Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Alberta election, from my idyllic little corner of the province

I haven't been talking much about the Alberta provincial election, although not because I haven't been thinking about it. In fact, I've been working (though I'm sure many would say not hard enough!) on the campaign to elect Rachel Notley in Edmonton-Strathcona. See, although I'm far more interested in federal politics than I am in provincial politics, for Rachel I'll make an exception.

Edmonton-Strathcona is a damn fine constituency to live in for an Alberta New Democrat. Since 1997, it's been held by Raj Pannu, the provincial NDP's beloved former leader. Just how beloved is he? Well, in 2004, he was reelected with more than sixty percent of the vote (his nearest rival got 18%). When Raj announced his decision to retire, you could practically hear the keening. Shortly thereafter, though, the questions started flying: who could possibly replace Raj in the NDP's most reliable Alberta stronghold? And then Rachel stepped up to the plate.

Much hay has been made in the media about the fact that Rachel is the daughter of Grant Notley, the Alberta NDP's most successful leader. Having known her for a number of years, though, I can assure you that this is the least interesting thing about her. Rachel's one of us--a political geek--but she goes beyond that to be one of the most creative and imaginative political minds I have ever run into. She's also down-to-earth, incredibly genuine, and she's got more energy in her left toenail than the rest of us have in our whole bodies. When I heard that she was going to be running to replace Raj, I instantly stopped worrying. I honestly can't think of anyone else I'd rather see representing me in the legislature. And she hasn't been coasting on Strathcona's "they always vote NDP" image: she's been going door-to-door to meet voters at least once a week, no matter what the weather, since she started her campaign in June of 2006.

Last night I went to the Strathcona All-Candidates' Forum, where I had a great time watching Rachel clean up. Now, I've already told you my biases, so you have no reason to believe me on that front, so I'll instead turn you over to Ian from terahertz, hardly a partisan New Democrat, who took some really detailed notes. I do disagree with Ian on one point: I had low expectations of the last-minute-appointment of a Tory candidate, which he then exceeded handily (in fact, I'll go so far as to say that if his party has any sense, they'll give him a winnable constituency next time). I was honestly expecting a lot more than we got out of the Liberal candidate, though, especially considering the fact that he's been endorsed by daveberta. (To tell you the truth, that only confirms my suspicions that Mr. Berta has gotten a lot more indiscriminately partisan in recent years, which is disappointing.)

In any case, in an election where the polls have been discouraging (neither the Liberals nor the NDP have managed to capitalize on the province's generalized annoyance with the current government), and the knowledge that we're likely going to be stuck with this guy for another four or five years is settling in, the Edmonton-Strathcona race has been a real bright spot. And when it's all over and the votes have been cast, we here in Strathcona will at least be able to be excited about our newly-elected NDP MLA Rachel Notley, who's going to kick some Tory ass in the legislature.


Ian said...

PS: spelling "terahertz" not "teTrahertz" thanks

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


Whoops, sorry! Fixed.