HOW ARE YOU FEELING ABOUT BEING ALBERTAN THESE DAYS?
We recently did a survey of Albertans within the Reboot Alberta ambit to take the temperature of folks were feeling now that we have more than a year reality under the Kenney-controlled UCP government.
We asked the same questions of a wide range of Albertans late in 2010 under the Stelmach government, as we did to the Moderates in the Reboot community now in September 2020. We thought the comparison in perceptions and mindsets would be interesting.
The 2010 survey was just before Premier Stelmach announced his surprise resignation in January 2011. In 2010 the sample was larger and random so therefore more accurate and reflective of the general population in Alberta. The current survey is just like all the others you see from all pollsters in Canada these days. They are not random, data is gathered from self-selecting people who subscribe to be surveyed.
The results are “weighted” to create an illusion of reflective opinion accuracy. Weighing is a manipulative process to impute the results of a certain demographic segment that is known to be underrepresented as inferring that the small sample size would be the same as if the population segment was adequately sampled in the first place. This approach as being an accurate random representation of an entire population is nothing more than professionally manipulated misinformation. It is happening every day.
SOME HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE – VOLATILITY NOT STABILITY
In 2010, at the time of the survey, the Wildrose was gaining traction under the new leadership of Danielle Smith. It was looking like the political options for Albertans were tired and entitled Progressive Conservative Party or the fiscally anti-tax, small-government, and socially conservative Wildrose. But how did we get there?
In 2008 Stelmach faced down the Wildrose and lead the PCs to a larger majority government adding 12 seats. He increased the PC popular vote by almost 6% taking 52.72% of the total votes but in the lowest election turnout in Alberta’s history, 40.59%. In 2019, Kenney and his effort at uniting the rightwing PC’s and Wildrose under the UCP banner got 54.88% of the popular vote when 64% of eligible voters participated, the second-highest in Alberta history.
REFLECTIONS ON 1982 RECESSION
As an interesting aside, the highest Alberta voter turnout was 1982 when the Peter Lougheed PCs took 57.4% of the popular vote and 73 of 75 seats. The NDP, led by Grant Notley, Rachel Notely’s father, got 2 seats with 18.7% of the vote and the separatist Western Canada Concept lost its only seat, won in an earlier by-election garnering 11.8% of the popular vote. The once all-powerful Social Credit Party was wiped out in the 1982 election. The political volatility in 1982, was like today, with anti-Ottawa and the Alberta economy was in recession with stagflation, a stagnant economy, and raging inflation when unemployment jumped from 3.9% in 1981 to 11% in 1983.
REFLECTIONS ON 2008
In 2008 the Liberals went from 16 seats to 9 with a loss of 3% of the popular vote down to 26.43% of total voters. The NDP caucus was cut in half down to 2 seats and the loss of Official Party Status, even though they got 8.48% of the popular vote down only 1.72% from the 2004 election. Even the Greens ran more candidates than the Wildrose, at 79 and got 4.55% of the popular vote. They were the only party, other than the PCs, to increase their popular vote but got no seats.
Under Smith, the Stelmach PC Caucus began splitting with many MLAs being openly being sympathetic to the Wildrose and his many in his Cabinet were actively undermining the Stelmach leadership. Stelmach announced his resignation in January 2011.
There was a growing discontent throughout Alberta for many reasons and many ways. The Conservatives were moving farther to the Right and getting active while the Progressives in the PC Party went inert and absent. The NDP and the Liberals were struggling were for relevancy and the nascent Alberta Party was vying for attention at this time too. The 2012 election choice was essentially between a Right-Wing PC party or a Far Right-Wing Wildrose.
It looked for a time, reading the Polls, that the Wildrose would win big but for some homophobic and racist revelations by some Candidates. The weak, vague, and very late rejection reaction by Smith, turned the tide and Redford held on to a smaller PC majority, but still a majority.
Smith also ran on the infamous, and now revived, “Firewall” policy from the so-called Far-Right Calgary School. Then, as now under Kenney, serious proposals were floated, supported by the Wildrose, but and rejected by citizens at the Ballot Box, to create a provincial police force, get aggressive against Constitutionally enabled Equalization payments, and replace the Canada Pension Plan with an Alberta Pension Plan.
THE CALGARY-SCHOOL FIREWALL IS BACK, THANKS TO KENNEY
We have Referendums coming on all three of these arcane and expensive unnecessary policy options. Best we start becoming more aware of them and be sure we are accurately and fully informed to be effective citizens when the Referendums happen. There will be a lot of political propaganda coming out of the UCP and their proxies, at taxpayer expense. We can be assured of that.
Time for Albertans to start getting fired up to fight the bogus and belligerentBase demands of these Referendums. They will draw out the Separatists and anti-intellectual, anti-science, and Faith-based voters. That will also translate into consequences for local government and school board electios…pushing them into alignment with the Kenney Authoritarian Dictates.
A Vote is a powerful tool for citizens to decide who gets to make the political and policy decisions that will impact all of us in one way or another. Moderates have taken the Vote for granted for far too long. That is how we ended up with Kenney. He fooled up one so shame on him. In the Referendums, local and school board elections he can fool us again. That shame will be on us.
AND NOW FOR THE SURVEY COMPARISONS
|QUESTIONS||STELMACH 2010||KENNEY 2020|
|VERY SATISFIED WITH THE GOVT||77% STRONGLY DISAGREE||95.2% STRONGLY DISAGREE|
|HAVE NO INFLUENCE ON GOVT||58% STRONGLY AGREE||84.3% STRONGLY AGREE|
|I’M NOT LISTENED TO BY GOVT||70% STRONGLY AGREE||92.8% STRONGLY AGREE|
|COMMITTED TO THE FUTURE OF ALBERTA||88% STRONGLY AGREE||96.4% STRONGLY AGREE|
|MY ACTIONS HELP MAKE ALBERTA A BETTER PLACE||68% STRONGLY AGREE
25% SLIGHTLY AGREE
|37.3% STRONGLY AGREE
54.2% SLIGHTLY AGREE
A CONCLUDING THOUGHT
We in the Reboot Community have a challenge and an opportunity in the answers to the last question. The 90%+ in positive responses in both cases is reassuring. However, in these Kenney times, we have a much larger group that is less convinced about their actions making a positive difference for Alberta.
The challenge is we need to get that group more effectively engaged and assertively activated as Citizens. The opportunity is in the next year, getting serious about using our vote, our time, our talents, and any other resources we have to be sure we elect Moderates and Progressive in next year’s local and school board elections all over Alberta.