Well, those who would have thought Jim Prentice would be Stephen Harper’s successor should be thankful they didn’t bet any money on the idea.
No, I’m not going to weep / wail / mourn the so-called “death” of conservatism in Alberta. Conservatism hasn’t “died,” it’s just suffered a long-overdue setback.
Yes, I wrote “overdue.” Any political party that stays in power for over four decades runs the risk of growing stagnant and complacent. And ideology never confers immunity from voters desiring change.
Do I expect the Alberta PC Party to go the way of its Saskatchewan counterpart, or the old Social Credit party in BC? I’d say the odds are pretty good that’s going to happen. If Wildrose plays its cards right, it’s a party all ready to fill the shoes of the main voice for Alberta conservatism.
Some of the punditocracy seem worried that the new premier, Rachel Notley, may follow the example of Bob Rae’s first (and last) NDP government in Ontario. Frankly, she’s got better role models: the Romanow era in Saskatchewan is the most likely model of governance that Alberta’s progressives will strive to emulate, and that’s not a bad one, so far as provincial governments go.
It would be a mistake — big mistake — to try to see an impact on the federal scene. Jim Prentice was away from federal politics too long for him to be seen as a born-and-bred Harperite in the same way that John Baird, Tony Clement and Jason Kenney are, so the idea of “Alberta will reject Harper” won’t fly. Premier Notley may get a “honeymoon break” from provincial voters, but that’s not really the sort of thing that can help Tom Mulcair.
Yes, I know, it’s apparently snowing in Edmonton. That’s just the weather. It’s not a divine comment.