Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I Know I Shouldn't But...

So here we are in the heart of Alberta during a federal election. It's pretty much a foregone conclusion which party candidate will take Fort McMurray-Athabasca. In the entire 45-odd history of the riding, constituents have always elected some flavour of PC/Conservative/Reform/Canadian Alliance candidate. Yes, the current government could run a bag of hammers in an election and it would be sent back East to Parliament Hill in due course.

I'm no political scientist here but I'm guessing Layton's plan to tax big oil companies will take off like a lead balloon here. Any talk of "cap and trade" is political suicide here. My guess is that it will be viewed largely as another version of the much-maligned National Energy Program. And we all know just how much that endeared Trudeau's Liberals to the folks out here. Speaking of the Liberals, their candidate is from Lac La Biche and isn't as well known here. The Liberals placed a very distant 3rd here during the last election and barring a miracle, I doubt they will make any substantial gains. Which brings me to the Conservative incumbent. I was actually familiar with his name before I even moved here and he's the hometown boy. Given that Fort McMurray is by far the largest community in the riding, he is very well-known and suspect that, barring some major gaff, he will easily be re-elected. And as for the Green Party, while I think they have some good ideas, I just don't think they will be taken very seriously out here. So there, you have my very earth-shattering analysis. Really about as exciting as this entire campaign has been up to this point.

I did want to add though that I am a little disappointed that none of the party leaders have shown up here yet, though with a week to go there is still time. I just find it a little bizarre, given that this is one of the largest ridings in the country and the home of the oil sands of course, which figures so prominently on the national agenda. At this point, I don't doubt who will win but I am following the NDP surge with interest. Really, its about the only thing that's made this whole election charade worth following in my mind. And, yes, I will admit, I've been pretty harsh on Layton in the past, but I will readily admit to a certain respect and admiration for the man even if I would never vote for his party (sorry great grandpa Harold).

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