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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Danielle Smith and the politics of division

Just for fun, and because there is nothing as satisfying as saying "I told you so," let's have a look at Danielle Smith in the media. The way she is spinning her problems now is enacting not just one but two of the things I've talked about in this blog before. One, she says "urban elites" are against her. We can assume the addition of "elite" to urban makes it derogatory, because in the right wing world, there can be nothing worse than being elite, reading Harper's in an independent coffee shop while drinking a non-fat chai latte, or having the kind of social and cultural analysis that can be gained through a Liberal Arts education. Here she goes again with the narratives of persecution. I can't help thinking it's not that smart to point out that smart people don't like you much. The second problem she is once again enacting is her tendency to blame the media. As I've said before, bad policy results in negative media attention; it's not a liberal plot. And in this case, bad policy also resulted in a poor election performance. It's not the urban elites or a liberal bias in media that brought down Danielle Smith. In fact, if we were to go back and study the election coverage, there is a case to be made that if there was media bias, it was favourable to Smith. I also had a good laugh when, the day after the election, Smith admitted she and her party might have to take a second look at their policies. Not their fundamental beliefs mind you, just their policies. I'd suggest you all take a few Liberal Arts courses and look at your beliefs too.

Of course, there is one other I told you so to be had, and that is never mess with abortion in Canadian politics. After the Wildrose loss and the decimation of Stephen Woodworth in Federal Parliament over M312, maybe we will finally be able to move on from this divisive strategy. It is never appropriate to threaten the rights of a whole group of people. All of us in Canada should be secure in our rights whether we are women or gay or immigrants or Liberal Arts students. On that, here is my recap of what abortion meant in the Alberta Election in an April 30 guest blog of mine on Abortion Gang. Of course the media is concentrating on the "bozo eruptions" of the homophobic Hunsperger and the Caucasian Ron Leech as well as Smith's own bizarro decision to out herself as a climate change denier when they tell the story of the fall of the Wildrose. But we all know where it started - abortion, conscience rights and the promise to shut down the Alberta Human Rights Commission. It was this trifecta of issues that created the first chink in the Wildrose armour.

I'm hoping we're past playing the politics of division. Perhaps as long as we have a first past the post system the politics of divide and conquer will win out. But a girl can dream.

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