The Issue: “A Huge Sigh of Relief for Many”
Many PC members across Alberta were having political labor pains Monday night waiting for the polls to release the numbers of an election that even the best of political analysts seemingly found difficult to predict.
It was an election that undoubtedly brought worry and anxiety to many Albertans, however, with the news that the PCs were winning in the polls, applauding, hugging, laughter, and even singing began at the Lakeview Inn, where MLA-Elect Jackie Fenske held her post-election event. The crowd of mainly PC members again broke into cheers, applause and a chant of “Jackie,” for Fenke’s victory entrance.
After hugs and congratulations were done, Fenske stood at the podium and started her speech. “What a night and what a year it has been. Thank you!” she exclaimed. And following, many a thank you went out to those who had supported her through her campaign. “You have done so much, all of you,” acknowledged Fenske. In closing her speech a delighted Fenske stated, “I look forward to representing you over the next four years. A lot of prayers went up.” Fenske felt her prayers were answered with the PC’s winning with a majority.
And that fact brings to question as to why the PC’s did get in with a majority win in a heated election that many thought would bring the Wildrose Party to power, and end the over four decades of the PC government here in Alberta.
Perhaps we will never know all of the reasons for a PC majority victory, and I am sure there is no single answer. My personal political conviction is that many PC members were scared to have Alberta governed by the Wildrose Party, who seemingly had only four MLAs with any experience in the Legislature, which speaks volumes as to the lack of political experience of their party. It is like most anything else in life: there are stepping stones to get to where you want to be.The Wildrose Party should have to plant their political footsteps through gaining experience in the Legislature as the Opposition before they can be politically entrusted with governing Alberta.
In an article in the Globe and Mail, Wildrose leader Danielle Smith presented her opinions about the election. Smith believed that it was strategic voting and the controversial remarks by two of her candidates, Allan Hunsperger and Ron Leech, both pastors, that were the two factors that kept her party from forming the Alberta’s next government. Perhaps Hunsperger’s religious convictions, that “unless gays change the way they live they would suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire,” did affect how people voted for him. And perhaps Hunsperger has felt some “heat” himself over his comments. Ron Leech had his say, too, but did apologize for proclaiming publicly “When different community leaders such as a Sikh leader or a Muslim leader speaks, they really speak to their own people in many ways. As a Caucasian, I believe I can speak to all the community.”
From my perspective, Smith should also take some responsibility in how she as a leader chose to respond to her two Wildrose candidates’ comments. According to the Edmonton Journal, Smith’s decision was that she “will not discriminate against anyone, even if they hold religious views that discriminate against certain groups in society.” Now that the Wildrose did not form Alberta’s government, it seems according to various media sources that Smith no longer feels Mr. Leech just “misspoke?” Maybe the votes that both Hunsperger and Leech did not receive are a result of comments that should not have been said, especially during a political campaign. We may all hold our own views about why the PC majority came to be, but the fact is that the people of Alberta have spoken, and the PCs will have another four years to govern Alberta.