I have decided to take a couple of days to let the results of the recent Alberta, Canada Election sink in. On Tuesday May 5th, Karl Marx birthday ironically, Albertan’s for the first time in 44 years have voted for a party other than the Progressive Conservatives and elected a Majority NDP government. The NDP are notoriously left-wing socialist political party. Given I am only in my 30’s This has never happened in my life time before.
Alberta has never in its 110 year history elected a minority government and has a tendency to elect long-term governments. The PC’S were in power for 44 years and social credit for 35 years before them. Previous parties ran the province for 10-12 years each. All with Majority governments. Before I get into my thoughts on a NDP government and conservative loss I will just paint a picture of what our legislature looked like before and after the election.
Before the election the seat distribution looked like this
PC’S = 70 seats
Wild Rose = 8 seats
Liberals = 5 seats
NDP = 4 seats
Total = 87 seats
After Tuesday may 5th Election
NDP = 53 seats
Wild Rose = 20 seats
PC = 11 seats
Liberal = 1 seat
Alberta Party = 1 seat
Total 86 seats with Pending By-Election in Calgary Foothills, former premier Jim Prentice’s Riding.
The NDP have not had a successful long-term government anywhere in Canada and have never formed government on the federal level to my knowledge. No province has re-elected them to my knowledge more than one term. Provinces that have Elected them have started out as have provinces (meaning they send transfer payments as a form of provincial welfare to other provinces) to have not provinces (recipients of transfer payments). This happened in Ontario under Bob Rae. This is a historical election that will have and has had ripple effects across the country. This new government will have impacts across north America.
Alberta is a major energy sector employer and is one of the largest oil deposits on the planet with an estimated 1.7 trillion barrels of oil. The energy sector in Alberta is the single largest supplier of oil and gas to the U.S. for all intents and purposes the U.S. is effectively our only customer for Alberta oil. This change in government to left-wing, socialist anti-oil NDP should worry anyone whose job or energy needs are supplied by Alberta Oil. In other words anyone who lives in North America.
Now I am all for change, it was desperately needed in Alberta. The PC’S wildly intoxicated oil spending and fiscal mismanagement combined with their culture of entitlement and corruption need to be voted out. The positive I see in all of this is that the PC’S are no longer in charge of Alberta’s economy. The people have spoken and have made it clear that they no longer trust the PC’s. They have been sent back to a 3rd place party in the Alberta legislature.
The Wild Rose failed to bring anything to the table other than “we won’t raise your taxes” mantra. Brian Jean sadly was uninspiring at best. Rachel Notley however ran a campaign of hope for Albertan’s and they have responded by electing them to a majority government.
Whether this is good for Alberta and the rest of Canada or not remains to be seen but I am not holding my breath. While I am concerned about what the NDP will do while governing Alberta I must confess that I really don’t see any other parties that would honestly be any better than the NDP. On Facebook I encouraged my friends to either refuse their ballot or vote Wild Rose. Mainly because they are the most libertarian party in Alberta when it comes to their principles and positions on different issues. When it comes to political parties they all tend to be the same. If not at first they all end up on the same page and the bickering between them tends to be petty issues at best or disagreement on how to implement the same programs at best. As an example of this, not one political party in Alberta is willing to introduce private for profit health care as an alternative to public health care, however they spend a lot of time talking about how to keep socialized health care and improve the service without any meaningful changes. Every party talks about creating jobs and helping the “middle class” while spending time bickering over how to do just that.
Socialism is not the answer to our economic woes but smart fiscal management, low if any taxes at all and investment in our future. The best social program is a job, not welfare. Yet we have consistently in government both provincial and federally this idea that only the government can provide services and Jobs. The NDP would do so through socialism and welfare while the Wild rose would do so via the illusion of more free markets and competition. No political party in Alberta will be willing to implement this as the only viable option to the issues that plague our economy and society. It seems that the powers that be have this idea that only they can solve our problems by getting more involved instead of stepping aside and letting the market sort itself out. Persistent meddling in our personal and public lives has led to this situation that we are in now.
I wish that I could say that I have faith that the NDP will turn Alberta’s economic woes. I expect taxes will go up, and people will suffer. The PC’S plan would have increased taxes to support their wild spending and entitlement culture. The Wild Rose said they would not up your taxes but certainly had no plan to stop taking all the taxes the previous government was taking. They state they would reduce government cost by natural churn in the public sector but I felt that they did not have a solid plan to address the root problems that created the situation we have now.
When all is said and done the PC entitlement and corruption will have to be paid for by hard-working Albertan’s. The NDP have a lot of work to do to truly earn the people of Alberta’s trust if they hope to have a second government. This vote, if anything was a protest vote designed to send the PC’s a message that their corruption will no longer be tolerated.
In the aftermath of the vote Jim Prentice stepped down and resigned forcing a by-election in the riding he was elected in. He has come under much criticisms in the media for this, and I believe rightfully so as we just had an election and forcing a by-election is just one more added cost to Albertan’s in a province struggling to find more sources of revenues with a deficit in the billions. His choice to step down as leader of the PC Party of Alberta was the right thing to do. The PC’S have been decimated and rightfully so. Now Albertan’s must place their hope in the NDP government that has been elected to do the right thing and not make things worse for Albertan’s.
The final effects of this change remain to be seen . If premier elect Rachel Notley is smart, she will govern from a center position instead of extreme left that the NDP are famous for. Otherwise I hope that the NDP will be Alberta’s first one term government. We will just have to wait and see what the next 4 years hold for Alberta and whether they will have earned another shot at being the party in charge in 2019.