Wildrose Party wages permanent negative campaign against Redford Tories.

Alberta Wildrose Party Negative Ad

A yet to be released negative ad from the Wildrose Party.

The Wildrose Party is running a permanent negative campaign against the long-governing Progressive Conservative Party. Not taking time to break after their defeat in the May 2012 election, Danielle Smith and her 16 Wildrose MLAs are pushing hard to make Alison Redford’s Tories look corrupt and un-conservative.

Taking a more aggressive approach than their predecessors in the official opposition benches, the Wildrose have stunned the Tories into a stammer. Relentlessly berating the Tories for taking new approaches towards capital financing, the Wildrose Party are doing their best to cast the Tories as Conservatives in Name Only (CINOs). Gary Bikman, the Wildrose MLA from the deep rural south Cardston-Taber-Warner constituency, has started referring to the Tories as the “Progressive Party” on his Facebook Page.

The opposition is limited in the tactics available to them, so Wildrose MLAs use the “open-mic” available in Question Period to launch unrelenting attacks against Tory cabinet ministers. Taking a cue from the federal Conservatives in Ottawa, preambles to questions asked by Wildrose MLAs are now typically little more than negative partisan attacks. Considering the strong connections between the Wildrose Party and the Ottawa Conservatives, it is not surprising that they would adopt a similar strategy.

Here is a sample of a typical question asked by a Wildrose MLA during Question Period:

Mr. Speaker, this government has mismanaged our ___________ for years: illegal donations from ___________, outrageous expenses on ___________. Albertans are saying that they’ve had enough of the abuse from this government and enough of living in the most oppressive, intimidating environment that anyone could find themselves in. Will the Minister of ___________ finally recognize that years of systemic waste, abuse, intimidation, and disrespect on the part of this government have led to this crisis situation and immediately change his course of action and start addressing the obvious concerns of Albertans?

Short translation: “Mr. Speaker, can the Minister tell me why he is so awful at his job?

Anyone who has watched Question Period will know that it always includes a certain level of partisan rhetoric, but the level the level of partisan rhetoric has dramatically increased since the Wildrose MLAs formed official opposition this year. For example, earlier this week Two Hills-St. Paul-Lac La Biche Wildrose MLA Shayne Saskiw was called out for insinuating that the Premier’s sister, Lynn Redford, was a criminal (our justice system still operates under the presumption of innocence in this country).

It is a cynical approach towards politics. Not winning by offering better ideas or stronger leadership but by dragging your opponents deeper into the mud.

Speaker Gene Zwozdesky and Vermilion-Lloydminster Tory MLA Richard Starke have pleaded for decorum in the Assembly. But with the opposition MLAs unlikely to change their tactics, not all members of the Tory cabinet are willing to be great contributors to a reasoned debate.

Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk, who has been charged as the Question Period attack dog, strikes back at the Wildrose MLAs with ease. The Deputy Premier recently accused Ms. Smith of throwing her party’s candidates and Albertans under a bus. As any veteran opposition politician can attest, the Tories have not been in power for forty-one uninterrupted years by “being nice.”

Albertans tired of the rhetoric from this year’s elections should settle in and accept the reality that the negative campaign did not end on April 23, 2012. This campaign will continue until at least the next election.

42 thoughts on “Wildrose Party wages permanent negative campaign against Redford Tories.”

  1. The “nice guy” Liberals and NDP had 40 years to politely dislodge the Tories. It never worked. Now it’s time for someone else to try a different approach. I’d rather have a dirty democracy full of mudslinging than no democracy at all…

  2. I’m all the more curious about designations of ‘negative’ campaigning. In the recent US election Obama was accused of running a very negative campaign, and I didn’t think that was the case. (Remember Bush on Kerry in ’04? Now THAT was a negative campaign) I will always want to have the Official Opposition take it to a cronyism-like-you-wouldn’t-believe Tory “Dynasty”. But the WRP aren’t going to press the PCs into correcting the biggest problems (flax tax, royalties) so I can’t see myself supporting them. Oh yeah, their social agenda is an albatross they won’t escape anytime soon.

  3. “Albertans are saying that they’ve had enough of the abuse from this government and enough of living in the most oppressive, intimidating environment that anyone could find themselves in.” Really? Who is saying that? They need a perspective adjustment. I’m hardly a champion of of the PC’s, but when there are so many valid criticisms of government ineptitude, it seems a little ridiculous to start claiming we are living some sort of terrible Albertan nightmare, the tragic casualities of a right-wing dynasty, who can only be saved by ‘righter’-wingers. But I guess it makes for good tv.

  4. Four years of them punching each other in the face is great. Let them go at it, the civil war on the right has begun.

  5. Here is a definition of Opposition and by definition the Wildrose Party is doing the job that they are in the official position of doing and during the regime of this current governments reign of power that other official opposition parties have failed to do. Now that there is a party that has the guts to stand up for us Albertans As @WadeIzzard stated let them go at it. The winner of this fight needs to be the people of Alberta and if this is what it takes then all the power to them. AS @Neal stated nice hasn’t worked has it now?

    ~source of definition:
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/opposition
    op·po·si·tion
    [op-uh-zish-uh n] Show IPA

    noun
    1.
    the action of opposing, resisting, or combating.

    2.
    antagonism or hostility.

    3.
    a person or group of people opposing, criticizing, or protesting something, someone, or another group.

    4.
    ( sometimes initial capital letter ) the major political party opposed to the party in power and seeking to replace it.

    5.
    the act of placing opposite, or the state or position of being placed opposite.

    6.
    the act of opposing, or the state of being opposed by way of comparison or contrast.

    7.
    Logic.
    a.
    the relation between two propositions that have the same subject and predicate, but which differ in quantity or quality, or in both.

    b.
    the relation between two propositions in virtue of which the truth or falsity of one of them determines the truth or falsity of the other.

    8.
    Astronomy . the situation of two heavenly bodies when their longitudes or right ascensions differ by 180°: The moon is in opposition to the sun when the earth is directly between them.

    9.
    Astrology . the situation of two heavenly bodies or groups of heavenly bodies whose celestial longitudes differ by 180°, conducive to confrontation or revelation: an astrological aspect.

    10.
    Electricity . the condition that exists when two waves of the same frequency are out of phase by one-half of a period.

    11.
    Linguistics .
    a.
    the relationship between any two alternative units within a linguistic system, especially between minimally distinct phonemes.

    b.
    the feature that constitutes the difference between two such units.

  6. A bit of a taste of their own medicine, I’d say. The PCs have been guilty for years of intimidating/bullying people into (at least) silence.

    Sure I’d rather have positive public debate… and I find a couple of the Wildrose MLAs to be over-the-top… but some of their points (Bill 2/campaign financing) are totally valid. The uber-negative framing… not so much. Like them or not… the WRP are affecting the sense of entitlement the PCs have had for far too long.

    If we’re prepared to give Ms Redford a chance to show her progressive instincts, I propose giving the WRP the same amount of time to prove themselves as an effective Official Opposition. They’re still learning and hopefully they will see they can still ask the tough questions without the hyper-partisan overtones.

  7. Most Albertans who follow politics at all have expressed distaste for the conduct we’re seeing in the leg these days (and that was BEFORE the election). Instead of “growing up” as a province and becoming focused on what we can build together and how we can be strong, we’ve sunk into the most partisan government we’ve ever had. Only a few months into the term, I’m already tired of my WRP MLA spending all of her time and energy in partisan outrage (read: posturing) rather than working positively to meet the needs of the constituency. Anyone can tear down; show me what you want to build.

  8. The most vicious, partisan force in the Legislature is, and has always been the PC Government. Good on the opposition for learning how to fight back.

  9. Dave – lovely irony

    You post a piece accusing the Wildrose of negativity and on the very same day you post an “attack” on Redford for the Tobacco conflict of interest.

    Good times

  10. I for one am really enjoying watching the opposition hold the PC feet to the fire, and I think it’s about time that people like Notley, Blakeman and Mason finally got some help. The larger, more aggressive opposition has given them a much needed boost of energy. I love that the WR and NDP “tag team”! I watch QP regularly and I watch body language and the people sitting behind the ministers. Smith is right when she said of the PCs in her speech on the weekend “How they HATE it!”

    After 41 years, the PCs are so complacent, so sure they are right about everything all the time, and so unused to being held to account, their only defense is to be even more snarky, rude, dismissive and angry, or else hide like the premier seems to be doing.

    I’d love it if our elected representatives behaved like the intelligent adults they all told us they were when they got elected, but as several here have pointed out “nice” hasn’t worked so far and certainly hasn’t prevented the PC ‘family’ from strengthening it’s strangle hold on every aspect of our province.

    I say, keep it up, opposition members! This entire opposition represents the nearly 57% of us who did not vote for this government, and our representatives need our support, even if we may not always agree with the tone. If this is what it takes to squeeze even the tiniest bit of honesty and accountability out of this government, go for it!

  11. The Time has come for the Rise of the Liberal in Alberta. Voters don’t want the ND’s. AP is defunct junk status. AB is mostly progressive and won’t want WR, according to last election. The Pee Sees are upto their eyeballs in 41yrs of accumulation moral and ethical diarhea. Calgary centre was a thermometer that Liberal Values and Progressive values are strong and rising and a message has been sent. Redfraud is upto her eyeballs in the brown stuff and will likely have a very tough time coming out of that review as a winner. Next leadership review will only give rise to another Corrupt Pee See puppet, who won’t be able to repel the opposition. There will be NO more lakes of fire or concocted boogemen to scare off bumpkin voters. The Liberal Rise is inevitable.

  12. I was on the receiving end of a clearly-sponsored-by-the WRA IVR-style poll the other day (we’re dinosaurs who still have a landline, so the sample-size for these things is, like, our household and a whole bunch of seniors).
    Anyway, it is customary to test one’s arguments in politics, and it is always curious to me how people on “the other side” are thinking about framing issues, and what they think is worthwhile building a frame around. This IVR concerned itself with WRA arguments, contrasted with PC arguments, on capital spending, campaign donations (the Katz issue was specifically mentioned), and release of reports of the Chief Electoral Officer. In other words, (mostly) really, REALLY “Under-The-Dome” stuff. But what the tactics suggest to me is that the WRA is hearing back from Albertans that they aren’t at all happy. There are wedges, clearly, in Alberta politics, otherwise the WRA would be taking a different tack, and I suspect many of those wedges centre around “tired, old, corrupt” kind of issues. This jives with what I heard a lot on the doorstep last fall and spring. In other words: there remains a decent amount of discontent out there, and whoever works for it and speaks to it will win seats.

  13. And Stephen Harper was a heluva opposition leader, they will succed. The opposition job is to oppose, Liberals and NDP didn’t accomplish anything by just complaining and not taking action, the opposition needs to take this bull by the horns. Finally there is a party that actually cares enough to do it.

    By the way , this picture doesn’t belong to WRP.

  14. @Jane I though the ridiculousness of the image made it pretty clear that it was satirical.

    I have edited the caption so that Wildrose Party supporters won’t be confused.

    - Dave

  15. Actually I’m kind of happy they are labeling the PC party the Progressive Party. I like progress. I like progressive thinking. Better than the Neanderthal group that is the Wildrose.

  16. “I have edited the caption so that Wildrose Party supporters won’t be confused.” LMAO. I got the humour, even if jane still hasn’t.

  17. Personally, I’m terribly disappointed that the WRP opposition isn’t speaking out about the harmful impacts of the PCs’ vicious anti-unicorn policy. I thought that I’d finally seen a torch of political hope in the unicornless dark, but it turns out it was just satire.

    Good post, though

  18. What would you have the Opposition do? Play nice – they have presented amendments to Bills ( and the PC’s mockingly tear up their page while the member is speaking to it), the PC ‘s are catcalling and mock the dress choice of the WR members, etc etc. I have watched a few debates and question periods and the PC MLA ‘s are not very “adult”.

    The NDP, Liberals, and WR are attempting to get amendments done to bills to iMovie them- that is what they are supposed to do. To stand for something or move policy forward does not necessarily mean that you tear down and through out Bills presented. Often the changes they request actually do follow their policy. That is what Opposition is to do- to challenge legislation brought forward to make it better!

    The fact that they are challenging illegal donations, questionable recommendations by MLA to award contracts, etc, etc. where do you want these exposed? Corruption happens when good men do nothing!

    I am glad that the NDP, Liberals and WR are finally strong enough to shine a bit light into some of the darkness. And it is not necessarily the opposition that brings these to light – for example it was the CBC that broke the story. Why cannot the PC’s be challenged? The letter signed by Redford is pretty clear and it is her signature

  19. One more thing. I see you pointed out the Shane Sakiwy comment. But Denis- Justice Minister – was also reprimanded for comments to Liberal Blakeman. Just to be fair in pointing fingers.

  20. And just what does the WRP stand for, all Albertans can see of the opposition is Sheila Copps rat pack tactics, screaming and finding a conspiracy under every snuff can lid, all while the CEO’s of a 40 billion dollar company are trying to conduct business. Why are people moving here in droves, it is not to watch this sh..show, it’s because of the way this province has been operated for over 40 years. There are no backstabbing grandstanding clowns allowed in boardrooms, why do we want them in the Leg., these people are nothing more than self important jackasses, and an extreme embarrassment to business minded Albertans

  21. A spoof Wildrose ad really needs a far less flattering photo of the Premier. Surely you can use one courtesy of Sunmedia?

  22. THe Wildrose Party should be ashamed and embarassed of their childless behaviour. Let our PC Government do their job they said they will do. Stop the mud slinging and mean girl accusations. Talk about a hen fight and Daniel Smith is the biggest hen of all.

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