Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The Road Ahead

I've had this blog for, holy shit, nine years.

In its earliest days it was mostly ranting about PC Premier Ralph Klein's unrelenting war on the public sector in general and healthcare in the specific.  He went from being a nominal liberal to a hard right partisan against anything that smacked of cooperation or the public good.  In the end his all out assault on medicare ended up contributing to his tumble from power as rural conservatives thought about how Klein's proposed two tier healthcare system would drain small town doctors to the more lucrative practices in the city - and turned on him.

This was significant, in a way the seeds of tonight were laid when the doctrinaire movement conservative market ideology of right wing economists, Shotgun blog commentators and Fraser Institute leadership cadets like Ezra Levant and Danielle Smith ran aground on pragmatic Albertan fondness for decent public healthcare.

After Klein the open assault on healthcare in Alberta became the slow motion death of a thousand cuts, delistings, organizations and reorganizations.  If you were trying to manufacture consent to slowly chip away at public healthcare by degrading it to the point people let you privatize it - you would run it pretty much the way the Tories have.  Fixing healthcare and rebuilding the relationship with healthcare workers will be high on everybody's list. 

Alberta has the most anti-worker labour laws in Canada - a lot of current Alberta labour law is ultimately not even enforceable when looked at through the lens of recent Supreme Court decisions.  Expect major changes, including the removal on the absolute ban on farm workers even being able to join a union.

Education.  Students are an important part of the NDP coalition, I think we can expect education funding and tuition to be on this government's radar.  Higher education is becoming a luxury accessible only to the rich and that contradicts NDP egalitarianism directly.

The environment.  The NDP wouldn't have to pass one new law to change this file dramatically.  Just enforcing existing environmental regulations  and  laws would drastically challenge the free ride elite polluters have enjoyed.  Look for incentives to encourage projects like ENMAX's Shepard Energy Centre gas powered power plant.  Coal is cheap but dirty and breaking our reliance on it would go a long way towards rehabilitating Alberta's environmental image.  The only wrinkle maybe the fracking and ground water threat shale gas poses.

The number one issue, the one the NDP can probably find a lot of common ground with the Wildrose on, is the democratic deficit.  As Rachel said in her victory speech, for too long the agenda and conversation of this province was a red rope affair, the elites decided and the rest of us were used to our concerns being ignored.  Entrenched, unethical partnerships like the one the Stettler PC establishment had with local government are repeated all over this province, right down to one party's control over the levers of the democratic process itself and there is a crying need to have years of cronyism, and close party/state fusions  swept away.  The Progressive Conservatives have a secretive slush fund of a kind that is illegal for every party in Alberta, except them.  That's emblematic of an attitude of entitlement and authority PCs believed was their's by right. 

Hercules had an easier job cleaning the Augean Stables.

And make no mistake, the sabotage starts tomorrow if not sooner.

Entrenched forces in industry, labour and media will be attacking from every angle, political and economic success will be steadily redefined to exclude anything the NDP accomplish.  Red scare rhetoric will, if anything, get worse.

Keep your powder dry.

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