Well, the Alberta election has finally been called. I've been meaning to write this post for a few days now, knowing this day was coming, so I guess now is the time I do it. Basically, 27 days before the election, I have absolutely zero idea which way I'm voting. Zero. And let me make this clear, it is not because of the fantastic quality of each party. It is exactly the opposite.
In no paticular order, we have the Conservatives, Wildrose party, Liberals, New Democrats, and the Alberta Party. None of them scream to me as a party I want in government. A bit about each:
The Conservatives have been ruling the province for 40 years. While that's not necessarily a bad thing at one point they will have to lose. Could it be this time? Yes. The number of questionable things the Conservatives have done int he past 2-3 years are frankly too long to list. I could also say that about nearly every political party on the continent, so it's not worth it to go through everything. It is my belief that the key for them will be whether or not Alison Redford can convince people that she is different enough from Ed Stelmach that there will be meaningful difference.
Now, Alison Redford is the premier of this province for one reason only. That reason is $100 million in immediate funding for the education system. Now, don't get me wrong, the previous leadership taking that $100 million away was not a good thing, but Alison Redford used that to her advantage and won the leadership because of it. That is the only reason. Now, for full disclosure, I did become a member of the tories in 2011 to vote for the leadership, and I did not vote for Alison Redford. I did not agree with the majority of her ideas, nor did I think she was anywhere close to the best candidate in the leadership debates, which I followed, and attended the Edmonton one in person. I do not think that she was the best person for the leadership, and I am not sure if the Conservatives can be an effective government under her leadership.
The Wildrose party under Danielle Smith makes me want to scream into a pillow. I cannot remember a party that has beat their own chest so loudly without actually accomplishing anything. The entire party platform seems to be "this is what the tories have been doing for 40 years and we will say the reverse of everything they are doing wrong since they have been in power for 40 years and don't know what they're doing." I have yet to hear any policy speech or announcement from the Wildrose party that doesn't involve talking about how they they think the tories are bad and need to be voted out of office. It seems that the Wildrose platform is so weak that their only differentiator is to attack the tories at every turn. I don't like that. And the problem is that even if they do have a good platform and policies that I might agree with, I wouldn't know it because it gets buried in their anti-conservative rhetoric.
The Leader of the Liberal Party is Raj Sherman. Regardless as to how I may think about the Liberal Party, I do not want to vote for any party with Raj Sherman as the leader. Beyond my issues with how he has handled his accusations about the health care system, he essentially went to the party that was the highest bidder after being ejected from the Conservative party. it had nothing to do with his political leanings, but what was the best situation for Raj Sherman. The liberal platform, while not fantastic, has some merit, but whether it is realistic or not is debatable. But again, it is hard to tell past a leader who really does seem to have risen to his current position on one singular issue and value, and that does not bode well for that party.
The New Democrat leader is Brian Mason. Brain Mason was my city councillor in Edmonton. I will not vote for any party led by Brian Mason. I'd go into more details than that, but anyone who knows how well Brian Mason did as a city councillor in Edmonton would know that I don't. Since I can honestly say I have no idea who I am voting for in this election I am trying to be open minded about every party, but the fact remains that I will never vote for any party that Brian Mason is affiliated with, simple as that.
The Alberta Party is an interesting enigma, but they don't have anywhere close to a full slate of candidates, or the sheer literal volume of a campaign that the wildrose party has. I know the least about them, and need to learn more sooner rather than later, I am realistic about them, and know how this election will likely go for them. There is simply too much competition for them to thrive.
After reading what I just wrote, the one thing that remains clear that regardless of what the party is, the real problem in this provice appears to be leadership. We simply do not have a single good, strong, charismatic leader in this province, and that is going to hurt every single party, and likely the election turnout. I feel like I will be voting for a bad choice, no matter which party I choose to vote for. That is unfortunate, but it is the truth.
Do not get me wrong, there are many more issues than just the leadership of the parties and how they conduct business. There are real issues that need to be discussed, and the party that handles themselves the best on those issues will get my vote. I'll be talking about those issues through the campaign, because they are what will drive it. But wow, when I look at my choices today, at the start of the race, it does not look good.
27 days remain for either one party to win me over, or for one party to piss me off the least. Let the fun begin.