5-5-15: Small “c” Conservatives Exposed

On May 5, 2015, NDP leader Rachel Notley brought the Progressive Conservative dynasty to its knees.

Many Albertans, including Ms Soapbox, are over the moon. Others who voted for one of the two conservative parties are wandering around like Li’l Abner’s Joe Btfsplk.

The small “c” conservative brain trust, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, is busy providing insight into why the fall of the PC party was inevitable and how conservatives can rise from the ashes stronger than ever.

Let’s see what three leading small “c” conservatives have to say.

The perfect storm theory

Former Wildrose leader Danielle Smith is popping up in the media with the alarming regularity of a whack-a-mole.

Danielle Smith with an important message for conservatives

She blames Ralph Klein. He failed to come up with a “go-forward” plan after he’d balanced the budget. Instead he and his successors turned Alberta into a “workers’ paradise” by siphoning money from the savings trust fund and increasing debt instead of fixing the problem by cutting public services.

Note: Smith makes the same mistake the PCs made—she confuses the PC party with the PC government; they’re not one and the same…or at least they shouldn’t be.

Smith says the Wildrose was poised to set things right when Jim Prentice rode into town and kiboshed their chance to form government. She doesn’t say why, apparently this was self-evident.   

Smith says she joined Prentice’s government because she recognized the danger of vote splitting but acknowledges the floor crossing was a failure—it occurred at the wrong time and in the wrong way.

Then Prentice made things worse by delivering a budget that infuriated progressives and conservatives alike.

All the while Alberta had been tilting further and further to the left (witness the election of two young progressive mayors in Calgary and Edmonton).

This created the perfect storm allowing Rachel Notley’s NDP to galvanize progressive voters and put paid to the PC party once and for all.

The oil oligarch theory

Barry Cooper, a member of the group of conservative political scientists known as the Calgary School, agrees with Smith that Ralph Klein put the PC party on the path to annihilation, but he doesn’t identify pandering to the progressives as the root of the problem.

Barry Cooper with an important message for oligarchs

Instead he focuses on the PC party’s mutation into a vehicle for self-promotion. He says the party’s wheels were greased by “oilpatch oligarchs” who think politics is subordinate to economics and business.

It would appear that the PC party agreed with the oligarchs’ view because it allowed the oligarchs to manipulate the party into unseating two premiers (Ed Stelmach and Alison Redford) and recruiting a third (Jim Prentice).

Cooper says the oligarchs were so busy moving the pieces around the chess board that they failed to notice the “stench coming from the…PC machine” and missed the opportunity to protect their interests by switching their allegiance to the Wildrose.

You got that, right? Cooper is not explaining why the PC party fell. He’s teaching an object lesson to the oligarchs: Ignore putrefying political parties at your peril. Switch from a dying conservative party to its successor and you will continue to control the levers of power.

Moving forward

Smith’s solution to the demise of the PC party is not surprising given her belief that vote splitting pounded the last nail in its coffin. She says the PCs and the Wildrose must unite and reinvent themselves to become more relevant to a new generation of voters.

A few words from Alberta’s most famous libertarian on what a reunited, reinvented conservative party would look like would have been helpful, but Smith failed to elaborate.

Preston Manning, the father of the Reform Party which evolved into the Canadian Alliance which spawned Stephen Harper (for which I will never forgive him) says the election of the NDP is a blessing in disguise.

Preston Manning with an important message for business

The destruction of the PC party will result in a rout of the “PC administration” who drifted away from conservative fiscal principles and “creative” conservative social and environmental values.

Manning says the conservative movement should rebuild from the bottom up, recommitting itself to conservative values, developing platforms that reflect those values and applying them to the issues of the day…or sink into irrelevance.

In the meantime, Manning frets that the NDP will make a hash of the economy unless…wait for it…the private sector comes to the government’s rescue. Manning says the energy sector is hurting and will not be able to provide much assistance, however he urges other economic players to “raise their game”. He wants agriculture, forestry, and the service and knowledge sectors to step in and do lord knows what while we wait for the energy sector to recover.

The logical extension of Manning’s proposal is the elimination of government all together.

The real significance of 5-5-15

5-5-15 marks the day that Albertans told the conservatives that the government belongs to the people, not corporations.

On Oct 19, 2015 Canadians will have an opportunity to tell Stephen Harper the same thing.

5-5-15 was a beautiful day in Alberta.

10-19-15 could be outstanding!

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23 Responses to 5-5-15: Small “c” Conservatives Exposed

  1. Joe Simon says:

    Susan, it is time for you to move to Victoria or Lantzville!

  2. cyberclark says:

    The Harper conservatives (and the BC Liberals) are hooked at the hip with the Republican-dominated PNWER http://albertathedetails.blogspot.com/2011/03/conservativerepublican-alliance-pnwer.html . I call it outright subversion.

    The Conservative push to market our water has taken giant strides under Harper. He has given up all federal control of navigational waters that can be exported, Foremost the Peace River, Prentice mentioned damming the Mackenzie as part of his ongoing talks with the NWT. Christy’s Site C dam can’t pay for itself at 1100 MW generating capacity. It is the lake she wants which will be the terminus for the Weatherford Project

    http://albertathedetails.blogspot.com/2015/01/weatherford-project-detailed.html it is far reaching plan that was pulled together in 1982. An interesting read and One has to wonder what Notley is going to do with it.

    Harper, 3 times in front of the UN turned down water as a human necessity and a human right.

    I’m in shape for Harper when he decides to call an election.

  3. Thanks for the links Cyberclark. You’ve highlighted a critical issue that most of us are blissfully unaware of. Conservative governments (frankly Christy Clark’s government is “liberal” in name only) and corporations have become so closely entwined that I fear we are living in a corporatocracy. Why anyone would think the tradeoff is worth it is beyond me.
    Harper’s comments are shameful. Further proof that he has got to go.

    • GoinFawr says:

      Apparently privatization of all potable water a la Bolivia is directly in the federal Cons (double)cross-hairs, with the privatization of breathable air their campaign contributors’ ultimate endgame. That last sound ludicrous, alarmist? Well, for one example, 30 years ago so would have suggesting the possibility of 24-7-365 surveillance with a camera at every intersection monitoring everyone’s every ‘meta’-move. That is: has anyone reading this driven through Sherwood Park lately?

      What do you think Susan, can deliberately debt enslaving a nation that a politician has been entrusted with in order to eviscerate its sovereignty on behalf of foreign private interests be construed as treason, or even merely ‘interference with the economic and financial stability of Canada’ (see bill C51)?

      • cyberclark says:

        About 5 years ago I came across a picture of a Bechtel #private water operation in a third world country. There was a single outdoors type water tap on a 3′ long pipe coming from the ground. There was a lineup of, as I recall, 50 people or more waiting to fill the containers they were carrying.

        One fellow was leaving the tap empty as he did not have the 5 cents to pay for his pail full of water was what the article was about.

        #Harper has as I said has 3 times in front of the UN failed to recognize water as a human right. After looking at those links and the background on the previous post you can certainly understand where he is coming from.

        #Justin Trudeau is running a computerized campaign. If you have a complaint on anything you get a form letter back saying in more words “if you have a problem please contact us at this number 1-800 etc.”.

        #His cornerstone is doing away with the option of filing tax together with your spouse. He claims only the very rich can take advantage of this system. All that is an outright lie! If one person is a pensioner and the second is working yet the joint filing is a major money saver and there are a lot of people in that situation. I wrote them on this and got another of those form letters I just spoke of. He is setting up a tax grab and he’s not even elected yet.

        So, I said to hell with the Liberals again; Mulcair is looking better all the time.

  4. M.L.Henderson says:

    The election of NDP government could be transformative not only for Alberta but for Canada. In this province we know all too well how government and corporate interests have been tied together. I share your fear Susan about living in a corporatocracy.

    The NYTimes Sunday Business Section had 2 articles under “It’s Still Their Party”. The first writes of the ever increasing pay scales of CEOs to beyond obscene levels. The top 200 CEO are listed, starting at 156 million down to 12 million. The second article writes that the Dodd-Frank laws to have shareholders curb CEO packages, has resulted in the opposite. In the same section, an article “Signs of a Shaker New Normal”, points out the growing income inequality in society and worries if the American economy will ever return to the steady growth model or is a more fundamental economic transition underway. We can assume the same is true for Canada.

    I mention these articles only because they underscore the need to change the direction of where our democratic societies are headed. In Alberta after 43 years, we had a very closed, corrupt government working hardest to advance the needs of the few. Government agencies have been aping businesses with the outrageous salaries top executives were paid by we the taxpayers!

    In Ottawa, we see Harper’s Conservative Government operating like a ruthless, secret corporate enterprise. They pass dangerous omnibus bills not subject to parliament’s scrutiny. They spend taxpayer’s money on their political advertising. They falsify audits of the Senate. The list goes on.
    Their contempt for parliamentary democracy is breathtaking.

    People have grown distrustful of government with good reason. If our new NDP government can operate with an open agenda, practice politics honourably and be there for the citizens of Alberta, we will show Canada a different way to govern ourselves. I’m looking forward to October and breaking the horrible Harper model of governance .

    • When the PC party elected Jim Prentice as its leader it brought Albertans even deeper into the corporatocracy fold. Not just because he had been a senior executive with CIBC and a member of the boards of BCE, CP and Coril but more importantly because he was a member of the Rockefeller founded and funded Trilateral Commission. When a citizen steps into public office he gives up these positions, but that doesn’t mean that his connections to the corporate heavy weights who sit on these boards and commissions vapourize. Take a look at how hard Prentice fought on behalf of Big Oil when he was the federaal environment minister. He wanted the US to relax its environmental regulations which he characterized as being “designed specifically to keep out Canadian oilsands products.” Just who exactly was he working for? Here’s an excellent article on the topic. http://rabble.ca/news/2014/05/rockefeller-files-jim-prentice-and-oil-industry

      We’re extremely fortunate that Albertans did not give Mr Prentice another term to do what he and his friends in the global corporate arena thought was necessary to ensure their unbridled success.

  5. Ted says:

    The scheming and conniving Preston is off gassing again in the G&M. So tired of his diatribes, all in favour of the elites. Nothing about democracy in his statements, it’s all about economic freedom pereptrated by the likes of Hayek, Flannigan, Harper and those crazies pushing their propaganda at the Fraser Institute. Nothing to do with ordinary citizens except to use them and then cast them aside when they are no longer useful. Unwilling to accept that Albertans have spoken. Preston is advised to delete the word ‘democracy’ from the title of his propaganda hovel.

    • Ted it seems to me that Preston, Prentice and others of their ilk are so vested in the Hayek view of the world (and why wouldn’t they be, it’s working for them) that they really can’t understand why any sane person would disagree. Albertans voted for a change from this entitled self-serving ideology and Canadians will have an opportunity to do so as well in October.
      These are historic times!

      • cyberclark says:

        I was told by a respected source that Presto’s dad bought up large tracts of land in the NWT when land was still for sale up there. Presto holds a dual Canadian US citizenship and is a fellow of the Fraser Institute which is dominated by American Republicans.

        When I see articles “respectful” written by the Fraser institute for guidance and an “impartial” subject review of any kind, I just shake my head. They ran Harper as their poster boy for 2 years before he was first elected.

  6. cyberclark says:

    Here is the start of it all. A keeper document there is no other single record.
    http://business.financialpost.com/news/energy/theres-a-better-way-to-solve-albertas-financial-woes-than-hiking-royalties-and-taxes-in-the-oil-patch?__lsa=734a-0a84#comment-2032309658

    Ralph’s first test of the water was when he privatized all the public parks. First his Government lobbied the Feds to update the living facilities in those parks, put in new showers, clean up and put in weed control then, asked for public bids on the parks after millions went into them in improvements. We never did find out who bid or what amounts were bid nor did we ever get an actual list of who bought them but we can assume they were all flipped to insiders at pennies on the dollars for a value.

    The Electricity privatization was a planned rip off from the start. There was no misadventure here! Reports were at the time it cost Alberta taxpayers 7 billion dollars when the wash was out.
    The mechanics: People who owned generation could not own transmission. PPAs (Power Purchase Options) were invented and again public bids were asked for these generation segments.

    Again, no lists were ever made public; no lists of who ended up with the power. Word at the time was some of these PPAs were flipped as many as 3 times within a 2 day period driving up the prices on generation which eventually ended up in the hands of the cities leaving a trail of insider millionaires behind!

    Gas generation was very expensive so there were no takers for the gas generation. Mazanknowsky worked for Great-West Life who in turn is owned by Power Corp along with a number of other like companies. Power Corp and Klein made some kind of a deal I would want the details on, to sort of buy the gas PPAs to be returned to the Government years later. Sort of taking title of a property without owning it and getting cash; a lot of cash for holding the paper.
    That scam worked great too.

    Next came water, Oil would ask for a basin of water and receive an allotment for a swimming pool full. Unsolicited, the Government just dumped the allotments onto the oil companies to be sold to communities when the time came to push up the price of water.

    One recent deal was Brooks who needed more water than was in their allotment. People holding 2 allotments came forward. One was an oil company who asked for 1 million dollars for theirs and the second was a private owner (insider) who sold theirs to the town but the prices were not disclosed.

    The NDP have their work cut out for them! It will be no easy ride and not for the faint of heart.
    This bit of a document is a keeper; there has to be a record of just what Conservatives will do given the chance.

    • GoinFawr says:

      Enjoyed your comment CC.
      Found this old copy outlining the demise of EdTel, another profitable enterprise stolen for pennies on the dollar from Albertans, after they did all the expensive, heavy lifting building the infrastructure:
      https://www.hackcanada.com/telco/edtel.html
      There is indeed a long road ahead to regain the sovereignty of this nation. Electing the NDP was the first step, but only one of the first. I hope Susan and the rest of us are right, and October will be the second…

  7. Cyberclark and GoinFawr: great conversation. Just to pick up on Cyberclark’s point about Justin Trudeau. I lost all hope for the federal Liberals after they objected to Bill C-51 but voted in favour of it anyway. They say they’re going to amend it after they’re elected, if that isn’t hypocritical what is? The icing on the cake was when Trudeau brought in Larry Summers to provide advice on the Liberals economic policies. Larry Summers was instrumental in persuading Bill Clinton to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act which limited the activities of commercial banks. Many feel this was a major contributing factor to the 2008 financial crisis. I attended a lecture where Summers was asked whether in retrospect he still thought the repeal of the G-S Act was a good idea. He said it was because banks were violating it even before the act was repealed. (So instead of punishing the banks for illegal behavior he simply legalized it?)
    Frankly the federal Liberals have strayed so far from their liberal values that they’re starting to look like Con-lite.

  8. Carlos Beca says:

    Manning as usual makes one of those ‘Mad Max’ type comments. I have never seen such an overrated politician. I would really like to know what is about this man that makes him such an icon in Canadian politics. Every single time I have heard him I have been astonished by the absurdity of his comments. He basically was the man behind the fall of the PCs by pushing Daniele Smith into the gallows and then saying ‘oops that was not a good idea’. She on the other hand says that the move was naive. Say what? Naive? The move from the Wildrose to the PCs was just a pure idiotic move without any explanantion other than thirst for power.
    Manning’s latest one is that the NDP is going to destroy Alberta’s economy unless of course his great friends in the private sector help us. I would like Manning to show me what is it in the Alberta economy that has not been destroyed yet? The Legacy of 44 years of this corporate welfare has left us with a 7 billion dollar deficit, an Heritage Trust Fund with the same total value as 25 years ago, an ailing Health Care System, an unregulated messy electricity system, a public system that hates their own leaders, an education system on the ropes and the richest province in Canada being the joke of day. The ex premier packs his office and leaves everything to anyone that cares. All he wanted was to be premier with a majority, other than that he was not interested.

  9. Carlos Beca says:

    Here is a curiosity question:
    What is the name of the political system with these characteristics:
    1) Is governed with a majority by a party with 39% popular support
    2) Does not believe in climate change or any other environmental issue
    3) Muzzles its scientists
    4) Uses the omnibus bill concept to force implementation of unwanted bills

    Possible Answers:
    A) Democracy
    B) Dictatorship
    C) Plutocracy
    C) None of the above

  10. Carlos, I’ve been traveling and wasn’t able to get to this link until tonight. It’s very good. It reminded me of a comment Chris Hedges made on The Current. He said the US is not a democracy. The interviewer was very surprised but Hedges pressed his point. He said in the US it’s impossible to vote for anyone other than Goldman Sachs. That about sums it up, don’t you think?
    Here’s the link: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/popup/audio/player.html?autoPlay=true&clipIds=2667103670

  11. Carlos Beca says:

    I fully agree with Chris Hedges. I do not think that Canada is a democracy either. Elections alone mean very little and they existed in the Soviet Union and even in most of the dictatorships around the world. I personally witness my Dad voting in an election where there were two candidates of the same party. As much as I want to believe that we are in different times, that is a dangerous belief. Predator instincts are alive and well in the so called ‘Industrialized World’. I would even say that those instincts are way more sophisticated than ever before, We are now back fighting for our basic rights of freedom of expression as it is very clear with our own scientists. It is not unthinkable that some of us will soon be in trouble with the law for disagreeing with the goverment in their position on the Israel – Palestinian conflict.
    Thank you for the link – at least this time the CBC was not disrespectful as the last time they invited Chris Hedges. I truly believe that the situation in the US can only be resolved with a true revolution and I also agree that it is coming and soon. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are the straw in the camel’s back. I certainly hope so. We cannot afford to have such a powerful nation in the hands of the right wing ISIS.

  12. david swann says:

    Not surprising that the conservative pundits fail to even consider the historic perspective that most Conservative governments, especially long-serving ones, have left their treasuries in debt. This election was mostly about throwing out those responsible for continuing the gross mismanagement of people and money and environment! Albertans had the courage, finally, to do what every other province has done generally within 1-2 decades: change the government and many of us look forward to better stewardship and longer term vision from these elected citizens. They could scarcely do any worse!

    • “They could scarecely do any worse!” David, you’re so right. Sadly Corporate Calgary doesn’t see it this way. The corporate sector is up in arms over the corporate tax, oil and gas is fussed about the royalty review (and the corporate tax) and all sectors are beside themselves over the increase in the minimum wage. No wonder Big Business and Big Oil loved the PCs. The Tories gave them everything they could possibly want.

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