IN THE PARTISAN HIVE that is Alberta, we have two careerist politicians vying to be the Queen Bee.
Danielle Smith is crushing polls in the UCP leadership race and Rachel Notley is the long-standing NDP matriarch.
Like Pierre Poilievre & Justin Trudeau, these two female opponents are mirror opposites, in what they represent and how they pitch themselves. Danielle is aggressively reaching out to freedom fighters stung by federal politicians and shamelessly demands Quebec-style sovereignty association in Alberta. Rachel sets a more virtuous tone, focusing on principled conversations about healthcare and education but always virtue-signalling to keep her “woke” base slaked.
We should expect a battle royale. Danielle will give it her all to break the spell of so-called virtuous leadership and Rachel will call out Danielle for inciting the mad-as-hell-and-not-going-to-take-it-anymore mob.
FACT: A queen bee’s stinger is reserved as a weapon to use against other queens. When a queen encounters another queen, the result is often a fight-to-the-death. When you’re at the top, there’s nowhere to go except down.
BOTH CHOICES ARE WORSE
It’s an old Russian joke that Albertans can laugh at, with one bitter addition: All current political choices in the province are worse. If you’re still reading this, and you’re parked outside of the two opposing points of politics, we imagine you don’t have a political home.
Some people shrug their shoulders, convinced that all politicking is a facade. As we’ve seen with successive federal Conservative party leaders, there’s the possibility that Danielle (and maybe Rachel too) will be convinced to dilute strong ideological positions after she comes to power. It’s an irritating tactic—bait & switch.
What really matters is figuring out ways for ‘severely normal’ citizens to have a voice in political decisions…without resorting to angry tirades and incitement (more on the language of gaining attention in the next post in this mini-series).
What’s needed to soften the Notley cult and the UCP’s belligerent agenda—and sustain a home here in Alberta that we’re all comfortable with—are political insiders who can pollinate the two hives with fresh ideas and perspectives.
Don’t hold your breath.
Notley has been criticized, even by insiders, for her habit of censoring people she doesn’t agree with. She’s deaf to voices that don’t parrot the ND politburo, even those screaming to be heard. And Danielle’s approach is akin to the borg: resistance is futile, you will be assimilated—squelching differences and distilling all conservatives into one “happy” family.
We’ll be posting a series of rapid fire blogposts over the next week, and probe what’s going on in Alberta’s partisan hives. Not all of you will agree with us—and that’s fine by any account. Mind you, if you’ve got ideas that are screaming to be heard, please, let us know. Fire away!
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.