Alberta surprise: what went right for Redford

The PCs carried 61 of 87 seats

by Colby Cosh

An Alberta astronaut returning from Titan and seeing the result of last night’s election would say “Meh, so what else is new? The PCs carried 61 of 87 seats? Kind of an off year for them, I guess.” Yet the ostensibly boring, familiar outcome wrong-footed much of the media and absolutely all the pollsters. Even PC insiders, correctly detecting a last-minute shift away from the Wildrose Party heirs-presumptive, envisioned a much smaller vote share than the 44 per cent Alison Redford’s party achieved. The public polling firms all botched the job, with none forecasting anything but a Wildrose majority even on the final weekend.

The Wildrose Party’s final count of 17 seats must surely leave its braintrust, heavily stocked with Conservative Party of Canada veterans, obliterated with horror. The CPC has built a pretty good electoral machine, but as old Ralph Klein hand and Wildrose supporter Rod Love reminded CBC, the Alberta PC brand is the most successful in the country. He probably could have gone even further afield if he wanted to. (On August 24, 2014, the PCs will officially become the longest continuously serving government in the annals of Confederation.) In 1993 the PCs were in trouble late, but succeeded in outflanking a popular Liberal opposition and running against their own record. They did it again in 2012. Redford succeeded in making herself the “change” candidate—though not without help from the Wildrose insurgents, who suffered late “bozo eruptions” of the sort the CPC itself has long since succeeded in extinguishing.

It wasn’t all about the bozos, but they did help inspire a shift of progressive voters away from the Alberta Liberals—a party that is never quite healthy but now seems positively moribund. With overall turnout still fairly dismal (probably not much higher than 50%), the Wildrose was able to capture 34% of the vote. Almost all of that support, without any doubt, came from citizens who backed the PCs in 2008. But the Liberal vote share fell from 29% to 10%, and it seems almost all of those voters went PC, often reluctantly, in defence of Redford.

Redford seemed destined to be the Alberta PCs’ Kim Campbell for so long that it is difficult to do an about-face and assess her strengths. She played hardball when it came to the Wildrose “bozoes”, succeeding in making them a metaphor for a potential Wildrose caucus of uncertain size, ideological allegiance, and ability. That turned out to be shrewd, and the Wildrose campaign, which was rigidly committed to a tactical plan laid out before the election writ, did not react fast enough. (The WRP strategic doctrine has been that it is better not to get caught “reacting” at all. This is ideal if your preparation has been thorough. If there are weaknesses, look out.)

But what really strikes one now is the way Redford has emphasized Alberta’s national and international image from day one of her career as premier—indeed, from day one of her candidacy for premier. Whether or not Alberta is a particularly insular and self-regarding place (which, duh, it is), it has elected a few heads of government in a row who were far from cosmopolitan. With the last couple, you’d honestly be a little reluctant to let them use a really nice bathroom. Meanwhile, Alberta’s government has been guilty of neglecting or underestimating outside sentiment, most notably when it comes to environmental attacks on the tar sands.

Criticisms of Alberta began as an easily-ignored celebutard problem, but because of Alberta’s landlocked status, it grew to become a serious diplomatic one, one with a quantifiable impact on Alberta’s take from oil. Professional enviros went after pipelines connecting Alberta to U.S. and world markets because they are an easy choke point; Alberta business leaders and its government bean-counters are increasingly, unhappily aware of just how easy.

That means the province can no longer count on market-access issues to take care of themselves. Oil is not just a commodity anymore. It needs a sales pitch. And Redford has been preaching the axioms that naturally follow. Lord, has she ever. She hardly ever mentions Alberta without squeezing Canada, or the world, or both into the sentence. This turns out, as of tonight, to not just be the irritating vocal tic of a baggage-lugging, UN-certified internationalist.

Danielle Smith’s view on climate change—that the science pinning it on human activity is provisional, and it’s not clear that we really have power over the weather—has a broad constituency in Alberta. So does her view that people who literally believe in Hell are eligible for public office, provided they give a firm promise of religious tolerance. None of this is “radical”, per se. But the net effect of the last half of the campaign was to make Smith look defiantly “Albertan”, to appear to be an Albertan contra mundum and-to-hell-with-what-anyone-else-thinks.

In most years, in most Albertas, that would work. It may even work again in the future, when Albertans feel less insecurity about finding a way to force our boutique oil into foreign markets and more comfortable about reverting to “Let’s all get super drunk at the Stampede” mode. But in 2012 Albertans are feeling vulnerable about identity, and Smith’s problems provoked a late, instinctive counter-reaction. Herself a promising avatar of change and modernity, the Wildrose leader found herself endlessly defending men who looked and sounded like an old Super-8 film of Socreds at a 1968 ribbon-cutting for a curling rink. Redford, meanwhile, stuck to her game and got it right: keep reminding Albertans that the world exists, and is watching, and is very large.

Demographic change didn’t hurt Redford’s cause, of course. Alberta’s fast growth should, in theory, make old political axioms and patterns untrustworthy, as new Albertans remake the electorate every decade. Alberta remains the youngest of all provinces, and it’s now far from the whitest. But when I look at the vote totals from here in Edmonton, for example, what I see is Edmonton actually reasserting its classic liberal identity, angrily. Friends my age and younger were able to accept the bizarre logic of the PCs as the party of “change”, and voted PC for exactly the same reasons they were once determined to keep the city PC-free.

Of the 19 core Edmonton ridings, 13 went PC; more surprisingly, the PCs made a clean 5-for-5 sweep of the bedroom communities of St. Albert, Sherwood Park, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, and Strathcona County. None of these were remotely close for the Wildrose; one of the highest vote totals in the whole province belongs to St. Albert PC Stephen Khan, who was running in a riding that has sent Liberals to the legislature at least once under every Alberta government. (At this hour, Redford herself has the very highest total—yet another surprise within the larger surprise.)

In the final weekend of the campaign, both Smith and Redford stuck close to Calgary, and in light of the polls, this looked for all the world as though Redford was desperately playing defence. Would she ignore rural Alberta if she thought there was any hope there? Redford did lose a few Conservative stalwarts in the hinterland, but, frankly, she is probably not too unhappy about losing golf-mad Ray Danyluk or Wildrose-in-all-but-name Ted Morton.

The Wildrose took no seats at all north of Lacombe (which is a little less than halfway from Edmonton to Calgary), apart from Danyluk’s northeastern Franco-Ukrainian fiefdom (Lac la Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills). Basically, the Wildrose is left with a dryland/foothills caucus and a couple of Calgary outposts. Urban Alberta has regained the upper hand in the electoral calculus after more than three decades of control by plain-spoken, half-animist, multi-tentacled PC county bosses of the Danyluk type.

And Redford has gained what no one expected her to have: a big winner’s unquestioned dominance of her caucus, with a generous helping of like minds replacing the old dinosaurs. Hopefully she will be conscious of this and enforce a regime of positive urban values, starting with honesty and transparency in government, social tolerance, and respect for innovation. (I am not convinced that throwing billions of dollars at an improvised “innovation” project like AOSTRA-2 is a good example of the latter, but in that case the goal isn’t wrong, just the old-school centrally-planned execution.) There are also negative urban values Redford needs to avoid: impecuniousness, laziness, and the eternal temptations of social engineering. But the idea of making Alberta a place people think of as cool is not a bad one. I live here, I already know it’s pretty cool: we apparently need to convince you.

Alberta surprise: what went right for Redford

  1. 61 of 87 seats actually – the Liberals managed to pull off a win in Calgary-Mccall.

  2. Thought experiment: what would things look like today if the Liberal vote had held (likely picture: a PC or Wild Rose minority, reliant on a large coterie of Liberal MLAs). Congratulations are due to strategic voters for helping to re-elect the most right-wing provincial government in Canada. This is probably comforting news to Stephen Harper. All he has to do is get a few of his MPs to relaunch the Reform party, and “progressives” will fold like a lawn chair to keep out the scary Reformerms.

    Of course something else happened yesterday, as well. If you looked at the polls, even with strategic voting (ie. even with the Liberals down to 10%), the PCs appeared to be behind by about 7 points. I’m not sure what it was.
    -last minute jitters at the polling station?
    -an extremely efficient GOTV effort by the PC Party?
    -a surprising number of undecided voters?
    -the dead rose, and voted PC, thinking it was still 1971?

    • The PCs’ internal polling did have them surging ahead late. And when that happens, it’s proverbial for the non-incumbent to get flattened. But probably all four of your explanations (including dead people voting) are true to some extent.

      • Reminds me of the last minute reversal in the 2004 federal election.  I think it was mostly the last-minute jitters which happens with new parties.

        Also the ADQ collapse in Quebec had a last-minute reversal a few years ago.

        It seems that fear campaigns can work with new parties, but fall flat with established parties.  So the “hidden agenda” worked in 2004 but fell flat in later years.

        • Very good point, your last one.

        • The ADQ example might be very informative.  The assumption seems to be that Danielle Smith and Wild Rose lost this time due to scare tactics.  Now that they’re going to have to sit in the legislature as opposition, Albertans can finally take their measure as a party.  Mario Dumont’s ADQ had one term as opposition before they fell apart.  It became evident that there was no bench strength behind Dumont, and the party was far from ready to form a government.  Danielle Smith has a pretty thin record, and her Calgary school board experience is equivocal at best.  I’d say it’s even odds whether Wild Rose gains support or fades before the next election.

          • It will depend on the economic condition of AB in 2016. If debt increases and economic growth stagnates, then the PC’s will have to answer for this, otherwise, yes, the WR will fade out.

          •  I think she has a better chance than ADQ to remain in contention because at this point it’s a 2-way race between Wild Rose and PC, with the Libs and NDP sitting around just 10%. 

            The ADQ was in a three-way battle with the Libs and PQ, and yes, the ADQ eventually imploded.

          • I agree, and would add:
            1. The ADQ didn’t have a lot of time to cement its 2007 gains – a new election was called in December of 2008. An election in 2011 would have meant three years more experience, three years of tv coverage, and three years to build up the party’s organization.

            2. The ADQ had the tacit/organizational backing of the Federal Conservatives. In Quebec, the Conservative party organization isn’t worth much (though it is telling that the places where the ADQ survived are also places that tend to elect conservatives federally). The Wild Rose party also has a lot of organizational crossover with the Federal Tories, but is in Alberta, where that counts for a lot.

    • If the Liberals can be accused of taking over the Progressive Conservative party through Allison Redford then the Liberal Party turned itself over to a former dissident Progressive Conservative in Raj Sherman. 

    • Only would a guy studying Political Science omit the very distinct possibility that the polling was wrong to begin with. Is this not the second major election (the last Fed one where the NDP broke through) where the pols had it completely wrong?

      Danielle Smith, in an earlier Cosh profile claimed this would be the social media election. To some extent it has been – amongst the media.

      I have long argued that Twitter facilitates groupthink – with individuals seeking out like minded people to engage/retweet. The most prolific tend to tweet constantly (Andrew Coyne comes to mind). It makes me wonder, what did they do prior to twitter?

      So, I chuckled this am when I sat down to coffee, picked up the shop’s NatPost and read Coyne’s front page column, celebrating Smith’s win. Unfortunately, it appears to have all but  ”disappeared” online.

      Andrew Coyne ‏ @acoyne Here’s my first whack at the Alberta election, written in advance of the results. I’m uncanny that way. http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/04/23/andrew-coyne-wildrose-poised-to-take-down-one-of-the-greatest-political-empires-in-canadian-history/

      Of course, he knew in advance the risk he was taking:

      Andrew Coyne ‏ @acoyne
      @bbrunnen If they flat out lose, I’m screwed: hence my opening line “unless something astonishing happens.” Also: “even to be in contention”

      • The link is broke… 404 error

      • I have no vested interest in defending the pollsters – I think Canadian pollsters are terrible. However, there is some evidence to exonorate them on this one.

        Forum research’s poll on April 16th was in broad agreement with the other polls, suggesting a Wild Rose lead of around 7 points. However their April 22nd poll detected a significant narrowing of the race (as did PC internal polls). This is notable because they were the only pollsters in the field. That suggests to me that there was significant movement to the Tories on the 22nd and 23rd.

        That kind of story is not significant with the “bozo eruption” explanation either. Hunsperger’s lake of fire comment went public on the 15th, Leech’s on the 17th, yet there was not much of a movement away from either.

        There is also good reason to believe the Tories did a good job of getting out the vote, where they needed to. The Wildrose vote was not very seat efficient (34.5% of the vote, but under 20% of the seats). It was also probably hard to guess where to put their GOTV resources, A. since they were essentially coming up from nothing and B. because polls had suggested they had a shot at multiple seats in Edmonton and most seats in Calgary. In contrast, if you are an incumbent government, you generally defend the seats needed to hold onto your majority – Alison Redford knew she would be through if she had lost (whether she lost holding onto 35 seats or 25 seats).  

        • Or they were just wrong, again.

  3. I feel sorry for you Alberta people.  It is a good thing Mr. Harper has the last word when it comes to the Oil Sands.  I trust his judgement, but I do not trust Redfords.  She not only looks, but she acts as though she just stepped out of the stone age.

    • The Oil Sands are the resource of the Province of Alberta, not the government of Canada.  Harper’s policy has been to remove the federal government from areas of joint jurisdiction and leave that to the provinces.

      • Too bad you didn’t read the paper 2 days ago.  “Harper has the last say when it comes to the Oil Sands” 

  4. Redford won the PC nomination through strategic voting, and now she has won the premiership through strategic voting. This was certainly Steven Carter’s strategy from the beginning, and it was obviously the goal of his messaging from the first day of campaigning. That is, in order to win an election, the PC intentionally formed an alliance w NDPs and Libs, in order to defeat 1/3 of AB voters, every one of whom would traditionally vote PC. The PCs just pissed off over half their traditional voting base; and if Redford doesn’t bend to her new coalition, she’ll be toast in the next election. Realignment is coming: just not this time around.

    • Redford put the Peter Lougheed coaltion back together.

      • Unlike Lougheed – she spends more than she takes in. Good luck with that approach.

        • Conventional oil (drilling those old simple holes in the ground) provided instant revenue for Lougheed.

          Oilsands revenue only slowly kicks in over time as the high royalties don’t kick in until a project pays back.  

          Add to that that natural gas revenue is essentially nil at the moment, because the oilmen in Calgary were too dumb to build pipelines to the coast in time to export the glut.  If the oilmen in Calgary did not see the tsunami of natural gas coming and tell/educate the government about it, that is a failure of industry, not the government.

          • And spending more than you take in, is a failure of government. Something Lougheed understood. Redford is fiscally irresponsible, and her budget (remember? the one she waited to pass BEFORE calling an election?), mentioned NONE of her $7 Billion in promises.
            Wow. She resembles Don Getty, not Lougheed.

          • I agree with B.L. that the revenue projections in the most recent PC budget were considered by almost all credible, objective observers to be way too optimistic.

          • And as she mentioned during the campaign.. none of those new spending promises kick in during this budget.

            Had Wild Rose played smart, they would have capitalized on this.  ”How can she be a party of change when even she admits that nothing’s going to change until the next budget?”

        • Just like your idol Stevie.

        • As if the WRP fiscal plans made any sense at all – cut billions, but don’t say how, and spend needlessly to create a whole new burocracy for a separate APP and a separate provincial police force, not to mention the odd billion or so of Dani dollars. Redford was clear: she is going to spend on things she thinks Alberta needs and Albertands want. Smith was vague: she was going to cut, but basically talked only about new aimless spending.
          And so Albertans had a real choice, and they chose decisively.

  5. Great article with a couple lines that made me laugh out loud.

    “the Wildrose leader found herself endlessly defending men who looked and sounded like an old Super-8 film of Socreds at a 1968 ribbon-cutting for a curling rink. “

    • That was good, wasn’t it?

      I remember Harry Strom  . . .

  6. how about her apparent belief that cigarettes, in moderation, are good for you?

    I think alberta might have dodged a bullet with this “smart” “charismatic” candidate.

    • her “apparent belief” …..we must have a source for this one….

      Yesterday you weren’t sure if it was a rumor.  Come on, before you keep perpetuating it, provide the source data.

      •  That’s why I said “apparent”.  I am open to it being disproven. 

        Track it back from Warrren Kinsella’s blog.  there isn’t an original link but there is a cited date for her Calgary Herald column.

  7. Alberta will be cool when it stops behaving like a banana republic that never changes government. I live in Ont and we had a long period of PC reign as well and it is bad for governance when that happens. I bet levels of minor corruption are sky high in Alberta because they continually vote for the same group of people. Alberta will always appear parochial while it continues to vote for the same party, decade after decade. 

    I don’t pay attention to Alberta politics much, so I have no idea what strategy WR followed, but right wing pols need to explain their ideas and plans much better than they are now or else they will never get elected. We live in era when technocrats think they can pull some levels, twist some dials, and bob’s your uncle, we live in a utopia but this is nonsense on stilts and needs to be fought.

    So called ‘bozo’ eruptions happen only on the right – left wing has no fringe, they are allowed to say and do whatever they like while right wing people have microscope put on them by left wing intelligentsia. I think more right wing parties need to follow Mike Harris example of spending a couple of years prior to election telling electorate what you plan to do, and why, and then do it when elected.

    •  The left has a fringe, it’s just really really far removed from power in most Canadian politics.  Unlike the right.

      • Yes, the left certainly has a lunatic fringe. The difference is that the left doesn’t welcome its presence.

        • That’s because the right wing fringe when cornered starts screaming about a war on christianity.

    • It is a direct consequence of the compromise the Canadian right has had to make in order to balance electability and appeal to the base. The Reform Party, the Alliance, the CPC, the Harris Tories and the Wild Rose party all avoided taking a clear stance on social issues, instead allowing members to vote their consciences. That only works when social issues are de-emphasized (either by heightening the salience of economic issues as Mike Harris did by proposing major economic reforms, or by exercising iron discipline behind the scenes as Stephen Harper has).

      The heterodox positions of the lunatic left, in contrast, mostly involve economic issues. Budget votes are whipped, and all parties have pretty clear platforms on economic matters. As a result you aren’t as likely to hear lefties musing about nationalizing coal or what-have-you. But contrary to the other two posters, there definitely are members of the lunatic left in Canada’s political parties. Gilles Duceppe and Matthieu Ravignat are former communists, Cherie di Novo is pretty out there, and then there’s Svend Robinson (or at least there used to be).  

      And it isn’t as if the left never has bozo eruptions, they just tend to be of the “elitist, out of touch” sort. For instance, Scott Reid’s ”beer and popcorn” remark, “I’m entitled to my entitlements”, or Hedy Fry’s crossburning comment. Additionally, the NDP will likely have problems in the future as it navigates the line between embracing soft nationalists and endorsing separatism – a similar problem to that faced by the Tories on social issues.  

      • Brian Mason, Alberta NDP leader, is also a former communist and used to run in elections under the Communist banner, as I recall.

        I would add foreign policy to the areas in which loony members of the left are prone make especially nutty comments.  I agree with Libby Davies on some key social issues (e.g., marijuana legalization), but on foreign policy she basically demonizes Israel and refuses to acknowledge that Hamas is anything but a paragon of virtue.  She’s as one-sided as the pro-Israel Hawks that the left (quite validly) criticizes.

      • hth ~ I agree somewhat about economics v social issues but I think you are being exceedingly generous in your description about how left only have economic bozo eruptions. OrsonBean has good examples – it is perfectly acceptable to single out Jews here in Canada and abroad in way that would be entirely unacceptable against just about any other ethnic group. 

        Would we ever hear the end of it if Cons had someone like anti-semite Libby Davies? Anti semite is deputy leader of left wing party and it is barely mentioned in our msm, what a coincidence. 

        And what about Quebec where they have been having xenophobic fights against Muslims in their province for years but to hear our msm only Cons have problems with Muslims even tho nothing remotely comparable takes place in English Canada. Only Quebecers are allowed to argue that halal meat is a threat to their civilization and must be banned. 

  8. “Danielle Smith’s view on climate change—that the science pinning it on human activity is provisional, and it’s not clear that we really have power over the weather—has a broad constituency in Alberta.”

    Got anything to back up that assertion?
    Hint: Being willing to back the oil sands for economic reasons does not equate to doubting AGW.

      • Christ, learn to read. Specifically, read what I wrote, not what your imaginary voices tell you I wrote.

        Once you’ve figured out how to comprehend basic sentences, perhaps we can have some sort of discussion.

        • Thwim: ”Got anything to back up that assertion?”

          • Very good. Now see if you can read the assertion itself. I realize it’s a bit trickier, as it has a lot more words, but if you take your time you should be able to get through it.

          • I’m sorry Thwim, but it you’re unwilling to back up your own comments, that’s if for me. You might also try improving your manners.

          • Yeah, I figured it was too many words.

          • Aren’t you a genius!

            I’ll admit I made a mistake… when I replied to your comment. Normal discourse is beyond your capabilities. Why I previously assumed otherwise, I have no idea. Note that no other commenters made the same mistake.

          • Really? So rather than admit you went off half-cocked and didn’t actually read what was written, you’d prefer to argue that you’re dumber than anyone else around here?

            Gotta admit, I’ve got no way of countering that one.
            Kudos.

  9. As an Albertan living “abroad” (in the foreign land of Toronto, wink, wink), I am pretty happy the polls were wrong.

    With the polls saying low 40′s for Wildrose, that was screaming an “identity” politics election where the actual policies did not matter.  I am part Ukrainian ethnically (and a fiscally conservative with “classical liberal”, which now means conservative, values, and polling about 40% would have meant that Smith was capturing the fiscal conservative older Ukrainian vote, and they were voting for one of their own “daughters”.  This vote delivered for Decore and for Stelmach in earlier elections.  But seeing has how Smith really didn’t win anything outside of the Socred biblebelt, this did not happen.

    Instead the two stage runnoff leader election process the PC Party has, triumphs again, like it did with Klein, and Stelmach, and now with Redford.  It chose Klein over MacBeth, Stelmach over Dinning and Morton, and Redford over Mar, and each time having essentially a two-stage primary to pick the leader seems to pick a leader who is closer to where the zeitgeist is at the time for the next election.

    The Alberta PC Party essentially reinvents itself with this process to position itself for the election, because the leadership process is pretty much a pre-election.

    Nationally, the new governing alliance is Ontario and the West, changing from Ontario and Quebec.

    In Alberta, this is where the cities are taking control, Edmonton and Calgary, from the old PC alliance of Calgary, the rural biblebelt south, and the fiscally conservative rural north central.

    The polls were saying, the old alliance was on.  The polls were wrong.

    Moderate fiscal conservatism won over hard core fiscal conservatism.  Edmonton and Calgary want to focus outward to the world, rather than inward.

    Peter Lougheed in a skirt.

    • I guess that should be Peter Lougheed in a pantsuit.

      Redford essentially captured the coalition that initially elected Peter Lougheed. 

      • The PC party itself turfed out Ralph with only 55% support, last go around. Apart from the firewall policies, DS reminded me of a throwback to Ralph Klein in his heyday.

        Dishwater Ed was a surprise. But, I also wondered what rules concerning leadership contests the Wildrose had adopted to avoid the takeover of the party by opening voting to all Albertans irrespective of party affiliation in the runoffs (that elected Klein, Stelmach and Redford). Maybe this is a good thing (broadening the tent) and adds to its longevity. The downside is that the old guard gets squeezed out.

    • Moderate fiscal conservatism? Since when?? She just promised $7,000,000,000 in new spending, Alberta is currently in deficit, N.Gas is at a near all-time inflation adjusted low, and oil has a 30% discount because we can’t get it out of the province. As an accountant, I can’t see how you can rectify this without a hefty tax hike. Lougheed had huge surpluses – and wasn’t corrupt!

      • It is the bozo oilmen in Calgary who failed to plan/educate/inform and prepare for the natural gas tsunami. Why didn’t they start building natural gas pipelines to the coast a decade ago, when they first saw the extent of the shale and tight natural gas reserves.  Encana bought Tom Brown nearly a decade ago.

        The oilsands revenue kicks in slowly over time as the projects get paid for the high royalty rates kick in.  The conventional oil in the seventies provided Lougheed with instant revenue.

        The oilsands, unlike conventional oil, are labour and infrastructure intensive.  It requires a lot more spending by government to keep the province livable and functioning while the megaprojects are being built.

        • Yes, and spending money you don’t have is a disaster. Look at Greece & Spain to see how well THAT worked out. The oilsands revenue is more expensive to get, as you correctly pointed out – but may never deliver the economic power that conventional oil did, due to those costs. Adding massive debt is unforgiveable folly given the uncertain outcome for resource revenue. 

          • None of those junior oil and gas companies in Calgary can fund their growth out of internal gas flow.  They continually issue debt and equity to grow.  The revenue comes out of the back end.

            There is good debt and there is bad debt.  If one wants the Alberta government to spend less, one will have to slow down the pace of oilsands development.

          • As a shareholder of one of those junior gas companies in Calgary, I emphatically agree with your first paragraph  :)  Just read their latest financial statements — probably a good thing for me that there was no noose, gas oven, gun or sharp knife around at the time  . . .

          • Everybody spends money they don’t have. That’s what’s called credit. Perhaps you’ve heard of it, being an accountant and all.

            Most times it works out just fine.

          • We really need an equivalent of Godwin’s Law for commenters who invoke the Greek economy.

          • OK. There is ‘good’ debt, such as debt used to grow revenue production, and ‘bad’ debt – debt used to fuel consumption. Social program spending – is bad debt. If it was ‘good debt’ – Greece and Spain would not be in trouble today. And no, you are flat wrong – it does not ‘work out just fine’. For individuals it results in bankruptcy, for governments it results in inflation/unemployment/high taxes. Turning Alberta into Michigan/Ontario, etc.

          • Greece and Spain are in trouble because they’ve given up their sovereignty over money making to the EU, and as such are forced to bend over to the financiers if they want to maintain that relationship.

            Greece, in particular, is in trouble because of corruption. It refused to enforce its own tax code, and in that situation, of course its budgets went terribly out of whack.

        • The last point is why the Dutch disease argument by McGuinty and Mulcair is utter and complete nonsense.

          Unconventional oil and gas development does not lead to Dutch disease, because it is labour and infrastructure intensives.

          • And this is why you live in Ontario, which knows nothing about oil, but lots about deficits & unemployment.

          •  Well the first oil found in Canada was in Ontario, but over and above that, deficits come and deficits go.

            And so does unemployment, although we’ve now recovered the job losses from the ‘recession’.

  10. Holy cow.  Got everything wrong.  Some comfort in that I’m not the only one.  Pollsters should be giving out refunds.  PCs will never lose again.

  11.  As I said late last night, congratulations to Premier Redford!

    • Enjoy the tax hikes & corruption.

      •  I’m in Ontario, and while she’ll be a pain in the ass to us, at least Alberta was spared another round of dinosaurs.

        • Ahh, you have your own McGuinty millstone to lug around. I suppose the high tax regime under Redford’s Liberals now visits Alberta. Yikes!

          •  Nope, Ont is quite happy with McGuinty.  If an election was held now Cons would come in a distant third.

            Alberta’s economy is 30% dependent on oil revenues I understand. That’s dangerous.

            If there’s a bust again tomorrow, you’re screwed.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • I see no evidence of Ontario `diversification` only a rusting industrial economy and massive unsustainable debt. You are now hiking taxes to attempt to stem the red ink coming in, but the deficit train keeps rolling in. Michigan and Ontario are much the same – dead auto factories & a McJobs economy.

          • Albertans imagine Ont to be full of car factories, and the unemployed and little else.
            The auto industry is only one part of our economy, and we’ve regained all the jobs lost in the ‘recession’.

          • Actually, it is the Liberals that are in third. Results of the latest Forum research (the company that caught the late PC surge in Alberta) poll in Ontario:

            PC: 34
            NDP: 31
            Liberal: 28
            ( http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1163869–ontario-budget-andrea-horwath-s-tax-the-rich-scheme-hugely-popular-poll-suggests ).

            That same poll showed an approval rating of 27% for McGuinty (to put that in perspective, Harper’s approval rating 42%, so if people are “quite happy with” McGuinty, you must also logically conclude that Harper is loved and adored).

          • No it’s not. LOL

    • Well thank goodness you are happy, Emily.  Now I will expect nothing but positive comments from you about Ms. Redford and her PC government in Alberta.  Next time she calls Mr. McGuinty and asks him to support the Oil Sands, I am guessing you will be applauding her efforts.

      • LOL I’m happy for Albertans in that they moved forward instead of backwards, however I wouldn’t have voted for either one of them.

        As I said somewhere else on here, Redford will be a pain in the ass for Ontario, but at least you’re not in dinosaur country again.

  12. Great article Colby.  The electorate has spoken and hopefully the choice has been wise.  Either way we are here for four more years.  None of this “56 percent didn’t vote for Allison Redford.”  Afterall, we are Albertans and we do not whine!

    • cept about the National Energy Program.

      • . . . and there was certainly nothing to complain about there.  It was absolutely fabulous in every respect.

        • Yes, we should have asked for discounted cars in trade for our discounted oil….I wonder how a national auto program would have gone over in Ontario….

          • Exactly.

          • Albertans own the oil

            Ontario doesn’t own the cars

      • That happened 30 years ago…in 1982….do you have something more recent or are you going to keep bringing up things that happened decades ago. 
        I also wanted to let you and the other Alberta-haters know what one of last night’s political analysts pointed out…”one half of Alberta’s population comes from outside the province”.  So remember when you go on about youth “escaping” from Alberta and Albertans being “dinosaurs’, etc., etc., get your facts straight.  Youth are coming to Alberta and those people who are voting in Alberta are from other parts of Canada and the world.

        • Yeah.. it happened 30 years ago.. so it means we’ve probably got about another 20 before we’ll see the last vestiges of the whining die out — literally.

          Which means Wild Rose has about 5 elections leeway before they join the So-creds.  Maybe they’ll be able to do something with it.

          • Gee that “eastern bastards” comment was also made 30 years ago, do you think it will take 20 years more before their whinning “dies” out too..by that time Emily will be 85…

          • and will have made more posts than MacDonalds will have served burgers . . .

        • funny, do you have something more recent is something i keep saying to Albertans about it….

  13. Yesterday evening Rod Love looked like a man who’d just realized that he showed up at the wrong party headquarters on election night.

  14. As long as the PC’s know that most of the votes they got weren’t because we like them, it was because so many people were afraid to have the wildrose party get in!!!!

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