As I sit at my desk on this Tuesday morning, I am aware of the Alberta provincial election happening across the border. By the time you read this, the premier of Alberta will have been chosen, and political pundits and pollsters will be dissecting the election ad nauseam.
Who will win? Who will be the next premier of Alberta?
All signs point to the anointment being bestowed upon the United Conservative Party leader, Jason Kenney.
While sitting around the kitchen table last evening with friends, talk turned to the looming election. Everyone echoed how much they like Premier Rachel Notley, how they feel her sincerity in what she says and does, but ended with, “But she won’t be re-elected.”
Rachel is well liked. In fact, a radio commentator said recently (and I am paraphrasing) that Rachel has a high approval rating as a person. The individual went on to say that everyone really likes her but she would be the most well-liked premier who won’t get re-elected.
So, maybe it’s true that nice people finish last?
There has been plenty of mud-slinging in the Alberta election by both of the front-running parties. Neither the UCP nor the NDP are squeaky-clean when it comes to throwing sand in the political sandbox.
The evolution of the conservative political parties in Alberta has been intriguing to watch. The Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta under the leadership of folks like Peter Lougheed, Don Getty, and Ralph Klein was a strong, unified group.
The introduction of the Wild Rose Party, a right of centre party with much stronger conservative values, seemed to fracture Alberta, and who could forget the upheaval that occurred under the leadership of Alison Redford. It was natural that those who felt that the Progressive Conservative Party was not representing their conservative values would then support the Wild Rose Party.
Hm. If only there were something in the middle of the Progressive Conservative Party and the Wild Rose Party? Ta-da! The United Conservative Party was born.
That is my Coles Notes version.
It really wasn’t the middle though was it? The UCP is very much right of centre in it’s philosophy and, if the pollsters are correct, we will see them as the governing political party in Alberta.
Albertans want jobs. Albertans want their economy to rebound. Albertans want stability. Albertans will vote for the UCP because of those reasons and the belief that a changing of the guard will provide those results. As we watch from Northeast B.C., we hope that they are correct.
They don’t care if Jason Kenney is likeable or not.
My crystal ball this morning is nothing more than the sunlight streaming through my window, hitting a water glass, and refracting onto the ceiling. I can’t be certain of any of my predictions, but there is something that I know for sure.
Many marginalized Albertans have had a taste of what it is like to be heard, to be seen and to be understood. Under Premier Notley’s leadership, they have been reassured that they have a voice and that government will listen.
I don’t believe for a moment that you can turn back time and go back to the way it was years ago. If elected, the United Conservative Party will need to listen to everyone, to all Albertans, not just their base.
Judy Kucharuk is a lover of sarcasm, witty people and footnotes.