RACHEL NOTLEY, a lady in waiting…

DID YOU SEE Rachel Notley the other day giving it her all in the Legislature? 

She was pretty pissed with Jason Kenney because he didn’t proclaim what she wanted to hear about Roe v. Wade. It’s as if she set her hair on fire, going bedoink over political business in America. The premier reminded the Opposition Leader that, ummm…the provincial legislature has no jurisdiction in the United States, let alone it’s Supreme Court. 

Undeterred, the ND’s lady-in-waiting leader damn near went apoplectic demanding the premier give his nod one way or the other about a woman’s right to choose in Alberta (should on some future Margaret Atwood-inspired date, and somewhere beyond the blue horizon, and if the UCP still is a ‘thing’… you get the picture).

HELL HATH NO FURY

The UCP is doing a splendid job blowing itself up. Lots to talk about there, uh-huh. And while we understand Alberta’s New Democrats are supposed to be the Loyal Opposition, there is far more to the job than merely being a political opponent. 

Where are the big 21st century ideas? It’s not enough to just rant about what the government of the day is doing that’s not working. Albertans want to hear ideas about what will work. 

And more importantly—there’s a blizzard of asteroids heading Alberta’s way right now. We’re facing issues that Albertans (and political parties) couldn’t even have anticipated six months ago. 

In no specific order:

  • How does our province negotiate a clearer role within Canada in moving forward on solutions to energy insecurity or food insecurity (and other consequences of Putin’s diabolical aggression in Ukraine)?
  • The UCP rant about how a fair deal in Canada needs tweaking in the present crisis; what is the NDP recommending?
  • What’s the most effective role of government in fixing or battling with inflation…beyond rebates on electricity, fuel tax and natural gas bills? What would the NDP do?
  • How can Alberta attract and retain talent based on meritocracy and fairness…and not just mouthing feel-good “woke” mantras? How would the NDP move forward on this aim?

TELL ME SOMETHING NEW

The world is relying on Albertans—to reboot not just our agriculture outputs and energy industry, but to kick-start our entire extractive sector. Cobalt, lithium and other minerals are needed in a 21st century world. 

How would the NDP, led by Rachel, move forward to build and respond to those needs without capitulating to activists or special interests? 

How would the NDP advance these strategies in ways that unite—rather than further divide—rural and urban Albertans? 

The UCP experience with coal-mining is a lesson in what not to do—how will a party of the future do this differently and ensure choices made reflect the public interest? The last leader to do this was Peter Lougheed. These are all fair questions for the Official Opposition to answer. 

And the Official Opposition also needs to tell us what they will do differently in the HOW of governing. The UCP leadership will no doubt continue to be mired in scandal and vote counting and power struggles. Premier Kenney is a master of the art of delay, delay, delay…and we should expect another year of the same. It’s yesterday’s party being fought for by yesterday’s leaders. 

As we described in our last blog, on their watch, UCP political leaders in Alberta have allowed governance to become weakened. When it works well, good governance is invisible. But when it fails, cronyism and self interest thrives and eats away at the scaffolding of our province’s institutions, culture, and resources. It’s time to prune away all the detritus; it compromises us all. How would the NDP return Alberta to a more open government? What changes to Alberta’s Lobbyist Act are being recommended by the NDP? We’re asking. 

The lady-in-waiting, Rachel Notley, is running ads vouching for her likability and compassion. Rachel is a nice person, we agree. Very nice. But in a world besieged by macho leaders like Vladimir Putin, we need strong, not nice. 

And she is passionate— a self-described activist. We’re all watching how federal environment and climate change minister and former activist, Steven Guilbeault, struggles to advance his decarbonization agenda vision, seemingly oblivious to the reality of the world around him. How exactly will Rachel position Alberta in the polarized tension between global energy insecurity and federal climate change aims? Rachel is an environmental lawyer; she knows what’s at stake here. This is no time to play politics.

People have memories and when the NDP were elected to power in 2015, they didn’t much listen to people from inside the province. Is anything different, now? 

The NDP still hasn’t told Albertans what they would do differently.  We deserve more than “trust us, we’re nice.” 

This column is the consensus opinion of the writers Donna Kennedy-Glans & Don Hill. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to BEYOND POLARITY — scroll down on your phone or tablet, or look to the right in the panel beside this post. Enter your email to FOLLOW, a wheel spins, hamsters get fed.


6 thoughts on “RACHEL NOTLEY, a lady in waiting…

  1. Ooohhhh!

    Donna, you can be cutting: asking Rachel to be specific; reminding her that she didn’t listen when she was in power. That suggests that she hasn’t – you should pardon the expression – turned you. And that is good.

    I do value your analysis of provincial politics. I absolutely don’t always agree and that is as it should be for one should not be in agreement in all respects or there is no original thought possible.

    I have no problem with partisanship but I have a real problem when people don’t think. That doesn’t mean that I believe that one party or the other does or does not think but I believe that much of the electorate simply works on believing Rachel is “nice” or Jason is “bad” or some such. My real point is that each of these parties have policies and histories and that one should think about those policies and histories and the implications therein when determining for whom to vote.

    You mention that the UCP is, to be polite, “occupied” right now and I certainly agree. If Jason Kenney is – again, please pardon the expression – “re-elected” by his party I expect that unless the margin of victory is absolutely, totally, completely overwhelming [a very unlikely event, in my judgement] the carping and complaining will continue. On the other hand if Jason is “de-elected” then I believe that matters have the potential to be terrifically different.

    I believe that there are potential credible candidates within the UCP caucus; I believe that there are also credible candidates outside of that caucus. I absolutely hope that if there is a UCP leadership race some of the issues that you itemize would be raised as policy proposals.

    There are those who support the current leader who assert that there isn’t time to hold a leadership selection before the election one year hence. To those folks I recommend that they look at what Doug Ford did in terms of winning a leadership vote and then an election all within a few short months. I am not an Ontarian – thankfully, for I am absolutely an Albertan – but it is an instructive thing to ponder.

  2. Spot on, with the exception that the NDP were elected in ‘15, not ‘16. In BC, Adrian Nix decided to step back and let his party get elected and failed. Rachel daren’t try that in Alberta.

  3. The poor level of political discourse in Alberta is due in no small part to the internecine war being fought inside the UCP. In such a situation, the loyal opposition have little else to do than go after the soft underbelly of Jason K. He’s such an over the top old school hack that the majority of the populace can see straight though him and his power games. As with all things that function effectively, whether that be in business or politics, its a fierce competition for ideas against the convention of timid thinking that creates better ways forward. The old maxim that oppositions don’t win elections, its governments that lose them is where we’re going, and all Notley has to do to win is watch the UCP lose their marbles. Notley doesn’t have to try any harder because the UCP aren’t either!

  4. Alberta needs a ‘business-friendly’ NDP or a Conservative party with some compassion (and a muted Twitter presence). Both parties need to be more pragmatic and look at issues through a common-sense rather than ideological lens. Sadly, I don’t see any of that happening, which is going to make next year’s voting choice a painful one.

    With regard to Ken Schultz’s invocation of the Doug Ford leadership win and applying it here to the UCP. It’s worth pointing out there are two very big differences between the situations. One, the Ontario PCs were in opposition, rather than government, at the time – meaning the new UCP leader will start having to implement change rather than just promise it (you can guess which is easier!). Two, the PCs were facing off against a Liberal government that had been in power for 15 years and was out of energy and ideas (and with whom Ontario voters were out of patience). Mind you, I don’t have much patience with the ‘there’s not enough time’ argument either since the whole reason there’s so little time is that the leader and party kept deferring the actual vote.

    At any rate, either the UCP will either be left with a wounded leader who is personally unpopular with a large majority of Albertans or it will be plunged into a leadership contest – and based on the current federal CPC contest (as well as the internal fault-lines in a less-than-united UCP), that will not be a convivial experience. Either way, it doesn’t look like Kenney’s going to have much of a positive legacy from his time in office; and, frankly, I’m okay with that…

  5. Quynn, you make some interesting points. As is so often the case, however, but, but, but …

    You say that “Alberta needs a ‘business-friendly’ NDP or a Conservative party with some compassion …” I regret to say that, while such a beast may exist, I absolutely believe that no Conservative loyalist would ever, ever believe that ANY NDP person or party could ever be business-friendly and every “progressive” individual just so clearly knows, knows I tell you, all, but all, Conservative individuals and parties are the absolute spawn of the devil.

    In other words, we are terrifically polarized. Further, it seems to me, each side has, oh, say, support of 25% of the populace, with about 40% of the populace absolutely disgusted with both parties and possibly not voting at all, thereby leaving about 10% for each side to fight over. A dreadful prospect to be sure.

    You say that both parties need to be “pragmatic” and use “common-sense.” I respond that common sense is an oxymoron insofar as available evidence suggests that “common sense” is not at all common. As for pragmatism, I think that all parties are pragmatic but only insofar as they pragmatically think through how to implement their goals and, especially, screw over their opposition. Pragmatism insofar as the public good is, I am convinced, largely foreign to each of these camps.

    I know, I am cynical and, quite honestly, I am becoming more so. I don’t like the way that I see things but that is how it appears to me.

    You also note – correctly – that the Doug Ford party [for that is what it is; it is only remotely connected to it’s and and/or stated ideology] had an advantage of being in opposition. I absolutely agree that that was an advantage. By contrast, if there is to be a new leader of the UCP, they absolutely have an even greater advantage.

    That new leader can barnstorm across the province putting forth their own whiz-bang, exciting and glossy ideas. The fact that the selected leader will automatically become Premier will greatly enhance the news coverage of any such leadership contest. Then that resulting new Premier, along with the new cabinet, can present a budget that [purportedly!] allows the promises previously made to be kept. Whereas any political party makes promises in an election, the fact is that the “new” UCP would have issued – and perhaps passed – an actual budget which [purportedly] would implement those promises. That is a much, much more powerful argument for a political party to offer than “mere” promises.

    I absolutely agree that if Jason Kenney “wins” [King Pyrrus, anyone?] he will inevitably lose. If they have a new leader? That is a fascinating possibility. Much drama to unfold starting on May 11!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.