I can only explain this in a qualitative way. The reason for the low Alberta turn-out is the reverse of the low national turn-out. Many people I talked to didn't vote because they couldn't vote Conservative due to the Income Trust issue, dislike of Harper, the Wheat Board and you know the rest of the list. They couldn't vote Conservative and have yet to bring themselves to vote for one of the other major party. This would be a huge step for them to make.
Two friends in Calgary West who did vote talked about how hard it was to chose who to vote for. They couldn't bring themselves to vote for Rob Anders. They also said they couldn't vote Liberal. This is common. The inability of Calgarians to bring themselves to vote Liberal is born out by some numerical digging by Five of Five. The NEP scar tissue is every bit as deep for the Liberals in Alberta as the Riel execution memory was for the PCs in Quebec before Mulroney. These friends ended up voting for a party on the fringe.
But they have taken the first step. They realized that the Conservative Party is not in line with their beliefs. The next nut to crack is to get them to agree that the Liberals are the party to move to. Albertans in search of a home for their vote won't be happy voting Marxist-Leninist for very long. We have to show them that the Liberals are the centrist party not the neo-cons in charge right now.
Alberta has always been stable politically. But when it shifts it shifts big time. There is of course the Linda Duncan win in Edmonton to point to. This result does not point to a preference to the NDP notwithstanding their supporters fervent hopes. It has as much to do with strategic voting actually working and a good ground game. In other events, Calgary Elbow went Liberal in a by-election for Ralph Klein's seat last year. The same neighborhood elected an environmentally focused Alderman in the last election. If these are the leading indicators of the cities drifting away from the Conservative brand there are several ridings in the cities that could be up for grabs if the Liberals play their cards right. This would help establish the return of the Liberals as a national party.
I'm not sure of how to do this. I am absolutely certain BigCityLib Strikes Back typing things like this:"And as much I wouldn't mind seeing Alberta screwed out of its oily dough"
won't get the job done.
I left a comment on his blog but this is such a divisive and counter productive thing to say that it must be commented on further. Alberta has a constitutional right to it's resources. The wealth may cause strains on the Confederation but they must be dealt with in a non-threatening way within recognizing the rights granted by the Constitution. If anything is going to turn Albertans away from the Liberals and back to the Conservatives it is posts like that.
Let's hope that the Conservatives don't catch that one. I am eager to hear constructive ways to widen the cracks on the Alberta foundation.Recommend this Post