Singin’ the Alberta Blues

Well, so much for predictions…

I was one of many who was not expecting such a Tory sweep of the Ledge. At the very least, some modest gains on the part of the Opposition parties. But nothing. Even Wildrose Alliance leader Paul Hinman got the boot. But there are a few reasons not to read too much into this massive win.

First off, one only has to look at the turnout for this election. Only 41% of the electorate even bothered to cast a ballot. 41%! That’s the lowest turnout in over 50 years! Can anyone say that this new government truly represents the people if this province? It gets worse when one considers that the Tories only won this overwhelming majority with a little over 50% of the popular vote. Which translates into support from a little over 20% from the total population. And they now hold 88% of the seats in the Legislature. Ridiculous. Fortunately, there is a solution, though it remains to be seen if the new government will even consider it.

And then there’s the issue of the Opposition. Wow. They had the perfect opportunity: a decrepit government led by an uncertain leader facing fallout from misdeed within their ranks and from their predecessor’s (in)action, coupled with a desire for change that comes after keeping the same party in power for 37 years! And they failed.  Miserably.  Thanks to having run such a lacklustre campaign that completely failed to capitalise on their adversary’s misfortune and inspire any passion whatsoever, they paid for it in fine form. No doubt a major reason why many stayed at home or simply endorsed the status quo.

And to top it off, the provincial election overseer did a fine job in getting things screwed up. Their less-than-informative website crashed prior to election day. Many were not informed at all as to where they were supposed to vote. And this is to say nothing about the case of a large number of returning officers having Tory connections.

Hardly a ringing endorsement of democracy, I’d say. But the bigger question remains: will anyone do anything to redress the vote-representation dischord and staggering voter apathy so that this doesn’t happen again? Somehow, I’m not optimistic…

Published in: on March 6, 2008 at 8:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

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