Q: What do World War II France and the Wildrose Party have in common?
A: They both rolled over.
At least the French were facing the Nazi Germany army, and almost certain destruction. The only thing the Wildrose was facing was losing the next election. Not quite the same thing, but they rolled over just the same.
You can describe the defection of nine Wildrose members to the Progressive Conservatives in any number of ways — opportunism, cowardice, naked political ambition, whatever — but the one that really sticks is betrayal.
The last betrayal in Canadian politics of this magnitude was when Lucien Bouchard left the Brian Mulroney government to lead the separatist forces in Quebec in 1990. But there has never in Canadian history been a case of an official opposition party capitulating in such huge numbers. While Bouchard went on to near sainthood in Quebec, the same cannot be said about the Wildrose MLAs who are jumping the listing ship. And the leader of this traitorous bunch Danielle Smith. THE Danielle Smith who has spent her entire political career accusing the PCs of all manner of political scumbaggery. Almost as bad is Rob Anderson, who quite literally snarls in contempt in his questions for the government.
What Smith, Anderson and the other faceless drones that have bolted the party have done is unprecedented in Canadian history, where the opposition party has essentially conceded defeat to the government. It’s shocking.
It beggers the imagination that most of the Wildrose caucus would betray the people who voted for them, and the party that supported them, by quitting their party en masse. As bad as the Edmonton Oilers are, even they wouldn’t abandon their team (as much as they would like to) to join the Calgary Flames.
What is perhaps most amazing about this is how shortsighted the ex-Wildrose MLAs are. It was just a few months ago that the Wildrose were riding high, hounding Alison Redford from office. When Jim Prentice took over and co-opted virtually all of the Wildrose’s policies, the spineless Wildrosers threw in the towel, apparently believing that Prentice was unbeatable.
Apparently, the Wildrose MLAs are not only spineless, they are also lousy students of history. While Prentice is riding high right now, the next election is probably two years away, which, as the Wildrose should know, is an eternity in politics. Sure, the odds of the Wildrose winning the next election in 2016 were long. But hey, I ran as a LIBERAL in Alberta, knowing full well that I was NOT going to be on the winning side. But I did it anyway, and so did every Liberal and New Democrat in Alberta over the last 30 years. Winning isn’ the only thing that matters in politics. There are a few corny old things like public service and honouring the people who voted for you that still matter. Liberals and New Democrats run for office knowing their odds of winning their seats are long, and the odds of winning government are longer still; say, the distance from the Earth to Jupiter. But they run anyway, because they feel they have something to offer, or something to say.
Apparently, the Wildrose defectors feel they have nothing left to say. So they went into government.
What an insult to the voters of the ridings. What an insult to the thousands of people who donated to the party. What an insult to the party executive, who put in thousands of thankless hours, only to be shat upon by their politicians.