Astonished to find itself with its back against a Wildrose wall, rejected by its traditional supporters, Alberta’s so-called Progressive Conservatives are putting the full-court press on New Democrats and Liberals to hold off a Wildrose Apocalypse by voting PC.
Polls suggest lots of voters are wavering. As a Conservative cabinet minister told me yesterday in Calgary Airport, many genuinely progressive voters in that town are seriously pondering holding their noses and voting Tory.
All I can say is “Don’t do it, people!”
At a time like this, in a place like this, there’s no way a vote for the NDP is a throwaway. Au contraire!
Yes, Albertans are fed up to the teeth the PC party and its arrogant ways. But remember, the Wildrose Party and the Conservative Party are the Same Party, Castor and Pollux, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. This PC-Wildrose split? It’s a family feud. And it’s just not that nice a family!
We don’t need a far-right opposition in Alberta to oppose a far-right government. We need a real opposition that will fight for the values and principles a majority of Albertans still share, even if sufficient numbers of them are conned into voting for one or other of the Wildrose-PC doppelgangers.
So it’s time, people, that we had a serious conversation about “strategic voting.”
Maybe there’s a place for strategic voting, but this is not it.
If you’re like me, you’re horrified at the prospect of electing a party whose leader thinks it’s acceptable for a candidate to advocate bullying gay young people, even if he does sincerely think that doing so may prevent their eternal souls from going down, down, down in the Lake of Fire.
But ask yourself, if your stomach turns at the thought of being represented by the party of Pastor Allan Hunsperger, the candidate who wrote that “accepting people the way they are is cruel and not loving,” how do you feel about being represented by the party of Ted Morton?
You know, Perfesser Morton, the former serious Tory leadership candidate, sometime finance minister, market fundamentalist ideologue and publicly paid cornpone philosopher who bloviated on marriage back in the day as follows: “The gay-feminist project has become a social engineering project – to use the coercive power of the state to undermine the existing family and to reconstruct in its place their gender-equal utopias.”
Dr. Morton’s answer to the reluctance of governments to use the Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ Notwithstanding Clause to ban the marriage of same-sex partners? Hold a referendum! Sound familiar?
So how is voting against Allan Hunsperger and getting Ted Morton instead going to help make Alberta a better place, pray?
On the other hand if we elect even a couple more New Democrats – and there are six or eight ridings in this province where that could happen if progressive voters hold firm and vote with their heads and their hearts, we’ll be a hell of a lot better off than if we trade one Regressive Conservative party for another, which is where “strategic voting” will get us this time.
If you’re like me, you’re very concerned about the Wildrose Party doing whatever it can to privatize and commercialize our public health care system.
So how is voting for the Conservatives going to help? Their history of trying to do the same thing under Ralph Klein and Ed Stelmach is well known. Having failed to win public support for privatization schemes under those two premiers, they plotted to impose it secretly. A confidential document leaked in November 2010 laid out their scheme to de-list health services, allow private insurance and begin the privatization process.
But Premier Redford promised to protect public health services, you say? Well, so she did. But don’t forget she also promised to identify services to privatize within six months! And seriously, even if she meant it about health care no strings attached, how long do you think Ms. Redford is going to remain the premier of Alberta after this debacle in the unlikely event the Conservatives manage to hang on to power by their fingernails?
Give me a break! The knives are out already. And once she’s gone, it’ll be the same old gang with the same old plans.
If you’re like me, you’re also likely concerned about the plank in the Wildrose platform that says they’d like to introduce right-to-work laws that would effectively ban unions, just like a real cotton-belt state in Dixie.
So how is that different than the plank in Ms. Redford’s just-released party platform, inserted there by her pals from the anti-union half of the construction industry, which aims to cripple the ability of unions to lobby for their members and for their members to be represented by the unions they choose?
And so it goes, depressingly on. You can’t tell one from the other.
And what’s to keep that Conservative you elect to keep another group of conservatives out of power from switching sides if the seats don’t tally up quite the way he planned? Not much, since there’s so little difference between the parties anyway.
It’s not as if it hasn’t happened before. Who can forget David Emerson, “Stephen Harper’s worst nightmare,” being sworn in as a Conservative cabinet minister two weeks after being elected as a Liberal by NDP voters fooled into being “strategic.” Some strategy!
No thanks. Progressive voters need to vote for progressive parties. And NDP voters in Edmonton and Lethbridge in particular, where New Democrats have some momentum, need to stick with the NDP.
Even out here in “The Toenail,” that little crescent-shaped sliver of St. Albert snipped off and gerrymandered onto the Spruce Grove riding to suit some long-forgotten Conservative need, I think I’ll be voting for Rev. J.J. Trudeau.
She might not have much chance in this riding, but at least I’ll have the opportunity to say I voted for Trudeau in Alberta, and a New Democrat to boot! And if there is going to be a miracle, I reckon God in Her wisdom is more likely to smile on Rev. Trudeau than on Pastor Hunsperger. Just saying.
Regardless, we’ve all thought about strategic voting from time to time. But on Monday, go, and sin no more. Vote for the NDP.
This post also appears on Rabble.ca.