Edmonton is ground zero in the PC campaign of fear

What an interesting week in the Alberta Election, especially here in Edmonton. It started with Mayor Don Iveson’s confident State of the City address, in which he declared that “Edmonton is too important to Alberta’s future to be ignored.” He said he’s confident that Edmontonians “will not stand for any provincial government ever forgetting about Edmonton again.” The mayor contrasted a strong, vibrant Edmonton with an uncertain, shaky Alberta, and said that Edmonton could play a significant role in a provincial turnaround. Edmonton is not just the capital.

With every passing day the NDP have looked stronger and stronger. The polls, whether you trust them or not, have consistently had the NDP either in the lead or close to it, with today’s predicting a minimum victory of 25 seats. Everywhere you look there are signs of the “orange crush” sweeping across the province, but especially here in Edmonton where NDP support is strongest. The prospect of an NDP win has become so realistic in fact, that the PCs have had to take the unusual position of fighting back. And it’s here in Edmonton that they have focused their efforts.

Last week Edmonton-Rutherford PC candidate Chris Labossiere wrote a widely-criticized blog post that said the NDP “have not demonstrated any real passion or partnership with Edmonton as a dynamic and changing global city.” He wrote, “I do not trust that they share or appreciate Edmonton’s story, our energy or our ambition.”

Edmonton-Spruce Grove MP Rona Ambrose said today that an NDP government here in Alberta would be a “risky experiment.” She said that although she understands the anger being directed at the PCs, Albertans “need to think twice about electing an NDP government.”

edmonton business leaders
Photo by Dave Cournoyer

And in a press conference late this morning, five Edmonton businessmen called the NDP’s policies “amateur” and urged Albertans to make sure they’re “thinking straight” when they go to vote on Tuesday (you can read their opinion letter here). The Journal reports that together, the five have given nearly $95,000 to the PCs since 2010. There have been incredible things said every day during this election, but a couple of comments today were just on another level. Here’s what Tim Melton, executive chairman of Melcor Developments said:

“I don’t understand the unhappiness and disenchantment that appears to be out there. We don’t need amateurs running this province through these difficult times … we’ve got to stay with the government that has got us to where we are today.”

Is it really so hard to understand why Albertans are unhappy with a government that has faced scandal after scandal? With a government that has failed, again and again, to get us off the resource revenue roller coaster?

As if that wasn’t enough, NPO Zero CEO Ashif Mawji had this to say at the same news conference:

“If there’s no bottom line, then there’s no money that goes to charities. We won’t make donations to charities,” Mawji said, using the Stollery Children’s Hospital and the University of Alberta as examples of where the losses will be felt.

There’s no question that leaders like Doug Goss have done great things for Edmonton, and I’m sure they will continue to, but to threaten the charities that support Albertans when the government won’t? Disgusting.

Rachel Notley
Photo by Dave Cournoyer

Here’s what NDP leader Rachel Notley said in response today:

“Frankly, if I were them, I’d be more focused on talking with Albertans about what it is they can do to make the lives of regular families better. They’ve chosen to fearmonger about the NDP instead. I guess we’ll see … which approach is more appealing and more convincing to Alberta voters.”

Indeed we will, in just a few days.

“Changing our government is not something Albertans should be afraid of,” is what Dave wrote today. “It is something we should probably do on a regular basis.”

  • Jim Storrie

    Karen Kleiss’ coverage of that press conference was an evisceration. reads like an Onion article. unreal!

  • Joe mont

    Is the irony not lost on them that they donate tens of thousands of dollars to political platforms while simultaneously saying you cant afford a tax increase?

  • Opinion letter link is broken.

  • Ryan

    I don’t know about you But when I talk to people from other provinces and they talk about the infrastructure of there city and i think of Alberta and we’re a 3rd world country within Canada… Phone lines are that have bin up since the dark ages, Sewers that were built in the 60’s Some streets don’t even have lights on them. The PC Government Has not done anything good for us in 40 years. Its time for change could be for the worse or for the best but something has to change Giving our oil away selling our trees. bring in foreign labour.. Let alone the Taxes we pay on everything…

  • Darren Kirby

    Great post Mack.