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Jesse Kline: Is Canada witnessing a ‘Western Spring’?
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Author:  Gunnair [ Sun Apr 08, 2012 2:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Jesse Kline: Is Canada witnessing a ‘Western Spring’?

Ever since Prime Minister Stephen Harper took power in 2006, the left has tried to paint him as a dangerous extremist. When the Conservatives cemented their hold on power last year, opposition reached a fever pitch, with our institutes of higher learning and other bastions of left-wing thought espousing the view that the Conservatives must be stopped — at any cost.

Last spring, Senate page Brigette DePape held up a “Stop Harper” sign on the Senate floor and went on national media advocating a “Canadian version of an Arab Spring.” Notwithstanding the fact that Arabs have been fighting for democracy, and that we’d just had an election, DePape and her ilk have been calling for a grassroots movement that will reshape the Canadian political landscape. A communist revolution of sorts, right here in our own back yard. And they might just get their wish, although the revolution is not being led by communists.

If recent polls are any indication — and they should always be taken with a grain of salt — we could be in the midst of a Western Spring.
A new poll in B.C. confirms that Premier Christy Clark has been unable to stem the backlash of public anger that started when the Liberals announced the introduction of the HST, shortly after the last election. The NDP is now well ahead with 43% support, compared to 23% for the Liberals. This is not all that unusual in a province known for its political instability, unless you consider the NDP’s economic track record. But this is B.C. we’re talking about, a province where the “right-wing” Liberal party championed a carbon tax; a place where socialist ideas die hard, no matter how much evidence is presented to the contrary.

The interesting part of the poll is that the Conservatives, a party that has long been virtually moribund, is now tied with the Liberals for second place. B.C. has not seen a Conservative government since the 1930s. Ms. Clark is busy doing damage control, claiming the Liberals are the only fiscally conservative party that can beat the NDP. But free market thinkers should know better: B.C. Liberal policies could be copied and pasted into the NDP’s platform in neighbouring Alberta and no one would know the difference.

There’s still another year to go before people in our westernmost province go to the polls, so right now all eyes are on Alberta, which is on the cusp of its own political revolution. A few weeks ago, polls showed the Tories headed to another majority, with the Wildrose party overtaking the Liberals as the official opposition. But a series of polls conducted earlier this week show a completely different picture.

A ThinkHQ poll conducted on behalf of CTV News found support for Wildrose at 43%, compared to 30% for the PCs, 12% for the New Democrats and 11% for the Liberals. A second poll conducted by Leger Marketing for the Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal has Wildrose at 41% and the PCs at 34% — with a majority of Wildrose support in Calgary and southern Alberta.

Such a shift in Alberta politics only occurs once every generation or two. In 1921, the United Farmers of Alberta (UFA), which started out as a lobby group, decided to contest the election. Albertans were so fed up with the Liberals, who were seen as representing central Canadian interests, they elected UFA members in 38 of 61 provincial ridings.

The UFA had a good 14-year run, but when the Great Depression hit and premier John Brownlee became embroiled in his own Monica Lewinsky scandal, the fate of the province’s second political dynasty was sealed. The fall of the UFA was hastened with the help of William “Bible Bill” Aberhart, who toured the province and used his Sunday radio program to promote an economic theory known as social credit. Even though the theory made little sense and was completely impractical, the province’s depression-weary populace was ready for a change. When Social Credit ran in the 1935 election, the party won 56 seats, while the UFA was relegated to the dustbin of political history.

Social Credit ruled for 36 years, until the PCs swept them from power in 1971 and have continued to govern the province until this day. But if the polls are any indication, the Conservatives could be on their way out; and if history holds true, they will never hold power again — a fact that should be cause for concern for embattled Premier Alison Redford.

It takes a lot to get Albertans so upset that they are actually willing to vote their government out of office. But if any government has run its course, it’s the Progressive Conservatives. Once a party that balanced the budget, paid off the debt, privatised liquor stores and deregulated electricity, it has come to symbolize the type of big-government nanny state that pokes its nose into everyone’s business, then sending them the bill. This has never been a virtue in a province that prides itself on its entrepreneurial spirit.

Wildrose is offering an alternative: A more fiscally conservative, small-l libertarian approach to governing. Although anything can happen between now and election day, we could be witnessing a historical revolution in Alberta. And if the B.C. Conservatives play their cards right — finding a credible leader and introducing a sensible policy platform — we could see a right-ward shift in that province as well.

It’s certainly not the “Canadian Spring” the left is hoping for, but the Western Spring could be a sign of things to come.

National Post

Author:  Thanos [ Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Jesse Kline: Is Canada witnessing a ‘Western Spring’?

Wildrose is offering an alternative: A more fiscally conservative, small-l libertarian approach to governing.

What-evah! Given that too many of them are already yammering about abortion and "the gays" I highly doubt that a massive wave of live-and-let-live is going to erupt in Alberta once these guys get power. If anything they're going to try to use as many provincial referenda as possible (the old Reform party version of the bogus and illegal "state's rights" argument that in the US is designed to nullify federal laws) to attack as much federal and constitutional legal protections for minorities as they possibly can.

Danielle Smith's up shit creek with this gang. She won't be able to corral and control the genuine whackos and social conservative bozos any more than Preston Manning was with some of the horse apples that Reform sent to Ottawa in 1993.

Author:  Gunnair [ Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Jesse Kline: Is Canada witnessing a ‘Western Spring’?

I find that curious, and maybe it comes down to my presumed understanding of libertarianism. Of course a cursory glance in wikipedia reveals there is no dearth for varieties on libertarian paths, so I suppose it's easy for the writer to say libertarian and hope it means what the majority of the population thinks it means.

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