Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Are the Alberta PCs scared of new Albertans?

It's been a great summer (seriously, I hope you people have had even half as good a summer as I've had), but as the days grow shorter and the kids go back to school, my thoughts are turning once again to my primary distraction tool, i.e., political blogging. It'll probably take me a couple of weeks for me to be fully back--mostly because I've got a few outstanding deadlines that are kicking my butt--but I'm slowly crawling back into the bloggy headspace again.

To start us off, though, I wanted to think back for a moment to a post I wrote a little over a year ago, in which I theorized that all of the internal migration to Alberta, especially to the province's two big cities, might just have the effect of pushing it to the left. It was an unusual post for me for many reasons, not the least of which was the fact that it was complete speculation. I tried to back up what I was saying with research, but it turns out that there simply isn't any political science research along those lines. But I thought it was an interesting idea, anyway, so I wrote it up and put it out there, and figured if I was wrong, no harm done.

Well, in August of 2007 there's still no research to back it up, at least not as far as I know. But it sure looks to me like the Alberta Progressive Conservatives, backed by their surprisingly unpopular new leader, Premier Ed Stelmach, are afraid of exactly the same thing. First we had Tom Olsen, spokesperson for the Office of the Premier, blaming new Albertans for the plunging poll numbers. And now, today, we've got a candidate for the party adopting an "Alberta PC government, love us or leave us" stance directed specifically at new Albertans (isn't it nice of him, though, that he's grandfathering those of us who have lived here longer and permitting us to vote for one of the other parties?).

None of this is proof that my theorizing was correct, of course, but if the Alberta PCs think it's correct, they may yet turn it into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Which, as far as I'm concerned, would be just as good!


Ben said...

I am pretty sure that the pcs have been in charge there since the dawn of time, 600 years ago. j/k.

Ryan said...


I've been reading your blog for a while now, and have gotta say that I rather enjoy it. I haven't really found an articulate Alberta blog writing from a progressive perspective that doesn't think that the Liberals will solve the provinces' problems. Keep up the good work.

Candace said...

I dunno - if Fort Mac, Newfoundland's 2nd largest city, consistently elects conservatives, it's got to be something in the air or water. The PCs are in deep doodoo, I agree, but unless a viable alternative presents itself, I don't see a change on the horizon.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


Thanks for reading! I'll try to be more prolific in the future.


I actually agree with you that there's not likely to be change, but that doesn't mean they're not nervous. It at least appears that they blame new Albertans for the change in voting patterns, too. And even if we do end up with another PC government next time around, the next election should be pretty interesting.

Ryan said...

Did they not (as in Ralph Klein) blame new Albertans in the 80's for the upsurge in crime during the bust/housing crisis? "Eastern bums & creeps"?

I know even my parents have a residual attitude that eastern Canadians are somehow less moral than Albertans.

I think your assessment is not only correct, but almost scientific. Albertans refuse to acknowledge the old cliche "those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it."

Ryan said...

Sorry, that link got cut off.

Anyways, the use of the phrase "housing crisis" in the video sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Simon said...

I think one of the real stories here is Tom Olsen's bizarre inability to spin the poll. What a contorted response. Why didn't he simply highlight the high number of undecideds in the poll?
Journalists do not always make the best spindoctors.