Sunday, November 13, 2005

Hope For Alberta's Future?

Many times in the past, I have expressed my disgust with Alberta's current Premier. Ralph Klein has yet to do anything that strikes me as either good or intelligent policy. He seems to have turned into a wannabe Republican in the mould of George Bush and his merry band of Neo/TheoCons.

The Alberta political scene is not by any means moribund. We have a number of new parties emerging (mostly isolationist/pseudo-separatist - like the Separation Party of Alberta. Along with the "Alberta Alliance", these parties seem to mostly reflect a sense of disaffection with the fortunes of the Reform/Alliance/Conservative party over the last 15 years or so. Simply put, they appear to mostly be composed of 'bitter failed Reformers' still seeking "instant gratification" reforms.

As much as I admire the persistence and intelligence of the Alberta NDP caucus, I just can't say I'm overly impressed with Brian Mason as a speaker. Unlike Raj Pannu, Mason just hasn't been able to get his message out to the voters regularly. Also, with the last echoes of the McArthy era still rattling through the minds of baby boom voters, the odds of Alberta's NDP forming a government are slim at best.

Alberta's other opposition party, The Alberta Liberal Party, has made some significant improvements. Kevin Taft, the party leader is becoming much more successful at projecting his party and their message into the media. I don't know if Taft writes his own speeches, but he seems to be not merely articulate, but able to play to his home audience as well as articulate a vision for this province.

The next provincial election is unlikely to have Ralph Klein at the head of the Progressive Conservative Party. This is good news for those of us less who are less than impressed with Ralph's reign of late. Where Ralph seems to be able to produce some allegedly charismatic connection with voters - turning any election away from being a vote on issues, and turns it into a war of personalities. None of the PC contenders for Ralph's job have the kind of personality that engenders a connection with the voters. For the first time in fifteen years or so, we might actually see an election where issues such as "where should Alberta be headed?" are the topic of discussion, not "what a nice guy Ralph is" {he isn't - but that's a different problem}

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