Alberta’s official opposition is in a tailspin and has no one to blame but its own members.
After failing to take any of the four ridings in last month’s by-elections, Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith addressed the issues facing the official opposition at the party’s annual general meeting this past weekend.
In a nutshell, Smith has admitted that, the party’s failure at gaining support in Alberta’s most urban centres, Calgary and Edmonton, has proven that something isn’t working with how the Wildrose party handles its business.
Smith has also promised to step down as leader should her party fail to win the next provincial election.
While this vow is meant to be a bold expression of Smith’s confidence in her party, it is little more than a foolish gesture.
If things continue for the Wildrose the way they are, the party will surely lose the 2016 election and Smith will be forced to step down as party leader or will break her promise, making it no more than puffery.
And currently, it does not appear as though things will change for our official opposition.
For as much as Smith speaks of how the party must change the way it has been operating and turn over a new leaf to form government next year, the party’s actions clearly contradict her words.
During their AGM, Wildrose party members voted 148-109 against adopting as policy a statement, made to combat the party’s reputation for being anti-gay, affirming rights for everyone regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation and other differences despite having approved the statement last year.
Instead, the party decided on its vague policy definition, a promise to “recognize that all Albertans have equal rights, privileges and responsibilities.”
In a moment of Alison Redford-style leadership, Smith refused to admit that failing to change its policy was a mistake and even touted the motion as a success.
She also said that the reason the party decided not to opt for a more specific policy was that they feared some groups might be excluded from that long list.
It would be great if our provincial politicians started giving the intelligence of Albertans some credit and provided honest explanations for them playing politics, but that is unlikely to start any time soon.
In any case, we know that concern someone might be left out had little to do with that decision, especially since the proposed policy definition includes “other differences” as a catchall phrase while still recognizing there are minority groups that often face discrimination.
Smith said in the last year, Wildrose has proven its support to the LGBTQ community through money and time.
Sure, then the party undid all that work by failing to adopt a policy that backed that support.
In short, the Wildrose party likes to talk. But as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words and right now the actions of Wildrose members are drowning out any sound of their leader’s words.