Posts Tagged ‘Wildrose

Premier Alison Redford’s office launches odd attack on Wildrose leader’s pot stance

- August 27th, 2013
Wildrosepot

The latest attack on the Wildrose by the provincial Tories.

A dramatized account of a non-existent conversation in the premier’s communications office

Staffer A: “So, we accused her of playing politics on flood recovery, but that didn’t get any traction, what else can we criticize her for?”

Staffer B: “I dunno.”

Staffer C: “I’ve got it! Justin Trudeau wants to legalize pot.”

B: “So?”

C: “Don’t you remember? Danielle wrote once that she was in favour of legalization. It’s timely, and a big distinction between the premier and Team Angry™.”

A: “Wait, wasn’t that like ten years –”

B: “And didn’t we convince a lot of progressives to vote for –”

C (waving off the naysayers, exiting room): “It’ll be perfect. We’ll use photoshop, put both their heads on the page next to their quotes, send it on Twitter. It’s gold!”

In my head, that’s how the conversation went when deciding to put together the above photo.

I get it. Premier Alison Redford and Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith disagree on marijuana, and pot is hot right now.

But I don’t really think this is a hill to die on for provincial partisans.

For one, even if Danielle Smith were premier, and were in favour of legalization, as she wrote 10 years ago, she can’t change the Criminal Code.

Two, there’s no evidence decriminalization or legalization will lead to increased use, or unsafe communities.

Smith wrote those words as a columnist 10 years ago, and she hasn’t exactly hidden her libertarian leanings.

Further to that, public opinion is on Smith’s side in this debate.

And the premier’s reference to ticketing involves possessing small amounts of pot, a proposal pitched by the country’s chiefs of police.

While I don’t believe their proposal is a good idea, because it doesn’t go far enough, I will note for the premier that we’re talking about people with an ounce or less. These people are not a danger to our communities.

There are even reports that suggest it’s the position advocated by the premier that is the cause of violence. (Hat tip for the link to another guy named Breakenridge.)

I also wonder how all the self-styled progressives who helped Redford win the Tory leadership and the province’s top office feel about her hardline stance.

The case for decriminalization or legalization is there. And if the premier’s staff feel it’s worth these cheap stunts that open them up for a sound mocking, hey, bring it on.

Wildrose policy upgrade muddying their message? Hardly

- April 9th, 2013

Much has been made over the last couple of days over the Wildrose announcing it would be reviewing some policy stances in an attempt to appeal to more Albertans.

Commenters under our stories accuse them of being nothing more than Tories with another name, and the deputy premier ridiculed them as selling out their own values.

I get that a complete reversal, or removal of core values, would be seen as a betrayal of all the supporters who have been with a party since the beginning, but as I say in my column this week, there’s room for improvement. And if you think a losing party would keep going to voters with the exact same playbook election after election, you’re fooling yourself.

If the goal of your party is to win an election, you want a winning platform. But it has to be one that sticks with your core values. A complete killing of the Alberta Human Rights Commission may not have worked for the public, but let’s look at other reform. Or let’s do a better job of explaining the benefit of the original policy.

I have no issue with policy review. It’s natural to review policy.

What I take issue with is a party that says one thing during a campaign then does the opposite once elected. That’s unforgivable.

CTF debacle an example of poor Tory decision making

- March 6th, 2013

Which seems like a better PR strategy to you?

1. Let one of your opponents listen to your budget briefing, then let their comments get lost in the shuffle of opposition politicians and other groups. And do it under the guise of “we’re full.”

2. Refuse them entry for the first time in 20 years, deal with at least 24 hours of criticism over the decision, let someone else extend them the olive branch, then turn around and say a spot just opened up.

Sometimes it’s just best leave well enough alone.

That concept was lost on the Tories, who told officials with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation they would not be welcome at Thursday’s budget briefing.

Now, at the start of a legislature sitting, this would normally be a minor distraction, with a Speech from the Throne to get worked up over, and the normal sparring in question period.

But this isn’t a new session, with no new Throne Speech, no legislative agenda.

All the focus is on the budget and the Tories’ reputation as stewards of the public purse.

The CTF has long been critical of the PC government, so the ouster from the lockup is at best terrible optics and, at worst, it’s petty and punative.

Some would like to point out that left-wing labour groups have never been allowed into the budget lockup, so it’s only fair the right is getting its lumps.

Forget that other groups haven’t been allowed in, and forget that it’s an alleged “right-wing” distraction.

A group that routinely spars with the government, one that for 20 years got access to the budget lockup, was suddenly told “Sorry, no go.” If the left shoe were being kicked off, I’d find it baffling too.

The optics of it are terrible, especially in a contentious budget cycle where the specific group has been a thorn in the side of the government.

Then for the premier’s office to turn around and overrule the finance department, AFTER the official opposition had offered a way in for the CTF and three other groups. Two of those groups could be called left-wing, I might add.

So we go from “We’re full, so too bad,” to “We’re focused on the budget and welcome their continued input.”

In this campaign, it’s all about the cash

- March 28th, 2012

It’s been official now for a couple of days, and unofficial for weeks.

Albertans are going to the polls April 23

And for all the talk of how different this race is, from the leaders to the parties to the political climate, at the end of the day, it’s about the dough.

And I’m not talking about all the talk of cutting budgets and balancing budgets, I’m talking about the Tories facing a well-financed an organized opponent.

I’m not saying the Wildrose will win because they have a lot of spending money, but much has been made of the party’s ability to fundraise more than their other opposition opponents.

And if the ad the party released in advance of the election call is any indication, the Wildrose is definitely something the Tories haven’t seen in a long, long time: A well-funded opponent.

Slick campaign financed with lots of cash may not win elections on their own, but they get attention. And getting voters to pay attention is more than half the battle.

I’ll leave forecasting to pollsters, but as Rick Bell says here: “Politics has come to Alberta.”

Wildrose rolls on

- October 7th, 2011

Daniellesmith
There’s no rest for an opposition party trying to be, at the very least, the top opposition party and, at best, the governing party come the next election.

The selection of Alison Redford as Tory leader hasn’t seemed to slow Danielle Smith or the Wildrose Party either.

They have wasted no time in rolling out some pretty effective attack, or “contrast” ads, focusing on the flip-flop on fixed election dates and holding a fall legislative session, and her track record of supporting Ed Stelmach’s policies then campaigning against them.

And while some political writers are trying to focusing on the attack ads, and the Wildrose’s list of the top 40 mistakes the Tories have made in their tenure, as proof the Wildrose aren’t giving voters an alternative, they’re forgetting the comprehensive policy document released this week by the party.

Obviously, a party’s policies aren’t going to appeal to everyone, but there’s no denying Smith and her party have put a lot of work into making a case that they are ready to govern, and at the very least, offering alternatives that are hold the Tories’ feet to the fire. Even all the talk of change coming from the Tories is due in large part to the Wildrose.

A slick ad campaign is just one piece to the puzzle, and the Wildrose’s critics forget that at their own peril.