May 27, 2015

Why I'm not scared of the NDP in Alberta

Karsten ErzingerRebel Blogger

Last Sunday, Rachel Notley was finally sworn in as Premier of Alberta. During the ceremony, Premier Notley announced her very small cabinet, prompting yet another round of “the sky is falling” type commentary from some of the punditry. While I certainly have some concerns with the new NDP government, I can’t bring myself to the level of fear and paranoia some people seem to have for a few reasons. 

As I’ve mentioned before, what Alberta experienced was a wave election; it was about voting out the PC’s, not voting in favour of any particular platform or policy idea. The NDP is likely aware of this – Alberta is not traditionally NDP country, which is why the election results were such a shock to the country. It is also why we have discovered so many poorly vetted NDP candidates that are now sitting MLA’s, such as the former NDP MLA Deborah Drever.

If the NDP seriously thought they had a shot at winning the election, they would have done a much better job vetting their candidates. Not only that, they likely would have attracted better candidates in general.

That said, unless the NDP have little interest in being re-elected (which would be unprecedented for a political party), their government is unlikely to attempt anything radical or controversial, at least in the early phase of their term. Perhaps once they get comfortable they will attempt a royalty review or major tax increases.

However, with a strong opposition party sitting across from them (who could have been the beneficiaries of the aforementioned electoral wave) those moves would quickly come under fire. The NDP have to be careful, particularly in their first few moves as government.

The other reason I am not as worried or concerned has a bit more to do with my background. While some commentators have conjured up the horror stories of past NDP governments in other provinces, I think those comparisons are tenuous at best. As someone who grew up under a disastrous and corrupt NDP government in BC, I can’t imagine the Alberta NDP doing a worse job.

My optimism stems from the political culture of Alberta. While Alberta has changed, it is still culturally a lot more conservative than BC or other jurisdictions in Canada. Therefore, the NDP in Alberta will presumably have to govern a bit more conservatively and moderately than they would in a different province.

If they don’t, they will find themselves too far from the political center and their chances of re-election would be limited. They would have great difficulty selling the far-left policies that other provincial NDP parties might want implement due to the prevalent political culture of Alberta.

While Edmonton certainly leans more left of center and Calgary has twice elected a progressive mayor (though the second time there was no serious challenge mounted against him), the prevailing political culture of the province is still conservative in leaning. This will act as a restraint on the NDP to some degree, or at the very least increase the amount of political capital they need to pass and implement particular policies.

This analysis assumes that the NDP will govern in a manner that best helps their chances of re-election in four years. If they have little regard for re-election and wish to simply implement as much of their left-wing ideology as they can in four years, then the fear some have is entirely justified.

That said, I don’t think that will be the route they choose. So while some consider fleeing the province in a panic, I am not. If the NDP is smart, they won’t do anything too crazy; if they do, then they will be a one hit wonder. 


Follow The Megaphone on Twitter.

JOIN for more news and commentary you won’t find anywhere else.

You must be logged in to comment. Click here to log in.
commented 2015-05-29 00:35:41 -0400
Dan said, "And what nobody’s thought of yet, is that anything, system or property or whatever, can be ruined FAR EASIER and by FAR FEW people, than it took to build.
All the money and man hours it takes to build a house, can be destroyed by one clown with a match. "

That is what just blows my mind, how quickly all those hard won gains can be lost, and they are utterly lost. If you voted NDP and I know you, don’t tell me, because I will call crap and stupid.
Great fable Dan.
commented 2015-05-28 01:16:04 -0400
K. Erzinger
Not scared of the NDP?
An old fable that might show how wrong I think you are.
Once upon a time there was a rattlesnake that wanted to see the world. Eventually it came to the sea and, although rattlesnakes are excellent swimmers it knew this body of water was far too big to safely cross, so it pleaded to the birds, “Oh, please. Oh please. I just want to see the world. I promise not to bite, if only one of you would carry me across.”
One of the birds reasoned, “Now I know the rattlesnake is my mortal enemy but, surely even it must know, that if it bites me, it will fall and die too.” and so it agreed.
Halfway across though, the snake bites the bird, and as they fall, before the poisoned bird dies it gasps, “Why? Why did you break your promise and bite me, when you know it would cause your own death too?”
And the snake replied, “I don’t know. I couldn’t help myself. It’s my nature.”
That’s why the NDP will probably do something very bad. Their policies are they’re nature and they are not able to change them. Otherwise they would have a long time ago.
To get elected they’ve had to play down their true nature, conceal it, because most of Canada knows their policies are economic poison, and every single province the NDP have run, have gone down the economic tubes.
Now that they’re in the majority, their true nature will show. Brian Topp is a prime example of that, as are all the college idiots who came along for the ride.
Unless Beer Bonging, and Living off Your Parents and/or the System have suddenly become cash cows, then I foresee all sorts of problems.
Lenin and Marx kinds of problems.
Saskatchewan had pretty much been run by the NDP for decades, and because of that, was known as “The Gap.”
And what nobody’s thought of yet, is that anything, system or property or whatever, can be ruined FAR EASIER and by FAR FEW people, than it took to build.
All the money and man hours it takes to build a house, can be destroyed by one clown with a match.
commented 2015-05-28 01:10:10 -0400
“If the NDP is smart, they won’t do anything too crazy…”? I’m with Liza Rosie on this on, Karsten. This was stupid on the part of Albertan’s, EVEN IF, it was to get rid of Prentice and his cronies. Simply hoping that Albertan Communist can’t be as bad as BC Communists because it is after all Alberta, is completely illogical.

The NDP are who they are! How long do you think it will take for investors to realize that Alberta is not a safe place for their capital? Watch the unemployment lines grow. Watch the moving trucks load up and leave town. The exodus will be to Saskatchewan and South into the North Dakota.

If Albertan voters really used the NDP to clean-out the Alberta-PC Party instead of throwing their support to the WildRose, it’s like Liza Rosie said, “You burned down the house to exterminate the rat.” Stupid is as stupid does!
commented 2015-05-27 22:31:51 -0400
Beer and popcorn time, there is nothing left to do but sit back and watch the train wreck. Notely is Alberta’s nightmare. You are just making excuses for voting for the wrong candidate, cutting your nose off to spite your face. It was a simple solution, Wildrose. I am so pissed off at every voter who gave Notely their confidence to get rid of Prentice. You don’t even know the damage you’ve done. You burned down the house to exterminate the rat. Bad move for Alberta bad move for Canada. A serious an unforgivable stupid move.
commented 2015-05-27 18:20:48 -0400
Karsten, you are living in a dream world. They have power NOW! And they will use it NOW because even they are aware that they lucked out. If we are still a bunch of conservatives then they must act now, it’s their only chance! If we have leaned over to the left, then they can do whatever they want and still get re-elected. Be afraid, be very afraid.
commented 2015-05-27 15:44:42 -0400
Respectfully your argument is circular. You claim that Alberta is more conservative and therefore the NDP in Alberta will be more conservative. In fact, the results of the election show that Alberta is NOT more conservative than the rest of the nation. That has been revealed as a fable. The idea that votes went to NDP out of protest is conjecture. After all the PC Party hasn’t been conservative for at least 10 years, and even before that Klein was hardly the model conservative. Who knows. This may be a trend and perhaps we will see a NDP government federally.
commented 2015-05-27 13:39:21 -0400
Nah, the NDP are going to be your worst nightmare.
commented 2015-05-27 13:30:42 -0400
Why I hope you’re right but fear your scenario maybe optimistic.
The group of 40 MLA (Member Learners Assembly) will be motivated within a year or two to show change. The changes that they can command with 40 of 54ish caucus votes is powerful:
Place coup PC style.
Can change proposed legislation in committee.

The boss can keep them inline for now, but they think they’re anointed to change Alberta.

The current leadership is bring in refugees from BC, Ontario, and Manitoba etc… as high level staffers. They DON’T know Alberta politics and will revert to the national/provincial NDP default position without close supervision and are experienced enough to consult with the bored 40 to implement the changes needed to be a progressive society.

The opposition is not strong nor united. In fact the WRP and PC are competing for the same supporters, money, and bread crumbs (sorry committee positions). I expect in 2-3 elections the PC will be like SC or if they do well the Liberals… well either option is not a long term future. Short term this is a problem. Maybe both parties will hold votes, and merge. However wishes are horses some-days so who knows. The sooner they resolve this issues the sooner a viable choice appears.

I would say the senior Alberta NDP leadership want to be reelected, and know how. The problem is, can they control 40 members and their own senior staff that have no idea how-to get reelected in Alberta, but think they do!

We shall see, time for someplace warm full-time or can I spend summers in Albertastan… Time will tell.

A Subtle Ogre
commented 2015-05-27 13:19:59 -0400
I voted WR because the ones that remained after the cross over had integrity, and they were the only remaining conservative party. So many lost their heads and weren’t thinking straight, that they have now caused a serious problem for AB and Canada. If PM Harper loses, we are really in trouble. And if he loses, it will be due to the constant lying and false tales that the MSM keep spreading about him, and conservative people in general. The spin doctors are working over time to kill our economy. So voters, you have been forewarned, do you want prosperity, or do you want to working in camps, like the Marxists want? Your choice, so choose wisely!
commented 2015-05-27 12:52:19 -0400
If Danielle Smith did not go turncoat and damage the Wildrose in the process she could have been premier for the same reasons Rachel Notley is. A protest vote, not huge swing farther right. How many people voted for the WR in 2012 voted NDP for the protest vote without changing a single view. They could not vote again for WR because it was too weak and leaderless.