Thursday, December 08, 2005

Rough road ahead

This is the last posting I have to do for this particular project, so let's quickly look back at what we've seen:

Alright. It's not much.

But, with a Federal election looming and Federal conservatives barking like wolves at Prime Minister Paul Martin's door, the political climate in Canada is crackling with tension.

In a recent Globe and Mail article, a number of analysts and experts took a look at the first week of campaigning.

The conservatives are getting their platform out early and often - we've all seen the Stephen Harper ads where he gravely vows to take the GST "down from seven per cent, to six, to five per cent" - whereas the Liberals have spent the past week largely sitting on their hands.

Goldy Hyder aptly said the Liberals have been "mostly reactive" this past week.

Polls, as always, will tell, but this speaks to an obvious trend in politics.

Despite a large reaction against Conservative policies in Canada, elections these days are characterized by a fairly mealy-mouthed Liberal response to a strong - forceful, even - Conservative platform.

If this is the case, traditionally conservative-voting Albertans will likely take the safe route and vote in Klein's PCs for one more half-term (should Klein stick to his word and resign in 2007).

Should be a heck of a ride.

Dinning stewed?

Last Friday, the Edmonton Sun reported that the Alberta Liberals have accused Jim Dinning of interfering with and Alberta Securities Commission investigation.

Let's take a look at the implications of this:

1. If these allegations are true, Dinning may be denied the coveted post of leader of the Alberta PCs.
2. Should Dinning gain the post, opposition leaders (especially Alliance leader Paul Hinman) may play up the allegations - whether or not any truth is found behind them), and deny the PCs their long-held place at the top of Alberta politics.

Shocking times, to be sure. The fact that Dinning couldn't be reached for comment is irksome, but hopefully the facts will come out before long.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Morton's fire means good things for Post-Secondary

Yesterday, Foothills-Rockeyview MLA Ted Morton lambasted Premier Klein's $20 million endowment for post-secondary education.

Obviously, someone's not out to curry favour with the big man on his way out.

And you know what? I applaud him for that.

Earmarking $20 million for Alberta students to help defray skyrocketing tuition costs (thanks to Papa Klein's "I'll foot the bill" attitude - as though he were a rich uncle at dinner) was certainly not the best use of the money.

But we're not here to talk about Klein frittering away yet more money, littering his path out of office with $5 bills as though they were rose petals trailing Caesar's chariot.

We're here to talk about Ted Morton's chutzpah. Standing up to fight for the best interests of Alberta's post secondary students - the ones who didn't leave to pursue educations at schools that ranked higher in Maclean's.

It's not such a surprise that he saved his choicest epithets for Dave Hancock, Alberta's Advanced Education Minister and rival for office of leader of the Alberta PCs. After all, this expenditure does fall within Hancock's portfolio, and it's a small boost for Morton, who obviously wants this job.

While once again, time will tell, this brief flash of brimstone is at the very least a reminder we're in for a heck of a race - here's hoping that Morton can keep rolling and give Jim Dinning a run for his money.

Liberal Government collapse - Good for Alberta Conservatives?

Panic reigns in the streets of Canada's cities! Paul Martin's Liberal minority government has collapsed, leaving the political future of the country in doubt!

Maybe that was a bit sensationalistic.

But, following a vote of no confidence, a gloating Stephen Harper raised his fists in victory - the giant, ailing from sponsorship scandals, money mismanagement, and public ire, finally fell.

The sound it made as it crashed? The lamenting strains of a Winter election.

An ipsos poll indicated that the Liberals and Conservatives were in a dead heat at 31 per cent apiece. On a federal level, the country is split fairly evenly.

But what about in Alberta? What ramifications could this have?

Ralph Klein, the "safe bet" in Alberta for over a quarter century, is stepping down within the next two years, and contenders for his well-worn throne already stalk.

The fact that the Federal Liberals have been shot down like a lame horse might raise cries of victory from this Province's voters, who poll largely conservative.

It's no secret that Albertans vote conservative - never mind more left-wing ridings largely populated by students - so it's unlikely we'll see the NDP sweep the province come the next Provincial election.

But, were Albertans more politically active, and based on our voting record, is it possible that the lack of confidence in Liberal government across the country will push this province even further right? Could we see a Reform/Alliance-style party take control?

It's a possibility, sure, but an unlikely one.

The only thing that exceeds Albertans' love for small government and big profits, is our allegiance to the status quo. No matter who's heading the good ship ProCon, Albertans will go with the devil they know.

It's worked so far, right?