Let's face it. Wildrose, a party billing itself as "change" in Alberta, does not represent change at all. With the most regressive members of the Progressive Conservatives among its ranks (with the notable exception of Ted Morton, who remains an albatross for the PCs) they can hardly make the claim that they will bring change. This is a place for Conservatives who don't think the Progressive Conservatives are conservative enough. The PCs, on the other hand, are also looking to capture the change narrative with the new Alison Redford broom sweeping clean. But they are still the PCs. As a new website points out through the use of a fun quiz (I do love a good quiz)they really are not that much different than their disaffected country cousins in the Wildrose. Six of one, half a dozen of the other, as my mother always says.
Or are the PCs and Wildrose incredibly different? Can Alison Redford lead the party to a truly progressive vision of conservatism? If anyone can, it is probably her. One thing we do know is how the PCs have dealt with their own members who make the kinds of crazy statements noted in the quiz above. They've never let them get the upper hand. That's something. Not much, but something. Redford has specifically reached out to a more progressive voter, both in her leadership campaign and now in the election campaign. I don't think it's purely a crass grab at power. I think she knows she needs progressives on the inside to sway her party. Wildrose, on the other hand, is reaching out to the least progressive voters. That is a significant difference.
But having said that, I think it is naive for the progressive voter to expect that because we voted PC that the party will suddenly reflect our core values. Change like that doesn't happen in an election period or a year or even a term.
I just saw this video urging for strategic voting that kind of made me laugh and kind of made me sad. To be fair, Smith doesn't think the Flintstones is real, (I don't think) but the fact that this kind of rhetoric is part of our election makes me so disheartened I want to crawl under my bed. This is where the Wildrose perspective has brought us. And I understand the point the strategic voters are making.
So, how to vote? Look at your local candidate? Good idea. What does she or he believe? Is he or she a Hunsperger or a Leech? Try not to make eye contact and back away. You have to do some asking around, some digging. There is still time.
How about looking at the leaders? Good idea too. The leaders in this day and age really do set the agenda. Once in power, unfortunately, our local representatives are expected to tow the party line. That's the price of being in a party. We've seen enough of the leaders in this campaign to help us decide.
Here are two different takes on strategic voting, one from Daveberta who points out that we are also voting for the opposition in the upcoming election. Do we want a right wing party as opposition to a righter wing party? Or do we want a progressive counter balance? Good question, Dave. And then there is the other Dave, Dave Climenhaga, an unabashed ND calling for an ND vote. He makes some good points. Don't forget to visit Change Alberta too, and see what their take on your riding is.
I'm still on the anybody but Wildrose bandwagon. Hope to see you there on the 23rd.
I just noticed a charming blogger misnamed my blog on her charming post about Alberta Politics and called this space "The Alberta Monologues." And oh, so it has become. Sorry to my regular readers. I'll get on track again soon.
The Abortion Monologues is available in e-book format at Smashwords and on Kindle, Kobo, iBooks and any of your other favourites.