NDP members should remember there is no easy fix. Just ask the Alberta Liberals.
“This action reflects the isolationist politics of Alberta, but more importantly it is the result of the deep, deep malaise at the top end of the federal party. There is the little Toronto power group which throws the ball back and fourth to each other – they feed off each other.”
That was a quote from an Alberta Liberal activist attending the party’s convention in Calgary where members of the seatless party voted two-to-one to break ties and declare provincial independence from the Liberal Party of Canada led by Prime Minister Trudeau.
That was in February 1977.
Fast forward to today and, although the circumstances are different, you might hear something similar come from the mouth of an Alberta NDP member when talking about the provincial party’s relationship with the federal NDP in Ottawa.
There are serious questions being raised about the results of this poll, which make me question the results. For example, the regional breakdown of party support includes only 81 respondents surveyed from southern Alberta, which results in an unreliably high 11% margin of error (via @calgarygrit). The optimistic results for the Wildrose Party, which already receives daily enthusiastic editorial support from right-wing Sun media, leads me to take with a grain of salt any political polling produced by this media network.
Most legitimate polls, including those conduced by Leger Marketing and Environics, have shown the Tories with 45%-55% support province-wide and the three main opposition parties – Wildrose, NDP, and Liberals – grouped together in the mid-teens. A number of recent polls, including one conducted by Return on Insight, have produced results suggesting that the Wildrose Party has begun to break from the pack of opposition parties, which is not unbelievable at this point.
Recent heavy-handed actions by Premier Alison Redford suggest that the establishment of the 41-year governing party is beginning to worry about their electoral fortunes.
The release of negative radio ads (which were tame in my mind) suggests that the Tories are feeling pressure to hit back at harsh criticism by the Wildrose Party about new laws limiting blood alcohol levels to 0.05%.
The PCs are deliberately focusing their attacks on their largest perceived threat, the Wildrose Party, ignoring the current official opposition Liberals. Premier Redford’s appeal to political moderates has led to more than a few prominent Liberal supporters migrating to the PC Party, including two-term Lethbridge-East MLA Bridget Pastoor who crossed the floor to the PCs in November 2011. As Alberta’s dominant big tent political party, the Tories will naturally benefit from neutralizing any potential centrist opposition while trying to push the other opposition parties to the ideological fringes.
Email inboxes across the province yesterday were treated a to the “bing” signalling a new PC Party online newsletter touting Premier Redford’s fulfilled promise to hold a “Full judicial inquiry into queue jumping.” Of course, the decision to allow the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA), led by a retired judge, to investigate allegations of queue jumping is a pretty loose interpretation of an actual “Full judicial inquiry”.
To quote Premier Redford’s leadership campaign email newsletter from June 14, 2011 (ASCENT: Alison Redford’s Campaign Newsletter Issue 7):
“Albertans want answers regarding the allegations of queue jumping by wealthy and well-connected people. Alison also wants answers. This week, she became the first candidate to call for a full judicial inquiry into queue-jumping.”
Created in 2002 as a result of the Report of the Premier’s Advisory Council on Health, the mandate of the HQCA is to “promote patient safety and health service quality.” Of course, resistance by politicians to holding a real judicial inquiry is not surprising. Real judicial inquiries are uncontrollable and politically dangerous, just ask former Prime Minister Paul Martin how his judicial inquiry worked out for him.