Two-Minute Tories

After Alison Redford became Alberta’s Premier-Designate Sunday morning (and even before the results were official) some smaller-c Progressive Conservatives mused that the Alberta PC Party got hijacked by (scary, awful, terrifying, communist) non-tradidional PC members who bought a $5-membership and voted for the candidate that had more Progressive with her Conservative.

Some of those people might have even been in unions. Unions!

Those frightened and confused party members need to check their own membership card and refer to the “P” in PC Party of Alberta. Also, you don’t get to raise a bunch of money on $5-memberships without a hiccup or two in your plans.

After Gary Mar’s pitches on private healthcare and Alison Redford’s promise to stay with public healthcare, and also to instantly put $100-million into school board budgets, it is not surprising that Albertans who value a public health system and more stable funding for education decided to buy a membership with a party they may never have voted for in a general election. That’s not unions or liberals trying to rule from outside. That’s change.

I like to think this signals something important. Perhaps Albertans stopped seeing the leadership race as something just for the Tory party and got engaged in a vote that also impacts them.

My sunshine and rainbows view on this is that there were indeed lots of “two-minute Tories” because these people were looking beyond party lines. They may never vote for an Alberta Progressive Conservative again. Or maybe this will set in motion the option for them to do so.

It would be so nice to think beyond the colour of ones campaign signs.

If any of those extra thousands of people who showed up for Alison Redford are like me, they never had a PC Party of Alberta membership (or any party membership at all), they never voted for the PC party, but they are engaged citizens. They saw in Alison Redford someone who was at the cabinet table when dodgy decisions were made, but might have been on the outside of some of those calls.

Her lack of Tory MLA support signalled she was not part of the old boys club. Her support for an inquiry on healthcare queue-jumping and government transparency was refreshing. Rightly or wrongly, that pushed people to join the PC Party of Alberta, even for a day.

This leadership race says, to me, that party lines are not as solid as so many in partisan politics would like to think. People are after change, and, given the chance, people are going to defy party lines to make that happen.

Good luck to Alison Redford. Perhaps more than the last few Premiers of Alberta, she’s got an entire province waiting to see how things get done at the Alberta Legislature.

5 thoughts on “Two-Minute Tories”

  1. I think those two minute Tories need to recognize that parties are living things that influence leaders, and visa-versa. Party histories dictate the direction of the party’s future. So those frustrated by decades of PC rule may have helped give that party a new, more electable face, but have have in doing so neglected the general election loss that would’ve changed the party, as well as the leader.

  2. While I would certainly prefer to have change come in the form of general elections, I think this was a chance for people to engage. The months to come, with a new cabinet, leadership promises, a new budget, will speak to whether or not the PC Party is accepting the push now.

    And, maybe since this wasn’t a general election it says people want the best candidates in charge. Regardless of party affiliation.

  3. I wish politics was always so honest. When one of the PCs’ problems is deep secrecy then the question of whether you can trust the party to genuinely change is raised.

    Ms. Redford has already refused to call a fall session, following on a years-long trend of fewer and fewer days sitting in the Legislature. The PCs generally see their support fall when in session.

  4. I must agree, to some extent, with Richard. While I am happy to see a more progressive face at the helm of the province (for the time being, at least), the fact that Redford’s first decision as premier-designate was to declare that there will be no fall session in the Legislature is disheartening.

    She’s done an about-face on that, now, due to massive criticism, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’d have preferred not to have the house sit.

  5. I see I’m going to have to crank up my cynicism to be top dog around here. 😛

    The move to scrap the fall sitting wasn’t great. I can understand it, with a new premier and new cabinet coming in. I could have lived with a short session in November.

    I remain hopeful, especially on the reversal of decision, that Alberta’s headed for better governing days.

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