So it begins in Alberta where the NDP’s orange wave has been flashed an early rip-tide warning to newly elected Premier Rachel Notley that there are no accurate charts to guarantee her years at the helm will be through calm waters.
Even as New Democrats nationally were drinking victory toasts and exulting the Notley wave would surge across Canada later this year, link up with the NDP successes in Quebec and see Thomas Mulcair anointed prime minister; and in British Columbia New Democrats were trumpeting anything Alberta New Democrats could do BC could do better, Premier Notley was navigating through hazardous waters.
In ‘the family” she was faced with the unpleasant case of newly elected Deborah Drever, a young woman in her late 20’s with a penchant for publishing on social networks what she thought were bawdy jokes and posted just for fun. Premier Notley thought otherwise. She considered them vulgar, openly homophobic and unacceptable as views to be held and made public by any member of her elected caucus.
Drever was suspended from caucus and will sit as an Independent. Premier Notley says she will review that case in a few months, maybe a year.
Calgary-Bow MLA Drever has already apologized on each of the social networks she used for her bit of fun, but a recent on-line ballot conducted by the Calgary Sun indicates they were not well received. The newspaper asked if readers felt Drever could recover from her bad judgment calls and become a useful, effective, representative of her constituents.
Four hundred and eighty five respondents said “yes”, but 2,236 voted “no”. The voters of Calgary were obviously having second thoughts on their voting day decision and were not as forgiving as Premier Notley who had moved swiftly, decisively, to punish a series of foolish acts and show compassionate wisdom in her decision.
The Drever incident will prove to be but a minor embarrassment, a sudden squall, unexpected but handled easily by the confident new skipper. On the horizon loom greater hazards which will demand superior navigational skills and government decisions which will be unpalatable to Albertans – especially New Democrats who tend to promise more than they can deliver.
The Conference Board of Canada is forecasting “Alberta’s economic performance will be underwhelming this year and next, especially compared with recent years”. In one word – recession – a word and term Albertans are not used to living with.
Premier Notley says she isn’t surprised by the Conference Board forecast. “We know that due to circumstances beyond our control that out economy is a volatile one and we may be struggling a bit but we’re going to look at all of the re-indicators and will act appropriately…”
Yes, well, I’m sure she will but I wonder if she understands that when the forecast recession arrives the voters of Alberta will blame her and the NDP for it. That’s a fact, not a forecast and if recession hits with any force between now and federal election day you can bet that every Conservative and Liberal supporter in the country will be nodding sagely and saying “see what the NDP have done to Alberta—is that what you want for Canada?”
In BC the Liberals will be sympathetic to Alberta’s misfortune and echo the same theme and NDP leaders, Mulcair in Ottawa, John Horgan in BC will lament the injustice of it all as their premature predicted orange tidal wave fades to another falling tide.