The slogan on the back of every license plate in Alberta is “Wild Rose Country”. The wild rose is the provincial flower of Alberta, and usually starts to bloom in late May. However, during our recent provincial election, the bloom has opened earlier than usual, in the form of Danielle Smith and the Wildrose Party.After 41 years of Progressive Conservative governments in Alberta, the province is experiencing a shift to the right. The Wildrose represents that shift with conservative fiscal and social elements in their platform. A sort of provincial nationalism has been touted by Smith in the campaign where she threatens the reigning government wants to change Alberta and she wants to keep Albertans the way they are, while returning the government to one of Albertan values.
To that end, Smith has numerous candidates running under her flag who have said and done outrageous things in their past. One has fraternized with white supremacy groups. Another has openly advocated the bullying of gay youth. Still another has said being caucasian gives him an advantage is the ability to communicate with society.
Smith has not denounced any of these candidates. Instead, she has cloaked herself in free speech, allowed her candidates to hide behind their religious podiums, and has said there’s nothing wrong with what was said.
Smith had to know this was coming. Her party instituted a so-called ‘bozo bond‘ of $1000 for candidates choosing to run for the party. With a socially conservative base, extreme viewpoints were bound to come forward, the bond was to silence that. It didn’t work, and Smith didn’t back down.
On the flip side, while supporting those who use mythology as their reasons for promoting intolerance, Smith has denied science. She says she has doubts about the validity of the accepted fact that human actions have affected changes in our climate. 97% of scientific papers on the topic have come to the same conclusions – what we do affects the temperatures of our planet, and our behaviour should be modified. Smith isn’t convinced.
A full 75/87 of her candidates have no elected experience. One has to wonder what kind of cabinet she will be able to fashion from this motley bunch. Great leader or no, this is not a dictatorship we elect, they need a team, and Danielle does not have a reasonable team behind her.
While I’m all for fiscal conservancy and a government that chooses to support citizens when times are bad, and get out of their way when times are good, I have to balance that desire with respect for my fellow citizens.
When I first moved to Alberta, I joked that having a 40+ year reign in government, was like being in Cuba, Venezuela, China, or North Korea where one regime holds power for generations. There was no way I was going to vote for a party like that.
Like the video says, I never thought I’d vote PC. Well, I voted yesterday and I did. Wildrose country is not my country.