Next week, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, Canada’s least-popular Premier, leading the third-placed Alberta PCs, is set to announce a Cabinet shuffle.
Too little, too late.
Yesterday’s floor-crossing of powerhouse former Cabinet Minister MLA Heather Forsyth, and rookie MLA Rob Anderson show how bad things are getting for Premier Ed.
So bad, in fact, Ed had his Token Social Conservative MLA, Ted Morton, raise the old spectre of vote splitting with Dave Rutherford on QR-77 earlier today.
The argument is mainly that Morton and other Alberta PC MLAs are largely “on-side” with what the WildRose Alliance stands for, but one does not get a chance to implement one’s ideas from opposition.
It is certainly true that Opposition means you don’t get to implement your ideas, but here in Alberta, the ideas of the majority of Albertans aren’t being implemented right now. We have a Liberal opposition with a Liberal-lite government. If we Albertans wanted a Liberal government, we’d have voted Liberal!
The next argument is the Drive-By-Fearmongering Argument: If you vote Wildrose Alliance, you’ll elect Liberal MLAs.
(Not that there would be a scrap of difference between a Liberal government and a PC government under Eddie…)
Mathematically, a vote-split might happen if, like what happened in Ontario in 1993, 97, and 2000, two parties are neck-and-neck in the polls; but last time I looked, the Alberta PCs were a distant third, behind even the Alberta Liberals, a party that hasn’t held power in Alberta since the early (very early) 20th Century.
I used to have a lot of respect for Ted Morton. He ran as an Alberta Reformer for the position of Senator-In-Waiting, and has, until recently, stood firm to his principles. However, now he has a Cabinet position, it is obvious that power has trumped principle for him. He’s sold out his true small-c-conservative principles in the name of hanging on to his Cabinet position.
Alberta is an interesting political place right now. Historically, this province has been governed by dynastic political regimes. The UFA swept the Liberals out, only to be swept out by the Social Credit Party later on. The Socreds were then wiped out in 1971 by the Peter Lougheed PCs, who have reigned virtually unopposed ever since. Every time, the party that has replaced the government has been a conservative alternative which has previously been unknown and virtually nonexistent.
History, it would seem, is repeating itself right now.