Sunday, April 29, 2012

Good with the Bad.

It's been one year since we won a Blue Tory majority in Ottawa, and they've been hard at work ever since. The gun registry is gone, the wheat board dead, the cuts are beginning in earnest with this year's budget, the Monarchy is being supported and the Forces strengthened.

That's the good news.

The bad news, though it's not news to anyone now, is that two provinces have missed their chance to put in really great Blue Tory and Libertarian premiers respectively. The people I'm talking about are of course Tim Hudak and Danielle Smith, both of whom would be premiers if I had my way.

The parallels are somewhat uncanny, both went up against unpopular, tax and spend leaders, captaining parties that have held power for a long time. Both surged early, posting polling results in the low 40%s, before ultimately falling behind and losing the election in the final days. Both leaders dramatically increased their seat counts and plan to remain at their party's helms in future elections.

Now, with years to go before another Alberta election, and with McGuinty fighting for a majority in an upcoming Kitchener By-election, we need to closely examine how and why these conservative alternatives failed to fully capitalize on their early success, and what caused them to flounder in the final stretch.

To some extent we can blame good campaigning by the Liberal party in Ontario, Hudak went up against a well oiled big red machine, but here I think the chief issue was that we did not offer a credible alternative. In order to truly balance Ontario's books and start digging us out of this deficit we need a Mike Harris style platform, a common sense revolution filled with cuts to fix our province's finances and prevent us becoming a new Greece. That's what our next platform needs to be, cuts to spending, real, large cuts to spending.

Yes it will mean cuts to services, but it needs to be done, we need to show Ontarians that we trust them as much as we would like them to trust us. That we're confident that they'll choose our message of fiscal restraint over McGuinty's broken promises and endless taxation.

Alberta is not so simple, why exactly Smith's party fell in the final days of the campaign is still uncertain, but personally, I am inclined to believe it was due to the party's newness. It's quite possible that the years of data the PC's had stored away, and the years of party loyalty, helped them to run more effective ground campaigns and Get Out The Vote operations that helped swing the tide in numerous ridings. It's also possible that the gaffes made by member's of Smith's party (A lake of fire and brimstone comes to mind) were significant enough to sway the votes of many Albertans.

I don't believe that there was anything wrong with Wildrose's platform or message, but being sidetracked by religious fanatics is always a danger for right wing parties, one of the reasons that individuals at the local level should be as active as possible to ensure overly religious people do not secure nominations.
Ultimately I believe that Wildrose will ultimately overthrow the PC's, it just may take longer than we had hoped for.

P.S. This post was made from a VIA Rail train en route to Ottawa, where I am going to begin a 4 month internship.

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