Friday, April 29, 2011

People's Republic of Albertastan

Updated: 6 May 2015 (Fixed broken links)
Albertans tend to vote overwhelmingly Conservative to the point where the province is sometimes derisively called Albertastan. The name is a take-off on the many one-party "stan" states in central Asia, mostly former Soviet republics.

Sadly, many Albertans take the view that people who do not vote Conservative are not only misguided but also dangerous and unpatriotic. Such intolerant views would be at home in the former USSR where 'dissidents' were treated as pariahs. Such citizens think that it's intolerable that Alberta has one non-Tory seat, Edmonton-Strathcona, ably represented by Linda Duncan. They don't comprehend that democracy means respecting the views of all and that diversity of opinion is a strength.

Intolerance and related 'group think' can bully people into voting Conservative. Others may vote Conservative because they want to vote for the winning side or to vote as they perceive their bosses vote. Some Albertans may vote on a single issue such as the economy, believing that only a Tory government can keep it strong. Such voters conveniently forget that the Liberals left Harper with a solid economy and surplus and that our sound banking system, not Stephen Harper, protected us from the worst of the recent recession. I've heard many Albertans say they would like to support another party, but it seems hopeless given that one vote cannot change anything here.

In the 2008 election 58.8% of Canadians voted (province by province results). Conservatives won 37.6% of the votes, with 62.4% voting for other parties. In our 'first past the post' system, Conservatives "won" and formed a minority government with the support of only 22% of voters.

So, if you are an Albertan thinking of voting Green or Liberal or NDP, you are not alone. Indeed you are in the majority nationally. Your vote matters as much as those who vote Conservative.
To paraphrase Rick Mercer's recent 'vote rant' that spawned the vote mobs on university campuses:
  • If you're 18 or older and breathing, and you want to scare the hell out of those who run this country, do the unexpected and what people around the world are dying to do: Vote. Especially vote for the party of your choice, the one that best represents your views on a range of issues.

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