Election Shows Albertans Still Care about Social Issues

Along with a lot of other commentators, I gave Alberta’s Danielle Smith a good chance at winning Monday’s election. She was my worst-cast scenario, but the rightward swing in global politics makes me wary when candidates like Smith attract so much attention.

Her Wildrose Party lost. The 41-year rein of the Progressive Conservatives continues, and I feel reassured to know the energy-dependent, right-leaning province reacted strongly to her social conservatism. There are some issues the majority of Canadians figure are settled, even if we are not always sure how to deal with them. Racism, same-sex marriage and climate change are among them.

Wildrose Squanders Pre-Election Support

The Wildrose gang was garnering a lot of support in advance polls and yard signs. Then the proverbial manure hit the fan. Shortly before the election, one of the party’s candidates, Ron Leech, made a startlingly racist comment on a multicultural radio station:

I think, as a Caucasian, I have an advantage. When different community leaders, such as a Sikh leader or a Muslim leader speaks, they really speak to their own people in many ways. As a Caucasian I believe that I can speak to all the community.

Danielle Smith didnít see any problems with the statement. She said party members are free to express their own personal opinions.

She made a similar statement when challenged to comment on Pastor Allan Hunspergerís blog post saying gays and lesbians would “suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire.” He was another Wildrose candidate.

Then she dropped the climate-change bomb, claiming the science was not settled. Although her support of the oil sands may have been the right tune for a lot of voters, her denial of climate change science was not.

Mixed Election Results

Voters from the center and left were likely relieved by the 61-seat majority picked up by Premier Alison Redford’s Progressive Conservatives. However, a look at constituencies shows a much tighter race.

As the Edmonton Journal pointed out, “This time, several of those ridings that previously handed Conservatives 70 per cent of the vote either gave the Conservatives a squeaker of a win or handed them a defeat.” Strategic voting may also have skewed the results, with Liberals and NDP voting for the Progressive Conservatives in order to stave off a Wildrose win.

Reflecting on what the results mean,†Edmonton Journalís Paula Simons wrote:

With the Wildrose on her right flank, Redford has a choice: Honour her contract with the voters who gave her another mandate, and move her party to the centre, or bow to internal pressure to take the PCs back to the right.

The narrative Monday night wasn’t what was predicted.† But the real story of this election will be written, not this week, but in the four years ahead.

Related Care2 Stories

Albertaís Danielle Smith Claims Climate Science Is Not Settled

Tar Sands Destroying Wolf & Caribou Populations in Canada

Canadians to Harper Government: Keep Your Hands Off Our Values

Photo of Premier Alison Redford from JMacPherson via Flickr Creative Commons; photo of Wildrose Party sandwich board JMacPherson via Flickr Creative Commons

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Liz Edwards
Joan Edwards3 years ago

And I still say Grant Notley was murdered.

Kent Schnell
Kent Schnell3 years ago

In fairness to Danielle Smith, she clearly stated that she is pro-choice and supports same sex marriage. She also said that she is a libertarian and holds strongly to the right of free speech. But right. In an election campaign she should have stepped forward and condemned the bigoted opinions of the candidates to the point of dropping them from the Wildrose Party.

darlene r.
darlene r.3 years ago

Canada as a country is in trouble when we have a federal leader who puts the big business oil companies ahead of the people and there environmental concerns for there country. The Alberta government has and will continue to do the same, money money money, there is no visionary possibility here regarding change and working to protect the lands. Check there expense accounts, they don't care about the people or the country just money.

Glenn Byrnes
Glenn Byrnes3 years ago


Wim Zunnebeld
Wim Zunnebeld3 years ago

yeah sure...

Wim Zunnebeld
Wim Zunnebeld3 years ago

yeah sure...