I've been wanting to blog about the recent changes to the political landscape here but its so bizarre that I'm still trying to wrap my head around it all. Of course I'm talking about a recent decision on the part of Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith, along with eight fellow MLA's to quit the Opposition and join the government. I'm confident that on a per capita basis at least, Alberta politicians must lead the country in terms of "crossing the floor". Yes, you guess correctly. It's all left me rather cynical.
Included in the group of defectors is Rob Anderson, who initially crossed the floor from the PC's to Wildrose in 2010. I suppose this move makes him a "double crosser". Crossing isn't exactly new. Winston Churchill even engaged in this. But Anderson is hardly Churchill and I still find the practice distasteful regardless of my political leanings. Perhaps the best solution is to simply make the practice illegal as Manitoba did in 2006.
Smith has labelled this gutting of the first real effective opposition the province has had in some time as a "victory for Wildrose" but my guess is that the more than 450 000 Albertans who voted for her party in 2012 may feel a bit differently. It's simple political opportunism. If you go in to a store to get something you expect to be given what you pay for. It's a simple concept but one apparently lost on many a politician today.
Wildrose announced today that Heather Forsyth would be taking over the reigns as interim leader. And of course Foryth is also a "floor crosser" herself, having changed from the PC's to Wildrose. Argh. It can all be pretty frustrating. As for the Liberal Party, which now finds itself tied with 5 seats in the Legislature with Wildrose...well it's leader, used to be a PC. To be fair though, he was given the boot from the PC caucus (as was our former MLA here, Boutillier) and sat as an Independent prior to becoming Liberal leader. At any rate, we now have to Opposition parties who are now led by former PC's who will now chastise the government over this latest round of floor crossing. It's all enough to make a person tear their hair out.
At any rate, it will be interesting to see how the government will now manage with nine new MLA's (12 really, given that 3 other WRP MLA's crossed the floor prior to this mass defection) who were just weeks earlier criticizing the very government that they are now a part of. And since I'm at it, I suppose I can mention Rimbey-RockyMountain House-Sundre MLA Joe Anglin who quit the government to sit as an Independent and Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Mike Allen who pled guilty to soliciting undercover officers for sex, was booted out of government to sit as an Independent and then allowed back into the PC caucus via a secret vote this past July.
I've heard speculation of a possible spring election, well in advance of 2016. All in the interest of looking out for Albertans I'm sure.
Wouldn't it be great this Christmas to have politicians with an actual spine and some integrity who will actually look out for Albertans rather than just themselves??