Alberta Politics

forty years of political hegemony over alberta.

Calgary Herald August 31, 1971 Peter Lougheed Alberta Election Now
The cover of the Calgary Herald on August 31, 1971.

Forty years ago today, Albertans voted to end the 36 year rule of the Social Credit League and let the light shine as Peter Lougheed‘s Progressive Conservatives scored their first majority election victory and Albertans voted to adopt Daylight Savings Time.

The August 30, 1971 election saw the Lougheed Tories edge out Premier Harry Strom‘s Social Credit by a narrow vote (296,934 votes to 262,953 votes) that was not reflected in the number of MLAs each party elected (49 PC MLAs and 25 Social Credit MLAs). The NDP also landed their first solid beachhead in the Assembly with the election of leader Grant Notley in the northern Spirit River-Fairview constituency. The only party leader to not win a seat in the Assembly was Liberal leader Bob Russell, who placed third in St. Albert.

Since that day forty years ago, the PC Party has won nearly every general election with ease. With the exception of the 1993 election, where the Liberals led by former Edmonton Mayor Laurence Decore appeared to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against rookie Premier Ralph Klein, the PCs have thrown every opposition leader into a meat grinder.

The PCs have not survived as one of the most successful political organizations in Canada by being nice guys. While driven by a vague set of principles, Alberta’s natural governing entity is essentially an amorphous blob on the subject of policy, following trends and public opinion – straddling the ideological centre while appeasing the various corners of its very large political tent. This positioning has allowed the PC Party to appeal to a wide-range of Albertans, who already largely self-identify as “conservative.” Being the sure bet for an election win has also helped the PC Party recruit talented candidates from across the political spectrum and build strong (and well-funded) local organizations across the province.

The PC Party is also ruthless on the subject of keeping its hold on power. As PC members vote select a new leader on September 17, 2011 it may be smart for the leadership candidates to reflect on the historical fact that only one PC leader, Premier Lougheed, was allowed to leave gracefully on his own time. Each leader following Premier Lougheed – Don Getty, Ralph Klein, and Ed Stelmach – were in one way or another shown the door when they appeared to be a threat to the PC Party’s continued political success.

9 replies on “forty years of political hegemony over alberta.”

Ah, Dave. Hegemony, really? Unless a PC government of Alberta decides to take over the other members of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region, or even the New West Partnership, the party doesn’t really fit the classical definition of hegemony. And it’s such a nasty word, as is ruthless. We prefer to think of ourselves as benevolent and pragmatic ;-). Four(ty) more years!

Lougheed never invisioned Alberta to become a province of bullying, intimidation and secrecy. Where FOIPS go unfulfilled and downright refused. Where health authorites muzzle and gag well meaning doctors and nurses. ER waitlist patient deaths and doctors paid and muzzled shut. The world’s second largest oil reserve YET, still the lowest royalties and students and seniors getting nickeled and dimed and still this gov’t can’ balance the books, nor can they build infrastructure, NOR do they have any long term vision for growth!

Don’t kid yourself, buddy, a province is not the PARTY, it is the people in it. This party does not own the province. Peter Loughheed would dissapprove of many things this province has become, it is only the same party by name only. Peter Lougheeds’ original style and culture of governance is completely gone and abscent.

The only way to bring it back, is to send this regime to a catastrophic electoral demise next election, if people are willing to wake up and realize that they are being royally screwed here! It was done in 1971 to the Socreds, now it is time for this regime to go the same way!

Aw, dude. You had to go and get all serious on me. Really, you need to relax and recognize that ranting at someone you don’t know isn’t all that productive. Having lived in many different jurisdictions in this wonderful country, and even a couple in the US, I can tell you it really isn’t hell on earth here in Alberta, so keep your chin up, little buckaroo!

Yes, wonderful place, could be better though, a lot better. If Lougheed was running today, he would be running for the liberals, not the PCs. Great place to be, horrible governance.

So after 40 years this is what the PC campaigns have come to… “It could be worse” said with a shrug.

Seems pretty close to those SoCred ads Dave was showing, although perhaps even less inspired. If the progressive oppositions of Alberta ever merge and find a half decent leader (*cough Rachel Notley cough*) then the PCs might see what a real contest looks like. Lucky for them that doesn’t seem likely to happen anytime soon. People like Dave are too content to further fracture the already divided progressive front…

I love how all you crankypants types put your own spin on what I say. So it doesn’t matter what I say. I would implore you both to keep smiling, but that would probably be pointless. Buh-bye.

There are too many leftist hacks more than willing to crack the centrist and left vote, right Dave Berta? Thanks to second, third and 4th place achievers, the Tories have always gotten a free ride, they thank you for giving them a free ride and making it easy. Dave, keep up the fight with the Liberals, and NDP, the Tories love it! Either you left splitters do this because you don’t know what you are doing, or you are doing this for the benefit of the Tories, knowingly or unknowingly. The truth is somewhere in those craniums.

You might be a little out of touch with the times, perhaps still stuck in 1971. A lot has happened since, if you read anything. The beef still keeps me smiling though, despite all of that!

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