Albertans pay little attention to politics at the best of times. Even during elections, the public shows little interest until about two weeks before the vote.

Well, here we are, about two weeks before the vote. Let the real campaign begin.

For the crafty, well-financed and nasty Wildrose party, the next two weeks is where their policies and candidates will come under intense scrutiny. Even a casual perusal of Wildrose economic policies reveals it is based on pull-it-out-of-your-ass promises about no deficits, billions going into the Heritage Fund, no tax increases, billions given away in Danielle Dollars, and no cuts to health care or education. How can you do all of that, and still save money? Something’s got to give; either the Wildrose knows that, and won’t say what they’ll cut, or the Wildrose actually believes they can give away billions, save billions, and spend billions at the same time. No one in history has manged that feat.

As the Wildrose rise in the polls, the pushback is beginning. For your consideration, here are a few examples of bloggers and reporters asking tough questions about the Wildrose.

First, Dave Cournoyer’s blog helpfully outlines a number of Wildrose candidates who are so far right, they probably think Rick Santorum is soft on socialists. Also this past week, Graham Thompson of the Journal weighed in on some of the Wildrose policies on “conscience rights” and other minefield issues. But the best opinion piece of the last week goes to Robert Remington of the Calgary Herald, who skillfully outlines everything that is scary and wrong about the Wildrose.

This is just the start. As the campaign enters its end game, the scrutiny the Wildrose will face will be intense. We’ve already seen the Wildrose defence strategy; Smith has already referred to the Conservatives as a “liberal” party, and they have issued press releases denouncing columnists they won’t like. They’ve got money, they’ve got organization, and they’ve got power within their grasp. I’m convinced the Wildrose will do anything to win, and as the attacks on the party become more pronounced, the pushback from the party will escalate. Taking a page from Stephen Harper, the last two weeks of the campaign will feature a lot of “us versus them” rhetoric, with the “elite media” coming under attack.

This may sound preposterous, and I may live to regret it, but I think you’ll see a decline in Wildrose support as the last two weeks unfold. Now that the public is sitting up and paying attention, people who casually told pollsters that they were supporting the Wildrose will start to have second thoughts. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the undecided numbers rise as tricky issues begin to trip up the party, and Smith’s past words come back to haunt her.




7 thoughts on “Let the pushback begin: Wildrose in the crosshairs

  1. Well said and I share your optimism. I believe that the wheels are now going to really fall off the Wildrose bus.

    Kudos to Graham Thomson, Bob Remington, Dave Cournoyer and Paula Simons for adding some enlightenment to the Albertans, that may otherwise have been blinded by Danielle Smith’s media savvy campaign. She has Stephen Harper written all over her methods and controlling ways. Most of her WR candidates are like sheep, who cannot utter a word without it being vetted by her ladyship.

    In my own Edm. constituency we have some far right religious zealot representing WR, so I’m hoping that people will have sense and not vote for him, as all his past history is readily available, even on Google.

  2. Has anyone else noticed the Wild Rose slate of 87 candidates includes 76 men, virtually all (like me) white and over 50? They may have a women’s face up front but they are not afraid to take away rights for women (delisting abortion) or other minorities (check their leader’s own writings on “conscience rights.”) Women of Alberta, this is one “old white guy” urging you not to fall for the fancy Wild Rose wrappings. There’s no prize waiting inside their carefully controlled, “nobody talks but Danielle” package.

  3. For a party who espouses that their members would speak up and out on behalf of their constituents, it rings pretty hollow when they have their candidates gagged with a ‘performance’ bond.

    For a party that took huge shots at the PCs for events such as the re-vote in Calgary West, they have gone unchallenged for their firing and appointing of their own cabal of candidates. What about Rob Anderson’s own brother getting the heave ho in Calgary Varsity and being replaced by a guy who isn’t even door knocking, choosing instead to do everything by phone? What does he have to hide from the electorate?

    For a party that figures they have healthcare solutions in privatization, isn’t it coincidence that the physicians– independent contractors to Alberta Health Services and not employees and a group who has a distinct personal interest–are bad mouthing the current government who supports public health care?

    I would rather hear the ‘real’ thing from those individuals who would stand to represent me in the legislature than to have the filtered, contrived and orchestrated version from Danielle. Or maybe she’s just a pretty talking head taking her cues from happy Hal or Vitor or maybe even Rob!

  4. Nicely done! Can’t wait for more scrutiny of Wildrose, and hope it happens at the leaders debates.

    Just found your blog as I was doing some research on a bit of a rant of my own about my electoral choices.

  5. Sadly, I am inclined to disagree. Identifying media as the opposition, rather than other parties, is tactically sound. Klien recognized the Edmonton Journal (and thy took up the mantle) as the province’s official opposition for years. This outright dismissal of the other parties as an audible voice on the political landscape marginalized the Liberal Party with evident effect for decades.

    The history of this province is to replace power from the right. In a season of renewal, the PCs are aliging with the centre – seeking allies among the cohorts (teachers, nurses, unions) that were once their mortal antagonists. To trust PC political fate to these unlikely bedfellows will be the party’s undoing.

    Wildrose is sending the message that they neither seek nor require media support or good will to govern; as compared to the indeterminate communications whimpering that characterized Premier Stelmach. It is a political master’s class – and its being led by a man who has given this class a few times.

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