THUNDER BAY – The Alberta election campaign is in full stride. There have been a number of polls showing that Albertans are set to make a change. The Alberta Progressive Conservative Party could be headed to defeat. In Alberta politics, there are two simple realities. First, Albertans have always elected political dynasties. When the province joined Confederation, the Liberals ruled from 1905 to 1921. The Liberals were defeated by the United Farmers of Alberta who then ruled until 1935. The UFA was beaten by Social Credit who ruled from 1935 until 1971.
The Alberta Progressive Conservatives have ruled with massive majorities for the past 41 years.
Right now, the winds of political change are blowing across Alberta.
An anomaly in Alberta politics is that once a party has ruled in the province, once it has been defeated, voters enmass never return that party to power. The United Farmers of Alberta today is a farm and ranch supply store, not a political party any more.
Alberta voters also tend when making a change to make big changes. The Alberta Progressive Conservatives over the past 41 years have re-invented themselves several times. Premier Redmond won the leadership of the party in a hotly contested vote with critics complaining that the party had become more of a big government, big spending government than the people wanted.
Even though Alberta has grown massively over the past decades on the boom in the energy sector, and tens of thousands of new Albertans have arrived in the province, right now it is looking like the new Wildrose Alliance is poised to form government. The Alberta Liberals and New Democrats have often mused that the influx of people from Ontario and eastern Canada would have an impact on Alberta politics shifting the province more to the political centre.
That doesn’t appear to be happening. Often what it seems are new Albertans pick up what they sense is the spirit and style of the province. Overall, Albertans are small-c conservatives, and seeking government to do what is needed, and little more.
As the PCs have ruled, they have become increasingly a different party, growing the size of government, and slowly becoming out of touch with ordinary Albertans.
The winds of change blowing across Alberta could be setting up to sweep the Alberta Progressive Conservatives out of office. A spring cleaning of their political house by Alberta voters.
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