conservative label only because it kept
their bank accounts and refrigerators full. As soon as they went
broke, they turned into socialists.
If the next provincial
election sees the Smith UCP lose in a landslide, I'll know that
Alberta is not the place I thought it was. If myself and my family
have to choose between NDP provinces, we're choosing the one with
better weather and a coastline. If Saskatchewan wasn't flat, cold and
run by bureaucrats, I would consider moving back. Unfortunately, the
place is still run by crown corporations and union bosses.
overwhelmingly choose Smith's UCP, I will be pleasantly surprised and
happy to have been proven wrong.
It's possible that
pandemic restrictions and a previous NDP government have taught
Albertans a valuable lesson. Maybe they've seen the dark side and
will choose a different, more radical path. It's possible they have
come to realize that Smith's ideas aren't really radical at all.
After all they've seen since 2015, it's possible Albertans have
opened their eyes and awoken to a new reality.
It is also possible that
Smith might somehow lose the UCP leadership. In such a case, we can
only hope it staves of another NDP majority. If it doesn't and a
Toews or Jean UCP loses to Rachel Notley, the province will be lost
for good and British Columbia's warm winters and golden coastlines
will look a lot more appealing to a lot more Albertans.