I’ve lived here for nigh on fifteen years and I’m still baffled by the politics of this place. As a civic-minded individual, I’ve voted in every single election for which I’ve been eligible to vote – following my conscience every single time. In Alberta, that means that I’ve never ever (not even once) seen my vote go to a winning candidate. I must admit, it does get a bit disheartening after a time.
And this year, despite the fact that I think I will — shockingly — vote conservative for the first time in my life, it looks like that vote of mine is going to go in the losing pile once again. You see, all the pollsters are saying that the Wildrose Party is going to win here. And despite my resigned Facebook sentiments above, I’m still dismayed about it.
Because the thing is, this is not the Alberta I know. Nor the Albertans I know. Maybe it’s because I’m not slogging away in downtown Calgary at an oil and gas company, but let me be clear here: nobody I know thinks like these Wildrose people either. The Albertans I know are tolerant. We support public education and public healthcare. We support a woman’s right to choice and we support same-sex marriage. We support the idea of paying taxes so that our government can help the most vulnerable among us. We support greener energy sources and deplore the devastation that is the oil sands, because we don’t agree with Wildrose leader Danielle Smith that climate change “science isn’t settled”. And we most certainly do not say that gay people will “suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire”, as Wildrose candidate Allan Hunsperger did. We also don’t believe in the “Caucasian Advantage” baloney espoused by another Wildrose candidate, Ron Leech. In fact, we are shocked and dismayed by this bigotry; made even worse by the fact that Danielle Smith won’t even apologize for her candidates’ blunders, and in fact defends them!
And because it looks like all Albertans are going to be tarred with the same nasty Wildrose brush on Monday evening, I wanted to speak up for the rest of us. For those of us who throw our votes away on every provincial and federal election. For those of us who are — yes, I’ll say it — embarrassed by our compatriots. For those of us who will be voting strategically on Monday, supporting Alison Redford and her Progressive Conservatives not because we hold conservative values, but because they seem to be the only faint hope to prevent a Wildrose government.
I’m here to stand up for the Albertans that I know, and I’m here to tell the rest of Canada that we’re not all like the stereotype, no matter what the polls might say tomorrow.
I’m here to tell you that we are not Wildrose.