Fildebrandt’s Freedom Conservative Party: Joke or Threat?

It is said that Jason Kenney is a shrewd politician but recently he made a mistake that might prove fatal.

We didn’t catch it at first, what with Kenney going into whack-a-mole mode smacking down one bozo eruption after another, however Kenney’s mistake became clear when he dismissed Derek Fildebrandt’s  announcement that he’d created a second conservative party in Alberta, the Freedom Conservative Party (FCP), which would go head-to-head with the UCP in any ridings where the NDP didn’t stand a chance.

Bad Boy

Fildebrandt has had a bad boy reputation since he set foot in the Alberta legislature.  He was an abrasive Wildrose MLA who thought nothing of going after Wildrose leader Brian Jean.  He was loyal to Jason Kenney throughout the UCP leadership race but was kicked to the curb when his lack of judgment caught up with him.

derek-fildebrandt-new-party

Mr Fildebrandt, leader of the FCP, former UCP and Wildrose MLA

Kenney forced Fildebrandt out of the UCP caucus and he became an Independent after he was caught renting out his government-subsidized condo on Airbnb and double dipping on meal expenses.  Things came to a head when he was found guilty in traffic court of leaving the scene after backing his vehicle into another car and killing a deer on private property without the owner’s permission.

Kenney said as a result of Fildebrandt’s “pattern of poor judgment and unethical conduct” he would not be allowed to rejoin the UCP caucus or run for the party in the upcoming election.

Fildebrandt says he would have been content to run as an independent but for the UCP’s top-down meddling in the nomination process which he says “is happening across the province, in many constituencies, some of which have broken into the news, many of which have not”.

Bozo eruptions or top-down meddling

The bozo eruptions are coming fast and furious.

The UCP says the bozos acted inappropriately and don’t deserve to be on the ballot.  The bozos say the UCP is manipulating the nomination process to clear the way for women and minority candidates.

Examples include:

  • The UCP removing David Campbell from the ballot after MLA Leela Aheer applied for a restraining order to protect herself from the man she found terrifying. Campbell, a former Wildroser, said the UCP manipulated the nomination process to clear the way for Aheer to win.
  • Todd Beasley who was pulled from the ballot because of his Islamophobic Facebook rants. Beasley said he’s not a racist and the UCP is manipulating the nomination process.
  • Prab Gill, a sitting MLA, who resigned following an independent investigation into allegations of ballot-stuffing at his nomination meeting. Gill disagreed with the investigator’s findings but agreed to abide by them.

Fildebrandt is using Kenney’s crack down on bozo eruptions as proof of top-down meddling.

He promises the FCP will be a real grass roots democratic party where party members “hold the pen on policy” and MLA candidates will be selected by constituents, not backroom party insiders from the “old Tory establishment”.

Is the FCP for real?

Kenney dismissed the Freedom Conservative Party as “political vehicle designed to gratify a discredited MLA’s ego”.

This is a serious mistake because a tiny rump party with a handful of seats can lead the government around by the nose if the governing party fails to win a majority.

Look at the BC NDP government’s alliance with the BC Green Party.

BC, like Alberta, has 87 ridings.  The BC Liberals needed 44 seats for a majority.  They got 43.  The BC NDP got 41 seats and Andrew Weaver’s Green Party got three.  Those three seats allow the Greens to control the NDP government.  There’s nothing like the threat of a no confidence vote to encourage cooperation.

Alberta will go into an election in the spring of 2019.  The UCP will do well but not as well as they expect (NDP support is growing, even in Calgary).  If the UCP win, it’s possible they will form a minority government.  If they form a minority government and the FCP win a handful of seats, the UCP will have to appease the FCP to stay in power.  And this puts Fildebrandt in the catbird seat—he will hold Kenney’s future in the palm of his hand.

It would be a mistake for Kenney to ignore Fildebrandt and the FCP.

It would be an even greater mistake for progressive Albertans to pull back their support of the NDP because they think the FCP will split the conservative vote, allowing the NDP to win.

While it would be be entertaining to watch Kenney and Fildebrandt fight over the steering wheel, the damage a Kenney/Fildebrandt government would do to Alberta as it ricochets through the next four years would be heart breaking.

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41 Responses to Fildebrandt’s Freedom Conservative Party: Joke or Threat?

  1. Amy says:

    Interesting as always. And I agree that UCP/FCP could do a lot of damage in 4 years and unravel some very good legislation in the process. But what happens if the NDP win a minority government?

    • Mohamed Mahdi says:

      That is if kenney and the UCP do not try to take down the FCP and Fildebrandt before they become a threat to the UCP. The UCP definitely does not want to share power with fildebrandt if they had to looking at what they have said about him since they kicked him out of their caucus. At the moment I think the FCP can win one riding only which is the one fildebrandt is running in. Also, if the NDP wins a minority government the UCP will probably try to appeal to the AB Party to prevent the NDP from forming government again unless they failed to get anywere near 44 seats. I am not sure if the AB Party would be willing to support a Kenney led UCP government if the situation arised. They are kinda similar on some issues but disagree with each other on a lot of fiscal and social issues at the moment.

      • Mohamed I agree. I suspect Kenney’s speech on the weekend was the first in a volley of comments intended to discredit Fildebrandt and the FCP. Kenney made a point of saying people who express “hateful views towards entire groups of people” won’t be allowed to run for the UCP. This implies Fildebrandt and the FCP are wild-eyed racists and Kenney and the UCP are not. I don’t think most Albertans will fall for rebranding the UCP as the kinder gentler party given the comments Kenney made when he was a federal cabinet minister about forbid Muslim women from wearing niqabs in citizenship ceremonies, etc.
        I also agree that the AB Party is unlikely to support a minority UCP government especially now that its caucus includes a former PC and a former NDP MLA.

    • Great question Amy. If the NDP win a minority government they’d be in the same position as Obama in his second term. I suspect the UCP would do block everything the NDP proposed until they were able to trigger a vote of nonconfidence. The only way out of this for the NDP would be to form an alliance with the Alberta Party and/or the Liberals (assuming they managed to elect some MLAs). The AP and Liberals were generally supportive of the NDP on social issues, perhaps less so on economic ones.

  2. Janet Buckmaster says:

    Thanks to this, I realize now that Fildebrandt’s party is indeed a threat… to the NDP. Arrrgh.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • Janet, Fildebrandt’s party could be a threat if it becomes the UCP’s only path to a majority. I wonder whether this is what Fildebrandt is really up to because he doesn’t have the time or the resources to fire up the FCP across the province, but if he picks up a seat or two, that might be enough (if the UCP doesn’t get a majority) to turn Fildebrandt into a kingmaker.

  3. Mohamed Mahdi says:

    I doubt any political observers expect the FCP to do major damage to the UCP. The most they will do is likely win chestemere strathmore which is the seat fildebrandt plans to run in against leela aheer who I hear is not liked that much in that riding. The combo of the ABNDP rising in the polls and starting to become more competitive,a strong centrist party in the AB Party who can pick up a few UCP or NDP favoured seats along with the fringe FCP in the corner should make it harder for the UCP to win a majority.

  4. ed henderson says:

    Once they get a taste of the privileged life of a recognized member of a political party they fight tooth and nail to hang on. No lie or deception is too great.
    The tooth fairy is too good to these useless pieces of trash, let’s turf them out and get some grade 9 or 10 students to run our gvt honestly and for the betterment of Albertan’s..

    • Ed, I’m not sure whether you’re referring to the NDP, the UCP or Fildebrandt’s FCP, but I know a number of NDP MLAs and can tell you they work extremely hard for their constituents and the province as a whole.

  5. Pingback: Freedom Conservative Party’s Derek Fildebrandt demonstrates his talent for getting up his opponents’ noses - Alberta Politics

  6. J.E. Molnar says:

    Whenever Derek Fildebrandt and Jason Kenney are in the news a circus breaks out. What’s not to like?

    Double-dip Derek — the clown prince of chaos is at it again. A guy that’s lived here six years wants to wrap himself in the Alberta flag? Fildebrandt needs to spare Albertans the demagoguery and end his charade of patriotism. He is nothing more than a snake oil salesman. If he helps to split the right-wing vote that may increase his usefulness — otherwise he’s just viewed by most as a political grifter who is prone to self-destruction.

    • J.E. you raise a very interesting point. When Fildebrandt pitched his new party he stressed that the FCP was made up of “grassroots conservatives, libertarians, and Alberta patriots”, not the “old Tory establishment” who take conservative votes for granted. I know what a libertarian is, but I don’t know the difference between “grassroots conservatives” and “conservatives”, and I certainly don’t know what one has to do to become an “Alberta patriot”. Are we supposed to pledge allegiance to the Alberta flag? Apparently in the early 1940s, Edmonton school trustees started suspending kids for not saluting the Union Jack and saying the pledge of allegiance. So now we have two conservative parties trying to drag Alberta back into the past.
      Here’s the link: https://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/jan-31-1941-alberta-trustees-want-compulsory-saluting-of-flag-in-schools

  7. Carlos Beca says:

    Jim Storrie from ‘Progress Alberta’ send me this newsletter that we can share with family and friends and I think it is worth reading.

    Visit http://www.progressalberta.ca/ for more details and subscribe and help if you can
    This article has a couple of links but I could not recreate them here.

    ‘Is all press good press?

    That’s a question Jason Kenney has got to be asking after dominating the headlines for nearly all of last week.

    He’d already started the week in an uncomfortable position after it was reported that Prab Gill, the bellicose deliverer of some of the UCP’s most aggressive rants in the Legislature, had tried to cheat the vote to elect the Calgary North East UCP constituency board. Stacking the board with sympathizers would have ensured Gill could secure the nomination to run there in 2019.

    But before Kenney could distance himself entirely from Gill the NDP dug up something just as damaging: proof that Gill and Kenney had taken over $7000 of public funds, meant for non-partisan work in Gill’s constituency, to throw a banquet where Kenney attacked the NDP, tried to sell party memberships, and recruited for the UCP.

    Caught red-handed, the UCP released a brief statement calling the theft of public funds ‘a mistake’ and agreed to pay it back. Gee, thanks.

    You’d think after back-to-back fouls like that Kenney might take it easy for a few days, but he got right back into the spotlight and tried to attack the government over a contract for road work.

    The only problem? The Alberta government didn’t decide where that contract went–the courts did. Carillion, the company responsible for the work, is in bankruptcy and their contracts are being sold off on the open market. The Alberta government can’t intervene because Carillion’s business is locked down by court order. Of course, Kenney hasn’t apologized for or retracted his false statement.

    In fact he just jumped right to another one–leaping on a misleading column by David Staples to spread the conspiracy that the NDP are trying to change school curriculums to indoctrinate children into ‘social justice warriors.’

    The column was so brazenly deceptive that Staples’ own paper, the Edmonton Journal, had to publish an editorial the next day calling out Kenney for spreading misinformation (although they notably didn’t have the guts to call out their columnist for serving Kenney the misinformation in the first place.)

    Is all press good press, really? I don’t know, but as someone who would prefer not to see Kenney in the Premier’s chair, I wouldn’t mind seeing a few more missteps like these.’

    Interesting to say the least – this is the man that expelled Fildebrandt and wants to be premier.
    Good luck Alberta

    • Carlos, thanks for sharing the Progress Alberta link with us. I am astounded (although I shouldn’t be) by how easily this misinformation rolls off Kenney’s tongue.
      I’ve seen a few articles saying Kenney might release more details of the report on the allegations of ballot stuffing in Gill’s nomination meeting, but I won’t hold my breath. He said he’d release his donor list for his run for the PC leadership (he raised and spent $1.5 million), that was in July of last year and he still hasn’t done it, citing privacy concerns. I also wonder whether Fildebrandt will dig up this information and use it to smear Kenney. Looks to me like Kenney’s plan to unite the conservatives has hit a speed bump.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Jason Kenney is using Fildebrandt to show Albertans that he is serious about governing. The fact of the matter is that he is as bad as Derek if not worse.

        Derek Fildebrandt is a libertarian – no rules or regulations so that he can do more of the deals he was involved with where the only concern is him and what he can get for him.

        People with no shame of taking others to the cleaners love no regulation. Easy to understand why. Survival of the fittest, in this case survival of the shameless.

      • carlosbeca says:

        Jason Kenney is in my opinion a shameless individual. Other than the resilience to pursue being a dictator he has not shown any other quality.

        It baffles my mind that people can even consider him a serious candidate to the premiership of Alberta.

        I can only explain it to myself by accepting that contrary to what we believe in Alberta we are really not that sophisticated at all. Our levels of political /social education are poor to say the least despite all our resources. We are all good shoppers.

      • Carlos, I agree with your take on both Fildebrandt and Kenney. You mentioned the conservatives love of little or no regulation. Interestingly when it comes to responding to climate change the federal conservatives prefer more regulation instead of a carbon tax. I’m not sure where Kenney stands on this point, but I’ve read articles by many economists who say the conservatives have got it backwards. They say they want less regulation but they’re prepared to accept more. They say they believe in market forces changing behavior (a carbon tax would reduce consumption) but they reject the carbon tax. For me this is another example of the conservatives trying to have it both ways, appeasing their base by saying no to carbon tax (“tax” = dirty word) and appeasing those who want the government to do something to reduce our carbon footprint by saying yes to regulations. Who knows what they really think.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        You nailed perfectly – they are for what is more convenient to stay in power or gain it.

  8. Keith McClary says:

    This is getting confusing:
    “The Alberta First Party made application to the Chief Electoral Officer to change the party name to “Western Freedom Party of Alberta”, which was approved and made effective April 23, 2018. Following this change, the Western Freedom Party of Alberta made application to the Chief Electoral Officer to change the party name to “Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta”, which was approved and made effective June 22, 2018.”
    http://www.elections.ab.ca/parties-and-candidates/parties/

    Their website doesn’t have much content:
    http://www.freedomconservativeparty.ca/principles

    Some Web cobwebs remain:
    “Fildebrandt launches United Liberty to support Unity, New conservatism”
    https://www.derekfildebrandt.ca/
    This site can’t be reached http://www.unitedlibertyalberta.ca took too long to respond.

    Wikipedia has an article tracing its history back to the earliest dinosaurs:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_Conservative_Party_of_Alberta

    • Keith, you’re right. Everything about Fildebrandt’s party is confusing. I checked out one of Fildebrandt’s links which described the “new and United Conservative Party” as embracing “21st Century conservatism” which is “a new, liberty-conservatism that limits the role of government in both the economic and the social spheres, that respects the right of the individual to live their life however they choose so long as they do not harm anyone else.”
      I don’t know how Fildebrandt squares this statement with his arguments against the bubble zone around abortion clinics. A woman’s decision to have an abortion should be respected as “the right to live their life however they choose so long as they do not harm anyone else”. Fildebrandt didn’t argue that the woman was harming the fetus, he objected to the bubble zone because it would impede the anti-abortionists’ right of free speech. Apparently the right of free speech is measured in distance and a protestor has the Charter right to yell in your face as opposed to yelling at you from across the street.
      Makes no sense.

  9. Sounds like Ukraine. We have proportional representation and 95 parties, Most named after their leader. Many of them are fake parties, founded and funded by other parties to dilute votes. This new party sounds like Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions, now called Opposition Party, containing old criminals from Donbas etc.

  10. Einar Davison says:

    Hi Susan, I have to disagree with a fair amount you said and here is my thoughts on it. Derek Fildebrandt is a joke, an arrogant, egocentric joke with very poor impulse control. I’m not sure he is a risk to the UCP. Yes he has his following and they tend to be very active in voting. I really don’t think there are a lot of them, his following is not as big as everyone think. If he runs against Leela Aheer he will lose. If he runs in Olds Threehills Didsbury he will lose. His only real hope is to run in the new Brooks riding because there are more of his type people who live in it. He won’t do that. Last election I believed he was just an opportunist who found a constituency that he could win and then he bought into his own press that he was bigger than he really is and he got sloppy. This election should finish him and his Liberterian hopes.
    This is going to be a really interesting election. It will depend on where the center goes (Center Right and Left…Red Tories, Former Liberals). The questions I have are
    1. Will the center stay home this election on the assumption the UCP will win?
    2. Will Stephen Mandel’s leadership make the Alberta Party a viable alternative?
    3. Who is the most trustworthy leader, that on election day people trust enough to vote for?
    4. Who does the week three gaff that loses the election
    5. Does Alberta stay with the devil it knows (No Rachel Notley is not a devil) or the devil it doesn’t choosing a Premier who would sell his own Granny to have power, or one who helped give a privately owned sports team its own arena for almost nothing (and set the precedence for the Calgary Flames to want the same deal).
    Here’s my bet…
    Albertans the silent majority on election day will vote for Rachel Notley, not the NDP, because I think Albertan’s trust her more than they trust the NDP and way more than they trust the UCP. The UCP is just getting all the press and that makes them look like they have momentum.
    The day after the election, Derek Fildebrandt will be on the first thing smoking back to Ontario where he will hope to become part of Mr. Ford’s team now that Ontario is safe for the right wing again. Or become the dingbat/wingnut pundit on Power & Politics
    The Alberta Party will pick up a few more seats mainly by having some really good candidates or the fact that the incumbants were well liked and Alberta needs a safe alternative to the UCP. Stephen Mandel won’t win his constituency, because people will remember that the short time he was in the government he was part of the “entitled ones” and he couldn’t fix AHS. Sometimes I think it would have been better if we could have picked up Tory members who didn’t want to be UCP, but leave behind those too connected to the Prentice Government. It’s too soon for Albertans to have forgot all of that.
    The UCP will be so angry if they lost yet another election that there will be a move to get rid of Kenney and I think the UCP will implode as quickly as it rose.
    The Alberta Liberals will still be around, but are doomed to walk the wilderness until they can find a leader who can bring them back. There was a reason Nick Taylor separated the party from the Federal Liberals. They won’t die, they have a very loyal 2% of the vote that will ensure they stay alive, they are just tired and needs to be re-energized. They just need to put the Alberta back into Alberta Liberal.
    Even if by some miracle Derek Fildebrandt wins his seat, and if he manages to run any other candidates they have no hope of winning. Because the wingnuts and dingbats of Alberta that make up his base only make up a fringe of the population and they are so widespread that there is no way that can coalesce into enough votes that it would generate seats in the Leg. No Trump miracle will happen in Alberta.
    No, the next election will be a fight between Rachel Notley and Jason Kenney and it will be a battle royal, but how it is fought will determine who will be Premier. There will be many who won’t be swayed by sweet words from Kenney because if you scratch the surface of Jason Kenney you find nothing but nasty and power hungry.
    Having said all that no doubt I have burnt a lot of bridges politically. I’m still free to have an opinion as opposed to following the party(s) line. Have a great summer, these are interesting times.

    • Mohamed Mahdi says:

      From what I heard fildebrandt was well liked in his previous constituency which was gotten rid of and a lot of it merged with a part of leela aheer’s current riding while the rest merged with the medicine hat riding.The incumbent from what I heard is not liked that well. I doubt he would joined forces with a fringe party if he thought he had no chance of winning Chestemere Strathmore.

    • Actually Einar I agree with pretty much everything you’ve said. I wrote this post to alert progressives to the possibility that it if turns into a tight race between Notley and Kenney and if Fildebrandt wins a couple of seats he could hold the balance of power. I’m sure all the progressives who voted Green, Liberal or AP would go into shock when they realized that had they not split the vote they wouldn’t be stuck with a Kenney/Fildebrandt government for four miserable years.
      Thank you for sharing your opinion, it’s well considered and I’m sure you haven’t burned any political bridges 🙂

      • carlosbeca says:

        I would add that burning political bridges in today’s political environment is an heroic event anyway – so my deepest respect. 🙂

  11. David says:

    Despite his pratfalls, I would definitely not dismiss Mr. Fildebrandt as a joke. If we have learned anything from the US and recent Ontario elections, it should be to take candidates seriously even when they are gaffe or scandal prone. It seems voters these days tend to care more about if they feel the partisan leanings of the candidates match their own, rather than if the candidate is perfect or even good.

    I am not sure how much of a threat that Fildebrandt is given the small size of the party he has latched onto, but he does seem to have a knack for getting attention. If he is a threat, it is probably first and foremost to Kenney. I agree that the Fildebrandt problem is one of Kenney’s own making. In his rush to perhaps frighten other potentially unruly UCP MLA’s into submission, Kenney booted out Fildebrandt and has therefore lost any power or control over him. Unfortunately, for the top down controlling Kenney, Fildebrandt may be a more convincing populist and can take advantage of Kenney’s weaknesses – including his hasty abandonment of his “grassroots guarantee”,his overly close relationship with social conservatives and his overly controlling nature. Also, Fildebrandt was unlikely to go away quietly and meekly like the recently exiled Calgary UCP MLA.

    Fildebrandt was also clever enough to say he would only challenge the UCP in ridings the NDP was not likely to win, which perhaps provides an opening for some dissatisfied former Wildrose supporters to move towards him rather than Kenney. Therefore, I am not surprised Kenney is attacking Fildebrandt – it is the surest sign he sees him as a threat. However, in talking about a “political vehicle designed to gratify a discredited MLA’s ego”, could that also not in a fashion describe the UCP which Kenney only got involved with after it became apparent his political career would not advance further in Ottawa? Well perhaps Kenney was not so personally discredited, but the party he was a part of sure was in the last Federal election.

    I actually don’t see that much difference between Kenney and Fildebrandt, except Fildebrandt’s messaging is more direct and plain spoken, but I think it could appeal more to some of those with grievances.

  12. William says:

    The damage by the NDP is far more heartbreaking than anything that could ever be done by any conservative government

  13. Dwayne says:

    Susan: The UCP and Derek Fildebrandt are nothing more than a joke. They will not get anywhere, with their proven, bad track records.

  14. Marshall says:

    Hey Susan, Just a clarification to your story about Chestermere Strathmore
    Dave Campbell was NOT removed from the ballot.
    He like the other 4 nomination candidates pulled the membership packages but none of them went to the next step…. coming up with deposit…. like they say ” money talks bullshit walks”
    While at the AGM he was asked to remove or cover his campaign tshirt that he was wearing.
    When he refused he was asked to leave.
    The other candidates’ campaign material was there on a table from the week before when they rented the Legion for a town hall.
    Aheer came , yes she was prepared ,yes she was ready, yes she was organized, yes she had a slate of members who wanted to be on the new board…. she had 30 people and Campbell/Klemmebsen had 13 people on their slate.
    So yes, she came to take no prisoners or show weakness, in a word she came to war.
    Who would you want to represent you….. someone who won’t back down or someone too lazy to follow through….and than cry foul because they were out played……
    This Alberta not BC…..

  15. jerrymacgp says:

    Please don’t buy into the media-driven narrative that Fildepockets is “starting a new party from scratch”. He isn’t. As Dave Cornoyer outlined in detail, he latched onto an existing right-wing Alberta separatist fringe party, which had just its name—again. See http://daveberta.ca/2018/07/derek-fildebrandt-freedom-conservative-party/

    • Carlos Beca says:

      No surprise – he cannot do anything without a stain of some kind. Hopefully he will drive Jason Kenney to the Alberta Hospital – not much is needed.

      • David says:

        Perhaps another future career opportunity for Derek – Uber driver, but I wonder will he claim the vehicle expenses on his MLA expense claim? However, yes he does seem to be already driving Kenney a bit around the bend, fortunately at no charge to us so far. As you sort of indicated, its probably not a long trip for Kenney.

  16. Scotty on Denman says:

    While your observation about the BC Greens is true—they do hold the balance of power with only three of BC’s 87 seats—we should remind that the situation has manifest in ways that do not put either of the Dipper-Green alliance, nor of the proportional representation proposed as options in this November’s electoral-systems Referendum, in very good light.

    The first spot, of course, is on the hung parliament BC voters elected: although the result of a single-member-plurality electoral system, the hung situation is similar to the same that would be almost always elected under pro-rep. The Greens end up with influence far disproportionate to their actual democratic weight.

    The second is that the Greens campaigned heavily on shutting down construction of the Site-C dam on the Peace River; yet, when they could have used their balance-of-power to force the NDP minority (which the Greens support) to reverse its decision to complete the dam—after having campaigned heavily against the project itself, too—they instead opted to let the NDP decision stand. Thus the Greens appear less representative as well as less proportional. (It seems unfair that the NDP has taken the worst beating over the Site-C decision, many longtime members disappointed and outraged to the point of tearing up their membership cards, when Green supporters should place as much of the blame on their own party for not using their balance of power to make good on one of their main campaign promises.)

    The NDP, naturally, are playing politics, too: after having promised a referendum on electoral systems in order to blunt unsurprising demands for pro-rep by the perennially fringe Greens during the last election campaign, the NDP government could reasonably depend on the Greens to forget their commitment against Site-C in order the parliamentary alliance survives at least until the November Referendum. The third spot alights, then, on another not-so-attractive feature of pro-rep: that in the perennial hung parliaments pro-rep elects, parties are more likely to adopt strategies of self-preservation or advancement rather than for the betterment of the province as a whole, or to cooperate consensually as most pro-reppers insist parties and parliamentarians will be “forced” to do under pro-rep. We have only to look at the three back-to-back federal minorities (Martin and Harper) to note that hung parliaments do not necessarily produce compromising policy—in this case it was much the opposite.

    Finally, among the political gamesmanship, is the palpable inability for the NDP minority to act on important issues, preoccupied as they must be, not only with their thin hold on power, but also with the approaching Referendum when, if pro-rep prevails, the Greens might be tempted to topple the government because they stand to win more seats. As it is, everything has to have two contingencies and the uncertainty is allowing bad inheritances from the previous BC Liberal government to fester, and pressing new problems concerning trade to be sandbagged—at least until the Referendum is decided, one way or the other.

    There are many reasons why politicians should not presume to know how the vote will break down or whether a stable government is guaranteed—even under SMP. This might be especially true inAlberta where the right is fractured and in disarray, the NDP is facing its first incumbency as government and the Greens continue to ascend right across the country as at least the booby-prize or none-of-the-above option (they now have five provincial seats in three provinces, and one federal seat adjacent to the three BC Green seats). At least with SMP we know hung results indicate delicate and dicey political realities; but, with pro-rep’s perennially hung results, we could never discern such an important politcal indicator.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Scotty – it is easy to understand that you are not in favour of Proportional representation for all the different reasons you mentioned in your note.
      All of those reasons can be valid depending on the situation and the rules of engagement.

      Regardless of the system we have, we humans are pretty good at devastating everything for our own benefit and our out of control greed. The present state of our planet and our economy and our human condition is pretty clear. We may be told day after day that everything is rolling along and that our standards are the highest ever that people are living longer but after a real deep investigation, that is not the case and the facts are starting to come to the surface and political discontent and a social crisis growing by the day.

      Anyway what you did not mention is that Proportional Representation is a fair and democratic system. If the greens, which you called a fringe party, get 7 % of the vote in BC they should get 7 % of the seats. Just because you have rich parties with large numbers of people in the same region, does not give them the right to govern. The fact is that if overall they are for example 30% of the total vote they should get 30% of the seats.

      You can say whatever you want against Proportional Representation but it is a fair system and we should adjust our political ambitions to the rights of others that should have representation. To me the excuse of minority governments, hang parliaments and on and on is just garbage. I am sorry. We create hang legislatures not proportional representation. We are the humans and we are the ones that have to create the environment to deal with what we have. The creation of hang parliaments is a human failure not a system failure. So we should adopt the system that is more democratic and not the one that serves the bigger parties better.

      I have voted since 1981 in Alberta and only in the last election my vote counted. How can you think that system to be fairer or better than proportional representation. It is not for me, and not for a great proportion of Canadians that vote like me. Do we not have rights as citizens to be represented?
      I think is time to think democracy instead of compassionate dictatorships. I am tired of being governed by people that feel entitled to govern just because they have money and can win constituencies on numbers.

      By the way what you call ‘perennial hung results’ have created countries like Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark… all European countries except Britain.
      Not bad. I accept your opinion about Proportional Representation, but I certainly do not agree with you. The real reason our Canadian parties and politicians do not want to move to Proportional Representation is because they do not know how to govern without being Kings. If that is the case then change the system but do not brag about Democracy.

      • Scotty on Denman says:

        Thank you for your thoughtful words. I must take exception to some of them, however.

        I don’t think I failed to mention how unfair pro-rep can be: “The [BC]Greens end up with influence far disproportionate to their actual democratic weight [the BC Greens hold the balance of power with only 3 of 87 seats in the Assembly].” How is that fair to other voters who did not support the Greens or who supported policies the Greens do not?

        Yes, I understand how pro-rep works, but citing how and repeating it is not a reason to endorse it, except as a matter of opinion—to which you are of course entitled to. I’ve reiterated for your benefit one reason—not opinion—why mathematical proportionality is not fairer or better.

        It rather sounds like you’ve made up your mind no matter what anyone says. No need to apologize: We all know there are concerns about perennially hung parliaments like pro-rep delivers are real and shared by many, not simply “garbage”.

        I became concerned you might have misunderstood me when I read: “The creation of hang [sic] parliaments is a human failure, not a system failure.” To be sure, pro-rep rarely fails to deliver hung parliaments, and I don’t believe such a result is a human failure per se: after all, no single voter in the ballot booth can know the outcome of any kind of election before all the ballots are counted (which, incidentally, illustrates another questionable pro-rep feature: the formation of government—if possible—out of a hung parliament depends primarily on the luck-of-the-draw election result and, that result similarly not being known to parties or candidates before the vote-count, promises made by them on campaign would be even less trustworthy than they are now because the promisers cannot know ahead of time which party or candidates they would have to negotiate with to form a government, what compromises would have to be made, nor what promises broken).

        I take most exception to your opinion that we should adopt a system that’s “more democratic”—whatever one’s opinion of what that means—but not one “that serves the bigger parties better.” To be sure, bigger parties get that way because more voters support them and I, for one, think it proper bigger elected parties should have proportionately more influence. But there’s a flaw in the idea that pro-rep is somehow an antidote to bigger parties, or to party politics in particular: pro-rep, without doubt, would empower parties more than they are now. And, as I illustrated above, parties in a hung situation are circumstantially compelled to look out for themselves, not for the province as a whole. I rather suspect the obfuscation pro-reppers resort to to counter this inconvenient fact is intended to dismiss the real reason small or fringe parties want pro-rep: it allows minority positions influence that their democratic weight does not otherwise warrant.

        Finally, I don’t understand what you mean that Canadian parties and politicians do not want pro-rep: plainly that’s not true because the Greens have always advocated for it (for reasons I suspect above), the federalized NDP membership has endorsed it (the MMP form), the BC Liberals initiated STV Referendum and wanted it so badly they called a second one when the first fell just short in accepting it (even though now they choose to be diametrically opposed to the NDP’s endorsement of pro-rep), and there’s evidence that some of the federal Conservative leadership candidates campaigned as if pro-rep might be implemented, whence these contestants would become shoe-ins for the extremist factions they appeared to be pandering to—factions that would take advatantage of pro-rep to hive off the larger party and become viable pro-rep options. Parties and candidates, all.

        The question is not whether parties or candidates want pro-rep but, rather, whether voters want it. I hope BC voters will consult neutral, unbiased sources to learn about the systems on offer in our November Referendum.

        And democracy is worth bragging about.

  17. Carlos Beca says:

    This is a great discussion and I am not sure that answering to all of it at one shot is appropriate because it ends up being overwhelming in a way.
    Just one clarification that I definitely failed to explain.
    I fully understand that only after the elections we know whether or not we have a hung parliament. I thought we all understand that, but what I tried to convey to you is that hung parliament is a concept that only exists because we decided that we do not like coalitions and that without a majority we cannot govern effectively. That is why I said that it is a human failure. It is correct that PR delivers hung parliaments more than our current system but what we do with it is what is what defines us as democrats. That is why I said at the end that most countries in Europe have developed their countries with PR and they have adjusted to it and it is way more democratic that ours. You may not agree but it is obvious because each vote counts regardless. It has nothing to do with mathematics it has to do with the proportionality of the number of votes.

  18. carlosbeca says:

    From your paragraph starting ‘I take most exception……’ I realize that we do differ in the way we understand democracy. That is not unusual.

    when you say

    ‘I rather suspect the obfuscation pro-reppers resort to counter this inconvenient fact is intended to dismiss the real reason small or fringe parties want pro-rep: it allows minority positions influence that their democratic weight does not otherwise warrant.’

    So if you have the parties with representation equivalent to the number of votes they receive – how can you come to the conclusion that ‘ allows minority positions influence that their democratic weight does not otherwise warrant’ – they have the influence that their number of seats warrants. No more no less – basically you are saying that in your understanding of democracy the parties that have more votes somehow have more ‘democratic weight’
    I do not understand what this means because in PR they all have the weight the voters gave them. They simply represent their voters with the number of seats they got. If a party with more votes has a minority government, they simply have to govern with others with representation in the House. It is pretty clear to me.

    Finally an answer to your comment that what I said about Canadian parties and politicians, is not true.
    My goodness it is only now that some parties are warming up to the idea of PR. We have been trying to change the system for 30 years and no one ever took the flag. When Justin Trudeau decided to make it an election promise, it is clear he just used it to get votes because he knows that more and more Canadians are interested in a more democratic voting system. He failed to deliver because Justin Trudeau is comfortable with the false majorities that the First Pat the post gives them. Even now there was a referendum in Prince Edward Island that was basically annulled because the current premier thought it was not a fair vote. The very first one in BC was also ignored when 57.7% voted in favour with majority votes in 77 of the 79 ridings.
    So I do not think that my comment is not true.

    You also did not understand my statement about bragging about democracy.

    I do not pretend to be a good writer but I think that it is also your lack of focus when reading because my sentence is very clear. I repeat it here just for analysis sake

    ‘The real reason our Canadian parties and politicians do not want to move to Proportional Representation is because they do not know how to govern without being Kings. If that is the case then change the system but do not brag about Democracy.’

    I think that it is clear that I meant to say that our politicians are used to govern with majorities and that is what I meant by ‘ ….Kings’ so my conclusion was that if that is the case – meaning if we only want to govern with majorities then change the system to a monarchy or a dictatorship but then do not brag about our country being a democracy.

    Thank you for your reply

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