Saturday, 31 December 2016

Unite Alberta’s Right - New Year Resolution #1

Here’s a New Year prediction for you - 2017 will go down as one of the most pivotal years in Alberta’s history. It will be the year that our province’s two centre-right parties decide whether to unite their forces to fundamentally alter the direction of our province for decades of prosperity; or it will be the year those same two parties allowed ego and short-sightedness to seal our province’s fate as Canada’s next great debt-ridden, job hemorrhaging, have-not province.

I am not going to sugar coat this. If you consider yourself a supporter of fiscal responsibility, free markets and individual liberty, this is the year to step forward and do something about it. I’m going to give you 3 reasons why helping to unite Alberta’s right should be your #1 New Year’s resolution.

#1 – Defeating the NDP

Alberta’s NDP Government has been a complete disaster. Their socialist policies – from higher taxes and carbon penalties levelled on our struggling energy industry, to new and higher taxes on Alberta’s greatest job creators and innovators, to skyrocketing deficit financing, to raising energy, fuel and other costs for every Alberta family in the midst of the worst recession in a decade – you name the ignorant policy and the NDP has found a way to implement it. 

8 years of Premier Notley? It's entirely possible
The result has been predictable – they have caused what should have been a short and mild economic correction for our province into a full blown economic recession and crisis threatening to turn into a provincial depression; all while our provincial neighbours and the US economy prosper and grow.

But if you think that just because Premier Notley and crew have blown it so badly that they will be sent packing at the next election (likely in 2019 or 2020), you had better think again.

Despite having a disapproval rating approaching 60%, the NDP remains consistently entrenched at 30-35% in public opinion polls with the distinct possibility of climbing closer to their 2015 election vote of 40%...meaning (gasp)...the NDP could very well win another term in office. If they do, our economy will never recover. Talk to any director or senior manager of any oil and gas company - large or small – they’ll say the same thing. If this is a one term NDP fluke, they’ll stay put and ride it out as best they can. If it’s back-to-back NDP governments, downtown Calgary and rural Alberta will turn into permanent ghost towns.  

So how could the NDP, despite their utter economic incompetence, still win a second term? It’s actually quite simple. While conservatives in the Wildrose and PC parties continue to fight old battles, protect their fiefdoms, demonize one another for past grievances and split their support essentially down the middle between them (both with significantly damaged brands), the Left in this province is entirely unified. The majority of public sector union workers, special interest groups, the chronically clueless and the mainstream urban media are united and more organized than they have ever been previously - and Rachel Notley (who I know quite well) - is a very likeable and decent person. 

The Left's Public Enemy #1 - Jason Kenney
The end result is simple enough. If the PCs and Wildrose continue their not so civil war, the NDP has a clear path to another victory in 2019 or 2020 despite being supported by a minority of voters. If conservatives are united, the NDP doesn’t stand a chance – and they and their media allies know it; which is why you should expect the demonization of any person or group committed to the cause of conservative unity.

#2 – Long Term Conservative Governance

Party stalwarts with both the PCs and Wildrose will often bring up plausible victory scenarios for their respective parties that do not involve party unification. And they are correct – obviously there is a path to power that doesn’t involve a peace deal. The problem with this idea is two-fold.

Firstly, that “path” likely involves watering down policies to appeal to centre-left leaning voters and interests; and/or secondly, that “path” likely results in minority or very weak majority PC or Wildrose governments that will be either scared or unable to implement the economic and other conservative reforms necessary to getting our province back on track.

Look, if the Stelmach-Redford-Prentice governments taught us anything it is this; a middle of the road, try and appeal to everyone coalition, in Alberta at least, is not sustainable in the long term. There simply is not enough common ground on economic and social policy to unify such a coalition in any meaningful way…not to mention the budgetary hole created by trying to keep such a coalition happy and well fed.  

Equally ineffective is the Wildrose approach, whose often strident ideological positions made for a very effective opposition party, but (with the help of media distortion) resulted in a forfeiture of the support of entire segments of the population needed for a strong governing conservative majority – including many natural conservative allies in our province’s ethnic communities and among younger libertarians. At election time, these groups either remained PC or stayed home.

So here is the question – without a strong, united, pro-free market and fiscal conservative coalition in government, how is any party going to be able to implement a reduction in taxes and spending? How can any party balance the budget and implement desperately needed health care reforms when spending addicted special interest groups and public sector unions continue to hold the balance of power, even in a post NDP world?

The solution is straight forward – we need to change the balance of power. Unless we create a strong, unified and electorally overwhelming conservative coalition, the Left will continue to hold enough sway (even in a PC or Wildrose government) to keep Alberta well off the path of balanced budgets, health care reform and other needed changes.

Unification results in a combined core of conservative support of well over 50% of Alberta’s population. With this amount of support, a new unified conservative party won’t need to kowtow or acquiesce to the demands of left wing interest groups or the media. In fact just the opposite – the new party will only have to appeal to its economically conservative base…which just happens to be a majority of Albertans.

The result will be a stable, long term, majority, right-of-centre government committed to permanent tax reductions, balanced budgets, a vibrant energy and agricultural sector, cuts to billions in wasteful spending, a long-term debt repayment strategy, innovative market-driven health care reforms, and a host of other key policy initiatives that will ONLY be made possible with conservative unity.                  
#3 – Defending Alberta and Saving Canada from Trudeau

I’m not going to spend too much time explaining the train wreck that is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It would take dozens of pages to outline the damage he has already rained down upon our country’s international reputation, economic competitiveness, energy sector, budget, negotiating position with the United States, etc, etc, etc. Needless to say, this guy is the worst possible combination of ego and cluelessness, and our nation will continue to suffer economically and in many other ways for as long as he sits in the PMO.

sigh...our Prime Minister
Alberta finds itself in a very precarious position…one not ever seen in our province’s modern history. We have a socialist Premier looking out for Alberta’s interests (if that’s what you want to call Premier Notley’s current strategy), while a Liberal Prime Minister (aptly named Trudeau) wreaks economic havoc on our province’s primary industry and job producer.

It’s the ultimate fox guarding the hen house scenario, and it clearly needs to change with the arrival of a conservative Alberta Premier at the head of a unified and here-to-stay Alberta conservative majority to guard and preserve our provincial rights and interests.

But it goes deeper than that. Over the last 50 years, Alberta has become the dominant driving force of the conservative movement in Canada. Not only has it produced most of the movement’s successful conservative leaders and driven many of the movement’s most important free market policy reforms, it has also been “home base” for the development of conservative policies, infrastructure, fundraising and effective political operatives.

It’s simple – with all due respect to Brad Wall (who I admire greatly) – the conservative movement in Canada has no chance of lasting success without a strong, vibrant and conservative-led Alberta. For Canada to get back on track and restore itself as an economically competitive and pro-growth country, Alberta needs to lead the way. And until Alberta conservatives are unified for the long term, Canada and its policy direction will likely be led by the likes of Justin Trudeau.    


For all the reasons stated above and many more, please put unifying Alberta’s conservative parties at the top of your list of New Year’s resolutions…the success of your financial resolutions for many years thereafter could very well depend on it!

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