Alberta politics takes a negative turn online.

An unflattering photo of Danielle Smith in an image released online by the Premier's Communications Office.
An image released online by the Premier’s Communications Office.

MLA pay remains an uncomfortable issue for Alberta’s political leaders. Yesterday, MLA’s sitting on the Member Services Committee voted to freeze the annual cost-of-living increase to their salary and housing allowance ahead of provincial budget release on March 7, 2013.

“The rationale is clearly we want to lead by example,” Edmonton-Riverview Tory MLA Steve Young told the Edmonton Journal.

The decision to freeze MLA pay happens as rhetoric about politician and doctor pay has reached an all-time high (though the conflict is really about control).

A Wildrose image picturing Premier Alison Redford in a less than flattering light.
A Wildrose image picturing Premier Alison Redford in a less than flattering light.

Yesterday’s pay vote also resulted in more online mudslinging on Twitter’s #ableg hashtag, though this time from an unexpected source.

The Twitter account operated by Premier Alison Redford‘s Communications Staff  – @ABPremierComms – tweeted an image featuring an incredibly unflattering photo of Wildrose leader Danielle Smith with a quote she made at a meeting on June 7, 2012 (see image at the top of this post).

While distasteful, the reaction from the Premier’s Office is not unprovoked.

Over the past year, the official opposition Wildrose Caucus has released numerous images and info-graphics on Twitter and Facebook filled with harsh criticisms and unflattering photos of Premier Redford.

The harsh negative politics and aggressive use of images and info-graphics has helped the Wildrose Party cultivate a significant online following, who have helped spread their message through social media.

9 thoughts on “Alberta politics takes a negative turn online.”

  1. I agree with Joe and those grade school graphics posted by Wildrose on Danielle’s page are disturbing. Disturbing because they are creating a mob response from an angry bunch of followers. I’ve tried to read the comments, and even tried to defend a few of the mistruths published on that page until they removed everything and me from the page. Not once did I malign anyone, swear or call anyone names. I just calmly pointed out the truth, so I was removed. Now the angry mob has moved over to Alison Redfords Facebook page to rant and rave. They have exactly the same complaints on both pages, but rarely provide a solution.
    I’m glad to see our Government is finally prepared to defend itself. Its time to promote some of the good things the PC government has done over the past 41 years.

    While the Wildrose faithful yell about MLA pay, they should look at their own MLAs. They may not have voted for an increase in pay last fall, but I’ll bet every one of them cashes the cheque. If there is a Wildrose MLA who sends the excess back, I’d be interested to know him/her.

  2. The difference being that the Premier’s Communication staff is nominally non-partisan, while the Wildrose Facebook page is not being managed by the Leader of the Opposition’s Office staff, but hey, don’t let that difference bother you.

  3. Our province is run by petulant children. The PCs and the Wildrose should start talking about issues and stop letting political/communications staff with little education and no life experience define them in the eyes of the public. Seriously, I watch these idiots “debate” on Twitter and wonder why they are allowed out of their houses. NOBODY voted for you, kiddies.

  4. Ummm…your headline reminds me “Dog bites man”. Judging by the rhetoric and vitriol posted here and on other political websites and blogs, “negative” has been the rule, not the exception.

  5. Martin, that’s exactly what has happened since the Wildrose came on the scene. Nothing but ideological, negative, extreme politics.

  6. Albertans need to stop for a moment—think first, then react. We live in a complex world. Complicated issues aren’t settled with simplistic black/white, either/or solutions. (Unless of course you’re a PR guy blasting catchy slogans out into the ether). Both of those images were silly. The topic that deserves discussion is the government’s treatment of the doctors after 2 years of failed contract negotiations. A demonic picture of Danielle and a dopey picture of Alison isn’t getting us any closer to a solution.

  7. Negativity gets us no where. But election results prove that NEGATIVE works!!!! Look at the ads from the US in the last election, or the Canadian elections, and now Alberta. Scare tactics and negative ads work!! If they were not rewarded with positive results, they would not be doing them.

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