Another Conservative Landslide

Well, it’s election day here in Alberta. And the Progressive Conservatives have been re-elected in one of the largest landslides in our history.

In case you Americans are ready to tune out of this thread, I should point out that our humble province has had a significant effect on the direction of U.S. politics. Why? Because our government has been leading the way in bucking ‘conventional wisdom’, and winning big.

The Klein Government in Alberta first started seriously cutting government spending back when the conventional wisdom was that it was political suicide to do so. Politicians all through the U.S. and Canada watched closely to see what political ramifications would result from our significant spending cuts to Health Care, Welfare, etc.

When Klein was elected in a landslide, it showed many politicians that their careers could survive major spending cuts. Klein and Alberta were actually mentioned as models by a number of conservative members of the U.S. House and Senate.

Due to our oil and gas revenues, we found ourselves in a position of surpluses before most other governments. Again, we were watched closely to see what we’d do with it - the mix of heavy debt re-payment coupled with tax cuts was wildly popular, and has become the model in many other states and provinces.

Before this current election, the Klein government began de-regulating power production (actually, that started a few years ago), and began supporting a move towards somewhat privatized health care (in Canada, where our health care system is our one untouchable entitlement, this was seen by pundits as political suicide).

The Klein government then laid out its program for what to do after our debt is paid off (which will be in the next couple of years), and we may see a complete elimination of income tax.

So after all this, right now the PC’s have 73 seats, the Liberals 8 seats, and the New Democrats (socialists) have 2. The only landslide larger than this in our history was the Lougheed government in the 1970’s.

Anyway, you can bet that lawmakers all over North America watched this election closely, and the result they saw was that conservative policies turned out to be wildly successful.

I’m sorry, were you talking? Something about America? Huh?


ok, ok, sorry. What I mean to say is tha . . . HAHAHHAAAHAAAAAAAAAAHAHAAAAAAAAAAA

{fixed sidescroll. --Gaudere}

[Edited by Gaudere on 03-15-2001 at 09:22 AM]

Don’t worry, Sam, some of us don’t act so foolish as the above post.

Excuse me, but where the hell did you get the idea that a significant number of Americans have ever even HEARD of Alberta? I can guarantee you that NOBODY down here outside of a few Beltway think tanks knows or cares about any of that, mm-kay?

Now, congratulate yourself on having a lot of oil if you like, but don’t try to assert the claim that it makes you morally superior, or that it somehow validates conservative political philosophies. All it means is that Alberta has the money to engage in some things other polities would have to consider luxuries, and there is some insurance against screwups.

Beyond that, I agree with Varlos. Don’t forget to clean those lip prints off your mirror.

Dang italics … dang preview … aw, screw it …

Always nice to see ElvisL1ves contributing more rational, reasoned, intelligent debate to the board. :rolleyes:
As for the OP, I’d have to disagree with the premise that Alberta has been in the forefront of political thinking that has been followed in the United States. Alberta is roughly analogous to certain farm states in the plains where there is roughly homogenous population, limited types of industrial base and a tendency to buck liberal thinking that goes way way deep into the feelings of the local people. For the Progressive Conservatives (that’s almost as bad as compassionate conservatives) to do well was not nearly as difficult in such a climate as it would be in, say, Massachusetts.
Further, you will notice that the current trend in the United States by the Republican party, which thouroughly strangles out any moderate thought right now within its ranks, is to reduce taxes and do nothing to reduce spending, just shift the spending around based on priorities. Nor do you hear a great emphasis on eliminating the national debt (indeed, many doubt that it would be wise, since US bonds have a stabilizing effect on the economy). So there is little evidence so far that the role model for future conservative governmental action in the United States is to follow the policies of the PC party in Canada.

The Klein gov’t,…The Klein gov’t,… The Klein gov’t… blah, blah, blah…

How could you Sam? You were my absolute favourite poster on this board. You always had something completely rational and sober to say whenever you posted. But now this over-simplified, self indulgent steaming heap.

Alberta has resources that other provinces don’t have. Alberta has a relatively low and homogenous population. Alberta has experienced a very good economy over the past few years in the engineering and high tech sectors.

Comparing Alberta to Quebec or Ontario or worse, the US is simply impossible. Some things that work for Mr. Klein are not going to work for anyone else.

But I urge you to go with what seems to be working for you.

Why, DS, welcome back from wherever you’ve been! Good to see you’ve missed me.

I must say it’s a little odd to read a post starting with an ad hominem remark about the poster, then going on to generally agree with its content.

If you’d like to pursue this personal obsession you have with me, take it to the Pit, please. And on your way, note the number of other similar statements in this very thread which have not drawn your comments.

coughSaskatchewan was the first province in Canadahack snortto have a budget surplus following spending cutscoughunder Romanow, leading the NDPwheeeeze(who are not socialist by any textbook definition)cough

Elvis1Lives Rants:

Well, I see you managed to be both snide AND strident in the same message. Way to go. And I was specifically speaking of Beltway think tanks, mm-kay? Specifically, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute. In case you haven’t noticed, these think-tanks actually have quite a bit of clout when it comes to determining the future direction of the country (as do their liberal counterparts).

DSYoungEsq: Your points are valid and well taken. However, just because a state or province largely follows a certain party does not mean that conclusions can’t be be drawn from the results of their decisions.

For example, the Liberals held 15 seats before this election, and their major campaign issue was a fight against the Klein Government’s deregulation of energy. The result? The liberals lost 8 seats, the leader of the party who was leading the de-regulation fight lost her own seat, and the party is close to being wiped out.

The NDP campaigned on a platform of social justice, ‘protecting’ health care by smacking down proposals to privatize certain clinics, and increasing social spending. They wound up with 2 seats, which is what they had before. Clearly, neither their message nor the Liberals message resonated at all with the people.

SPOOFE, why “foolish”? That was brilliant satire, my friend. In one post (consisting of less then 25 sensical words) I managed to mock: (1) Sam’s (very) slightly offensive suggestion that American posters on this board would snobbishly ignore a post dealing with Canada, (2) Sam’s misguided belief that Alberta is more politically relevant that it is (internationally speaking). and (3) America’s willful ignorance and apathy regarding the rest of the world, relatively speaking. I also thought it was kinda funny but, then, I’m arrogant.

Not to nitpick, but you did say “lawmakers,” not “think tanks.”

In any event, I apologise if anyone thinks I was out of line.

coughRomanow balanced the budget in Saskatchewan two years before hraaaaawwk Klein did it in Alberta.cough

Hansel: get a fucking cough drop. I think even Stoidela could’ve gotten your point at the first :ahem:.

Sam: I don’t think what works in Alberta would work too well all over Canada, much less America. Maybe the Dakotas, Montana, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado (real iffy though), Idaho and Utah.

Well, they say that a Canadian is basically an American with health care and no gun. Maybe it’s the same in Alberta. I have the sneaking suspicion though that even after Klein’s cuts, Alberta’s safety net remains stronger than that of any US state, possible exceptions being Oregon and Hawaii. Though I hasten to add that my knowledge of Alberta is rather impressionistic: I’ve heard that it’s suppose to be more conservative than, say, Eastern Canada and that it has a small secession movement.

Sam: Thanks for the heads up; I suspect I was not the only poster wholly unaware of the Alberta election.
So how big is Alberta?
My sources tell me that Alberta has approximately the population of Missouri, Iowa or Chicago (about 2.7 mill).

One of you Canadians can correct me if I’m wrong but I think that the Western provinces of Canada, like the Western states of the US, favor the idea of smaller government. In Wyoming, Bush cleaned up a big 74%, but nobody seems to care much about Wyoming for some reason.

and VarlosZ, you didn’t say anything wrong.

From ElvisL1ves:

I see you still have not learned the meaning of argumentum ad hominem. My comment ("Always nice to see ElvisL1ves contributing more rational, reasoned, intelligent debate to the board. ") was a specific review of the statements you made, and did not in any way attempt to cause anyone reading the discussion to dismiss your arguments through reference to your general character or and individual trait of yours. Your commentary, as I alluded through use of sarcasm, was not rational, it was not reasoned, and it did not appear to involve application of intelligence. If you don’t like seeing someone say so, don’t post irrational, unreasoned, unintelligent rants.

As to your assertion that there were a ‘number of other, similar statements in this very thread’ upon which I did not comment, reviewing the thread shows that only VarlosZ and Spoofe had posted before you, and I felt that Spoofe had already adequately addressed the unfortunate silliness of the post by VarlosZ. Since when does one other post equate to ‘a number of other, similar statements’? :rolleyes:
Sam Stone, it is always simplistic to try and draw conclusions about specific issues from generalized election results, as you know. Elections in Canada have for some time now been shadowed by the spectre of federal relations, and it would be difficult to dismiss the effect of this on any general election in Alberta, where a feeling of independence from Ottawa is much more the norm than, say, in Ontario. To what extent, then, is the showing of the Liberals the result of continued identification of that party with the concept of a strong federal government, as opposed to, say, their opposition of deregulated natural resource development or their continued insistence on the concept of socialized medicine? And to what extent is the inability of the NDP to gain ground simply a function of the natural inclination of a voting electorate to gravitate to a two-party system, with the NDP failing to convince significant numbers of Albertans that they offer the best alternative to the current version of the Tory party?

This is not to say that the issues the PC’s are campaigning on aren’t striking fundamental chords with Albertans; the results show they must be. But my as my post and the posts of others point out, Alberta is a bit unique, being moderate to small in size, with limited industrial focus (oil/gas and farming), with a VERY homogenous population. Alberta has ample natural resources; in this it compares to Alaska, where standard political thought is much different from the rest of the US; people in Alaska get PAID to live there (ok, that’s an over-simplification, but it does describe the relative windfall of the sale of natural resources from within that state as compared to, say, California with its high tax burden).

Now to try and take a program of cutting social spending, relying on significant income from natural resource development, and using this combination to reduce or eliminate debt and the need to generate revenue from individuals by taxing their income from a state with the composition and advantages of Alberta to a state with, say, the population explosion and dearth of advantages like, say, Florida, seems to me to be destined to failure. I’m not sure you could even successfully promote such a program in California, which has a relatively thriving economy, a fair amount of resources, and a tendency towards thinking outside the bounds. I think that, with the exception of some conservative people with blinders, most here in the States understand that the approach of the PC’s in Alberta succedes because of conditions unique to that province.

I must not be explaining myself well. I wasn’t trying to defend these policies necessarily, or suggest that Alberta’s model would work everywhere.

The point I was making was that a lot of attention was paid to Alberta around the time when Newt’s gang made big gains. The conventional wisdom, even in Alberta, was that doing things like cutting welfare spending and especially health care spending was political suicide. And in fact, when the government first announced these policies, there were almost riots in the streets in some areas. Lots of public protests at the legislature.

But the Klein government survived, and as every year went past the memory of the cuts faded into old news, but the burgeoning treasury was daily news. The result was that Klein was re-elected in a landslide.

That gave a lot of politicans in other provinces and states a little more backbone. I’m not suggesting that Alberta is some famed province that every politician follows carefully. But rather, simply that its political moves have made news amongst people who formulate policy. It became another datum point in favor of moving in that direction.

And now that Klein did it again after taking on a number of sacred cows (even in Alberta), I’m just guessing that we’ll see some other political jurisdictions follow suit.