Alberta, the first of this year's historic breakthroughs
Right-wing pundit Kevin O’Leary perhaps spoke for the Harper base when he suggested on BNN that the way to deal with Rachel Notley’s stunning victory is to bring Alberta "to its knees."
I’m sure we can expect to hear more such generosity of spirit from the now-panicking hard right, as the churning political waves seem to be jerking the deck chairs increasingly loose from their fittings.
The historic NDP victory reveals there’s a restless electorate capable of toppling even the deepest-pocketed conservative political dynasty and replacing it with a government committed to serving the interests of the broader public.
It’s enough to renew one’s faith in democracy.
Certainly, the NDP victory suggests that the neoconservative right with its stale economic solutions of ever-larger rewards for the rich and ever-deeper austerity for the rest is losing its grip on a public which has grown tired of ending up with the short end of the stick.
It’s not surprising that the seismic political wave of dissatisfaction rolled through Alberta, where the recent drop in oil prices suddenly exposed the province’s financial frailty despite the province’s ample endowment of natural resources.
As Notley pointed out, the ruling conservative cabal had so mismanaged Alberta’s resources -- directing the lion’s share of oil wealth to corporate coffers in Canada and elsewhere -- that there was slim pickings in the province’s heritage fund when a rainy day arrived.
Alberta’s difficulties put it in sharp contrast to Norway a country with similar oil reserves and a similar-sized population. The difference is that Norway has a long history of social democratic governments, which have ensured the nation’s oil wealth has primarily benefitted the people of Norway. Hence, Norway has a gigantic heritage fund worth $1 trillion more than 60 times as big as Alberta’s.
The Alberta-Norway gap helps debunk the myth that Conservatives are good economic managers. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Central to Conservative economic thinking is the notion that the corporate elite are the "wealth creators" and therefore we must constantly cater to them in order to win their goodwill.
It has become clear that catering to the corporate elite enriches the corporate elite, and not much else.
It’s only by championing the broader public interest -- as social democratic governments do -- that ordinary Canadians will benefit.
Of course, it’s impossible to know exactly what the NDP triumph in Alberta will mean for the upcoming federal election. But, from canvassing in Toronto Centre, I sense that it’s changed the way people think about politics in this country, and has given new life to the notion that Tom Mulcair is the best person to replace Stephen Harper.
If a deeply-entrenched Conservative dynasty can collapse right in Stephen Harper’s front yard, there’s hope indeed for the rest of the country.
Please join me, in whatever way you can, as we work to make Toronto Centre part of the historic breakthrough that finally gives Canada a government committed to empowering ordinary Canadians.
With best wishes,
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