Wednesday, 31 August 2016 13:48

Where did the right go wrong?

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Those who are of Conservative ideals and support such political parties on a provincial and federal scale are enjoying 2016 as much as a Saskatchewan Roughriders fan.


Small “c” Conservative politicians are taking it on the chin these days.
A Saskatchewan poll shows “everybody’s favourite politician” and his party losing ground to the NDP and leader Trent Wotherspoon, who is a Regina MLA. Wall has been the most popular premier in the country in the past.
While the Sask. Party still has a two-digit lead over the NDP, the NDP has gained eight percentage points since the beginning of April according to the Postmedia poll. Not only that, of those surveyed, the NDP were more popular than the Sask Party in the Saskatchewan capital.
While that normally wouldn’t cause a lot of alarm, in Saskatchewan where Wall has been popular with his positive and populist ideals in a flourishing Saskatchewan economy, there is suddenly a blemish.
The world economy isn’t good right now and the Canadian prairies are no exception. There is debt in Saskatchewan where once surpluses ran like clockwork. Wall’s government spending has exceeded its revenues to the official tune of $675 million as of March 31, 2016. Throw in some scandals, including the embarrassing one with Global Transportation Hub (GTH) land which made headlines, the loss of three cabinet ministers including Herb Cox (health); Bill Boyd who was one of the founding members of the Sask. Party stepped down and Don McMorris, former deputy premier and head of SGI who faces impaired driving charges. Saskatoon University MLAEric Olauson was removed from a committee and told to stay off social media Aug. 31 after “liking” a social media post which supports violence against federal Liberal supporters.  Is this an implosion?
In Alberta, the NDP government is spending a lot of money, making sweeping policy changes to everything from environment and labour-related issues changing funding rules for political parties etc.
In rural Alberta, there is discontent and protests from many about the changes taking place. The wailing became louder after first quarter results released by finance minister Joe Ceci in late August indicated Alberta’s deficit is $10.9 billion. According to the Fraser Institute that means Alberta’s per-person budget deficit for 2016/17 is projected to be about $2,557 per person. Critics of the NDP say they are recklessly taking the province deep into debt.
What have voters heard from the Conservative parties? Pretty much nothing. The Progressive Conservative (interim) leader Ric McIver has been so absent from public view in the last couple of months that one wouldn’t even know he was still the leader. After the social media woes of former Wildrose finance critic Derek Fildebrandt who was reprimanded has been muzzled and neutralized on a topic for which he’s an expert.
Wildrose’s Brian Jean has also made sporadic appearances in the media.  When he did, it was for all the wrong reasons. According to a CBCreport, he made an awful mistake of making an inappropriate comment Aug. 30 at a townhall meeting Fort McMurray where he was addressing seniors housing there:  "I've been beating this drum for 10, 11 years. I will continue to beat it, I promise. But it's against the law to beat Rachel Notley." Not good.
So leadership is now an issue for the right wing parties. That’s also suffering controversy. Calgary MLA Sandra Jansen has been busy feeding her former media colleagues reasons why Wildrose and the Progressive Conservatives should never merge.
Just this week, she complained current Conservative MP Jason Kenney shouldn’t be allowed to run as a provincial PC leadership candidate because he wants to destroy the provincial PC party as the entity it is now which is against party rules to “harm the PCbrand.” It’s not only bad optics for the voting public with party in-fighting while seemingly ignoring an $11-billion provincial deficit.
Hence the problem with the right in Alberta: two, like-minded factions have executive who for  whatever reason known only to them (personality conflicts perhaps?) cannot put their right-wing ideology ahead of their own egos, quest for personal power and government perks.
Kenney is still collecting his MP salary and benefits. According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation he is due $121,000 in annual pension pay at age 55 and that rises to $140,000 when he turns 60. 
Federally, it seems there are no high-profile Conservative candidates wanting to run for the federal job Stephen Harper vacated.
Indeed, somewhere Trent Wotherspoon, Rachel Notley and Justin Trudeau are snickering, not being blue about the current state of Canadian politics.
Ryan Dahlman is managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact him with your comments about this opinion piece at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor