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Orange Crush served up in Alberta by Notley win,but can the BC NDP ride the wave to leadership in 2017?

orangecrushThere were two things on my TV agenda last night : the season première of Deadliest Catch, and the Alberta election. Flipping back and forth on commercial breaks, once the news that an NDP majority was being called by media, that was it. I never did  flip back to see the ending of Deadliest Catch but I did see the crashing of an orange wave of NDP on landlocked Alberta shores…

Congratulations are in order to Premier Notley and her newly elected MLA’s. Well done in the race and I’m hoping outgoing premier Jim Prentice ( endorsed by none other than Premier Clark I might add) can do the math on the number of seats the NDP now hold. His resignation as leader was a given- it generally is- but that he resigned from his seat as well, told the voters all they needed to know about what was important to him – power, not people.

The NDP have made history and are now presented with an equally historical opportunity to show what the NDP can do in the province, and Canada is watching. That such a conservative province voted left has left many still stunned in silence this morning,while others are already declaring that in six months voters will be regretting their choice.

Ironically, those are the same people who are quick to remind everyone  the voter is never wrong when a conservative government wins of course! Now that the table has turned, stories of doom and gloom from corporate Alberta, wide-eyed commentaries and admonitions of how business is going to pick up and leave are rife in media coverage.

For the average Albertan though, life will carry on as before, perhaps with a bit of trepidation of this big change and what it means. But I do believe Notley will rise to the occasion and show Alberta her best. Many in her caucus are wet behind the ears and a steep learning curve is ahead for sure, but there is something to be said for fresh ideas and a different perspective.

Regardless of which side you stand on,the voters are never wrong and nearly 60% of eligible voters turned out to cast a ballot and send a clear statement to long time politicians in the province. I wish them well.

Already many are predicting this bodes well for the BC NDP in the 2017 election, but I’m not so quick to say that a win in Alberta translates into a win in BC. Quite frankly, it’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges. There is more than just mountains that separates BC from Alberta.

Alberta has been under the Progressive Conservatives for 44 years. People my age don’t even have firsthand knowledge of any other party being in control. The NDP brand in the province doesn’t have any recent history to use against them with a huge number of voters and that works in their favour.

In direct contrast, here in BC the Liberals have been in power for just over a decade,and have used the well-crafted narrative of “You don’t want to go back to the horrible nineties do you?” to their benefit in multiple elections. Why? It works.

It doesn’t matter if the facts don’t support it, the narrative of the BC NDP being anti-business, anti-resource, pro-spending has been so consistently repeated by Liberals over the years in short sharp sound bites that it has become ingrained as good as truth.  Premier Clark still uses this line in speeches, even in recent months, because it still works.

NotleyAdding fuel to her fire is that many NDP from the nineties are still around, which doesn’t work to their benefit. It’s that recent history of the BCNDP that works against them in campaigns whereas the NDP really is something new to many Albertans -their lack of recent history works tremendously in their favour.

Looking to the leaders, Notley is a strong,fiery woman whose intelligence and quick wit is coupled with the wisdom of knowing when not to take the bait and when to fire back. She is vibrant, glowing and clearly appeals to a broad spectrum of voters.

horganIn contrast, while Horgan is also a strong, intelligent leader who enjoys the public, his temperament has been described often as brusque, and it doesn’t always work in his favour. He’s quick to rise to the bait and dish it back, and while he’s done a great job in the legislature dealing with the premier’s show-boating, his appeal in general to voters across a broad spectrum remains to be seen.

And while many Albertans are very pro-resource, British Columbia has a growing Green following of those who are either anti-resource or very strongly in favour of moving away from resource development. This bodes ill for the NDP who are caught between a rock and a hard place on issues of Kinder Morgan and LNG development with many voters.

Many NDP campaigners from BC worked to help the NDP win in Alberta,and certainly there should be lessons to be found from doing so.

Rightfully so, it’s time for NDP members everywhere to celebrate. But after basking in the glow of the orange dawn of NDP success next door, the BC NDP need to look hard at the challenges ahead. Despite having a ton of ammunition – John Horgan’s twitter account is worth the follow the last few day -they’ve repeatedly failed to weave a narrative to convince voters to vote orange in every election. And while they’ve found some fiery, brilliant MLAs in Lana Popham, Selina Robinson and David Eby , they would do well to recruit more.

Notley showed us all that anything is possible when an NDP government can take a sweeping majority in conservative country.

If the BC NDP want to ever be more than the perpetual official opposition, they need to come up with a winning combination of their own to serve up another orange crush like Notley did, rather than expecting to ride this one home.

** On a side note, Premier Clark might want to give up on making bets, since she recently predicted the Canucks would take the first round and Prentice would win

The Canucks lost, Prentice walked and I’m guessing she’s out a bit more craft beer. How do you think that bodes for her betting on LNG saving the provinces economy?


  1. Apparently, neither did he North Van. That he walked away from the seat he was just elected to, was the biggest slap in the face to voters I’ve ever seen a politician make.


    • On a night of surprises (including the Flames’ win), it was shocking for Prentice to step down like that… but perhaps understandable. He’s removed himself from the discussion and won’t be a side-show as the party tries to rebuild.


        • Is Losing/Resigning a Federal/Provincial Conservative thing? Harper and his group are only in it to be the Government, no Opposition duties, no Independent thoughts? Will the 2015 election results force the Conservatives to resign in mass the same day the votes are counted and then force By-elections in seven ridings!?


    • Is there such a thing as narcissistic loser – cos Jim Prentice showed his colours clearly. A very immature pouting defeat shows his shallowness IMHO.


  2. It bodes well for everyone that conservative Albertans voted differently. Four decades proves they are not fickle. So, they are likely still small c conservative but they seemed to understand that the party name was just branding and that their BIG C Conservative Party really means: privilege, elitism, BIG corporations and lack of integrity. They voted for change not the NDP but Notley made it an easy decision.

    I would also argue that the ten-year Liberals are really just the multi-decades old Social Credit in borrowed clothing. They stank up their old wardrobe so much they stole the one the Gordon Wilson Liberals were gathering. Today’s Liberals? Same ol’, same ol, so-creds. And they smell even worse..

    The NDP are generally petty and incestuous (my experience, anyway) and seem to have a dearth of common sense and worse, commonality. It is always us vs them. They’ve got chips on all their shoulders. I really hope it is a different crew this time but the party policy that forbids males from running unless they are incumbents is typical nonsense and proves that the silliness still runs deep. And how, exactly, is that NOT blatant sexism in the extreme?

    Vote Green. Give peace a chance. All we are sayin’ is…….


    • I agree it’s a good thing to see such a resounding victory! But just as Jack Laytons success federally in raising the NDP brand didn’t translate into a win for Adrian Dix here in BC, the same can be said here for this example.

      Don’t get me wrong- I would welcome a change here or there wouldn’t be a growing list of reasons the Liberals should go on my blog, but the NDP never seem to get that magic combination and in the end are their own worst enemies.


      • I agree too. BCNDP policy priorities are very different from Rachel Notley’s.

        She wants economic growth and job creation, BCNDP wants gay lib, NIMBY on resources, false panic on climate, gender quotas and classic socialism.

        Alta NDP elected 45% women on merit, BC NDP nominated women on quotas and lost a winnable election.

        As Casey Stengel said, “Can’t anyone here play this game?”

        Thank you Rachel Notley for showing BC how an election could and should be won.


  3. With the mainstream media backing Prentice, how did this landslide build its momentum, Laila? Does Alberta have a strong political blogosphere, like BC?


    • Ultimately I’m not sure anyone knows what is on the voters minds but I have a few ideas. The entire Redford spending debacle was very much like the senate expense scandal and the party took a huge hit on that.She was so arrogant and out of touch.There have been a number of political gaffes and scandals. Toss in the changing economy as oil tanked and companies started packing up, then Prentice with his changes, arrogance and backlash over condescending remarks to Notley.

      Weary voters feeling the pinch reached their ‘done’ point and voted NDP. Notley presented a good campaign and held her own. It was a magic combination and worked for the NDP there. But I do think this was a firm message to the powers who’ve been there as long as I’ve been

      Despite some people thinking the media is the one that can win or lose an election, it’s really not true. Yes, it can greatly influence the messaging, but I’ve come to learn that many parties overestimate the reach of papers etc, in particular in rural communities. People actually care about who is listening to them and who they relate to. The NDP just showed everyone up.


      • For all of our complaints regarding people who follow media promotion, this type of loss has happened twice to the Conservatives. Once when Mulroney resigned and Kim Campbell took over and now the provincial Alberta Conservatives when Redford resigned and Prentice took over.
        People take only so much and then make their feelings know at the ballot box. I like to think that Harper will end his career in a similar manner – lord knows, he has ticked off so many people it just isn’t believable.
        We can only hope eh!


    • I think the huge discrepancy between polls and results in 2012 made people suspicious of media polls and, by simple association, partisan editorials.


  4. Yes, I think the Alberta NDP win will have positively affect both the upcoming federal election and the BC election next year. There are some remarkable parallels, the biggest being the energy resource sector’s fingerprints all over neo-right “crime scenes” right across the country, but the atrociously obvious fact that the next two governments to face the voters are equally artificial constructs of moribund right-wing factions held together by public spoil will take its toll.

    The second factor is quality of leadership: Mulcair has performed very well so this Alberta win will look good on him too; BC has a lot to atone for re-electing its worst bunch of neo-right cronies ever, but I think Horgan is a welcome force for the good. Best thing is he can co-operate well with Notely on finding the compromise needed concerning pipelines—like Kinder Morgan—without Big Oil with their ears to the door—and the ear of the Alberta Premier.

    Premier Notley and her crew will be moving very, very carefully leading up to the federal election, before attempting any heavy lifting, the nature of which will depend on who wins. Her willingness to work with the BC NDP will of course be of use to both her friends and enemies, but she doesn’t strike me as a backroom wheeler dealer or one to game the system—the only things the neo-rightists know how to do these days. I don’t think she’ll attempt controversy that could potentially be pinned on her colleagues in Ottawa and Victoria before their respective elections are over.


  5. In one of the post-election discussions — I think on Facebook — one respondent suggested a series of “how to govern” workshops for all the newly-elected recruits, to bring them up to speed on what their job entails. Instructors would be veterans from the field.

    ‘Seemed like a wise suggestion, though one (probably PC) person scoffed, “Are they going to pay for it with my tax dollars?”

    You can pay now… or have all sorts of expensive blunders occur as they learn on the job!


    • I would respectfully postulate that we have never had an expert government and so the pool from which such advisers could be drawn is too tragically shallow. We might be better off with those who have had NO experience given that those who get to the top have been so contaminated by their ‘education’. As Rafe is so fond of saying, “Beware the experts!”


      • Right… they shouldn’t have the likes of Mike Duffy giving a class on how to fill out expense vouchers — but I imagine there are going to be MLAs who have never even heard of Robert’s Rules of Order or wouldn’t have a clue how to handle the mass of communications they’re going to start receiving from the party and from constituents. It’s going to be a steep learning curve, with few mentors at hand.

        Prentice could give a course on how to jump ship… 🙂


    • What a ridiculous suggestion.

      Tossing feathers at the bowling pins is working just fine, and a really strong gust of wind should arrive any moment now.


  6. People in Alberta were angry. They were furious all the money was gone. then they were faced with tax increases and companies didn’t. People felt betrayed and I think they saw Wild Rose just another e.g. of a right wing party, which wasn’t going to solve their problems.

    The difference between the Notley win and B.C., is Notley. She looks lively, like some one you’d like to know. she is well spoken, looks good. She has what it takes. She talked to the voters about what had happened in their province. That is something the NDP failed to do in the last election. It is not enough to say what you stand for, you have to explain the difference between you and the other guy. In Alberta, the other guy spent all the money in the cookie jar and no tax increases for corporations, just for citizens. That didn’t seem fair to Albertans. Having friends in Alberta, all I heard about was, they wasted the money. they were furious they had to pay a health care tax, even if it was only for people who made more than $50K a yr. They couldn’t believe what we paid and they took the position, there ought to have been money in the provincial bank, but the P.Cs. spent it.

    This won’t happen in B.C. Its very hard to get the message out. Just check Norm Farrell, the mining industry gets more from the government than it puts in. These types of things don’t get any traction in the press here.

    When the 5 business whiners did their “interview” prior to the Alberta election, the Edmonton Journal was quick to point out they were contributors to the PCs and were awarded big contracts by the PCs. Would we see this is in B.C.?

    Layton was able to make a change and so has Notley, but look at both of them. they were very different from the usual NDP leaders. They drew a new type of candidate also. People liked and voted.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Laila I have just finished watching the speech by Rolf Wilborg about the amount of Tax they ( Norwegian) Government Charges the Big Oil and Gas Companies.

    I am sure you have watched this , But the result of their Tax regime they have a 1 Trillion Dollar Heritage fund. Alberta has nothing in their Heritage fund.

    BC was promised one but every one even CC knew it was BS. I would hope that Premier Notley would take a page out of the Norwegian Song book and make the Big companies Oil and Gas pay their fair share. going from 2% to 12% does not cut it in my View. Not when the Oil Companies in Norway pay 80% on Profits. And God for bid Christy Clark make the Mining and Gas Companies.

    I don’t know if I will live long enough to see the day that they do.

    A friend of mine who has traveled and lived in Europe said to me ” the difference between Canadians and the Scandinavians is in Canada we are afraid of our Politicians, in Europe the Politicians are afraid of the people” Maybe that is the reason we put up with the BS the Liberals BS. and keep electing them. Just My opinion.


  8. I should have said And god forbid that Christy Clark make the Oil and Gas Companies pay their fair share. We the people of BC can no longer afford to give our resources away.


  9. You should have heard Mikey (Mike the Moron Campbell) on Sean Leslie (another Lib Stooge at 4:45 on LIB NW around 5:pm today. Of course he reminded how much of our CPP etc are invested in Oil Companies and all his other Bullshit.

    These bastards can`t believe there is any other party that the Crooks.

    Of course Lib Ass Kissing Leslie pointed out so many times that Money Talks No. 1 money show (by whose stats) hosted by Gordo`s Moron brother. Bot did thay dance around how difficult it will be for Big Oil Corp and Northern Gateway etc.

    Where is Janet Holder when they need her to lie about it.

    Of course Christy tried to play down the possible connection to Alberta NDP.
    There is a God. This should have been the result in last BC Election and qwe would not be giving away the Prov. toda.


  10. I think that it wasnt so much an NDP win in Alberta as much as “kick the arrogant corrupt lazy bastards out” vote.
    We’re seeing these “anti votes all over the world. The only surprise in the Alberta election was that the NDP formed a majority. The pollsters expected a NDP minority led coalition.
    The Alberta PC party had 4 leaders appointed in 5 years.
    Allison Redford dubbed (Queen Allison) after her exorbitant first class flight to Nelson Mandela’s funeral with her entourage. Her construction of a private apartment in her downtown Edmonton office( nothing but the best fixtures… natch).
    Then Jim Prentice is appointed . He was worse ……..if that was possible.
    The world price of oil tanks. The budget is blown. His “bad news” budget with TAXES! And while introducing the budget he blames the people of Alberta ( well done). The “Heritage oil Fund” is bust. The official opposition, the Wild Rose party crossing the floor and joining the Conservatives in the most blatant example of oppourtunistic political back room deals in modern Alberta’s memory. Then his calling an early election before he established himself as a competant leader.
    His sarcastic “Math is Hard” comment to the NDP during the televised debate.
    Voters were very very angry.
    A one legged blind parrot squawking “PC’s Suck. PC’s Suck” could have gotten elected.
    40+ years in power makes for a pretty complacent party.
    And judging by the shocked looks on the PC party faithful on tv last night.
    They had no clue as to what voters were thinking.
    Hubris and the fall.

    Mr Harper and Christy Clark take note.

    Although the NDP in BC seem to have the uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory time and time again.
    The Liberals and NDP in this province are so mindlessly partisan they would argue over which hose full of water was better to douse a fire in an orphanage and then blame the Feds when it burnt to the ground.
    No politician party cares one wit about voters. Jim Prentices immediate resignation was proof of that. Voters are a means to an end. Nothing more.
    As for the Alberta NDP and their inexperienced eager team. Im not optimistic, but time will tell.
    Most of the oil exploration money has already fled and it seems like every month brings another huge multinational oil company announcing cuts or closures in the oil patch. The oil isnt going anywhere. It will still be there after the NDP are gone after one term If Ontario, Nova Scotia, and BC are any indication.
    Not a great time to take over the helm in Alberta.


  11. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to notice how our BC media and other provinces media ignored the elephant in the room the next day.
    Not one single mention that Prentice quit even before the election was done. He’d won his riding handily but he quits on them. If he can’t be the boss, he’s taking his toys and leaving.
    This is as bad as floor-crossing. He betrayed his constituents and showed they meant nothing to him except as a means to power. I hope they express their anger at his action.
    The election isn’t even over and he’s triggering a taxpayer paid by-election.
    It looks more than ever that his whole plan was to use Alberta as a stepping stone to run federally. Hopefully now he just leave politics completely.


  12. Much as I like what John Horgan says in Question Period, I’m afraid he’s not the man to lead the BC NDP to victory in 2017. This is what has been bothering me about the BC NDP for years. They just can’t seem to come up with another charismatic leader like Dave Barrett.

    Now, plenty of you aren’t even old enough to remember Dave, and I can almost hear others scoff at my suggestion, but it’s true; Dave Barrett had a way of bringing British Columbians together. Part of it was his self-effacing humour, part of it was his cockiness, but the biggest part was his genuine concern for the working men and women of B.C.

    I have sent a few e-mails to Horgan since he became leader of the BC NDP and he has never replied. None of my e-mails were in the least offensive, and I asked questions that I think most British Columbians would like answered. From this experience, I’ve concluded that Mr. Horgan does not give a hot damn about British Columbians, and that he, like many other politicians of every stripe are merely on a power trip.

    Laila, I’m wondering if you or any of your other readers feel the same as I do, and if so, who do you think could lead the BCNDP into victory in 2017?


  13. There was an example given in the Globe and Mail that the former Premier MLA Jim Prentice (who won as an MLA) should pay $250,000 for a By Election to fill his place at the Alberta Legislature, eg. Penticton Mayor who resigned to run in a Provincial election

    Jim Prentice cannot resign his ‘seat’ because he hasn’t sworn an Oath before the Judge that makes him an MLA.


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