In the politics of Alberta, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg vision has been bastardized to become “government of business, by business, for business.”
April 23, voters can re-elect a tired, incompetent and corrupt Conservative government which, according to Alberta journalist Andrew Nikiforuk, does:
a much better job representing the interests of Suncor, ExxonMobil, CNRL, Husky, Cenovus, Enbridge and EnCana than they do Alberta taxpayers.
Or, they can elect Wildrose, the alternative, described by Nikiforuk as:
a political upstart made up of largely angry white people, sketchy Tories and climate change deniers.
Led by a former Fraser Institute intern who was an associate of MP Rob Anders, Wildrose is fielding candidates accused of radicalism, homophobia and racism. One said gays and lesbians will be condemned to a lake of fire and another claimed, as a Caucasian, he is better able to represent a community than would be a Sikh or Muslim leader. The party intends further deregulation of industry and promises to leave more money in the pockets of oil barons and reduce oil land reclamation obligations. They plan decreased funding of healthcare, education and other activities of the Alberta government.
When she was a Calgary Herald columnist, Wildrose leader Danielle Smith called for no integration of technology in school rooms, larger class sizes, an end to all day kindergarten and elimination of dedicated teacher assistants. In fact, she asked for an end to free public education, suggesting annual tuition of $1,000 for each child.
Her overall attitude was summarized in a column dated October 29, 2003:
it is the responsibility of individuals to provide for themselves, their families and their dependents.
Smith’s writings as a columnist likely provide a more honest reflection of her attitudes than carefully crafted statements vetted by campaign officials to avoid controversy. Looking through her old Calgary Herald pieces, I found this gem:
…it’s obvious the goal of a smoke-free society is unachievable.
…The WHO [World Health Organization] claims “there is no safe level” of tobacco consumption. But that does not appear to be true, and even if it were, the evidence shows moderate cigarette consumption can reduce traditional risks of disease by 75 per cent or more. Shouldn’t smokers be told?
“It should be a foregone conclusion that many lives were thus lost to an intransigent anti-smoking crusade in the last quarter of this century,” writes Gori. “Who should bear witness to this tragedy?”
Try telling that to your family doctor on the next visit.