Modern Conservatives indeed!
The Wildrose Party base – by which I mean the United Conservative Party base, they are the same people – is a wild horse that cannot be ridden safely or broken easily for reasons of mere political expedience.
This is partly because it contains many people of genuine principle, even if their principles are those of a previous epoch – to wit, the Iron Age when the Old Testament was being written down for the first time, and tablets were made of stone.
Still, there is something admirable about this commitment to the past, even when it is frightening. By God, they will have their Gilead here in Alberta, and no squeamish politician’s electoral calculus is going to stand in their way!
This can happen partly because they have swallowed their leader’s bath water, warmed up at the media hot water tap, and they believe they simply cannot lose the next Alberta provincial election, no matter what they do or say. Recent history suggests this is a dangerous assumption, but the base was in no mood for prudence.
Yesterday at the UCP’s inaugural right-wingding in a Red Deer, they demonstrated their will be done, on earth as it is in the heaven they imagine.
Accordingly, they defied the best political minds of their conservative generation, ignored the pleas of UCP MLAs Ric McIver, Leela Aheer and Jason Nixon, and went ahead and passed a policy resolution calling for kids who join gay-straight alliances in schools to be outed to their parents. It passed by 57 per cent.
And let it be said here that outing kids is precisely what this resolution is intended to ensure happens, never mind the ex post facto weaseling by UCP Leader Jason Kenney, who not so long ago advocated exactly the same thing.
Everyone understands such a policy would swiftly eliminate all GSAs, because no child grappling with their sexuality and facing an unsympathetic family at home would dare to join. This is the intention of the resolution.
Mr. McIver, in point of fact, got it right when he warned delegates, “this will really severely hurt our chances of winning.”
“Don’t be called the Lake of Fire Party,” the former interim Progressive Conservative Party leader pleaded, a reference to the infamous blog post by an evangelical pastor and candidate, revelation of which almost single-handedly destroyed the Wildrose Party’s electoral chances in 2012. “I’m begging you.”
For that, delegates booed Mr. McIver.
Well, welcome Ric, to former Wildrose leader Danielle Smith’s world. This is what drove her into the metaphorical arms of Progressive Conservative Premier Jim Prentice in 2014. But now, thanks to Mr. Kenney, instead of a right united under the relatively moderate PC banner, it has been united under the standard of the extremist Wildrose fringe.
An interesting question would be where the other 22 UCP MLAs were as Mr. McIver, Ms. Aheer, and Mr. Nixon were trying to defend the principle behind Alberta’s GSAs. Missing in action, just like the entire UCP Caucus during the Legislature’s debate on the NDP’s abortion clinic “bubble zone” bill? Or actively opposing them?
Mr. Kenney tried to wiggle out of the problem he had been handed with a characteristic combination of deception and bluster, arguing the resolution doesn’t really mean what it means, and, anyway, even if it does, he’s the boss and won’t allow it. You can count on it, different tales are being told behind closed doors.
Well, we can be confident the NDP’s potentially lifesaving Act to Support Gay-Straight Alliances, passed in November 2017 by the Legislature and making it illegal for schools to tell parents if their child has joined a GSA, will remain on the books as long as the NDP remains in power.
Notwithstanding that, the pro-UCP media – which is basically all of it, with the possible exception of the CBC – will be rushing to their damage-control stations. Still, no matter what fibs Mr. Kenney tells, if we elect these people, no one can use the excuse we didn’t know exactly what we were voting for.
Former Wildrose MLA calls cabinet gender balance ‘patronizing,’ feminism an F-word
Heather Forsyth, the former PC and Wildrose MLA for Calgary Fish Creek, used the occasion to tell UCP delegates she found it “patronizing” that just over half the NDP cabinet is made up of women. She also offered the opinion that “feminism is an F-word.”
Never mind that the women in Premier Notley’s cabinet are pretty darned qualified, or that roughly half of the NDP caucus, the elected talent pool Ms. Notley had to draw on, is made up of members of the same gender.
Judging from her frequently ill-tempered social media posts, Ms. Forsyth has become increasingly cranky with each year conservatives are out of power in Alberta and Ottawa. It would be fair to ask, is there nothing about New Democrats and Liberals that doesn’t bug her?
And why is it that the only time cabinet choices are closely scrutinized for qualifications is when they’re women?
Speaking of Gilead, scarlet-gowned “Handmaids for Kenney” protested outside the convention hotel in sardonic silence. They were made to move along.
This means ‘no minor can make her own reproductive decisions’
Also passed by 76 per cent of the UCP delegates was a resolution demanding the consent of parents for any invasive medical procedures on minor children.
As Twitterist Kathleen Smith, @kikkiplanet, pointed out: “This resolution means no minor can make her own reproductive decisions without parental consent. Just so we are all clear on that.” So-called anti-vaxxers were also said to be pleased by this vote.
I think we can all see the direction this is moving.
Naturally, the convention also passed (non-controversial!) motions encouraging the privatization of the health care system a bit at a time and institutionalized ecocide, as the Canadian conservative movement moves steadily down the path already trod by the Republican Party in the United States.