Get set for one of the ugliest, nastiest, most no-issue based election ever in Alberta.
If you don’t want to watch the mud-slinging, hear all of the insults, accusations, here’s a very simplified summary overview of what will happen from now until April 16:
Political Party A: Political Party B did ______
Political Party B: Did not … (fill in complicated, mind numbing explanation).
Political Party A: Did too.
Political Party B: Did not.
…..and so on and so on...
It will be nasty as the parties play a nasty game of cards with everyone saving their nasty-edged (Trump-like) trump cards to slap down on the table.
You can see the game from a mile away. Whether it is sympathizers or haters of certain political parties or the party workers themselves, the knives which have been saved are all of sudden going to be thrown.
The New Democratic Party under Rachel Notley earned a eye popping majority after 44 years of Progressive Conservative governance. A sense of entitlement couple with the the PC splinters the Wildrose who wound up breaking and ultimately fragmenting the right wing of Alberta politics.
To hold onto their majority, the NDP’s strategy is simple. To paraphrase: “we are the party of tolerance, caring compassion. We build schools, improve education, hospitals and roads. We believe in equality for all and we can be trusted, unlike them. We are the total opposite.”
Conveniently, damning information on Jason Kenney’s leadership bid comes out lo and behold the day before the election call. There is talk of infighting (old Wildrosers and PCers which never went away), plus a paper trail and allegations by those in the know of alleged kamikaze candidate Jeff Callaway who was to have purposely and unfairly undermined Kenney’s biggest rival Brian Jean.
In addition, information comes out on Caylan Ford a UCP candidate from Calgary, made some controversial remarks she made about a Neo-Nazi attack in Virginia featured in an article by PressProgress (according to “leaked messages). In the article, her statements have been described as at best being intolerant. Many people were upset by the remarks and were condemned by Notley and by Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi.
The NDP won the last election in convincing the voting public that not only were the Progressive Conservatives tired, corrupt and alluded to the fact there may be some intolerance within the WIldrose party now have it much easier with the two parties combining.
Now being led by Kenney a career federal politician who doesn’t induce any warm fuzzy feelings which is what Notley is selling to urban voters.
NDP cards on the table... UCP not to be trusted: arrogant and their leader is there under shady circumstances.
Kenney for his part will be focusing on getting Alberta operating like it was, eliminating the carbon tax (which he says is the first thing he will do, apply a lower minimum wage for those under 18 and be kinder to the business community. That and cut government spending and get closer to balancing the books.
Notley is generally (heavily disliked) in much of southern rural Alberta especially in the petroleum industry for her lack of support and inability to push the federal government on pipelines project, the shutting down of the coal industry; the forced and mishandling of Bill 6 in agriculture and ballooning deficit a major concern for those ideologically fiscal conservative. Media stories indicated that Alberta’s third quarter fiscal report had the debt at $56.8 billion and projected to rise to $95 billion by 2024.
UCP cards on the table: the NDP has no idea what they are doing economically and they are running the province into financial disaster.
Yet after all of that, this is not an election strictly based on issues...it is emotion behind the issues. This is a battle of the election campaign organizers. Neither party is squeaky clean but it will be the campaigners’ job to make the other one look bad.
The common goal and plea to the voters for both parties: Vote for us, we’re a less negative choice.
The UCP’s inability to avoid controversy vs. Notley’s controversial and brash ideology which flies in the face of traditional Albertan policies such as labour laws for agriculture, carbon tax which is unpopular with majority of people who have to pay more, and the apparent closeness with Justin Trudeau who last time we checked was having some credibility problems of his own.
It is not even an election about the leaders. Both are lightning rods for love and loathing. Both are equally as annoyingly smug, it is all about whether one believes in spend spend spend vs. fiscal tightening of the belt until it hurts…bad.
Regardless, both Kenney and Notley will draw a lot of emotional ire from their respective adversaries.
How voters will decipher the rhetoric and filter the emotion. Edmonton is strong NDP. Rural Alberta, especially in the south is strong UCP. Where the election will be won or lost is Calgary as there is an interesting mixture of voters who are hard to read.
Cover your ears and get the laundry detergent, it’s gonna get dirty.