Alberta election column

I wrote this column for the March 27 issue of the paper I work for. It didn’t run. I disagree with why it didn’t run.

Here it is.

With Albertans going to the polls in only a small number of weeks to choose who will govern them for the next four years, it’s clear this is going to be an election the likes of which Alberta has not seen since the Tories first swept to power in 1971.

Or at least that’s how I view it.

I still consider myself an outsider when it comes to most things Alberta. Yes, I’ve been out here for 16 months, but that’s hardly enough time to get a true feel for a new place.

However, going through an election will probably be my true baptism into Alberta life.

I just have a feeling that this election could very well spell the end of the blue tide that has gripped this province since Peter Lougheed’s 1971 election victory.

The ‘do-nothing’ committee scandal. The new Education Act raising the hackles of parents. The issues around healthcare and physician intimidation.

All those things make me feel we’re not going to wake up the morning of the election with the Tories holding the majority of seats at the Legislature.

Now, that is not to say they won’t form the government again. They very well could win 45, 50, 70, you name it, seats. They also could easily be shunted out of power like the SoCreds were, eventually losing their cachet and disappearing from the political landscape. I don’t see it happening, but it could.

Who really saw the Kim Campbell Tories decimated to the tune of two seats in 1993? [N.B. I was only seven when that election took place. Maybe people did foresee that happening.]

But either way, this is an election that, for me, represents a turning point. And it all goes back to what I said a few paragraphs ago about feeling like an outsider still.

This could represent the first election where I vote Conservative. And if you know me, you’ll know why that’s a shocking admission.

While I can subscribe to the general principles of conservatism, I generally abhor the ideology many (mainly federal) Conservative espouse. In short, Stephen Harper and his cronies make me sick.

My loathing of the Conservative brand has its roots in 1995, when the Mike Harris Tories came to power in Ontario. OK, fine, I was only nine at the time. But since then, I have had virtually no time for the antics and blatantly disgusting partisanship that seems to ooze from Conservatives.

And let’s be honest, some of those very Harris Tories are running Canada now. John Baird, Jim Flaherty, Tony Clement. Just those names make my skin crawl.

So why could I possibly vote Conservative here in Alberta at the provincial level? It’s because in many cases what is one ideology at one level, or in one province, is not the same in all situations.

I have nothing against the Alberta Tories. If I think their ideas are the best for this province, then they’ll get my vote.

And if I don’t, then they won’t. It’s that simple.