In the last week there has been a lot to talk about on the political front and very little of it provided optimism for Alberta. In BC, MLA Christy Clark, who approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, lost her bid to form government and the NDP’s MLA John Horgan was named Premier designate on June 30, 2017. Though an NDP government in BC would seem like a good thing for an NDP government in Alberta, there has been a difference of opinion between the two over the necessity of increasing pipeline capacity to the BC coast.
If that wasn’t enough to begin to rile the Conservative troops in Alberta as they prepared to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered his Canada Day speech in Ottawa naming the individual provinces and territories that make up this incredible country we call Canada and somehow skipped over Alberta. Trudeau and politically engaged individuals across the country felt the backlash before it even started. Just remember, when conservatives make a gaffe and apologize, everyone is expected to accept the apology and move on (*Note, there were a number from Fildebrandt so I just chose one at random).
|Credit: Jason Kenney’s official Facebook page|
In Alberta, the conservative party leaders (Jason Kenney and MLA Brian Jean) and shakers (MLA Derek Fildebrandt) pounced on the opportunity to rally support from the separatists and conspiracy theorists. Alberta Liberal Leader, David Khan, responded to MLA Brian Jean saying “Canada Day is the ONE day a year when politicians should be inclusive…” (no pun intended, I’m sure). Neither the Alberta Party Leader, MLA Greg Clark, nor Alberta Premier Rachel Notley made any mention of Trudeau’s omission on social media.
I once had a conversation with someone about how it was beneficial for provincial parties to have federal counterparts. The NDP, Liberals and former PC’s all had a federal likeness of the same name and the Wildrose had Reform. Even once the latter two parties merged federally, both provincial parties would lay claim to the familial ties when it suited them. While the same could also be said for the NDP and Liberals, in a province that went very blue in the federal election, the other provincial parties are having a rough time with their federal namesakes and even their provincial cousins.
If David Khan didn’t have enough of an uphill battle in the province before (and he did), the Prime Minister has managed to be unhelpful despite additional funding provided to the province during the downturn, expedition of infrastructure funding and pipeline approval. For the Alberta NDP, the federal party delivered a stunning blow almost one year after the provincial party was elected to government by tabling, and approving further discussion of the “Leap Manifesto“. More recently, MP Jagmeet Singh, a federal NDP leadership candidate, claimed he would not support the addition of any pipelines, east or west for Alberta oil. Meanwhile, the federal Conservatives elected MP Andrew Scheer, a social conservative, to lead their party into yesteryear. Personally, I’m starting to think it a blessing to not have a federal counterpart at all.