Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
I hope everyone is having a good holiday in spite of the shock of the complete disintegration of the Wildrose Party.
Despite all the bad press and sour grapes I'm in support of the Wildrose Faction of the PC party. All the spitting fury isn't going to change the fact that the Wildrose faction will be all that is left of the Wildrose Party after the next election.
Don't feel bad. The Tea Party isn't an actual party either. Despite being not being a real party the Tea Party as a movement has considerable influence over the Republican Party. This is what I would suggest to the embittered party faithful of the Wildrose.
Until recently I was one of those party faithful. I donated. I blogged. I volunteered. But I didn't stop thinking (which is required for true faith). The events of December were the result of a failed ultimatum. Anyone who isn't blind with rage can see that. The social conservative faction within Wildrose, its Achilles heel, called Danielle Smith's bluff and scuttled merger negotiations. This resulted in the mass defection (did you suppose it was all planned this way?). It wasn't a bluff, and in hindsight it wasn't a good threat either since it looks like the so-cons wanted to be rid of her sort anyway. It's a mess, but liberation from so-cons is growing on me.
I've wondered how it would have gone if fiscal conservatives in Alberta had taken over the Alberta Party instead. The Wildrose was a social conservative party from the outset so it was a natural home for fiscal conservatives and libertarians. We all believe in smaller government and low taxes. If we had gone the other way perhaps elements of the old Alberta Party would be pushing fiscal conservatives to adopt mandatory gay marriage or something equally silly.
Who can say what would have been. We can only affect what will be ahead. If my brother fiscally responsible Albertans insist that their future will resemble the failed plans of the past then they will have only the bitterness and resentment they feel today.
Derek Fildebrandt hopes that extremists won't take control of the shattered remnants of the Wildrose Party. I would say that extremists will only take back control. The Wildrose Party is a broken vessel. It shall not be mended, but ground into dust. Our political system is adversarial by nature. The forces that stopped a clean merger have made their choice. Stay with them for stubbornness sake and face the sad conclusion.
There is another way. Become a movement. Look at how much influence Preston Manning wields with his Manning Center? The old carbon taxer even had a hand in the failed merger as he has apologized for his part. I think Albertans and Canadians would be well served by another conservative organization that would be independent from and at times contrary to the Manning Center. This would enable both of them to play "good cop, bad cop" and advance the discourse in a way that political parties simply can't. The Heartland Institute is a great example for our movement.
A Wildrose Institute could lend support to the Wildrose Faction within the PC party. There is no reason for the Wildrose Nine to stay at nine. The PC Party, particularly as lead by Jim Prentice, is fertile ground to spread the vision of Wildrose as it was under Danielle Smith. Declare Jim Prentice the tenth Wildroser.
In the new year, the Wildrose Faction should come out to play. It isn't going to be easy. I believe Jim Prentice to be an honourable man and a Harper Conservative. You can trust him, but I wouldn't trust anyone else. There is a chance you'll be given an important post only to be saddled with the blame and cast out as a scapegoat at the next election.
The only way to thread the needle will be to publicly vocalize yourself about anyone and anything that isn't right. Be open and transparent about all of it. I have a pretty good idea of what went down, but most people see it as a breach of trust. Rebuild that trust and reasonable people will understand. Of course you'll need to do so in a way that reflects well on the PC Party and poorly on the wrong-doers. Allison Redford is open season.
Guess who else is open season? -The So-cons you all left in the dust. They hate you more than ever and the media seems to side with them. I'm sure you don't like that. Nobody would like that, so you had better not waste any time acting like you are still under their thumb. Libertarians, LGBTQ, Atheists, Feminists, Muslims, all the people who never got any love and never felt welcome with the hill-billies might find resonance with Danielle Smith's story.
Reach out to them and bring them over. There is no reason they should be against free markets. If it makes the So-cons grind their teeth, all the better. Let them counter with embarrassing stories. I'm sure you have a few to tales to tell yourself. Let it out. The sting of the past month will have faded come election day, but if hatred still burns hot in their hearts most people will understand why you made those choices.
There is one other thing you need to do. Before the next election in Alberta, there is the larger matter federal election. The Wildrose Nine needs to throw themselves into battle against Justin Trudeau. Defenders of Alberta, you Nine have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I'm not sure exactly how you can help at this point but I'm sure you'll know. What's certain is that landing one on Trudeau will make you a Hero. Landing the fatal blow makes you the next Premier.
Best of luck to you and to us all! 2015 will be an exciting, memorable and happy New Year!