Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Alberta's Conservatives well past their due-date

Alberta's Conservatives well past their due-date

Published July 2, 2009 by Fast Forward Weekly reader in Letters

After Alberta Finance Minister Iris Evans’s misguided remarks about how mothers should stay home to raise young children (ignoring social and economic reality), it was hard to see how Conservative obliviousness about Albertans’ contemporary values could be made clearer. But Edmonton-Calder’s Conservative MLA Doug Elniski has topped his colleague with his repulsively sexist remarks on the web.

So yet another Conservative MLA illustrates how out of date, out of step and out to lunch this tired government is. Elniski reveals himself as a twit on Twitter (or was it on his blog?) with advice to young girls such as the following:

“…smile and don’t give me that ‘treated equal’ stuff, if you want equal it comes in little packages at Starbucks.”

Close observers of Alberta’s political scene won’t be surprised. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Government MLAs think they can say anything and still get elected, as they have in the past. But this could be about to change.

The painful part is that Elniski should never have been elected in the first place. And not just for obvious incompetence and poor judgment. Let’s look at the 2008 election results. More people in Edmonton-Calder didn’t want him than did. Last year Elniski received 2,059 votes less than the combined total of the Green, Liberal and New Democratic candidates. It's also fair to mention whom he beat: New Democrat David Eggen, now executive director of Friends of Medicare and someone who fought tirelessly for equality of citizens and for social justice when he was an MLA.

Calderites, what were you thinking?

A united opposition would have prevented this embarrassment from happening. If only the Green and Liberal Parties had left the NDP alone to run in Calder, in return for equal consideration elsewhere, sub-par MLA Elniski would never have been elected to make Alberta the laughing-stock of the rest of Canada.

It is increasingly obvious that Alberta’s provincial government is well past its stale-date. Need examples? Making up and altering the new oil and gas royalty system on the fly; ad campaign using British beach; Bill 44; Iris Evans; now Elniski. Not to mention the ongoing fiscal mismanagement, another disorganization of the health care system and the appalling hands-off approach to the boom-bust tarsands cycle.

Inter-party co-operation is what the Democratic Renewal Project is all about. If the opposition unites around the candidate most likely to win — from past results this would be the New Democrats in Calder — then Elniski’s political career will be brought to the early end it deserves. No amount of volunteering at women’s shelters, grovelling apologies or other forms of atonement should be enough to rescue the political career of an MLA who thinks gender equality is found in little packages at Starbucks.

In the next election, the Greens, Liberals and New Democrats simply must resist running candidates against each other. Let the party in each constituency with the best chance to beat Elniski and the rest of his ilk receive the only nomination. Clearly, Premier Ed Stelmach will face an uphill battle if these three opposition parties respond to this historic opportunity. Even if the party leaders blunder and reject co-operation, of course, voters could take the bull by the horns and vote strategically, the way they did in Edmonton-Strathcona to elect MP Linda Duncan.

Albertans deserve better government than the tired, arrogant and bumbling Conservatives offer.




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