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Monday, May 20 2024 @ 02:19 MDT

So much to write about..

Alberta Politics... and so little time to do it. With school back in full swing, I find myself with less and less time to blog. So for today I have to decide on what to write about. There's US Secretary of State Rice's visit to the Maritimes to give Canada a pep talk to stay in Afghanistan (and the resultant gushing of Peter MacKay over Condi). Further the Alberta Minister of Health has been making statements about privatizing more and more of Alberta's health care system. There's also the escalation of our involvement in Afghanistan with sending our tanks in as well. All in all a busy week for sure. I have decided to write about an interesting development with the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party.

It would seem that all is not well inside the super-secret party. There is a movement calling itself Renewal Alberta looking at "democratizing" the Alberta PC's. A glance at what the Renewal Alberta types want is a laundry list of what's wrong with the Alberta Tories. From cleaning up the Tory nomination process at the constituency level to the party hierarchy actually paying attention to rank and file members of the party. Their list of "reforms" seem to indicate that the rot that has set into the Alberta PC party is visible now to even it's own members. This is interesting since one would hope that a political party in a democratic society wouldn't need democratizing in the first place. It also is interesting in that it shows that the the government is completely out of touch of not just the people of Alberta but also the members of its own party. It further shows that there are huge cleavages inside the party, cleavages that could rip it apart if the new leader isn't good at pleasing everyone.

On democratizing a political party. One would think that in a democracy, the parties that run in elections are based on democratic principles. As I have opined on this blog before, this doesn't seem to be the case of the Conservatives, especially in this case, the Alberta PC's. The average PC party member is feeling just as disenfranchised as the rest of us. The problem for everyone is that if the party isn't democratic in the way it acts internally, the commitment to democracy of those at the top also has to be questioned. Shady nomination processes, top-down policy development all show that the party isn't a democracy. It's more like an authoritarian dictator paying lip service to the trappings of democracy. One has to wonder if that's how the party leadership (which also happens to be the government leadership) thinks about and treats its own supporters, imagine what they think about the rest of us.

Now those of us who aren't PC members can well attest to how badly the governing Tories are out of touch of the population. It's interesting to see that the party is increasingly out of touch with its own members. The party seems to be so beholden to its corporate backers that it is willing to ignore its base support. As the Renewers (Renewites?) pointed out, this caused over 200 000 people who've previously voted PC to stay home last election. This needs to be a warning to the Tories that selling policy to whoever gives the best donation is starting to annoy the party members. Of course it's been annoying the rest of us for years now, but non-members don't count for even less than party members in the party leaderships' eyes. This apparent insulation from the membership and the population in general hurt the Tories at the polls last election and will continue to hurt them unless they fix this problem.

Finally it shows that these problems could tear the party apart. There are already huge cleavages within the Alberta PC's such as those between social and fiscal conservatives or those between red and blue Tories. A further cleavage would make it even harder to keep all the factions working together. A faction that wants the party to go in another direction, if not sated to some extent, will eventually leave to either another political party or to form another political party. This will further split the conservative vote and hurt the Tories at election time.

It remains to be seen how much support this renewal process has. The party hierarchy may stomp on it hard to kill it in order to prevent change. It could embrace it in order to stay in power. Either way it will likely make internal Tory party politics interesting to watch, as some of it is now out in the open and can be watched, over the next few months. It also makes the job of whoever is coronated party leader that much harder. Personally I'd love it if this fractured the party to the point where they can't win an election. Alberta needs a change.

So much to write about.. | 2 comments | Create New Account
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So much to write about..
Authored by: Anonymous onWednesday, September 13 2006 @ 06:36 MDT
Yes, but many of the people running to replace Ralph are even more dictatorial than Ralph has been. I'd imagine that guys like Morton, or Doerksen, would make the party even more secretive than it is today.

- Grog