Al­berta elec­tion will not be a pleas­ant cam­paign

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Opinion - RYAN DAHLMAN

Get set for one of the ugli­est, nas­ti­est, most no-is­sue based elec­tion ever in Al­berta.

If you don’t want to watch the mud­sling­ing, 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 is­ 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.

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