You can imagine the Wildrose Alliance adherents gathering their belongings and families, loading their Voortrekker wagons, shouldering their long guns and setting off north to new lands. They are a tough breed. It is too bad that the tundra to the north of Alberta is so forbidding. They hardly want to go there. And their real leader, Stephen Harper, is too busy in Ottawa to lead them.
It means the spaced-out Trekees of the Wildrose Alliance will have to suck it up for the next four years. Alison Redford is Premier with a 61-member majority and the rabid Wildrose supporters will have to settle for Redford’s watered down Conservatism. She will have an opposition made up of Danielle Smith and more than dozen Wildrose snapping at her heels. That must not be a pleasant prospect for Redford after seeing how comfortable Smith is with the media and how they respond to her.
It was the media that almost made Smith the winner. With Tom Flanagan manipulating the Wildrose campaign, the media followed his trail of bread crumbs to favourable polls. Some of those polls were quite fanciful and the news media obviously wanted to be suckered into believing and reporting them.
But Flanagan went too far. His propaganda campaign for Wildrose reached such a crescendo of conviction that it scared many of Alberta’s Liberal party supporters. Enough of these stalwarts switched their votes to keep Smith and her Libertarian mob out. The Liberal voters opted to support the less strident and more trusted Progressive Conservatives. It leaves the real, non-Conservative opposition in the Alberta Legislature to five Liberals and four NDPers until the next election.
What is really scary about Smith is her loose cannon approach to Canadian politics. While she calls herself a Libertarian, it is not a term for which academics can agree on a definition, nor do most people understand the implications of the term. Yet, it is probably the only word that describes her extreme conservative views other than a comparison to the American Tea Party. There have been many groups such as the Tea Party emerge from the American southwest over the years. They are something that should be kept in the closet and only brought out to scare the kids on Halloween.
Sometimes, you get the feeling that Prime Minister Harper wants to keep the extremists around to make him look almost sensible. The only problem is that when you check back over some of the diatribes Harper used to write for the National Citizens Coalition (NCC), you realize he and Danielle Smith are reading from the same page.
Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry
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