If they haven't suffered enough, it's their God-given right to suffer some more. That's the first idea to come to my mind in the wake of Premier Stelmach's 72 to 9 to 2 romp to a massive majority victory in the Alberta Election.
What motivated Albertans to be so apathetic in the wake of such poor government? Two hundred and fifty thousand Calgarians cannot find a family physician. Eleven hours or more waiting time for treatment in emergency wards. Patients being cared for in the hospital hallways or room showers. Premature babies having to be flown to Saskatoon for treatment because of a lack of facilities in Alberta. An abysmal lack of schools to serve the fastest growing province in the country. Crumbling and leaking schools. A chronic lack of spaces to serve students enrolled in higher learning. Deteriorating and unsafe highways. All of this in the wealthiest province in the history of the country.
The desecration of our environment. The refusal to launch even a token attack on climate change. The looting of bitumin by big oil via pipeline thus transferring both unimaginable wealth and tens of thousands of jobs to cheap labour destinations in the United States. A fumbling and bumbling Premier - an embarrassment, really - who gets by by memorizing a few lines from his campaign cheat sheets, who has trouble putting two coherent phrases together. Yada, yada, yada. There's more.
Oh, it's true the Grits talked too much policy. Until people's eyes began to glaze over at times. And yes, there was a shortage of passion, urgency and righteous indignation in the delivery of their message - that 'it was time!' But by God, it was time!! It would have been 'time' in every other province of Canada whose government had a similar dismal record as the Alberta Tories.
In fact, the Kevin Taft Alberta Liberals ran a great campaign. They had candidates of quality who ran visible and active campaigns. The Liberals had ideas. Boy, did they have ideas! And what is wrong with ideas? There was a time when people cared about ideas. Even columnists cared about whether a party presented ideas.
Sun columnist Rick Bell, one of my favorite columnists (when he is not mean-spirited and subconsciously yearning for the return of Ralph Klein who was so full of yuk, yuks in the good old days like plagerizing his college term paper, getting into a shouting match with the homeless on Christmas Eve, or talking about dinosaur farts), thinks the Liberals are arrogant. See http://calsun.canoe.ca/News/Columnists/Bell_Rick/2008/03/04/4901326-sun.php
In Rick's world, any politician who presents ideas on the hustings is a latte swilling intellectual snob, who whines when he loses.
I got news for you Ricky. The Grits know how to take their lumps and they take them like real men (or women). They will be back with their ideas another day. Not every successful politician is in the tradition of lubricated blowhards who duck out of Premiers' meetings on health care to play the slots. Some think. Some have ideas. And whether they swill latte or pellegrino or cheap vino sometimes they win. And it is these men and women of ideas that make a difference. The Grits will be back Ricky, don't you worry.