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Sunday, June 16 2024 @ 05:53 MDT

Calgary whines, Liepert yawns.

Jason ramblingIt never ceases to amaze me the intellectual twists and turns an Alberta Conservative supporter will do in the interests of party loyalty. Earlier this week provincial health minister Ron Liepert caused a small uproar when he called Calgarians a bunch of whiners for complaining about the level of health care in this city. The next day on CBC's Calgary Eyeopener's political panel, the staunch Tory was all aghast that Liepert would say such a thing, being unable to fathom why the minister would call Calgarians whiners. What the staunch Tory failed to realizes is that Liepert said what he did because he could.

As Dylan of Right of Center Ice put it, the worst that will happen to Liepert and his caucus mates is that some Tory supporters will stay home. This means absolutely nothing for the vast majority of Tory seats in the province. Let us look at the numbers for Mr. Liepert's riding of Calgary West. If one in four of his supporters stay home next election and nothing else changes, what will the results be for Mr. Liepert? Well his vote total goes from 8428 to 6321, which means he still wins the seat. This is assuming that over 2100 Tories stay home, an unlikely scenario. More than likely only a couple of hundred of erstwhile Tory supporters stay home which would drop his vote from around 8400 votes to around, say 8000 votes and Ron would win with 46.6% of the vote and not 48%. The fact that Liepert didn't get over 50% of the vote makes this a marginal riding for the Tories and the likely stay at home vote won't change things here. In most of the ridings where the provincial Conservatives won, they did so with over 50% of the vote. This means that even in the unlikely event of one quarter of the Conservative vote were to stay home, they'd still win with an astounding majority.

This is, of course, why Liepert and the rest of the cabinet can do and say pretty much what they want with impunity since they know whatever minor storm they create won't cause massive voter defection to other parties. It barely causes massive voter stay-at-homedness. It, apart from one or two seats, won't affect the party's electoral fortunes. As an aside, it is also why the Harper Tories also have no fear about elections in Alberta outside of Redmonton. If you win by 10,000+ votes, you can afford to ignore thousands of voters with impunity.

Now having lived here in Alberta for most of my life I understand this. As I said it amazes me that the average Tory supporter doesn't. At worst they stay home, claiming a lack of alternatives despite there being other conservative parties on the provincial landscape that they could safely vote for as a protest. At best they make all sorts of excuses for continuing to vote for a party that on the outside they claim to be upset at. You'll get excuses like "well I liked the local candidate" or "there's no one else to vote for". Which is the perplexing part. So you don't like what the party is doing, but you refuse to vote for someone else in order to send that message? It's almost as if Albertans don't understand how democracy is supposed to work. They keep doing the same thing over and over again and can't understand why things aren't changing. What gets me is that they are surprised by this.

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