Christy Clark’s missed opportunity

Tom Mulcair has had a busy week. In his first real outing on the national stage on any policy issue of pan-Canadian importance he chose to entangle energy, regions, the manufacturing sector, and the environment. Melange became malaise as Mulcair designed his prognostication to polarize.

In short, according to Mulcair, manufacturing jobs in central Canada suffer from a high dollar caused by energy exports. Exploiting the oilsands in Alberta and building pipelines to ship processed bitumen south and west is boosting the strength of the dollar. Mulcair calls it ‘Dutch Disease’.

Though without a reasonable diagnosis or plan for treatment, his strategy is quite transparent. The NDP has a tenuous hold on the seats from what many have called an accidental victory for the party in Quebec. Showing up as Quebec’s defender is a role conceded within the last decade by the federal Liberal Party, and Mulcair is digging in, and pouring the concrete to reinforce the foundation.

The NDP leader’s wedging from Outremont was a welcome opportunity for western premiers, whom Mulcair dismissed as “messengers” for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall warmed up his twitter and Facebook accounts to throw haymakers in defence the prairie province’s resource extraction industry.

For Wall, whose party captured 64.2% of the popular vote in the last provincial election, standing up for his province was more of a pleasure than a necessity, as his main opponents in the Saskatchewan NDP are lagging far behind.

Moving west, Alberta’s newly elected majority Premier Alison Redford — comfortably settling without much concern for imminent electoral survivability — passively mustered that Mulcair’s comments were “divisive and ill-informed”.

Yet, westward still, where we see a Premier in the fight for her political life in BC, with a surging NDP topping 50% in provincial polls, with an economy fixed firmly in the resource sector pipelines ready, it’s mostly quiet. Christy Clark’s finance minister did dismiss the “ignorant” remarks of Tom Mulcair, and the premier did call Mulcair’s position “goofy”, however, she has been absent from the province on a trade mission overseas and comparatively absent on the issue.

Resource sector jobs are inextricably linked to the BC economy. There have been talks or rebranding Clark’s party to recapture the pro-business and pro-development segments of the successful coalition that has kept her party in power. A perfect opportunity was presented to allow Clark to emerge as the most vocal defender of Western interests. Clark wasn’t just weak on brand, she was largely off-grid.

The federal NDP leader is making shrewd if cynical strategy dividing regions against each other but in the end it will likely pay political dividends for him. The other winners in this dance have been the Premiers with the least to gain while Premier Clark — facing a desperately dire political situation at home — has missed her chance to enrich her electability from this latest entanglement.

One or the other

There’s an election in Canada. And the classic divide is between two parties.

One party has been endorsed by the National Post, the other by the Globe and Mail.

One party accuses the other of racism, sexism and homophobia, while the other party acuses the other of runaway spending, patronage and corruption.

One party is supported by Preston Manning, the other by Joe Clark.

One party is looking to end a political dynasty, the other is desperately looking to hold on to the same.

One party advises voters cast ballots based on their values, the other urges voters to vote strategically to stop their opponents.

One party raises issues relevant to the actual interests of the electorate, the other raises red herrings such as abortion and same-sex marriage.

One party has support in a diversity of places, the other is dug in in urban centres.

One party has the support of small business owners and frontline workers, while the other has traded favours for union support.

One party is rooted in Alberta’s character, while the other takes direction from downtown Toronto.

One could have been describing the past,

or the present.

I never thought they’d stoop so low

The Alberta election is in its last week and it’s been an angry and desperate one for the PC Party of Alberta. At the outset of the campaign, polls showed that party and their chief rivals on the right — the Wildrose Party — neck and neck. And then there was an errant tweet from a staffer in the Premier’s office slamming Wildrose’s leader Danielle Smith for commenting on family policy while have to the audacity of doing so while being childless. Wildrose rode a tide of incredulous disbelief at the callous and personal nature of the PC gaffe and found themselves a clear 10+ points ahead of the PCs.

The campaign has focused a spotlight on Smith and her party which threatens to dislodge a party that has enjoyed 41 years of uninterrupted rule in Edmonton. And in the last week, a desperate effort to stop the bleeding. It’s kitchen sink week for the PCs in the Alberta election campaign and the main strategy has been to play the downtown Toronto Liberal strategy of demonizing conservatives that worked up until 2006.

Indeed, some of the very same campaign workers putting in extended hours for Alison Redford’s PCs have borne the same attacks themselves and against their political heroes from Preston Manning to Stephen Harper. The success of the current government in Ottawa was largely built on the legacy that came from Canada’s cradle of conservatism: Alberta. Today, those campaign workers are gritting their teeth as they retweet and share Warren Kinsella’s articles accusing their conservative cousins in Wildrose of having a “hidden agenda”.

I had (jokingly) remarked earlier last week that we should soon expect to see a “Soldiers in Our Streets” style of ad as the PCs flail desperately to recover and pull out all of the stops to stop the Wildrose momentum. Here is the latest (unsigned) offering that reeks of PC Alberta desperation (UPDATE: source explained here):

The ad doesn’t suggest that soldiers will occupy the streets of Calgary, however, it does have a militaristic drumbeat at the end. The piece is offensive to Albertans, Canadians and conservatives on a number of fronts.

“oil worshipping, old guard, right-wing, gun-toting, old-school Albertans”

in a mock country/redneck accent “Hi, I’m from Alberta!”

“I don’t want to paint [Wildrose] all the same, cause I’m not like that (but I am, so here goes!)”

“BFFs with Stephen Harper!”

“Danielle Smith thinks The Flintstone’s is historically accurate”

“Danielle Smith… I heard her bus has tit wheels”

“So, fuck it. I’m voting PC. Latino-ass me is voting PC”

“Separation Party… vote for them [if Wildrose doesn’t have a chance in your riding, else vote PC]”

If you’re a conservative and you’re supporting PC, it’s pretty clear that the braintrust behind this ad still regards you as worthless. Were you annoyed when Stockwell Day was the subject of an attack that smacked of religious bigotry, you rube? Did you support the elimination of the gun-registry, you hick? Are you BFF’s with Stephen Harper, you mouth-breather? You’re worse than dirt according to this professional video that is encouraging you to vote PC.

The Progressive Conservative Party has lost their right to call themselves “conservative” as they are clearly running against those that hold conservative values. This “progressive” party and/or their supporters think that sexism is fair game if it’s against a conservative woman running for Premier. Tit wheels! Hilarious. She doesn’t have children either! Latinos are also on notice that the left thinks that their group casually swears in a streetwise manner (yo), votes in a block, and doesn’t think like individuals informed by their own values. In conservative circles (we’ve been well trained), we call that racism.

Alberta is on the cusp of electing its first libertarian Premier. What a refreshing concept that is in a province whose elites are losing their minds at the prospect of losing power to someone who believes that everyone should be free of others telling them how to think.

Redford’s new ad

Take a look at the PC Party of Alberta’s new ad featuring their leader Alison Redford. In the ad, there’s a featured shot of an oil production facility with the words “Leading the Nation”.

Here’s a still from the video:

Video producers take stock video from stock video websites in order to make ads. This video is from Canada-based iStockphoto. You can see the video on the website here.

The title of the video? “oil drill platform sailing under sky”

Uh oh! How many sea-faring oil platforms does the coastal province of Alberta have?

(h/t @Johnnyjesus)

UPDATE: iStockphoto search tags for this video include the term “Yellow Sea” which is a body of water just off the coast of China. If you view the Redford ad in HD, you can even see the Chinese flag on the oil rig:

“Leading The Nation”?

Redford’s stock video of “Alberta” comes from just off the coast of China. In an ad that seeks to illustrate the Alberta economy, this is an odd clip to use.

UPDATE: The Redford video has been made “private” by PC Alberta meaning it is unviewable on their account for now. Luckily I had the relevant part of the video stored in my browser cache. I have re-uploaded the first part of the video to YouTube. Here is the controversial part of the ad that the PC Party presumably doesn’t want you to see:

Poll: Wildrose and PC gap tightens to 8

Campaign Research’s third weekly tracking poll shows that the Alberta election gap between Wildrose and the PC Party has tightened to 8 points.

Some key findings of the poll:
– Wildrose: 42.8%, PC: 34.4%
– PC party gain comes at expense of Liberals and NDP. Wildrose drop within margin of error.
– PCs lead Wildrose by 22 points in Edmonton
– Wildrose leads PCs by 18 points in rural Alberta and Calgary (49% of popular vote)
– Best Premier – Smith: 32.1%, Redford 27.1%

New Poll: Wildrose up by 17 points

Another poll shocker from Campaign Research today as their latest tracking poll shows the Wildrose Party in Alberta up by 17 points over the PC Party.

You’ll remember a week ago that Campaign Research first released their poll via this website and had Wildrose up by 9 points while other pollsters had the PCs tied with Wildrose. In the following days, other pollsters caught up to confirm the 9 point lead.

Now, this poll show’s Danielle Smith’s Wildrose up by 17 points.

Here are the other highlights:
– Wildrose would take 45.5% of the popular vote if an election were held today
– PCs at 28.4%
– gap closing in Edmonton, expanding in Calgary and rural areas
– Wildrose 50.0% in Calgary, 28.1% in Edmonton, and 51.9% in the rest of Alberta
– Best Premier poll: Smith has 30.5%, Redford has 28.9%

UPDATE: Here is the Campaign Research press release,