Ted Byfield: Here’s how Alberta’s conservatives can resolve their crippling split
The luminaries of the Left in Canada’s province of Alberta have had a very bad year.. First, they assured us that Jason Kenney’s plan to return the province to its cultural and philosophic roots wouldn’t work because those roots didn’t much matter to people any more. They were wrong. Then they told us that traditionalist elements in the Wildrose party would oppose and defeat the union. Again, they were wrong. Then they informed us that there was such a residual embitterment among the old Progressive Conservatives against the Wildrose for splitting the Right, that they could never bring themselves to uniting with them. Wrong again.
Last week when the facts became known, more than 90 per cent of both parties supported the union. In other words, the commentators were almost totally out of touch with sentiments in the province they were supposed to be covering. Can we blame them? No, we should blame their educators. Except that they didn’t have any. They were not educated; they were brainwashed,. And the central purpose of the new Alberta school curriculum is to brainwash the next generation more thoroughly.
Now, however, they have started up again. The new Conservative party, they assure us, will never be able to hang together. The division between the so-called “social” conservatives and the “fiscal” is too deep. Even the National Post columnist John Robson, certainly no Leftist, leans in this direction, deploring the tendency of supposedly Rightwing leaders to talk one way and vote another.
Meanwhile. National Post columnist Kelly McParland stresses that the electoral victory of the newly united Right is being widely assumed. Alberta’s new socialist NDP government, like Ottawa’s new Liberal government, are merrily borrowing their way into electoral victory, he writes We can’t keep that up, realists warn. But few seem to listen. Edmonton, the capital, is now an NDP town. To hold on to it, all the government need only give the civil service unions everything they ask for. It’s the road to doom, some cry. But doom never seems to happen. Can this somehow go on forever?
I put this question to my old friend, the economist Nick Rost van Tonningen, who produces a weekly newsletter on current economics. He said the consequences of what we’re doing are not mysterious. “At some point the market downgrades our securities so deeply that investors refuse to lend us any more. What follows is slash and burn. All programs must be cut severely. Tens of thousands are thrown out of work. Pensions are slashed. It isn’t pleasant, believe me. And it could certainly happen here.”
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