Wildrose is looking up today. The dark cloud left by Prentice and Smith has been cast away. Neither of them will henceforth sit in Legislature. The original 17 Wildrosers elected in 2012 was superseded yesterday by 20 happy scrappy MLAs.
Brian Jean, a humble seeming fellow of decent character, had the appearance of a "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington," about him. You wouldn't know from his speeches that he spent several years in politics. Go figure. He's had a fine career. There's a slight hesitance in his speaking that, while endearing, could seem like a lack of confidence. With a month on the job and an outstanding campaign nobody can blame him but I must still recommend improvement in giving speeches. As leader of The Opposition there will be plenty of ice time to work on it.
There are other problems too. Wildrose was shut out of cities. Voters went elsewhere in almost all notable cities in Alberta less Fort McMurray. That has got to change. Except for Edmonton, where the orange wave crested highest, vote splitting on the right allowed the NDP to exploit that fact to their advantage.
This leads to the other problem for Wildrose, the scattered remnants of the Progressive Party. The NDP positively curb stomped the long ruling PC Party. None will mistake the fact that only the PCs stand in the way of a Wildrose majority government. A slow and kindly adoption of PC MLAs by Wildrose would be best for everyone. One can barely recognize a few of the PCs elected and that's good, because the ones that are recognized have still the taint of Redford on them.
It's amazing that Prentice quit his job immediately after the voters kept him. Losing the Premiership and resigning from PC leader is one thing. Quitting your seat on election night is a slap in the face to each PC voter in his former riding.
Get back here you! At least Ignatieff was kicked out.
Sure it was embarrassing to lose so badly but if he can't just be an MLA he wasn't meant for the top job either. Prentice left a very good job to be Premier and he'd probably like to go back to a good job now. "Just visiting" as they say. Not many people can put 'Premier of Alberta' on their CV. He'll be alright. Let's hope he takes the notes back to Joe Clark and Preston Manning.
It marks 22 years ago now that Preston Manning himself trounced the Mulroney PCs (yep, Kim Cambell, but not really). And it was the same Joe Clark that blocked Conservative unity and allowed the Liberals to dominate as the NDP have done yesterday. Will those characters work to block Wildrose now? Pity Alberta if they do.
We've seen this scenario before. Progressives fumbled badly in 1993 and now in 2015. Will this be a "Decade of Darkness" for Alberta? It doesn't have to be. Wildrose has proven that it has what it takes to last. It has defied crippling defections and a snap election to came out stronger than before. Even your author gave up hope, but in end chose Wildrose.
As for Racheal Notley I must pay my respect for a well run campaign and a good performance at the debate. Experience shows that left leaning politicians govern from the left and issue left wing policies. We can hope that Alberta NDP are different than the rest of them but that hasn't been the reality in most places. Whatever compensation the NDP grants to placate nervous conservatives be assured that it is only an attempt to ease them into more socialism later. Cynical? Yes, it's what happens when ideals hit reality. It would be nice to be wrong about the NDP but that reality is a pest. You heard the boos for Harper at Notley's acceptance speech? They will not make a good government, try as they might.
Raise your heads high Wildrose. The worst is behind you but there is a lot more ahead. Keep that plucky and happy attitude you all had through the campaign. The NDP now heads the bloated and entitled public service the PCs built and they believe they have a mandate too. Show them we won't tolerate the same government largess the last bunch was thrown out for.