Politics in Alberta. *sigh*
Before I launch into “Personal Pedantic Political Peroration, the Fiscal Edition” let’s get some definitions out of the way. We pedants love definitions.
-  Conservatism = preference for the existing order and opposition to efforts to effect change.
-  Fiscal conservatism = avoidance of deficit spending, reduction of government spending and debt, and commitment to balanced budgets.
-  Democracy = government by all eligible members of a population through elected representatives.
The other day on twitter I asserted that the majority of Albertans who claim to be fiscal conservative are in fact not Conservatives. I got a bit of push back on my assertion, and while I admit my opinion is based on personal observation and gathered anecdotal evidence, I stand by it.
There is no doubt that Albertans are resistant to change, I don’t know how else our current 43 year single party run can be explained. However, why this is the case is not certain. My theory is that it is because somehow a significant percentage of the electorate is convinced that ‘conservative’ and ‘responsible’ are synonyms.
Oh, Alberta. They aren’t synonymous – as proven by the woeful fiscal record of our 43 year Conservative dynasty. Alberta, do we need a remedial lesson in what is and what isn’t a synonym?
I understand, Alberta. We all want fiscal responsibility with reasonable avoidance of debt and deficit spending. That is the definition of responsible and can be achieved from any ideological location on the political spectrum; conservative or liberal or centrist or progressive… whatever name you want to give an alternative political placement.
The Conservative ideologues’ claims that they are sole party of fiscal responsibility seem to rely completely on the specific part of conservative ideology advocating reduction of government spending and low taxes, and this is what I think most Albertans are not actually in favour of.
Complaining about government spending is a sure fire way to gain fiscal street cred on gravel roads and secondary highways here in Alberta. But what does that mean really? Spending is not wasteful necessarily. Right? It depends entirely on what you get in return for your expenditure.
Yet our message to government is usually that they should spend less but (there is always a but) also provide the level of services we demand.
Between you and me, Alberta, I think what we mean is that government should spend; and tax; responsibly to provide the level of services we expect.
Alberta, listen, I say this with the best intentions, get your shit together. Stop voting Conservative because it’s just the way we do things around here and then lamenting their dismal performance on the fiscal issues we actually care about. Don’t vote conservatively. Vote responsibly.
Alberta, I have a dream. I dream that even as we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow this province will rise up and elect a government true to the meaning of fiscal responsibility. I have a dream that my three boys will one day live in a province where they will not be haunted by the fiscal misdeeds of a former government, but live the Alberta advantage delivered by a government responsive to the needs of all Albertans. I have a dream that one day, here in Alberta with its vast resources and human ingenuity, with our Premier’s lips mouthing the words ‘this is not budgeting as usual’ that Albertans will join forces and with their ballots declare ‘this is no longer government as usual’ but government for the better and for the future, governing so we will all see my dream together. This is my hope, and this is the dream that I will go to the polling station with. *
Dream with me, Alberta.
(* with the utmost respect for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, I borrow out of admiration for the master)
Next up on Planned Pedanthood … ‘Personal Pedantic Political Peroration, the Social Edition’