The expected and negative:
The Tories won a majority of the seats. Honestly, until the votes cast in Edmonton and Calgary start counting as much as the ones cast in the rural areas, there's not much that can be done about that, even in elections where every little thing doesn't go their way.
Turnout was well down even from what the Alberta turnout normally is: a mere 41%.
The unexpected and negative:
Where should I even begin?
The Tories won a majority of the vote. Not by a lot, but 53% is still an absolute majority. I didn't have terribly high hopes for this election, but I certainly expected the vote percentage to go down under Stelmach, not up.
The NDP caucus was cut in half. The Liberal caucus was also cut in half. The sole Wildrose-Alliance party seat was lost to the Tory wave. All in all, this makes for a massively weakened opposition, and a kick in the crotch to democracy.
No hint of the much-ballyhooed Liberal gains in Calgary. I'm no Liberal, but I admit that I believed the hype.
Even in "Redmonton," only the core urban constituencies remained various shades of red and orange.
As for individual seats, the biggest single loss is David Eggen, and yes, that works even in an "all partisanship aside" post. That man has been the hardest-working MLA in the legislature, and if anyone deserved to win reelection this time around, it was him. And the runner-up may well be the Liberals' Mo Esalhy, for whom I have the profoundest respect. Lots of good people lost their seats this time, but those are the two that stand out as completely tragic.
The expected and positive:
Edmonton-Strathcona's new MLA is the marvelous Rachel Notley, with close to 50% of the vote. A lot of New Democrats are fond of saying "the legislature needs a Notley," but for me it's very much "the legislature needs RACHEL Notley," and I couldn't be prouder to have this amazing woman as my MLA. (Confidential to Mr. Berta: Seriously, all partisanship aside. Give her another look with less partisan glasses once the pain of this loss wears off, and I think you'll see what I see. Even if you never let yourself admit it.)
One of the Tory gains was Janice Sarich. I don't agree with her about pretty much any of the core issues, but I appreciate the way she has reached out to the agents of democratic reform in this province, and occasionally even counted herself among them. She's been a surprisingly positive force in this province as a civilian, and presuming Ed Stelmach doesn't surgically remove her spine as soon as she gets sworn in, I think she'll be a positive force in that caucus, too.
The unexpected and positive:
I got nothin'.
Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
The expected and negative: