Powerful money and determined men are behind her skirts
Troy Media – Catherine Ford
The Alberta election is not a catfight between two women, but a battle between the past and the future.
Progressive Conservative leader and provincial Premier Alison Redford represents the future. Wildrose leader and presumptive – not putative – premier Danielle Smith represents the past.
It’s a past with a shiny new face masking old and tired issues born out of Western resentment and rooted in the social conservatism of Social Credit.
Redford would take Alberta to the table of Confederation as an economic powerhouse.
Smith would take Alberta back to the days of the 2001 firewall letter then signed by now-Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Wildrose campaign manager, University of Calgary professor Tom Flanagan. They and their colleagues would have built a metaphorical firewall about the province. We would have become Fortress Alberta, Canadian in name, but not in influence, intent or interest. For all purposes, we’d be wedged between California and Colorado, American in influence, but not in reality.
That is the direction Wildrose wants to take this province.
It is all dressed up in language designed to lure the discontented. Tired of school fees? Wildrose would eliminate them. Tired of hospital wait times? We’ll give you the right to go elsewhere. Want some of that oil money in your own pocket? Wait for our $300 cheque.
The easy media focus has been, since the election was called for April 23, on the gender factor. That, too, is a step backward. By characterizing this provincial election as being between two women – two equal women – the important issues of the parties they both represent are sidelined in the sheer titillation of the experience.
This is worse than just sloppy reporting coupled with a tee-hee factor – look, women can wear boring formless suits, too; women can vote; women can act just like men. This is nonsense masking the reality that they are not equal, except for their gender.
Smith has no international experience, no history of living and working outside the comfort of Canada, no education beyond the University of Calgary and its cozy so-called Calgary School, which promotes a kind of Republican-lite politics. It is libertarianism without social justice; a form of populism that would have issues decided by referendum, so that the loudest and most vocal citizens would set the agenda for all. Frankly, it sounds good, but in reality that’s why we have elections, so that governments can do their jobs and citizens can go about doing theirs.
What works for a consensus committee doesn’t work for government policy.
In Alberta, it’s a way of thinking that was forged in the rise of Social Credit and its anger at Eastern interests.
Full disclosure: I’ve only briefly met Redford, but I worked with Smith and she is everything for which her admirers give her credit. She is smart, personable, good-looking, articulate and passionate about her beliefs. Never underestimate her.But never forget she represents the old-fashioned Alberta under a new banner that wears a skirt.
The roots of Wildrose are watered in the rural areas that continue to be suspicious of big cities and big government, even as they benefit from the facilities and services that thrive in modern cities – even as the bulk of our population lives and works in an urban setting. Listening to hard-line conservatives talk about freedom and rights and getting the government out of our lives sounds attractive.
That is, until one realizes that not all of us are strong enough, make enough money, have powerful and influential friends and can provide adequately for our own retirement.
The test of a civilized society is not how it treats the “deserving” whether they be poor, uneducated, mentally or physically challenged; a civilized society takes care of the least of its citizens, those who aren’t deserving of our charity, but who have a right to the umbrella of care. To do that, we need governments and their social safety net.
We don’t do it for them, we do it for ourselves. Those who believe in the Bible can reread the parable of the talents -— to whom much is given, much is expected. That is the kind of government we deserve.
There is powerful money and determined men behind Smith’s skirts, all wanting government oversight and interference out of their business and out of their lives.
As voters, we have a duty to choose between the past and the future when voting day arrives. But consider if your vote can be bought with a promise of $300 – you’re selling yourself and this province too cheaply.