Was it a “Burning Lake of Fire,” or…. Wildrose Growing Pains – Part 4 of 4
Where to From Here
In Part one of this series we looked at how people thought the Wildrose Party was not pro-Edmonton, or how they had a complete disregard for the city. As I have stated, numerous times, this is not the case. I would not support the party if it were. In part two of the series we discussed how the personal religious opinions of one man, and the manner in which these opinions were misrepresented by the media and certain of the liberal secularist atheist left wing, affected the election day outcome. In part three of the series we discussed how rogue candidates, and the “bozo eruptions” that plagued the Edmonton campaigns. It could be said that all of these things, none of these things, and a combination of these events and others lead to the loss on April 23rd.
So where do we go from here?
Hopefully the leadership of the Wildrose Party will NOT fall into the PCAA trap of arrogance.
Mistakes were made. Strike that. HUGE mistakes were made. From the vetting process to the marketing process, indeed, to the very image of the party being centred on Southern and Rural Alberta. These mistakes, both in image and policy have to be addressed. The party cannot simply sit back and keep saying “A Wildrose Government will…..” The battle cry has to become “With the input of the People of Alberta, a Wildrose Government will….”
This is not the 1950’s, with June Cleaver, in an apron, telling Ward to go easy on the Beaver. This is the 21st century where the liberal secularist media rules, combined with special interest groups who believe their own right to exist supersedes the rights of conservatives to their beliefs. No political party is going to succeed without figuring out how to balance the rights of the special interest groups and the rights of the conservative majority. Unfortunately, social media, while a great tool for marketing ideas, has become the rallying point for special interest groups who KNOW the media will pick up on their causes posted on Twitter and twist and turn them and sensationalize them to the point that anyone who isn’t 100% in agreement with the special interest is a nazi racist.
It will be the job of the policy wonks, like Rob Ladouceur, to find that happy medium. This will have to be a medium where gay rights advocates, pro-choice advocates and conservative religious people can exist in the same province and all have the rights to believe what they want to believe.
Where the leader went wrong in this aspect was, while standing up for the rights of an Albertan to his religious beliefs, and his right to state those beliefs, she did not spend enough effort emphatically stating they were not the core values of the Wildrose Party. Thought she did denounce them in one interview, said interview was never aired, with CBC, Danielle Smith should have been screaming to every media outlet, and posting on Facebook, Twitter and the Wildrose Party website that, while a grassroots party, the predominant view of the MAJORITY is what will form Wildrose Policy. Since the vast majority of Albertans and, by extension, Wildrose Party members do not share the views of Mr. Hunsperger, the Wildrose Party policy is NOT in line with one member’s religious beliefs.
We live in a climate where the majority of the people do not trust the word of their leaders. Of course with leaders like Alison Redford flip-flopping on every promise they make who can blame them? Thanks to living in such a distrustful climate, politicians cannot make blasé statements like, “A Wildrose Government will not legislate on contentious moral issues.” Of course they will. Certain pro-life groups were, of course, planning to attempt to force a plebiscite on delisting abortion on demand as a publicly funded procedure within the Alberta healthcare system. What is most important is, the Wildrose Party would only follow the will of the majority of Albertans. The majority of Albertans would not sign a petition for a plebiscite on the issue. If they did, a majority of Albertans would never vote to delist abortion. The party, therefore, should not have given simplistic answers. The party should have honestly stated, “We will only legislate on moral issues brought to us by a majority of the people of Alberta.
The special interest groups probably wouldn’t like that answer either. Of course they don’t believe in the democratic rule of the majority, yet they scream DEMOCRACY. Democracy is fine when the special interest group in question is the majority. Of course the very term special interest denotes a minority of the population seeking SPECIAL status. I guess as long as people want SPECIAL status they will never be equal. Special is not EQUAL.
This is where the Wildrose Party’s policy has to be fixed. As Mr. Ladouceur states in his article (linked above), the party has to change its collective minds on certain issues. He is right. Not only do we have to change our collective minds, but we must remove redundancy from our policy documents. There is absolutely no need to have mentions of Conscience Rights in the policy document. Conscience Rights are already protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Why are they even mentioned in the policy document of a provincial party? The PCAA went out of their way to raise dissension in the province over the Human Rights Act. Why? Human rights are already guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Why do these need to be restated at the provincial level? This is the type of legislating that makes Canada the most over legislated country in the world.
While the Party needs supporters like Ezra Levant, we have to be careful which of the supporters’ pet issues we support. While the media made it look like Wildrose was against human rights, which is patently false, Wildrose did very little to curb this image. It was imperative the party produce literature and back up documents showing that, while we support human rights laws, we also support laws being applied in courts where both sides have rights to counsel and disputes can be settled by a REAL judge and/or jury. The people screaming that Wildrose would get rid of Human Rights are those who like the fact that the human rights tribunals are weighted and biased towards the complainant. G-d forbid the defendant in a human rights case should have fair and equal access to a defence.
I have been in that situation. I had to fire an employee for non-compliance and having too many accidents. Once the employee had exhausted all complaints at the labour board level I was served with notice to attend a human rights tribunal. This employee, an unsafe driver and a person who failed to follow procedures, both legal and company imposed, complained that I fired them for being gay. Really? In fact, the first I even knew of them being gay was when I received the complaint. Though the complaint was completely without merit it took months and months and thousands of dollars to prove I was not, in fact, guilty of any human rights violations. Fortunately, despite this person having a slough of human rights lawyers and the support of the gay community, after spending a small fortune on lawyers I was found to be in the right. So the tribunal worked you say. Yes, yes it did. I was faced with a frivolous suit and paid thousands of dollars to prove my innocence. Unlike the court system, there is no legislation forcing the lying complainant to pay my court costs. While her counsel was provided free of charge, I had to fight a baseless claim and pay out of my pocket. This is what the Wildrose Party wanted to change. They would not change the ability of a person to bring a complaint. They would simply move the complaint to where it belongs, in the COURT system where there is true equality and frivolous complainants would pay for a wrongfully accused defendant’s legal fees. So why didn’t they just say so?
While the new MLA’s are getting their feet wet, holding flames to the PCAA’s collective butts, the rest of the party must start looking at how to supplement the excellent work of 17 MLA’s and bring the party to a place where the people of Alberta will get to know our TRUE core values and respect that we respect the diversity of Alberta’s population. Somehow people have to understand that I may not like something, but that doesn’t mean the party necessarily agrees with me. I know they don’t on many issues. I am not a Libertarian while the vast majority of the party is. So what? Because I am a social conservative and am somewhat unmoving in my opinions does not mean the whole party is. That’s what grassroots are about. When you combine grassroots and democracy, I will lose when it comes to policies I want put into place. But that is what democracy is all about. I accept that I lost democratically, but that doesn’t mean I will change my moral values. I will simply accept that I lost democratically and move on. Unlike the special interest groups and media, during the 2012 election, I agree that everyone has a right to their opinions and moral compasses. I agree to disagree with them and go from there. Since the gay political agenda is moving forward with such speed, I am content knowing that, though I will never win, I am free to my moral beliefs and my opinions, notwithstanding the fact I am in the minority. However, as soon as I exercise my freedom to disagree and state my own beliefs I become a bigot, a homophobe, and am then compared to Hitler.
The Wildrose has to find a way to protect the rights of ALL Albertans, special interest groups and social conservatives alike. If they don’t, they a) will never make government and b) people of religion will lose what few freedoms they have left.
On the matter of the media, the Party has to learn to control the media, not the other way around. There are ways of spanking the media when they misbehave. Unfortunately the party hasn’t learned those yet. Perhaps over the next four years the methods will become more known. Starting now, the Wildrose MLA’s should NOT grant the media any access. Let media find out what caucus is up to the old fashioned way, when everyone else does, on the legislature floor. Pandering to these outlets accomplishes nothing and in the end they will turn on you faster than a hungry pit bull turns on a child.
There is no such thing as dirty politics. Politics is a dirty game. It is a dog eat dog game. If you are not willing to attack the wrongs done by another party, either as a corporate group or as individuals, there is no winning. Politician’s personal lives used to be out of bounds. Obviously this is not the case any longer. We know things about certain members of the PCAA. Why were these things not brought up during the election? Why did we allow Alison Redford to be so “frightened” by one man’s personal religious beliefs while people in her own cadre are having affairs with their executive assistants, cheating on spouses and not parenting their own children? This is how you win elections. If you have the opposition trying to expose your moral issues, let the people of Alberta know about the moral values of those who are so “frightened.” Why weren’t we hammering on the religious and personal moral beliefs of David Dorward, a Mormon bishop, or Ted Morton, a known leader against gay rights and pro-choice issues?
One thing is certain, the policy meetings coming up in the near future, and the AGM in the fall are going to be interesting if nothing else. We just have to ensure, as a party, we keep our eye on the goal and not in the past. We certainly need to learn from the past and move forward from it. Our message has to be consistent and INCLUSIVE. There can be no room for the media, special interest groups, or self proclaimed saviours of the left to make assumptions, twist realities, or even question our motives. Clarity of platforms and policies have to be made while the media is busy watching this current government dig themselves bigger and deeper holes to crawl out of.
The PCAA government has already started backtracking and deceiving the people of Alberta. While the Wildrose caucus is busy keeping the lies and deception of the government in the forefront of the news, the party has to rethink and redevelop our image to one the people of Alberta can trust and agree with. As a social conservative I won’t agree with all the libertarian views of the party, but that is the price of supporting a party based upon their positions on fiscal restraint, smaller government, and funnelling the cash into services rather than bureaucracy.
We need to weed out redundant and questionable policies that are already incorporated into the FEDERAL Charters and deal with issues specific to Alberta. Let the federal government legislate federal issues. We all have recourse to appeal to the federal system when our rights are violated by the provincial government, yes, even on matters of conscience.
First and foremost, the Wildrose Party must, must, must prove to the people of northern Alberta we are not an exclusive club for Calgary and rural areas. I have ideas to accomplish this. You can rest assured they will be brought to bear at the AGM. I, like all the members of the party north of Red Deer, love Edmonton and the north. If I thought for a minute the party was anti-Edmonton I would not be a member. Media deceptions notwithstanding.
The bottom line is this. The Wildrose Party is a brand new party. Like adolescent children we will have growing pains. Like everyone did growing up, we will deal with failures and successes. In my opinion, as a new party, we did very well to obtain the number of seats in our great legislature that we did. Personally, I think the people of Alberta will be much better served by a Wildrose government that has the experience of 4 years sitting in opposition to a corrupt and “entitled” PC government before taking the reigns of government. You don’t walk before you run and you certainly don’t drive before you can see over the dashboard. The party now has 4 years to learn to run and to grow up.