By the time this article has appeared in print, provincial government’s Throne Speech will have been delivered and the spring session of the Legislature will have begun, a session that promises to be somewhat acrimonious and tense.
That promise mostly stems from the style of opposition the leader, Brian Jean of the Wildrose Party, has adopted. Mr. Jean and his MLAs appear to be in a rush to discredit everything the NDP government under the leadership of Rachel Notley has been trying to do.
True, it is the task and responsibility of the opposition to hold a governing party to account, but it is also the responsibility of the opposition to keep in mind that, regardless of their affiliation, all MLAs should serve the citizens of the province.
Wildrose Party announced this week that it was introducing legislation to allow the constituents to recall their MLAs. The press statement by the party quotes Wildrose Drayton Valley-Devon MLA Mark Smith, who will introduce upcoming Bill 201 for the recall, as saying “Albertans are the boss, not MLAs. There needs to be the tools in place for Albertans to keep their MLAs accountable in between elections.”
Mr. Jean might be contemplating a campaign before the end of the year to ensure the recall of enough number of MLAs to force an early general election, one that could put Wildrose in the driver’s seat by the time oil prices might start to rebound in about 18 months to two years.
Can it work?
It could, but at what cost?
Clearly, Mr. Jean and his team are in a rush to build on the dissatisfaction of Bill 6 has caused among the rural population and would like to make things happen before the resentment over the issue wears off.
But an early general election will cost millions of dollars to the taxpayers and in the end it may create more instability than it pretends to settle.
One should not forget that the Progressive Conservatives are quietly working hard to restore their position of power, which they lost in May 2015.
The widely circulated rumour is that the PCs have been telling the high level bureaucrats they have installed in the government machinery over the four decades they were in power to dig in their heels and wait for the return of the party to their governing position soon.
Are the Willdrose racing against time to ensure that they will be able to unseat the current government before PCs muster enough strength to return to power?
They could be, and because in the world of politics it is the ultimate goal to capture power, they are well within their rights to pursue strategies and tactics that will take them to the promised land.
But among all these political calculations, where do the people of the province stand?
Is all that politicking really serving the people who have been left unemployed over the course of last year and a half because of the decline in the oil market? Are we able to find ways of generating revenues to create jobs through political maneuverings?
Is there a time to focus on getting things done rather than bickering on how and why they should be done or are politics and attainment of political goals above the interests of the people they are supposed to serve?