Wednesday, May 6, 2015

What's going on in Alberta?

I love my province too much to compare it to the netherworld, but there are lots of jokes flying around today about that very thing.

You see, Alberta has just come out of a long season of Progressive Conservative government. 44 years of it, actually, and it was starting to look like hell might just freeze over before anything changed in our politics.

But yesterday, Alberta voters did the unthinkable. We voted out the long-standing party that has had a seemingly endless history of entitlement and some rather unscrupulous ways of balancing the budget (read serious cuts to healthcare, social services, and education), and we elected the New Democratic Party with, as opposition, the Wild Rose party, both made up of many ordinary Albertans (rather than people whose political campaign war chests were financed by big business, and who gave their allegiance to the same). The New Democrats have a reputation for a social conscience -- and possibly, a resulting inability to balance a budget -- and the Wild Rose have a fierce concern about raising taxes and a determination to be whistleblowers when it comes to unethical government practices.

The wonder of it all is that almost half of the Alberta New Democrats are women (!), and several are university students, meaning fresh thinking. And with the Progressive Conservatives cut down to ten seats, their past stranglehold on democracy here has suddenly eased. After 44 years of expecting the same old same old, Albertans finally have a government which is planning to strengthen democracy (by changing policy around politics) rather than padding its ability to stay in power, a government  that is more likely to listen to ordinary Albertans instead of running the show as it sees fit.

The funniest thing about all this is how the weather is playing along. We woke this morning to a dump of snow that has continued all day.

Maybe the devil is busy learning how to skate!

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