Friday, May 8, 2015

The Notley Crue: How the Canadian province of Alberta changed its political trajectory

It's not Kansas, Toto - not any more in Alberta. John Nichols has the story at The Nation.

It would be a big deal politically, a very big deal, if Texas or Wyoming suddenly veered left and elected a super-progressive state legislature and governor. It would be a bigger deal if the progressives who swept to power did so with a promise to implement a social-democratic agenda of new taxes on corporations and the wealthy to fund healthcare, improve education, maintain public services and protect the environment. It would be an even bigger deal if the new governing party was prepared to implement a $15-an-hour minimum wage and champion labor rights. And if the new leadership said it would stop promoting corporate-sponsored pipeline projects because of concerns for the environment—while promising to "take leadership on the issue of climate change"—that would be remarkable.

Well, all of this just happened in Alberta, the oil-rich province that for decades has been governed by conservatives who were so tied to the oil industry and so deferent to corporate power that they often made George W. Bush and Dick Cheney look populist by comparison.

Alberta's New Democratic Party swept to a landslide victory in Tuesday's voting and will, for the first time in history, form the new government for a province sometimes referred to as "the Texas of Canada." But that does not begin to tell the story of what the NDP accomplished. Before the election, the party held four of the 87 seats in Alberta's Legislative Assembly. After the election, the NDP held 53 of the 87—a gain of 49 seats.

Everyone, even the winners, were shocked at the landslide favoring the left-wing NDP party. Here's a short report from the New Republic.

John Nichols again:

American media do not do a very good job of covering Canadian politics. And Americans don't always know what is happening north of the border. But this is a development worth noting, not merely because, as [NDP leader Rachel] Notley notes, "we might have made a little bit of history" but because there are lessons to be learned about how quickly and how massively voters can turn against austerity. If the region they call "the Texas of Canada" can change to confront failed economic and environmental policies, perhaps the Texas of America, and the Wyoming of America and a lot of other states can, as well.

And maybe crAZy as well.

AZBlueMeanie also weighs in - and comes out swinging! Here's Meanie's concluding remark.

The GOP culture of corruption permeates everything in Arizona.

The citizens of Alberta had finally had enough of a similar government, and they threw them out of office en masse in one of the most stunning electoral defeats ever. Arizona voters had not yet reached their breaking point in 2014; they have been down for so long they were too tired to fight. But if Arizonans can just find the strength to get up off the mat to fight, they can hold their government accountable and have a revolution by the ballot box just like Alberta.

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