Welcome to Alberta's 2023 election cycle. Campaigning has effectively been going on for some time now, but the writ was issued yesterday and now it's official. We're in an election cycle.
This is basically a two horse race. Alberta either elects the UCP, now led by Danielle Smith, or it elects the NDP. There are a handful of other parties, but frankly between them they might be lucky to pull one or two seats - such is the nature of Alberta politics.
But, voters need to be absolutely clear: The UCP is not the PCAA - not even close. The PCAA had drifted a long ways away from where it was when the venerated Peter Lougheed was leading it, but the UCP is even more extreme. Under Klein, the PCAA went strongly towards the 'market fundamentalist' politics of the 90s, the frankenparty that Kenney mashed together is even further to the right with strong roots in rural social conservatism.
The UCP under Danielle Smith is a much different creature again. Smith herself is a libertarian, but Take Back Alberta (TBA) is something else again, holding much stronger views on a variety of topics and they see Smith as a convenient puppet.
Let's explore what a TBA controlled UCP seems to actually believe:
The Dark Side
First, I'm going to link to a Twitter post with 2 videos of Danielle Smith and her lead advisor, Rob Anderson, discussing how they might do things: https://twitter.com/disorderedyyc/status/1653162803002478592?s=20
There's a couple of points here that I really want to emphasize:
1) They really do think that with a provincial police force that they would be able to exert political control over the actions of the police.
2) They seem to think that they can use the police effectively to "seize control" of facilities like airports.
Both of these ideas are deeply worrisome in what should be a free society. The first basically makes the concept of "rule of law" arbitrary. In other words, the law suddenly becomes whatever the politicians in Edmonton think it should be. In a functional democracy, politicians write laws, the police and courts enforce them within the framework of the constitution. What the UCP is proposing here would utterly undermine that.
The idea of using police to seize control of facilities like airports is similarly concerning because it implies not only would our police suddenly be in a position of deciding who is allowed to travel where and when. Not exactly a reassuring thought that your mobility rights would suddenly be subject not to legitimate democratic processes, but to the whims of politicians.
You might look at this and laugh and say "yeah, but that's blatantly unconstitutional". It is, but this new TBA-controlled UCP has no interest in whether things are "constitutional", in fact being unconstitutional is intentional. In their fantasy world, the law is what they say it is, not anything else.
Now that I've introduced you to some of the more dangerous ideas they hold regarding policing, I'd like to introduce some of the ideas that they push when they don't think they're being listened to.
The following comes from one of TBA's organizers advertising a TBA event in Sherwood Park:
I want to bring your attention to the second paragraph in particular. This is coded language for pushing 2SLGBTQ+ people out of society. The reference to libraries, is of course to programs like "Reading with Royalty" at Calgary Public Libraries (although these same people also tend to freak out about books like "Dexter Has Two Dads"), so don't think for a moment that this only encompasses Drag Queens - it doesn't.
The second is an oblique reference to unproven allegations of transgender women acting inappropriately in pool changing rooms. The goal here is to push transgender people out of living normal lives.
Note that Calgary Police have investigated, and they are quite clear that no act of "indecent exposure" occurred. This is important - very important. If TBA were acting in good faith, they would take this at face value. Instead, they are choosing to use this incident, and a few other unproven incidents elsewhere in Canada (and abroad) as justification for pushing transgender women out of society.
This isn't even particularly subtly coded "erase the queers" language - it's quite blatant.
So, combine that with the idea that police should be subject to political control and direction, and I think you can start to see a pretty ugly picture emerging. One of the problems is that even if they were to succeed in "pushing trans people out of public life", these types always need an "other" target, and it never ends ... sooner or later they come for you, because nobody is pure enough for these types.
On that note, I leave you with Martin Neimöller's words: