It was American investigative journalist and author I.F. Stone who famously remarked that: “All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.”
As the results of the 2019 Alberta provincial election came in from polling stations Tuesday night (April 16), it was the famous quote from his book In A Time of Torment that came to mind.
The United Conservative Party has taken a decisive majority victory away from a one-term NDP government with 63 out of the 87 seats in the legislature turning blue.
This election has been divisive – with each side on the attack against the other. The fodder is whatever they can fling at the other side – a never ending spin cycle of attacks and rhetoric.
With an election result, however, as a province we now get to dig into the UCP’s election promises and see which ones were the lies and which ones are actually feasible.
Because regardless of who wins, or on what platform, the reality of governing is always accompanied by the awkward awakening to the fact some of things promised are wishes that can never be fulfilled, or at least not within the timeframes people think is possible.
Forming government is a privilege, not an inheritance or a right. The UCP will have a to navigate a tough road ahead – running on a platform that promises to fix an economy that took decades of Progressive
Conservative governments to ruin will be harder than repeating stump speech sound bites.
Make no mistake, responsibility for the situation we find ourselves in does not fall squarely at the feet of the NDP. Despite the repeated attacks by the UCP and Jason Kenney, the NDP inherited this situation and pursued a governing agenda that would provide Alberta the moral authority to continue pursuing the development of pipelines to get our resources to markets outside the country.
In 2015, Albertans did look into the mirror and realized the arrogance and entitlement of a government unchallenged for decades of rule needed to change.
After four years, Kenney has stated that another change is needed and he is right. But the change that is needed is for government to make life better for all Albertans on a daily basis.
A strong economy and a strong public service together bring prosperity, not sacrificing one for the other.
The change we need as Albertans is to have our political parties run on a platform of ideas and policies that set out a framework for future success – not a constant negative fingerpointing spin cycle that divides us.
Doom and gloom versus doom and gloom – the other side is cast in the worst possible light and as a typical election campaign tactic it is unsurprising – but nonetheless disappointing for those who want to engage at a higher level.
Cue the Alberta Party and Liberals – who campaigned on ideas and platforms, but were left out of the results completely without a single seat in the legislature. Both parties demonstrate you can do better in an election and still be left worse off than when you started.
With Rachel Notley staying on as the leader of the opposition, Albertans will be better represented with a strong voice to hold the UCP and Kenney accountable with a caucus of 24 members.
But even as the Outlook gets ready to go to press, the unofficial results of the Banff-Kananaskis riding remain tight between the UCP’s Miranda Rosin in the lead and the NDP’s Cam Westhead.
Regardless of how the final numbers sit, Westhead can be proud of the solid work he has done representing his riding and constituents in Edmonton. Approachable, responsive, and a hard working MLA –
Westhead got results and convinced people to vote for him not just on the colour of his signs, but on his character and dedication to public service.
Let’s hope the next MLA continues that work.