Opposition in the Legislature has been suddenly reduced by defection of nine more Wildrose MLAs to the PC party. Included in this group – amazingly – is the up-until-earlier-today leader of Wildrose, Danielle Smith. With opposition in the Legislature significantly diminished, the interests of ordinary Albertans are endangered and democracy in the province is undermined.
Given continuing low oil prices, Albertans know that tough decisions on the next provincial budget are going to have to be made. As Janet Keeping, Leader of the Alberta Greens points out, “The fiscal challenges facing the province can be met in a variety of ways. A variety of both spending cuts and tax hikes could be on the table, so difficult choices have to be made. Albertans need a strong opposition to ensure that the very best solutions are found.”
“Wildrose has provided effective opposition in the past but now, when the going gets tough and financial crisis has struck, these nine former Wildrose MLAs have left Albertans in the lurch.” In Keeping’s view, “This is irresponsible and a very unfortunate dereliction of the opposition’s duty to Albertans.”
While many will praise Premier Jim Prentice for having created the conditions that made this coup possible, he and his PC MLA colleagues have also let Albertans down. It is not a good thing that our official opposition has been decimated – it is a bad thing. Some recognition of this on the part of Prentice today would have shown him to be more the statesman and less the same-old/same-old political empire-builder.
Alas, Greens point out, we saw no such understanding.