The April 2019 Alberta election was the nastiest I have seen in Alberta in my life time. The ideological divisions were deep, destructive and downright disgusting at times.
Not surprisingly, with a two-party Legislature the partisan battles continue and the aggressiveness is escalating. A good day is when points are scored against the other tribe, not when the wisdom of the MLAs are brought to bear of debating to create better solutions.
Mr. Kenney has always been about political power. He has absolute power now with a strong electoral support and a majority government. He also has absolute control over his Caucus. Everyone of the UCP sitting members know they owe their seats to him and his leadership. They will be quiet and compliant if not overtly sycophantic if there is any hint of them questioning anything at all That will be seen as disloyalty to Mr. Kenney and that is political suicide, not truth to power, in the UCP ranks.
On the NDP side we also have a Caucus with great loyalty to the leader, regardless of the loss of government. Their frustration is palpable as they see one policy after another dismantled in the Kenney Summer of Repeal. There is no way they can stop this and using filibusters is a futile effort to express commitment to causes they believe in. In reality, under the circumstances, believing is all they can do.
The question for Albertans who are not in the Right or Left partisan tribes, is are we getting good government in this situation. The answer is Yes and No…more No than Yes!
One of the most divisive “NOs” is the Education Act Bill 8. It is the UCP getting rid of the NDP legislation that provided LGBTQ student’s with prompt and confidential right to Gay-Straight Alliance Clubs.
The ideological clash of values between the Fundamentalist Evangelical Base of the UCP and the Social Justice Warrior Base of the NDP was amplified by the passing of this legislation.
For a good summary of the political conflict of ideological differences and the consequences for vulnerable youth read this Star newspaper summary.
Decide for yourself, at least on this one issue if we are being governed well and wisely. As for me, I mostly see bad governance. Fact is we are only going to get increasingly vehemence in the opposing voices in our governance for four years.
Moderate, pragmatic, sensible policy, that is more about design thinking than mindless ideology, is missing in action of missing due to inaction. A lot of harm can, and will, be done in that time, especially if Bill 8 is any indication.
That said, in a democracy we always get the government we deserve. Albertans will reap the consequences of the last election for quite some time.