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Wednesday, May 22 2024 @ 11:30 MDT

Alberta whines again.

Alberta PoliticsWith the coming federal election, I've heard much in the Alberta media about how little time and energy the federal parties are putting into the election in the province. For example, the leaders of the three main federal parties made whistle stops in the province over the weekend. These stops are likely to be the only stops for the Liberals and the NDP, and the Tories probably won't have much more. This of course leads to Albertans complaining that no one is listening to them. My assertion is that Albertans have no one to blame but themselves for this. The reason I say this is that if Albertans played poker the way they do politics, they'd never win. Albertans flock to the polls (and the term flock is apropos here) in lock-step to elect whatever bale of hay the Tories have nominated in the riding. They have done this for the past 40 years. They announce their intention to vote this way before the election is even called. This causes certain behaviour in the federal parties.

For the non-Conservative parties, the province is a lost cause. There are no ridings in Alberta that could really be considered marginal (with the exception of landslide Anne's riding in Edmonton). With no hope of electing a member in the province, there's no logical reason to waste limited resources trying. It's a big country and there are ridings that are winnable by parties other than the Tories elsewhere, especially in Ontario where they don't announce their intentions years in advance.

For the Tories, they've got it in the bag. There's no point in wasting resources to get more votes since they don't need any. We don't use a proportional representation system, so any votes over what they need to win aren't needed. Again, there are marginal ridings elsewhere in the country where the Tories' time and money are better spent.

The practical upshot of this is that none of the federal parties gives a rat's ass about what Albertans think, because Albertans never give them a reason to. How can Albertans change this? Contrary to what the Tories think, voting Tory over and over again isn't it. Voting for someone else is. It was when the province shifted it's vote to Reform that people started to listen. That wore out when it was realized that Reform was just the new Conservative party and that they could safely ignore Alberta again. If Albertans would vote for someone else, anyone else, things would change. The Tories would start spending more time in the province and the other parties would start listening since they'd have a chance at winning a seat.

Alas, I believe it's not to be. To some extent Albertans have forgotten how to politic. This leaves them outside the system looking in. It also makes them vulnerable to falling into dictatorship, since all someone who wants power for life has to do is run as a Tory, what they do between elections is irrelevant to the Alberta voter. The past 30+ years of Tory rule have shown that. It is this type of voting pattern that has elected dictators the world over. The only thing that keeps Alberta from becoming a true dictatorship is that there is still a federal government that has, to some extent, the power to prevent that. If it wasn't for that, I fear that Alberta would have long ago succumbed to the lure of security and business opportunities that a right-wing dictatorship provides, but I digress.

It basically comes down to this. Albertans need to re-learn the art of politics. The people of the province don't have it, the politicians that come from here don't have it to the same level as politicians from other provinces do. This will forever relegate Alberta to the back burner of federal politics.
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