Well, it’s come to this.
People who would otherwise never dream of voting for the Progressive Conservatives are considering it in order to stave off a Wildrose electoral victory.
It’s not surprising, when you look at what Wildrose stands for, or doesn’t, or might legislate on, or might not, or believes in, or doesn’t.
Wildrose is a party of social conservatives who will somehow bury their strongly held beliefs in order to seize government.
I’m not sure what’s worse, a bunch of homophobic, anti-abortion and birth control, climate change-denying zealots, or a bunch of homophobic, anti-abortion and birth control, climate-change denying zealots who are so hungry for power that they won’t even discuss their beliefs. The party has essentially muzzled most candidates with $1,000 “good behaviour bonds” and a tightly controlled media machine, and Danielle Smith denies any and all social conservative suggestions, even going so far as to proclaim that she’s pro-choice and pro-gay despite earlier pronouncements to the contrary. Vitor Marciano, who’s running for a senate seat under the Wildrose banner and is one of the few who appears able to speak on behalf of the party, is described on the federal Conservative website as someone who “believes that the Conservative Party is and should be a grassroots party of principle and policy. However, the best policies in the world are irrelevant if we aren’t government and we don’t get a chance to implement them.” That’s a pretty big however.
So, it’s obvious why so many who would never vote Conservative are thinking about it. Redford appears to present a kinder side of the PCs, but the public shouldn’t be duped. It’s true that Wildrose took much of the crazy with them when they split from the PCs (and yes, they did split — this is the ultra-conservative bunch that used to form one flank of the party), but the PCs have proven too arrogant to govern, too comfortable in the backrooms and too disdainful of the citizens of this province. They are well past their best-before date and they deserve to be shown the door.
Their reckless abuse of our natural resources is a disgrace. Their mismanagement of the oilsands is a disgrace. Their own support for conscience rights in the form of Bill 208 in 2006, and the anti-gay pronouncements of PC premiers (Ralph Klein) and cabinet ministers (Ted Morton) is a disgrace. Their mismanagement of the health-care system and abuse of doctors is a disgrace. Their control of information and dissent though the Public Affairs Bureau is a disgrace. Their financial mismanagement, including the short-sighted focus on debt elimination that caused so much infrastructure backlog we’re still paying for it decades later, is a disgrace.
And so here we are. We have a new party that might just win (if not a majority, then a minority), calling the Conservatives liberal. It’s got a nice ring to it if you’re trying to insult someone, but it shouldn’t be taken for the truth by anyone, particularly progressive voters.
We are all doing a disservice to our democracy if we vote for someone just so that someone else doesn’t win. The inexperience of almost every single Wildrose candidate and the intolerant views of some (who knows how many, they aren’t allowed to speak their minds) is proof that the party has neither the ability nor the contemporary moral compass to govern, but why would you vote for the next worst option rather than the best?
If you don’t think that queers in all their lovely shapes, forms and distillations should have rights, by all means vote Wildrose. If you don’t think that women should have control over their reproductive choices, by all means vote Wildrose. If you don’t think climate change is real, then by all means vote Wildrose. If you don’t think a party should have a position on the arts, then by all means vote for Wildrose.
If, on the other hand, you want to see positive change in the province, at least don’t vote for the other conservative party that has had over 40 years to make things right and has done its best not to.